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Russian State TV Worker Who Staged on-Air Anti-War Protest, Interrogated for 14 Hours, Fined


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  • A Russian state TV worker was arrested after staging an anti-war protest on live TV.
  • She was released after 14 hours of interrogation and called the last couple of days “difficult.”
  • Her demonstration could cost her up to 15 years in prison per a new Russian wartime censorship law.

An editor at a Russian state TV channel who staged a protest during a live broadcast said she went without sleep for two days while police detained her.

Her fine amounts to $273 and is for a prerecorded video explaining her reasoning for the demonstration, not the on-air interruption itself, according to The New York Times, which cited Sergey Badamshin, the chairman of a Moscow bar association. 

Her demonstration, if considered “false information,” could cost her up to 15 years in prison per a new Russian wartime censorship law that prevents media from calling the war “a war” — which goes against the Kremlin’s dubious portrayal of its invasion of Ukraine, according to The Times.

Maria Ovsyannikova shouted “Stop the war! No to war! Stop the war! No to war!” during a Monday news segment on Russian news outlet Channel 1. She held a sign that read “Don’t believe the propaganda” and “They are lying to you here.”

In a video statement following her release, she called the last couple of days “difficult.”

“These were really very difficult days in my life, because I spent literally two days without sleep, more than 14 hours of interrogation,” Ovsyannikova said in a statement Tuesday after being released from police custody.

“I was not allowed to contact my relatives or friends. I was not provided with any legal assistance, and therefore I was in a rather difficult position,” she added.

 

“I want to thank everyone for their support, friends, and colleagues,” the news editor also said, adding that she needed time to relax after having been detained.

Ovsyannikova stated her reasoning for the protest in a pre-filmed video posted to Telegram by an independent human rights group in Russia called OVD-info.

“It’s up to us to stop this madness,” she said. “Come out to rallies, don’t be afraid of anything, they can’t jail us all.” 

Ovsyannikova said she felt “ashamed” of providing viewers with “Kremlin propaganda” and “telling lies from the TV screen” while working on Channel One.

She added that she was “ashamed that I [was] allowed to zombify Russian people.”

“What is happening now in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is an aggressor country, and only one person is responsible for this aggression. This man is Vladimir Putin,” the editor said in the pre-taped video.

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.





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