Russian TV protester ordered to pay new fine over Ukraine

AFP , Monday 8 Aug 2022

A Moscow court on Monday ordered journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who denounced Russia's intervention in Ukraine, to pay a new fine for discrediting the Russian army.

Marina Ovsyannikova
Marina Ovsyannikova, a journalist who became known after protesting against the Russian military action in Ukraine during prime-time news broadcast on state television, prepares for her court session over charges of discrediting the Russian army fighting in Ukraine, in Moscow on August 8, 2022. AFP


In March, Ovsyannikova shot to prominence for interrupting a live TV broadcast to denounce Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. Her lawyer did not rule out on Monday the possibility she could face a criminal probe in the future.

Last week, another court ordered the 44-year-old journalist to pay 50,000 rubles (around $800) for discrediting the Russian army.

On Monday, Ovsyannikova, a former editor at state-controlled Channel One, said Moscow's Cheryomushkinsky district court ordered her to pay 40,000 rubles.

Ovsyannikova's lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov told AFP she was fined for a post on Facebook. Two convictions within the space of six months can lead to a criminal case.

In court, Ovsyannikova said she "trolled" the judge but he did not seem to understand her irony.

"America and Europe are to blame for the fact that there is no longer freedom of speech, just courts and fair elections in Russia. And people are put in jail for calling for peace," she said in court, according to her statement on messaging app Telegram.

Ovsyannikova, a mother of two, was briefly detained in July.

Her short detention came several days after she demonstrated alone near the Kremlin, holding up a sign criticising the military intervention in Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin.

After sending troops to Ukraine, Moscow adopted laws imposing sentences of up to 15 years in prison for spreading information about the military deemed false by the authorities.

Russian authorities have not announced the opening of any criminal investigation against Ovsyannikova.

In the months following her March protest, Ovsyannikova spent time abroad, working for three months for Germany's Die Welt.

In early July, she announced that she was returning to Russia to settle a dispute over the custody of her two children.

The journalist, who worked for state TV for 19 years, told AFP in a recent interview she had to sell her car to bring in some extra money. Ovsyannikova, who does not currently have a permanent job, works as a freelancer for foreign media.

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