Russian journalist who staged TV protest: ‘It’s Putin’s war’

The Moscow TV editor, who staged a live on-set protest against the Kremlin invasion of Ukraine, said Sunday the conflict was “Putin’s war, not [the] Russian People’s War”.

Journalist Marina Ovsyannikova walked onto the set of Russia’s main state news program last week with an anti-war sign reading “NO WAR” and “Don’t believe the propaganda”. They are lying to you here”, in English and Russian.

A moderator from the station, Channel One, delivered the news at the time.

Ovsyannikova was charged with an “administrative misconduct” and fined about $280, at least for now.

She then appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos to tell the world that the Russians are not supporting the war.

“When the war started, I couldn’t eat anything. I couldn’t sleep,” said Ovsyannikova. “What we showed on our shows was very different from what was actually going on.

“The propaganda on our state channels became more and more distorted. The Russian people are really against the war. It’s Putin’s war, isn’t it [the] Russian People’s War”.

Ovsyannikova said she and her colleagues were shocked when the war broke out and realized she had to do something a week after the channel started reporting.

Marina Ovsyannikova addresses the media as she leaves the Ostankinsky District Court.
Marina Ovsyannikova was charged with “administrative misdemeanor” and fined about $280 for publicly protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
AFP via Getty Images
A woman looks at a computer screen and watches as a dissident Russian Channel One worker enters Ostankino's on-air TV studio during Russia's most-watched evening news show.
Ovsyannikova ran onto the set of Russia’s main state news program last week with an anti-war sign that read “NO WAR” and “Don’t believe the propaganda.” They are lying to you here.”
AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian firefighters and security teams at the scene of a building hit by Russian missiles in Kyiv.
Ovsyannikova said the Russian invasion of Ukraine was “Putin’s war” and not a war of the Russian people.

“I could show the Russian people that this is just propaganda, expose this propaganda for what it is, and maybe inspire some people to speak out against the war,” she said of her decision to storm the set.

Ovsyannikova encouraged more Russians to speak out and voice their dissent.

“I was hoping my performance would in some way help people change their minds,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in an annual phone call with the country's citizens.
Ovsyannikova said the war was riddled with Putin’s propaganda, which she wanted to expose and draw attention to.
SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

The TV editor is apparently still in Russia, and while she worries about the safety of her children, she said she refuses to seek asylum elsewhere because “I’m a patriot; I want to live in Russia. My children want to live in Russia.”

The protest, according to the mother, was a “spontaneous decision” that arose from deep frustration and “dissatisfaction with the current situation that has accumulated over many years”. Russian journalist who staged TV protest: ‘It’s Putin’s war’


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