War in Ukraine: who is Marina Ovsyannikova, the anti-war journalist who interrupted the Russian news?

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A journalist employed by the main Russian television channel interrupted the daily by holding up an anti-war sign. This Monday, March 14, Marina Ovsyannikova was arrested.

“Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They lie to you.” On Monday evening, March 14, a woman interrupted live the television news of the main Russian television channel. She is holding a sign and singing “Stop the war! No to war!”.

This daily program is watched by millions of Russians. Moments later, the scene went viral on social media. But who is this woman?

She is a journalist and producer for the channel

It is the journalist and producer, employee of the channel Pervy Kanal (Channel One), Marina Ovsyannikova, who storms after the well-known presenter Ekaterina Andreïeva. She remains unmoved.

Marina Ovsyannikova is a Russian citizen living in Moscow and 44 years old.

She announced her gesture

Prior to this military action, the journalist published a video explaining her gesture. “What is happening in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor. The responsibility for this aggression rests with one man: Vladimir Putin.”

The anti-war protester who crushed the news broadcast is Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One. @pchikov, whose legal defense foundation will defend her against charges of “discrediting the Russian armed forces”. She’s already at the police station. pic.twitter.com/h0uyDmMKdF

— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 14, 2022

“Unfortunately I have been working for Channel One for the past few years. I have passed Kremlin propaganda and I am really ashamed of it: I am ashamed that I let lies be told on the television screens. I am ashamed that I allowed the ‘zombification'” of the Russian people. Go demonstrate. Don’t be afraid of anything. They can’t lock us all up.”

Her father is Ukrainian

In the video announcing her action, the journalist indicates that she has a Ukrainian father. “My father is Ukrainian, my mother is Russian and they have never been enemies. The chain around my neck is a symbol for Russia, which must stop this fratricidal war immediately,” she said.

She is a former swimmer

This journalist describes herself on her Facebook page as a “swimmer”. She started this sport at the age of six, then entered competitions and continued to practice it in college.

She then began swimming in open waters, including the Volga in Russia and the Bosphorus in Turkey.

She was arrested

Just a few seconds after the interruption of this employee, the images of a report prepared by the station are hastily broadcast, replacing those of the television set.

The chief of the Moscow bureau Max Seddon of the Financial Times posted the video on Twitter. “Today, a woman broke into Russia’s main live newscast,” he wrote.

A woman stormed into Russia’s main live evening newscast today with a sign that read:

“Stop the War
don’t believe propaganda
they lie to you”

And singing: “Stop the war! No to war!”pic.twitter.com/pKVKZFVEM3

— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 14, 2022

The young woman was arrested and is currently at the police station, according to the NGO OVD-Info, which follows the arrests of opponents in Russia. Pavel Chikov, whose legal organization will defend her, has accused her of “discrediting the Russian armed forces”. Pervy Kanal said in a statement that an “internal investigation” is underway into this “incident”.

Recently, the Russian authorities passed a number of laws that provide for sentences of up to 15 years in prison for spreading “false information” about the military. The use of the word “war” by the media or individuals is prohibited in the country and may be prosecuted.