Marina Ovsyannikova is shown here (in still footage taken from a video uploaded on March 14, 2022) giving a statement that was taped before she waved an anti-war banner live.
Marina Ovsianikova via Reuters
Marina Ovsinikova, a Russian journalist who protested the war in Ukraine on live state television, told international media that she remains patriotic for her country and refuses to leave, despite her fear of serious repercussions from the authorities.
Ovsianikova, speaking from the hiding, said she would not accept French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer of asylum even though she described herself as “enemy No. 1” in Russia’s efforts to clamp down on the anti-war opposition.
I do not want to leave Russia. She told a German news site Der Spiegel.
“Of course, I’m afraid. Even … anything can happen – a car accident, anything they want,” she added, referring to the Kremlin.
The editor-in-chief of Russia’s state-owned Channel One made headlines last week after intercepting a live news broadcast carrying a banner condemning aggression in Ukraine and shouting “Stop the war.”
The 43-year-old was later A fine of 30,000 rubles ($280) by a Russian court in exchange for a video she recorded before the on-air protest, which shows her denouncing her role in broadcasting “Kremlin propaganda.” But Ovsyannikova said she fears worse consequences to come.
“I am Enemy No. 1 here now,” she said, noting that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to the act as a “riot” and noted rumors that high-ranking officials had demanded criminal charges.
It is now illegal in Russia to refer to the invasion of Ukraine as a war under a new law designed to suppress public dissent. The law, which forbids defaming the Russian military, carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Ovsyannikova, who is half Ukrainian and half Russian, has not been charged with further charges. She said she believes she would have immediately been placed in 15-day detention if she had no children – a son, 17, and a daughter, 11 – but remains “extremely concerned” about their future.
Ovsyannikova said that her son, himself a patriot, took her actions harshly, accusing her of “ruining our whole life.” She said she hoped he would understand her gesture in time.
“I explained to him that in life you have to interact and make complex decisions often,” she said. France 24.
For the past 13 years, Ovsyannikova has worked for the foreign news bureau of Channel One, a state-owned station with millions of subscribers that closely follows the Kremlin line.
I told CNN It is becoming increasingly difficult to follow the party line in her work as she has noted increasing Russian aggression over the years, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the poisoning of the opposition leader. Alexei Navalny.
“I felt a cognitive dissonance, more and more, between my beliefs and what we were saying on air,” Ovsyannikova said. “The war was the point of no return, where it was simply impossible to remain silent.”
Ovsyannikova said she admitted she could have joined a public protest ABC She believed that she could do something “more meaningful and more impactful”. So far, more than 15,000 people were arrested in Russia for protesting the war.
She said she only now realized the “far-reaching consequences” of her actions.
In the video that was recorded before it was broadcast, Ovsyanikova directly blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war. She also highlighted her shame over her role in broadcasting “Kremlin propaganda”.
“The responsibility for this aggression lies with the conscience of only one person. This man is Vladimir Putin,” she said.
“I’m ashamed for letting myself lie on TV, ashamed for letting Russians turn into zombies,” she added.
Ovsyannikova told Der Spiegel that she was “happy” to read that her protest was followed by a series of resignations by Russian journalists, including major TV presenters: Channel One Zhanna Agalakova, NTV Lilia Gildeeva and Vadim Glusker.
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