Volodymyr Zelensky thanks brave Russian TV employee who interrupted live broadcast
The woman burst onto set behind the newsreader holding up a sign condemning Vladimir Putin and Russia’s violent invasion of Ukraine.
One brave employee at Russia’s Channel One television station ran onto set to interrupt the channel’s main news programme with a sign urging people not to believe the propaganda.
An editor at Channel One, Marina Ovysannikova, burst onto set behind the newsreader during a live broadcast of the nightly news on Monday evening, chanting “Stop the war, no to war”. She also held up a handwritten sign reading “Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you” in Russian, with the final line “Russians against the war” written in English at the bottom.
Ovyannikova remained onscreen for several seconds, before the channel switched to a different report to remove her from the screen.
A woman burst onto Russia’s main live evening newscast today with a sign that says:
“Stop the war
Don’t believe propaganda
They’re lying to you”
And chanting: “Stop the war! No to war!”pic.twitter.com/pKVKZFVEM3
— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 14, 2022
According to Russian news outlet Mediazona, Ovsyannikova was subsequently arrested by Russian authorities and detained at an unknown location overnight before she was brought before a district court on Tuesday. Refusing to retract her statement, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper reports that she faced an administrative charge of organising an uncoordinated event, however human rights attorney Sergei Badamshin says the charge stemmed not from her on-air protest but from a video she had posted on social media beforehand.
“Regrettably, I’ve been working for Channel One for the last few years,” she can be heard saying in the video. “I’ve been doing Kremlin propaganda and I’m very ashamed of it. Ashamed that I let people lie from TV screens. Ashamed that I allowed for the zombification of the Russian people. We were silent in 2014 when this was just beginning. We didn’t protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhumane regime. Now the whole world has turned away from us, and the next 10 generations won’t be able to rid themselves of the shame of this fratricidal war,” she continued, later noting that her father was Ukrainian.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor,” she stated. “The responsibility of this aggression lies on the shoulders of only one person: Vladimir Putin.”
— Expat in Kyiv (@expatua) March 14, 2022
The video was originally posted by OVD-Info, an independent protest-monitoring group aimed at combating political persecution in Russia.
According to The Guardian, Ovsyannikova’s statement marks the first time that an employee from Russian state media has publicly denounced the war as the country continues its crackdown on anti-war dissent. State TV is the main source of news for millions of Russians, and numerous media outlets have been blocked in the country, along with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
However, word of Ovsyannikova’s bravery has reached far and wide, with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also personally thanking her for the courageous act of rebellion in his nightly video address.
“I am grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth,” he said. “To those who fight disinformation and tell the truth, real facts to their friends and loved ones. And personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war.”
"I want to thank everyone for their support"
Marina Ovsyannikova after leaving the courtroom.
The court decided to fine Marina 30,000 rubles ($280) pic.twitter.com/CAEKB0HCXO
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 15, 2022
Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 rubles (approximately €250) for that offence, Badamshin said, though she still faces the threat of other charges. Speaking briefly to journalists after her court appearance, she thanked the public for their support.