Former Russian television journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, known worldwide for her dramatic protest during a news broadcast, has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in absentia.
Ovsyannikova gained international attention when she interrupted a news broadcast with a placard reading “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you.” She initially received a fine for her protest, which occurred shortly after Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, under the guise of a “special military operation.”
Subsequently, Ovsyannikova faced criminal charges for “spreading knowingly false information about the Russian Armed Forces.” These charges were related to a protest in July 2022 when she stood on a river embankment opposite the Kremlin, holding a poster that labeled President Vladimir Putin as a murderer and his soldiers as fascists. The poster poignantly asked, “How many more children must die before you will stop?”
Marina Ovsyannikova, aged 45, fled Russia with her daughter approximately a year ago, escaping from house arrest. Her lawyer stated that she believed she had no case to answer. The charges against her were based on laws enacted shortly after Russia’s invasion, making it a crime to “discredit” the armed forces or spread false information about them.
In a statement posted on Telegram before the verdict, Ovsyannikova referred to the charges as “absurd and politically motivated” and declared her innocence. She asserted that she would not retract a single word of her protest.