The brave Russian woman who ran onto live state TV news with a sign protesting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine said: ‘They can’t put us all in prison’.
Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor on the Russian TV channel Pervyi Kanal (Channel One), held up a sign on the broadcaster’s main evening news show, Vremya, that said: ‘Stop the war! Don’t believe propaganda! They’re lying to you here! Russians against war.’
Channel One was the first station to broadcast in the Russian Federation after the fall of the Soviet Union and has more than 250 million viewers across the world.
The news anchor carried on speaking before producers quickly cut to a news report to stop Ms Ovsyannikova revealing the truth about Putin’s war.
She recorded a video at home before her brave stunt, saying: ‘The responsibility for this aggression lies with one man: Vladimir Putin.’
But she could now be jailed for up to 15 years.
Moment anti-war protester interrupts Russian state TV broadcast
Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor on the Russian TV channel Pervyi Kanal, held up a sign that said: ‘Stop the war! Don’t believe propaganda! They’re lying to you here!’
Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor-in-chief is Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, posted a screenshot of the incident but blurred Ms Ovsyannikova’s anti-war message, possibly for fear of reprisal
Channel Pervyi Kanal said it was investigating the interruption to its normal schedule at its studios at the Ostankino Technical Centre, near Moscow.
Ms Ovsyannikova was arrested by police working for the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The reason given was for her ‘public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in order to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens, maintain international peace and security,’ the TASS news agency reported.
Ms Ovsyannikova was arrested by police working for the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs
Producers of the news show quickly cut to a news report but not before the protesting journalist made her point clear
Ms Ovsyannikova has a Ukrainian father and said before her actions today that she was ashamed to be peddling the Kremlin’s lies.
She said: ‘What’s happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor.
‘The responsibility for this aggression lies with one man: Vladimir Putin.
‘My father is Ukrainian, my mother is Russian and they were never enemies.
‘Unfortunately, for the last few years I’ve been working for Channel One.
‘I’ve been doing Kremlin propaganda and I’m very ashamed of it – that I let people lie from TV screens and allowed the Russian people to be zombified.
‘We didn’t say anything in 2014 when it only just began.
‘We didn’t protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny.
Russian TV journo explains why she went rogue with anti-war message
‘We just silently watched this inhuman regime.
‘Now the whole world has turned away from us, and ten generations of our descendants won’t wash off this fratricidal war.’
She reportedly also said: ‘They can’t put us all in prison.’
After the incident Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor-in-chief is Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, posted a screenshot of the moment Ms Ovsyannikova went on air but blurred her anti-war message, possibly for fear of reprisal.
Russian human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov tweeted a photograph of Ms Ovsyannikova (pictured). He said his legal defence foundation was helping her face the charges of ‘discrediting the Russian armed forces’
Marina Ovsyannikova demonstrated on live television against the war. She reportedly has a Ukrainian father and said before her actions today that she was ashamed to be peddling the Kremlin’s lies
On March 4 Putin signed a law that effectively criminalises public opposition to or non-state news coverage of the conflict.
It was seen as another way for the Kremlin to curb widespread dissent over the war and cope with crippling Western sanctions.
If Ms Ovsyannikova is prosecuted under the law she could face three to 15 years in prison.
Russian human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov’s legal defence foundation is helping her face the charges of ‘discrediting the Russian armed forces’.
While there have been protests against the war all over the West, the Kremlin has cracked down on any Russians opposing the war.
Even so, thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Moscow and commentators have tried to quell claims the war is anything other than a large-scale Russian invasion.
Last week, guests on one of the country’s most-popular state TV broadcasts risked the wrath of Vladimir Putin to denounce the invasion as ‘worse’ than the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which helped bring down the Soviet Union.
Karen Shakhnazarov (pictured) sought to bust the Kremlin’s narrative that the war with Ukraine was a limited exercise
Semyon Bagdasarov (pictured), called for an end to the war, citing his fear it could become a humanitarian disaster and comparing it to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which helped bring down the USSR
Semyond Bagdasarov, an academic, used an appearance on Russia 1’s prime time talk show ‘An Evening with Vladimir Soloviev’ – a man referred to as Putin’s propagandist-in-chief – to call on the Russian president to end the attack, while warning allies like China and India could soon turn their backs on Moscow.
‘Do we need to get into another Afghanistan, but even worse? There are more people and they’re more advanced in their weapon handling’, he said, ‘We don’t need that. Enough already.’
He then added: ‘If this picture starts to transform into an absolute humanitarian disaster, even our close allies like China and India will be forced to distance themselves from us. ‘This public opinion, with which they’re saturating the entire world, can play out badly for us… Ending this operation will stabilise things within the country.’
Karen Shakhnazarov, a filmmaker and state pundit, also sought to bust the Kremlin’s narrative that it is conducting a limited ‘special operation’ in the Donbass region by referencing attacks on the capital of Kyiv – which is located hundreds of miles away.
‘I have a hard time imagining taking cities such as Kyiv. I can’t imagine how that would look,’ he said, even as Putin’s troops close in on the capital and launch attacks into the outskirts.
‘Prepare for isolation’: Russian academic denounces Ukraine invasion
A previous experiment designed to show how quickly the authorities in Russia are clamping down on free speech amid the war in Ukraine was caught on camera.
Footage emerged of a horde of policemen descending upon a young woman in Manezhnaya Square in Moscow and dragging her away just three seconds after she held up a small paper sign.
The sign itself bore no message in support of Ukraine or any other issue in defiance of the Kremlin and the will of Vladimir Putin.
Instead, the sign simply read ‘TWO WORDS’ – but even this was enough to trigger a stampede of policemen clad in full riot gear who removed her from view in the blink of an eye.
It comes as the Kremlin introduced a blanket ban on social media over the past week, throttling Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – as well as Western media and independent news sites – as it scrambles to control the narrative around its incursion into Ukraine.
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