A woman ran onto the set of an evening news program on Russian state television’s flagship Channel One on Monday holding a poster reading: “No war. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They lie to you here. Russians against war.” She yelled: “Stop the war, no to war” before the camera cut away.
Russian state-run news agency TASS cited a law-enforcement source as saying the woman worked for the channel. TASS and OVD-Info, a human rights group that tracks demonstrations and helps protesters find lawyers, reported that the woman had been detained and taken to a Moscow police station.
The government says more than 3,000 people were detained during antiwar protests on March 6. OVD-Info estimates that nearly 15,000 protesters have been detained at rallies since the invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24.
The woman’s display of dissent comes after President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that imposes a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for anyone convicted of knowingly disseminating false information and data about the use of Russia’s armed forces.
Since the start of the war, Russia has cracked down on news outlets and foreign social-media networks. Some two dozen independent Russian media organizations have been forced to shut down or chosen to stop operations. Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram have all been blocked in the country.
State-backed and independent polling shows that around 60% of Russians support the invasion.
OVD-Info identified the woman as Marina Ovsyannikova, and shared a video she had purportedly recorded before her protest. A Facebook profile using that name shows a picture of the woman wearing the same necklace—featuring the colors of the Russian and Ukrainian flags—that she had on in the TV appearance.
Within two hours of the incident, more than 15,000 people had left comments under the photo on the Facebook page. “Amazed at your courage,” read one comment. “Thank you very much for the truth.”
OVD-Info released a videotape that it said was made by the woman. “What’s happening in Ukraine right now is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor country,” she says. “The responsibility for this aggression is on the conscience of one person, and this person is Vladimir Putin.”
The woman said her father is Ukrainian and her mother Russian. She said she is ashamed to work for “Kremlin propaganda,” and called on Russians to demonstrate against the war. “It’s only in our power to stop this. Go to protest; don’t be scared. They can’t arrest us all.”
In an address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is grateful to Russians “who do not stop trying to convey the truth, real facts to their friends and loved ones…And personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war.”
Write to Evan Gershkovich at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the March 15, 2022, print edition as ‘Woman Brandishes Antiwar Poster on Russian TV Show.’