A state television employee stormed into the main evening news on Russian state television on Monday to protest Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the biggest sign yet of simmering discontent over the three-week war.
Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, appeared live on the air for a few seconds with a sign that read “Stop the war – don’t believe the propaganda – they lie to you” and chant: “Stop the war! No to war!”
Although the station cut the feed after a few seconds, Ovsyannikova’s unprecedented intervention was an extraordinary act of defiance after Russia stepped up its already draconian censorship laws as the war began in late February.
Police have detained Ovsyannikova under a new law that criminalises acts such as “discrediting the Russian armed forces” and spreading “fake news” about the conflict, said Pavel Chikov, whose legal defense foundation represents Agora Ovsyannikova.
While the strictest sentences carry a possible jail term of up to 15 years, Chikov said Ovsyannikova would likely be fined Rbs 30,000 to Rbs 60,000 ($250 to $500).
Channel One told state news outlet Ria Novosti that it was investigating the incident.
In a video pre-recorded and posted by Ovd-Info, a website that tracks arrests in protests, Ovsyannikova accused Putin, the Russian president, of the war and said she was ashamed of her role in it as a Channel One employee.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor. The responsibility for this aggression rests with one man: Vladimir Putin,” Ovsyannikova said.
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