This footage compiled by The Guardian shows Marina Ovsyannikova leaving court with her attorney after being fined for breaking Russian law.

Dissension in the Ranks

The woman you see holding the “No War” sign behind the news anchor during Russia’s live Channel One news broadcast is Marina Ovsyannikova, who was, at the time, an editor at the TV station. I’m guessing she is probably now a former editor for Channel One.

At any rate, besides the English wording on the sign, it informs viewers that they are being lied to.

If you want to learn more about human rights in Russia, check out OVD-Info. According to their website, they are “an independent human rights media project dedicated to political persecution in Russia.” My guess is that they are actually dedicated to preventing or exposing political persecution in Russia. But unfortunately, sometimes things are lost in translation.

OVD-Info shared the following Twitter video that Ovsyannikova made before her onscreen protest. In it, she said she was ashamed of her role in helping spread Kremlin propaganda. She also noted, “I’m ashamed that I allowed them to zombify Russian people.”

In case you don’t read Russian, here is a translation of the text above the video:

The girl who came into the frame during the live broadcast of the Vremya program on Channel One with an anti-war poster is Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of the channel. After appearing on the air, she was detained. Now she, presumably, is in the Ostankino police department.

In the video, she notes that Ukrainians were never Russia’s enemy. She tells the viewers that her father is Ukrainian and her mother is Russian. She urges more people to protest the invasion.

Ovsyannikova stated:

“”I’m embarrassed for letting them tell lies from the TV screen. What’s happening in Ukraine right now is a true crime. And Russia is the aggressor. And the responsibility for this crime lies only on the conscience of one person, and that person is Vladimir Putin.”

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Her protest was quickly hailed as an act of courage, and it immediately led to her arrest. Not surprisingly, Ovsyannikova’s whereabouts were in question for a while. Still, before long, she appeared in a district court with her attorney Anton Gashinsky (whose Telegram handle in English is “To camp”).

Anton Gashinsky defends Marina Ovsyannikova in court. Screenshot courtesy of @vlagr from Telegram.
Anton Gashinsky defends Marina Ovsyannikova in court. Screenshot courtesy of @vlagr from Telegram.

In the courtroom, she faced charges of “organizing an uncoordinated event.” During her hearing, she wore the blue, yellow, red, and white necklace, which she previously said represented her hope that the two neighboring countries could coexist peacefully.

In a bit of information that I consider interesting aside: Russian law bars the arrest of mothers on administrative charges whose children are younger than 14. Ovsyannikova has two children — one is 11, and the other is 17.

Outcome

A Russian court fined Ms. Ovsyannikova 30,000 rubles (around $356 US dollars) for violating protest laws. This was a relatively light fine for such a high-profile demonstration of defiance of and disagreement with the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps the attention of Western leaders helped her case. French President Emmanuel Macron offered her consular “protection” and said he would raise her case with Vladimir Putin. We have sources in Ukraine that tell us that it is common for protestors to take severe beatings, see their property confiscated like wallets and cell phones and even cars, and be fired by their employers. All before any hearing before a judge. For this reason, young people are more likely to protest because they have less to lose than older Russians with assets and established careers who may have received rough retreatment in their youth at the hands of the police and Federal Security Service.

In a strange legal twist, Ovsyannikova was fined not for her televised on-air disruption but rather for the Twitter video appearing above and stating she was “ashamed” of having worked at Channel One and spreading “Kremlin propaganda.”

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