The protest lasted a few seconds during prime time on Russia’s main channel. The editor of the international section Marina Ovsyannikova burst in behind the presenter with a poster against the war, something that could be harshly sanctioned by the law “against disinformation” that the Government approved a few days after the offensive on Ukraine began, and his gesture reached millions of Russians, whom he asked to come out of their trance state while the conflict continues. “Not to the war. Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you”, she put up the sign.
The journalist shouted slogans such as “stop the war” while the presenter raised her voice and they gave way to a video about a hospital. She did it during the broadcast of Bremya (Time), a Pervyi Kanal program that has been on the air since 1968 on the first television in the country. The event was widely reported by almost the entire Russian press as soon as it happened after 10:00 p.m. on Monday night, but it disappeared from the media the following morning despite its virality on the Internet.
After breaking into the set, Ovsyannikova was transferred from the television facilities in Ostankino to police facilities, as confirmed by the newspaper Kommersant and the news portal OVD-Info, specialized in covering the protests against the Kremlin and their arrests. This last medium offered the journalist the legal assistance of two of her lawyers. The reform undertaken by the Kremlin makes it a crime to “discredit the Russian armed forces”. In addition to a fine, the conviction can carry prison sentences of up to three years, or 15 if the military is put at risk.
Russian dissident Iván Zhdanov, a close associate of imprisoned Russian opponent Alexei Navalni, has assured on his Twitter account that Ovsyannikova is under investigation “under article 207.3 of the Penal Code” “She faces between five and ten years (in prison). ). If they really do that, then Marina’s heroic act will go down in history.”
По Марине Овсянниковой ведется доследственная проверка по статье УК 207.3.
Ей грозит от 5 до 10 лет.
Если они и правда это сделают, то героический поступок Марины будет вообще в истории.
— Ivan Zhdanov (@ioannZH) March 15, 2022
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Before her action, Ovsyannikova posted a video explaining her motives wearing a necklace in the colors of Ukraine. “Unfortunately, I have worked for several years in Pervyi Kanal and Kremlin propaganda. I feel very embarrassed about it. Ashamed for allowing me to tell lies on the television screen. embarrassed to allow zombificationn of the Russians. We have been silent since 2014, when this started. We have not gone out to protest when the Kremlin poisoned (Alexei) Navalni”, he said in reference to the opponent, imprisoned in early 2021 as soon as he returned to Russia from his convalescence in a Berlin clinic for having been intoxicated with Novichok, according to what came to check.
“Don’t believe the propaganda.” The message that Ovsyannikova had written on the poster was broader, but this was the only line that she did not blur. Novaya Gazeta to keep this story alive on their cover hours later. The medium opened with it this Tuesday as “the photo of the day”, although with a very sparse explanation: “Live, in the program Vremya, behind the back of the presenter Ekaterina Andreyeva, a woman appeared with a poster whose entire content prohibits us from disseminating Roskomnadzor (the Russian telecommunications supervisor) and the Criminal Code”. Other newspapers, like Kommersant and RBKhad also published several pieces, but they were no longer on their covers.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the offensive on Ukraine on February 24, the newspaper has juggled reporting and not being sanctioned by the Kremlin at the same time. Its director, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitri Muratov, was already forced to delete an editorial against the war weeks ago, something that was rejected just a fortnight ago by other media such as Dozhd and echo of moscowclosed today.
Osvyannikova’s protest spread like wildfire across social media, from Telegram channels to Russian-blocked platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where Russians, including official media and some government agencies, remain active through the use of VPNs. that simulate being abroad) and other programs. It was precisely on Instagram that the presenter Ekaterina Andreeva said that her yoga helped her maintain her composure. “No matter what happens, stand firm as a rock. Where do I get so much resistance? From yoga, I needed it”, published Andreyeva, who has presented the program since 1998 and received hundreds of criticisms for this publication.
By contrast, Ovsyannikova’s Facebook page received tens of thousands of comments, many of them thanking her and congratulating her on being “a hero.” Likewise, the protest also went viral on the Runet, as the Russian part of the Internet is popularly known. Not only for the dissemination of the full video and the news that talked about it, but also thanks to the humor. The memes changed the original message for jokes such as sports routines or the shopping list, and some accounts that supported the war only managed to further spread the protest by retouching the poster with messages of support for the offensive against Ukraine.
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