Marina Ovsyannikova: Anti-Putin TV journalist flees Russia

TV journalist now ‘under the protection of a European state’ after lone protests, says lawyer

Andy Gregory
Monday 17 October 2022 17:13 BST
Russian anti-war protester interrupts state TV news broadcast
Leer en Español

Marina Ovsyannikova, the former Russian state TV journalist arrested over her criticism of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, has fled the country, her lawyer has said.

She faced up to 10 years in jail for spreading what the Kremlin claimed was false information about Russia’s military and is currently “under the protection of a European state”, lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said.

Her lawyer declined to elaborate as “it may turn out to be a problem” for Ms Ovsyannikova, a former editor at Channel One.

The 44-year-old made global headlines in the early weeks of the now nearly eight-month war, after bursting into the state broadcaster’s studio during a live TV broadcast holding a placard reading “stop the war” and “they’re lying to you”.

Ms Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 roubles (£460), and was later placed under house arrest for two months in August after another lone protest in which she stood on the opposite banks of the Moskva River from the Kremlin, with a placard which said: “Putin is a murderer. His soldiers are fascists.”

But Ms Ovsyannikova confirmed earlier this month that she had fled house arrest, writing on Telegram: “I consider myself completely innocent, and since our state refuses to comply with its own laws, I refuse to comply with the measure of restraint imposed on me ... and release myself from it.”

It now emerges that she was also able to leave the country just hours later, despite being put on a wanted list by Moscow.

“Ovsyannikova and her daughter left Russia a few hours after departing from the address where she was under house arrest. They are in Europe now,” Mr Zakhvatov, her lawyer, told Agence France-Presse.

“They are fine. They are waiting until they can talk about publicly, but for now it is not safe,” he added.

Her son remains in Russia, Mr Zakhvatov said. He declined to reveal where Ms Ovsyannikova is now, but told Reuters: “Soon everything will be made public. We need a couple of weeks.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in