Russia’s ‘most hated woman’ says protesting war in live TV stunt ‘ruined her life’ – World News

Marina Ovsyannikova held up a sign that read “Stop this war” during a live broadcast just three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, during which Kremlin officials called her a “traitor”.

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Marina Ovsyannikova speaks out after fine

A TV producer who staged an anti-war protest on a state news program said she didn’t know it would result in her becoming “Russia’s most hated woman”.

Marina Ovsyannikova stormed onto Channel One to unveil a sign condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine three weeks into the conflict.

In widely viewed footage, the 43-year-old stood behind Vladimir Putin’s favorite TV presenter and held up a sign that read: “No to war. Stop this war. Propaganda lies to you.”

Ms Ovsyannikova has been condemned as a traitor by Kremlin officials, called a British spy who “betrayed her country” by the head of the Channel One intelligence service in a live broadcast, and has seen her husband make a bid for custody of their two children.

Ms. Ovsyannikova’s protest led to her being labeled a traitor


AFP via Getty Images)

However, because of her long tenure in the Moscow propaganda machine, she was also viewed with suspicion by anti-war figures.

She believes only the high-profile nature of her protest is keeping her from jail, but has encouraged other Russians to oppose Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

“The more openly you state your civil stance, the more afraid the authorities will be and they will have no idea what to do with you,” Ukrainian-born Ms Ovsyannikova told The Telegraph.

Marina Ovsyannikova says the consequences of her anti-war protests are “snowballing every day”.


AFP via Getty Images)

“If they locked me up, there would be protests. I would be in the headlines. They are now doing their best to get people to forget me or invent conspiracy theories so that others start questioning my genuine citizen protest.”

Ms Ovsyannikova describes her protest as an ill-prepared “emotional outburst”, but fears that she could face up to 10 years in prison have so far proved unfounded.

So far in Russia, over 2,000 people have been tried and fined for “discrediting” the army by taking part in anti-war protests, and another 53 have been charged with spreading “fake news”.

While no charges have been brought against Ms Ovsyannikova, she traveled to Norway this week to accept the prestigious international Vaclav Havel prize for creative dissent.

Vladimir Putin has cracked down on those who think differently in Russia


(Getty Images)

However, there are those in Russia who question her qualifications as a journalist and highlight her tacit support of the Kremlin through years of crackdowns on civil rights.

Daria Kaleniuk, a leading Ukrainian anti-corruption activist who turned down an offer to speak at the award ceremony in Oslo, described it as “humiliating for Ukrainians that a Russian state propagandist who has been fomenting the war for years” is receiving an award.

The German newspaper Die Welt offered Ms Ovsyannikova a contract, but this was also met with concern from several prominent Russian journalists, including Farida Rustamova, who said: “Dozens of independent Russian journalists are currently looking for a job in Europe, but it is Marina Ovsyannikova who it is gets a job at Die Welt.

“With all due respect, it wasn’t she who risked the security of working in Putin’s Russia.”

Ms Ovsyannikova protested three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine



Ms Ovsyannikova is also facing problems at home as her husband, a senior official at state broadcaster RT, is filing for custody of the couple’s children.

“My son told me that I ruined our family life,” she said. “The consequences of my protest outweigh every day.

“I’m in limbo. I live from day to day. I never expected my life to turn out like this: I built a wonderful house in Moscow that I hoped to spend the rest of my life in.”

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