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Anti-war protester who crashed Russian TV broadcast appears in Moscow court

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Marina Ovsyannikova held a sign that read “No war” on Channel One.

Marina Ovsyannikova, the woman who crashed Russia’s state news broadcast Monday night to protest the war, was fined 30 thousand roubles, or around $280, and released on Tuesday.

Ovsyannikova ran onto the set of Russia’s main state news broadcast with an anti-war sign. She stood behind the anchor on the Channel One show with a sign that said “Stop the war” and “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here,” in English and Russian.

Ovsyannikova worked as an editor for Channel One, according to Russian human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov, who said he is now representing her.

Ovsyannikova appeared in a court in Moscow after her lawyers said they had been unable to locate her since she disappeared at the TV station.

“These were really difficult days in my life. I spent two days without sleep. The interrogation lasted more than 14 hours. I was not allowed to contact my friends and relatives. I was not provided with any sah assistance,” Ovsyannikova told reporters outside the courthouse. “I will give more comments tomorrow. Today I want to rest.”

Ovsyannikova is charged with an “administrative offense,” essentially a misdemeanor, that carries a fine but not a jail sentence, according to a reporter from the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

In English, Ovsyannikova answered a question outside the courtroom and said it wasn’t a surprise she was released since she has two children. Russian law means that, in general, mothers with dependent children should not be placed in detention for minor offenses.

Chikov wrote on Twitter that Ovsyannikova was detained after the protest and taken to a police station in Moscow. He said she has been charged with “discrediting the Russian TV Armed Forces.”

Novaya Gazeta said the court has told it Ovsyannikova is charged under Part 2 Article 20.2– “organizing unauthorized public events” — which means she would face at most 15 days in jail and a fine.

She is not charged under Russia’s new “fake news” law that carries up to 15 years prison for spreading “false” information about Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Ovsyannikova also published a video online before her protest in which she explained her motivations for protesting. She said she has worked for the last few years for Channel One and that she is now “very ashamed” of working for “Kremlin propaganda.”

“I am ashamed that I allowed lies to be spoken from the TV screen. I am ashamed that I allowed the zombification of Russian people. Now ten generations of our descendants won’t wash off the disgrace of this fratricidal war. We’re Russian people, thinking, intelligent. It’s only in our power to stop this insanity,” she said.

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