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Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova calls for end to ‘fratricidal’ war in Ukraine

Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova calls for end to ‘fratricidal’ war in Ukraine

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/ The Interview

Issued on: 17/03/2022 – 18:52


Marina Ovsyannikova. © FRANCE 24

In an extraordinary show of dissent, journalist Marina Ovsyannikova held up an anti-war poster on Russian state television on Monday before being arrested, fined and later released by authorities. In an interview with FRANCE 24, she spoke out against Russian state “propaganda” and called for an end to the “fratricidal” war in Ukraine.

Speaking to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman from Moscow, Marina Ovsyannikova began by thanking French President Emmanuel Macron for offering her political asylum in France, but said that as a “patriot” she preferred to stay in her home country of Russia.

The Russian journalist had to pay a fine of 30,000 roubles (around €250) for a video she published explaining her actions and calling on Russians to demonstrate against the war in Ukraine. Ovsyannikova pointed out that the fine was “not the end of the story”, since she still faced up to 15 years in prison for her on-air protest.

She added that her “dissatisfaction” with Russian state “propaganda” had increased over the years, notably after the poisoning and jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, but that the “point of no-return” was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The journalist also explained that she has taken part in several anti-war demonstrations in Moscow but that “these protest actions were not effective because they are so constrained, so controlled.” Her on-air show of dissent was therefore “a strong message” to show that some Russians are against the war in Ukraine.

Ovsyannikova is quitting her job at Russian state television. She said that other anti-war journalists were also resigning, but that others were unable to do so because of the economic situation.

The journalist, who has two young children, said that her son thought that she had “destroyed” their “family life” with her protest. “But I explained to him that in life, you have to react and make decisions that are often complicated,” she told FRANCE 24.

“Above all, we must bring an end to this fratricidal war. We must stop this madness before we reach something like nuclear war. So I think when my son is a bit older he will be able to understand my gesture,” she concluded.

© Studio graphique France Médias Monde

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