Marina Ovsyannikova: Russian journalist tells of 14-hour interrogation after on-air protest

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Lauren Geall
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Marina Ovsyannikova

The Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova said she was questioned for 14 hours after being detained for protesting against the war in Ukraine.

A Russian journalist who staged a protest against the war in Ukraine live on TV has spoken out about her experience after she was detained and fined by police.

Marina Ovsyannikova, who is an editor at the state-controlled TV station Channel One, said she was questioned for 14 hours without access to legal help and didn’t sleep for two days after she ran onto the set holding up a sign which read ‘no war’.

Ovsyannikova also released a pre-recorded video of herself via the independent Russian human rights action group OVD-Info, in which she expressed her shame at herself for working at the channel and called on the Russian people to protest against the war and “stop all this madness”.  

Marina Ovsyannikova's anti-war protest
Ovsyannikova staged her protest live on TV.

She was fined 30,000 roubles (£214) for the video message after pleading not guilty to the charge of organising an unauthorised public event and has since been released from custody.

Speaking to reporters outside court yesterday, Ovsyannikova spoke candidly about her experience: “The interrogation lasted for more than 14 hours, I wasn’t allowed to get in touch with my family or friends, I was denied access to a lawyer,” she said.  

Ovsyannikova also spoke about why she decided to stage the protest in the first place. “It was my own anti-war decision,” she explained. “I made this decision by myself, because I don’t like that Russia started this invasion.” 

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Ovsyannikova is far from the only anti-war protestor to be detained by police since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began 21 days ago. 

In fact, OVD-Info says over 750 people have been arrested across 37 cities since the war first started – with over half of those in the capital Moscow.

In a bid to dampen protest activity, the Kremlin recently passed a law criminalising independent war reporting and protests against the war. The law, which came into force on 4 March, has penalties of up to 15 years in prison

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.