Russian Journalist Who Protested Ukraine War On TV Placed On House Arrest


Topline

Marina Ovsyannikova—a former Russian state television journalist who made headlines in March after she interrupted a live broadcast to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine—was placed on house judgment Thursday for two months, according to multiple outlets, after being charged with spreading false information, the latest move by the Kremlin to crack down on critics of Russia’s invasion.

Key Facts

A Russian court ordered house judgment for Ovsyannikova until October 9 during a hearing before Russia’s Investigative Committee during which Ovsyannikova reportedly held a sign inside the glass cage of the courtroom that read, “Let the dead children haunt your dreams.”

The house arrest comes a day after Russian police produced a search warrant and entered Ovsyannikova’s house early Wednesday morning while she was sleeping, scaring her young daughter, Ovsyannikova wrote in a Telegram post.

Officers then charged her with violating a Russian law banning “public dissemination of knowingly false information” about Russia’s army, a crime for which she could face ten years in prison, her lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov wrote on Telegram.

Zakhvatov said the charges are linked to a protest where Ovsyannikova held up a poster criticszing the Kremlin in July, several months after Ovsyannikova, who worked as an editor at Channel One, received international attention for standing behind a state TV news announcer holding a sign protesting the war.

Crucial Quote

“Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists,” read Ovsyannikova’s poster at last month’s protest, which took place at the Moskva river embankment near the Kremlin, according to the Guardian.

Key Background

Ovsyannikova, who was born in Ukraine, has been fined and detained several times for her anti-war protests. Ovsyannikova worked for Russia’s newscast on Channel One since the early 2000s, where she has said she was “involved in creating aggressive Kremlin propaganda” that “constantly sought to deflect attention from the truth, and to blur all moral standards.” She left Russia to work for the German publication Die Welt for several months but came back to Russia to resolve a custody dispute, according to the Guardian. The Kremlin has targeted a host of anti-war activists with a new law it passed a month after it began its invasion of Ukraine, making it illegal to spread “false news” about the Russian military, with sentences of up to 15 years in prison for those who violate the law. Opposition politician Ilya Yashin and his colleague Vladimir Kara-Murza—both outspoken critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin—have been detained and charged with spreading false information about Russia’s army in recent months.

Tangent

French President Emmanuel Macron said in March shortly after Ovsyannikova’s protest on live television that he wanted to offer diplomatic “protection” for the journalist and had plans to discuss the matter with Putin.

Further Reading

Russian journalist who protested Ukraine war live on TV has home raided (Guardian)

Russian TV protestor charged with spreading false information (Reuters)

Russian Court Fines TV Employee After On-Air Anti-War Protest (Forbes)

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