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Yes, a journalist interrupted a live Russian broadcast to protest the war in Ukraine

An editor with the state-run Channel One in Russia was arrested after she interrupted a newscast to protest the war in Ukraine.
Credit: Twittter

More than 14,000 people protesting the war in Ukraine have been detained across Russia since Feb. 24, when the Russian military first invaded Ukraine, according to OVD-Info.

On March 15, more than 924 people were detained in 40 Russian cities, OVD-Info said. OVD-Info is a human rights organization that monitors protest-related arrests in Russia. 

One video showing an anti-war protest has gone viral across social media. The clip shows a woman interrupting a live newscast on Channel One, a Russian state-run broadcasting network, holding an anti-war banner and chanting against the war.

With misinformation swirling online since the invasion, some online users are wondering if it’s real. One version of the clip from the newscast on Twitter has been viewed more than 1.1 million times; another version posted to Twitter has been viewed more than 2 million times. The video has also been viewed thousands of times on YouTube, and it has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on messaging app Telegram.

THE QUESTION

Did a journalist interrupt a live Russian broadcast to protest the war in Ukraine?

THE SOURCES

  • Pavel Chikov, a Russian attorney
  • OVD-Info, a human rights organization that monitors protest-related arrests in Russia
  • Video of Marina Ovsyannikova, filmed prior to the protest

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, did interrupt the broadcast. She was later detained, a Russian attorney wrote on Twitter and Telegram.

WHAT WE FOUND

On Monday, March 14, Marina Ovsyannikova stood behind the anchor desk during a live broadcast of Russia’s Channel One newscast carrying an anti-war message on a poster written in Russian and English. The sign said “Stop the war! Don’t believe propaganda! They’re lying to you here!” Ovsyannikova is an editor at Channel One, according to Pavel Chikov, a Russian attorney.

Chikov posted regular updates about Ovsyannikova’s protest on messaging service Telegram, which has been used widely by both Russian and Ukrainian media and officials to provide updates about the invasion. Chikov also posted updates on Twitter.

Following the on-air protest on Channel One, police detained Ovsyannikova, according to Chikov’s Telegram channel. Russian state-run media TASS reported The Russian Investigative Committee, the country’s main government investigative body, began “a pre-investigation check” against Ovsyannikova. That is the first step to bringing charges. 

A photo of Ovsyannikova was shared to Twitter and Telegram on March 15, showing her sitting in court next to human rights lawyer Anton Gashinsky. She was fined 30,000 rubles ($280.37 in USD) and will not face jail time, OVID-Info reported on Telegram.

After Ovsyannikova was detained, Chikov wrote on Telegram the charges that could be brought against her would presumably be drawn up under article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses on military censorship for discrediting the Russian armed forces. The law also allows for charges to be brought for “petty hooliganism.” 

Prior to the on-air protest, Ovsyannikova recorded herself giving a statement. The video was posted by OVD-Info and also was circulating across social media. 

In the video, Ovsyannikova says in Russian: “What's happening in Ukraine right now is a crime and Russia is an aggressor country. The responsibility for this aggression is on the conscience of one man, and that man is Vladimir Putin.”

“My father is Ukrainian, my mother is Russian and they have never been enemies. The necklace around my neck is a symbol for Russia needing to immediately stop this fratricidal war and our brotherly people could still make peace,” she said. 

She continued to say she regretted working for Russian state media because it’s all propaganda and lies. She ended the video by saying: “Go to protests. Don't be afraid of anything. They can't imprison us all.”

The video was translated by Jane Lytvynenko, a researcher with Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The translation was confirmed by a Russian speaker for VERIFY.  

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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