A state-run television employee interrupted a live broadcast of Russia’s most popular news program on Monday evening. The woman, identified as Marina Ovsyannikova, yelled “Stop the war! No to war!” while holding up a sign that said “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”
Ovsyannikova was an editor for Channel One, a state-run television channel. According to the OVD-Info human rights group, she was arrested shortly after the live TV protest and was held at the Ostankino television centre.
The protester also released a pre-recorded video via OVD-Info, where she conveyed her shame in taking part in spreading the “Kremlin propaganda” while working for Channel One.
It was later confirmed by Pavel Chikov, head of of the Agora human rights group, that she had been arrested and taken to a Moscow police station.
Ovsyannikova can face up to 15 years in prison, following the newly introduced Russian legislation that criminalizes spreading so-called “false news” about the Russian military, effectively barring Russian media from calling the war what it is.
Shortly after the arrest, it was reported that the protester is nowhere to be found.
The other side of the story
As news of the protest blew up, Ukrainians took to Twitter to implore people to give as much attention to what is currently happening in Ukraine.
Yaryna Klyuchkovska, Corporate Communication Director at ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine, presented a different take on the story on a LinkedIn post.
Klyuchkovska called the protest a “simple principle in crisis communication.” Where, “if you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
The corporate communication executive pointed out that the protest takes attention away from the actual horrors of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the 20,000 casualties in the city of Mariupol, the 400,000 hiding underground without heat, food, or water because Putin’s army have set up blockades to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the city.
“Russia wants you to shift your focus away from all that inhumane, unspeakable cruelty,” she wrote.
Klyuchkovska also emphasized that people who work in Russian television have been “thoroughly vetted by the Federal Security Service, the successor of the KGB,” and “screened for any signs of ‘ideological turpitude’ before they get anywhere near the newsroom.”
“Do you honestly believe that there is such thing as “live on air” in Russia now? How can you still believe anything that comes out of the world capital of disinformation?”
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