A news editor at a Russian television channel was detained by Russian authorities after she ran onto a live state TV news with a sign protesting Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Russia's state Channel One, burst on to the set of the live broadcast of the nightly news on Monday evening with a sign that read: "Stop the war. They can't put us all in prison."
Before carrying out the act of protest, she filmed a video calling for Russians to resist the war, saying that she is ashamed of the government propaganda promoting it and revealing that her father is Ukrainian. Ovsyannikova since has won the hearts of many and has been praised by many including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On Monday evening, while an anchor was reading the bulletin, Ovsyannikova ran onto the show with a sign in her hand that read: "Don't believe the propaganda. They're lying to you here." It was signed in English: "Russians against the war."
The news anchor continued to read from her teleprompter loudly in an attempt to drown out Ovsyannikova, but her protest was seen and audible for a few seconds before the channel moved to a recorded program.
Seconds later, the show abruptly cut away. The video was tweeted on Monday night by Bernie Sanders and since then has gone viral. "She has since been detained," Sanders shared, saluting her "act of incredible courage."
Before barging onto the live show, Ovsyannikova recorded a video at home, saying: "The responsibility for this aggression lies with one man: Vladimir Putin."
However, she has now been detained and faces strict action. Ovsyannikova could now face a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Despite claims that she is being held at Moscow's Ostankino Police Station, her lawyer, Dmitry Zakhvatov, told the news source that he is unable to locate his client.
Ovsyannikova's fate now hangs in balance after she was arrested. The reason given for her arrest was "public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in order to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens, maintain international peace and security," the TASS news agency reported.
As Russia continues to tighten down on anti-war opposition, Ovsyannikova's speech is the first time a member of Russian state media has publicly condemned the war. Other news programmes blurred out the phrase on Ovsyannikova's sign in their own reportage on the incident, demonstrating how rigorous the current wave of censorship is.
Ovsyannikova was employed by state-run Channel 1, per Russian news agency TASS, and protested during the Vremya newscast.
Although arrested, Ovsyannikova has earned praise from many, including Zelensky. "And personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war," Zelensky said, adding: "To those who are not afraid to protest. As long as your country has not completely closed itself off from the whole world, turning into a very large North Korea, you must fight. You must not lose your chance."
In her video taken before she barged onto the live news bulletin, she urged fellow Russians to join anti-war protests in order to bring an end to the conflict. "Only we have the power to stop all this madness. Go to the protests. Don't be afraid of anything. They can't imprison us all."
"Sadly, during the past years I worked at Channel One, I spread the Kremlin propaganda and I am ashamed of this. I am ashamed I allowed lies to be told on TV screens, I am ashamed I allowed Russian people to be fooled. We were all silent in 2014 when it all started. We did not go out to protest when the Kremlin poisoned [Russian opposition leader] [Alexei] Navalny. We simply watched this inhumane regime. Now the whole world has turned away from us and the next 10 generations of our descendants will not wash away the shame of this fratricidal war."
She went on to say that "Russians are wise and proud, it is up to us to stop this madness."
Ending with a call for others to "come out and protest," Ovsyannikova said, "they cannot put all of us in jail."