Russian anti-war TV protest journalist given 8+ years in prison – POLITICO

Marina Ovsyannikova, a former Russian state TV editor turned Kremlin critic, has been sentenced in absentia to eight and a half years in prison by a Moscow court.

The Basmanny District Court found Ovsyannikova guilty of disseminating false information about the Russian army, state news agency TASS reported on Wednesday, citing the Moscow prosecutor’s office.

The charges related to Ovsyannikova’s protest near the Kremlin in July 2022, where she held a poster saying Russian President Vladimir Putin “is a murderer” and “his soldiers are fascists.” The journalist was placed on pre-trial house arrest, but later fled to Europe with her daughter, which landed her on the Kremlin’s wanted list.

Ovsyannikova first made headlines around the world in March last year when she denounced Moscow’s war on Ukraine during a live Russian TV broadcast. The former Kremlin propagandist stormed the set of Russia’s top evening newscast Vremya brandishing a poster that read “Stop the war” and “They are lying to you.”

Ovsyannikova received a 30,000-ruble fine (at that time, around €250) over that protest. She fled Russia and worked for a time for Germany’s Die Welt newspaper (which is owned by POLITICO’s parent company Axel Springer), before returning to the country to fight a child custody battle.

Ovsyannikova subsequently escaped Russia with her daughter, and according to recent social media posts and reports, appears to now live in France.

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