A bold Russian journalist appeared in court Tuesday, quelling fears that she’d gone missing after she disrupted a live broadcast in protest of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at the state television’s flagship Channel 1 News, was charged with organizing an unauthorized public event and ordered to pay a 30,000 ruble fine, which is just more than $280, BBC News reported. Her appearance in the Moscow courtroom marked the first time she had been seen or heard from since she burst into the newsroom Monday evening, giant sign in hand, shouting “Stop the war” and “No to war!”
The news anchor attempted to continue to speak over Ovsyannikova’s shouts, but she ultimately failed to successfully drown her out and distract from the large poster.
“Don’t believe the propaganda,” it read in Russian. “They’re lying to you here.”
It was also signed in English: “Russians against war.”
In the end, the broadcast was cut off, and a pre-recorded segment was played instead. Human rights attorney Pavel Chikov in a tweet said no one, including her lawyers, had been able to get in touch with her in the wake of her protest.
“Marina Ovsyannikova has not yet been found. She has been imprisoned for more than 12 hours,” Chikov said, the Telegraph reported.
“The pre-investigation check does not provide grounds for detention and imprisonment,” he added.
The Russian Investigative Committee, the country’s main government investigative body, reportedly launched such a “check” into Ovsyannikova on the basis that she allegedly broke into the news studio. Citing an unidentified source, Russia’s state-run Tass reported that she could also face charges of “discrediting” the actions of Russia’s armed forces.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov during a news briefing Tuesday waved off Ovsyannikova’s actions as “hooliganism,” adding that the news network, not the Kremlin, was “dealing with this.”
- Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News