The home of a former state TV broadcaster was raided in Russia on Wednesday after speaking out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine live on air. A criminal case was also opened against Marina Ovsyannikova, who is charged with spreading false information about Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“At 6 in the morning while I was still sleeping, dozens of employees of the Investigative Committee and the police stormed into my house. They showed an order for the raid,” Ovsyannikova confirmed on Telegram. “They scared my little daughter. Now I am being taken to the Investigative Committee.”
Dmitry Zakhatov, a lawyer representing the former Channel One TV personality, told reporters that the case is likely linked to a protest staged by Ovsyannikova last month. The well-known TV presenter appeared on a live news broadcast holding a sign accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of being a “killer” and calling Russian soldiers “fascists.”
Zakhatov also said that his client, who has two young children, now faces up to a decade in prison on charges of spreading false information and is expected to remain in custody until Thursday. Authorities were also accused by the OVD-Info human rights watchdog lawyer of starting the raid before her legal representative had arrived.
What Ovsyannikova Did on Air
Ovsyannikova appeared behind a fellow TV presenter holding a sign, which included the words “NO WAR” written in English, and was convicted of discrediting the Russian military and fined 50,000 rubles for social media posts made in the same vein. The TV presenter hit international headlines after her March 14 protest, which came only weeks after the invasion began.
The former TV presenter’s case quickly concluded after a short hearing in an administrative court in Moscow. The judge said that the evidence confirmed her guilt.
“There is no reason to doubt its authenticity,” the judge said.
Ovsyannikova slammed the decision as “absurd.”
Also in July, Ovsyannikova protested Putin’s war in Ukraine holding a similar sign outside of the Kremlin. Standing at the banks of the Moskva River with the Kremlin directly behind her, Ovsyannikova held up a sign expressing her anger over the death of children in the conflict.
“Putin is a killer. His soldiers are fascists. 352 children died. How many more children have to die for you to stop?” the sign reads.
«Путин — убийца. Его солдаты — фашисты. 352 ребенка погибли. Сколько еще должно погибнуть детей, чтобы вы остановились?».
Марина Овсянникова провела одиночный пикет на набережной напротив Кремля. pic.twitter.com/lnPB7oDk6X
— The Insider (@the_ins_ru) July 15, 2022
In front of Ovsyannikova lay two dolls covered in fake blood.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.