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The Russian journalist who was arrested after protesting the Ukraine invasion on live television and could be subject to further criminal penalties says she has concerns for her personal safety but has no plans to leave the country.
During the live, prime-time broadcast on Russia’s Channel One where she worked as an editor, Marina Ovsyannikova, 43, stormed into the shot with a homemade sign that read “No War” in English as well as, according to a translation, “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”
She won worldwide praise, including from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for her bravery in a country that is not particularly known for honoring free speech, especially when it comes to criticism of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin or his regime.
Some have proposed nominating Ovsyannikova for a Nobel Peace Prize.
“Poisonings and assassination attempts are not uncommon fates among Putin’s critics,” the Daily Mail asserted.
After her arrest, a Moscow court fined Ovsyannikova the equivalent of $280 U.S. dollars and released her, but more serious charges could be on the horizon.
Ovsyannikova, a mother of two whose father is Ukrainian and mother is Russian, was apparently incommunicado for a period of time after cops brought her to the police station.
‘Brave’ Russian TV editor crashes live news shot with a message Putin’s not going to like https://t.co/oWhCB4OKvQ
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) March 15, 2022
In comments after she got home, the journalist, who rejects the hero label, said “of course, I am extremely concerned for my safety” and that the anti-war protest “was really scary” and that she wasn’t sure she could actually go through with it.
“On Channel One — and the main news program in the country — there are several layers of security, and it’s not that easy to get into the studio. And there’s a member of law enforcement sitting right in front of the studio who makes sure that these kinds of incidents don’t happen. I won’t go into details because it was a loophole in Channel One’s security arrangements,” she revealed.
“I was happy to be able to do it,” she added, with a hope that the protest won’t be in vain.
In the video embedded below, she also noted that she can’t afford to exit Russia, alluding to the premise that leaving her family or her career behind is not an option.
According to Ovsyannikova, the protest on what is purportedly the country’s most popular TV channel had a two-fold purpose: to inform the world that Russians oppose the war in Ukraine and to caution Russian citizens from being “zombified” by state-controlled media propaganda.
In remarks made outside the courthouse upon her release, Ovsyannikova reportedly said the TV protest was her decision alone, and that cops interrogated her for 14-plus hours during which she wasn’t allowed to contact her family or apparently her lawyer.
She expressed gratitude for the support that she received from friends, colleagues, and others.
The journalist also implied that she hadn’t gotten any sleep for two days while in custody.
“Miss Ovsyannikova could still be slapped with the more serious new criminal charge brought in to stamp out ‘fake news’ about Russia’s invasion. The new law has made it a crime to call the conflict a ‘war’ instead of military operation and carries a jail sentence of up to 15 years,” the Daily Mail noted.
Criminal investigators have reportedly opened a formal case against the journalist or perhaps now ex-journalist.
In a pre-recorded statement that was apparently meant to accompany the on-air protest, Ovsyannikova admitted that she was ashamed for previously spreading Kremlin propaganda as part of her Channel One job and called upon the Russian people “to stop this madness” that constitutes the war in Ukraine.
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