By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MOSCOW/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – In a daring act of defiance and risking jail, a Russian state television worker has interrupted the live broadcast of Russia’s most-watched news show yelling “Stop the war!” and holding a sign saying, “They’re lying to you here.”
The woman, Marina Ovsyannikova, worked for Channel One, the state-run television channel whose Monday news broadcast she stormed, to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The news show, “Vremya” is among the Kremlin’s flagship propaganda outlets, watched by millions of Russians every evening.
On Monday evening, Ovsyannikova walked onto the set as the anchor described Russian talks with Belarus over softening the blow from Western sanctions. She unfurled a sign with a Ukrainian and a Russian flag that said, in English, “No war” and “Russians against war.” In Russian, it said: “Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”
Her off-script intervention underscored how dissent is seeping into public consciousness in Russia, even after President Vladimir Putin has stifled opposition to the war. He has enacted a law to punish anyone spreading whatever the government deems “false news” about its Ukraine invasion with up to 15 years in prison.
The OVD-Info human rights group released a video in which Ovsyannikova defended her action, saying she is “humiliated” to have worked to produce “Kremlin propaganda.”
“We are Russian people, thinking and smart ones,” she stressed in the video she recorded, calling for Russians to protest against the war. “Only we have the power to stop all this craziness.”
“Regrettably, for several years, I worked on Channel One and worked on Kremlin propaganda; I am very ashamed of this right now,” she stressed.
“Ashamed that I was allowed to tell lies from the television screen. We were ashamed that I allowed the zombification of the Russian people. We were silent in 2014 when this was beginning. We did not go out to protest when the Kremlin poisoned [opposition leader Alexander] Navalny,” she said.
“We are just silently watching this anti-human regime. And now the whole world has turned away from us, and the next ten generations won’t be able to clean themselves from the shame of this fratricidal war.”
Wearing a necklace in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, Ovsyannikova said in her video statement that her father is Ukrainian and her mother is Russian.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor,” she said. “The responsibility of this aggression lies on the shoulders of only one person: Vladimir Putin.”
OVD-Info explained that Ovsyannikova was detained shortly after her protest and held at the Ostankino television center.
She became a voice of more than 4,300 people who have been arrested at anti-war protests across Russia
Ovsyannikova made clear she did not regret her protest though she could face up to 15 years imprisonment. She could also have legal consequences for encouraging “civil unrest” by telling Russians to protest.
Yet Ovsyannikova urged fellow Russians to join anti-war protests to bring an end to the conflict. “Only we have the power to stop all this madness. Go to the protests. Don’t be afraid of anything. They can’t imprison us all.”
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