Russian Anti-War Journalist Marina Ovsyannikova Detained Again In Moscow

Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who daringly interrupted a live TV broadcast to protest her country’s invasion of Ukraine, was briefly detained by Russian authorities for a second time over the weekend.

News of her arrest broke Sunday on her Telegram account after friends posted that she had been picked up by police in Moscow while cycling and was bundled into a white van.

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According to The Moscow Times – which has been operating in exile out of Amsterdam since March – Ovsyannikova was released three hours later, having been charged with “discrediting” the Russian army.

Ovsyannikova was an editor at the government-controlled Pervyy Kanal at the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Distressed by the images out of Ukraine, she interrupted the channel’s main evening news bulletin on March 14 and held up a poster protesting the war and calling on viewers not to “believe the propaganda.”

She was briefly detained, fined $527 (30,000 rubles) and left Russia shortly after. Until recently, she had been living outside of Russia, working for German newspaper Die Welt on a temporary contract.

On July 3, the journalist announced on her Instagram account that she was returning to Russia to fight for access to her two children after her ex-husband filed a lawsuit asking for sole custody in Moscow.

Ovsyannikova said in the post that she could be arrested on her return but despite these fears, she has stepped up her public campaign against the war on her return.

On Friday (July 15), she carried out a second solo demonstration near the Kremlin. Video footage shows her standing opposite the Kremlin, brandishing a placard with slogans criticizing the Russian aggression on Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin. At her feet lay two life-like children’s dolls covered in red dye.

The Moscow Times reported, however, that her new charges were related rather to her attendance of the trial of Russian opposition figure Ilya Yashin last week.

Ovsyannikova was among hundreds of journalists and opposition activists who turned up outside the courtroom in a show of support.

Yashin has been charged with spreading false information about the Russian military after he discussed alleged war crimes committed in Ukrainian town of Bucha on a YouTube video.

There has been a widespread crackdown of anti-war protests and dissent across Russia since the start of its war in Ukraine.

According to a recent report by Russian independent human rights watchdog OVD-info, there have been 15,000 detentions since February 24 and at least 178 people are currently going through the courts and could face lengthy prison sentences.

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