A journalist who worked at one of Russia’s major state-controlled TV stations crashed a live news program to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marina Ovsyannikova had worked as an editor at Channel One for years, but on Monday Mar. 14, she interrupted the evening news program by running on holding a sign and shouting, “Stop the war. No to war.”
Her sign read: “No war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here. Russians against war.”
Her protest was seen for a couple of seconds until the program cut to another video.
Before the incident, Ovsyannikova had pre-recorded a video and uploaded it to Russian social media network VK, explaining the reasons behind her actions.
In the video, she called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a crime and said that President Vladimir Putin was the sole person responsible.
“Unfortunately, in recent years I have been working on Channel One, creating Kremlin propaganda and I am now very ashamed of it,” she said. “I’m embarrassed for letting them tell lies from the TV screen. I’m ashamed that I allowed them to zombify Russian people.”
“Come out to protest, don’t be afraid of anything, they can’t arrest every one of us,” she said.
Ovsyannikova was detained by police shortly after the incident.
Her lawyers had initially been unsure of her whereabouts for several hours after they failed to reach her, according to independent Russian human rights watchdog OVD-Info.
Ovsyannikova was later fined 30,000 ruble (US$280) for her pre-recorded video and released after she was questioned for 14 hours.
“The interrogation lasted for more than 14 hours, I wasn’t allowed to get in touch with my family or friends, I was denied access to a lawyer,” she told reporters after the court hearing, the BBC reported.
It remains unclear if she will face separate charges over her protest on live TV.
Russia has passed laws criminalizing anti-war protests and war reporting, with people facing up to 15 years in prison.
Words such as “war” and “invasion” have also been banned when describing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, there have been multiple protests worldwide.
In Russia, at least 14,853 protesters have been detained across 151 Russian cities, according to OVD-Info.