Russian TV Protester Lands New Journalism Job

Marina Ovsyannikova will continue to report from Russia, running a risk of prison
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2022 9:20 AM CDT
Updated Apr 11, 2022 1:20 PM CDT
TV Protester Has a Way Out of Russia. She's Not Leaving
Marina Ovsyannikova protests Russia's invasion of Ukraine on state-run Channel One.   (YouTube/Reuters)

Update: The Russian journalist who protested the invasion of Ukraine in very public fashion has landed a new job but is staying in her native country. Marina Ovsyannikova has been hired by German media outlet Die Welt and will report from Russia and Ukraine, reports the BBC. The 43-year-old was fined for her earlier protest, and she faces the possibility of a more severe penalty, even prison, by defying the Kremlin's official talking points about the Ukraine war. Our earlier story from March 17 follows:

Marina Ovsyannikova initially protested Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the streets of Moscow, per France 24. Then her son hid her car keys over concerns she could be arrested, reports the Wall Street Journal. If the thought of that fate scared Ovsyannikova, it didn't show Monday as the TV producer at state-controlled Channel One took her protest to work. As the live evening news broadcast began, the mother of two got up from her desk, flashed her ID badge as she passed two security checkpoints and a guard at the studio door, then moved in front of the camera with a poster warning the millions of viewers that they were being fed propaganda about a war—a crime imprisonable by up to 15 years under a new Russian law.

In doing so, Ovsyannikova "transformed herself from a self-described cog in Russian President Vladimir Putin's messaging machine into one of the most visible and daring dissidents opposed to his war," per the Journal. Met by executives outside the studio and subsequently handed over to police, she was fined for a video explaining her motivation. Police are still investigating the protest itself, for which the speaker of Russia's lower house of Parliament has proposed she be treated "with all severity." Meanwhile, Ovsyannikova is holed up in a secure location provided by her lawyers. She says she has no plans to leave Russia, though France has offered asylum and donors have provided enough funds for her entire family to flee.

"Anyone interested in the bright future of this country needs to be here—even if for 15 years behind bars," says Ovsyannikova, who was born to a Ukrainian father and Russian mother in the Soviet Union, in what is now Ukraine. Ukrainians "chose their path, their direction toward Europe, to European values," she tells the Journal. "That's their choice. They are free people." Now, "we need to put an end to this fratricidal war so this madness does not turn into nuclear war," she adds, per France 24. "I hope when my son is older he will understand why I did this." She's certainly inspired others. At least four top journalists at state-run TV channels have resigned since her protest, per the Journal. Ovsyannikova has also resigned, per the Guardian. (Read more Russia stories.)

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