‘It’s Putin’s war, isn’t it’ [the] Russian People’s War’: Russian anti-war journalist

The Russian editor showed an anti-war sign on the news.

Russians do not support Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who made headlines after an anti-war protest on live TV, said Sunday, calling the unprovoked invasion “Putin’s war”.

“It’s Putin’s war, isn’t it [the] Russian People’s War,” Ovsyannikova told ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos in her first interview with an American broadcast network.

Ovsyannikova ran to the set of the main live broadcast of Russia’s state news on Monday with an anti-war sign to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, standing behind a Channel One anchor as they spoke.

The sign read “NO WAR” and “Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here”, in English and Russian respectively.

The program stopped in seconds, and officials took Ovsyannikova into custody, where she stayed overnight. The court fined Ovsyannikova 30,000 rubles (about $280) after she was charged with an “administrative violation” stemming from an earlier video she recorded calling on Russians to participate in anti-war demonstrations.

Under a newly passed censorship law, any person who speaks out against the Russian government’s narrative about the war, including by calling it a “war” or “invasion”, could face up to 15 years in prison. Ovsyannikova can still be charged under this law.

Stephanopoulos asked Ovsyannikova why she risked speaking out.

“Once the war started, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep,” Ovsyannikova said. “What we showed on our programs was very different from what was going on in reality.”

Ovsyannikova told Stephanopoulos that she wanted to do something that would attract more attention than protest in the square, as well as show the rest of the world that the Russians do not support the war.

“I could show the Russian people that this is just propaganda, expose this propaganda for what it is and maybe encourage some people to speak out against the war,” Ovsyannikova said.

Ovsyannikova encouraged people to analyze information from multiple sources to understand what is really happening.

An independent protest monitoring group reports that more than 15,000 people were detained in Russia on Sunday as they protested the country’s war against Ukraine.

Stephanopoulos asked Ovsyannikova if she is concerned about her safety despite rejecting France’s offer of asylum.

“I am very concerned for the safety of my children,” Ovsyannikova replied. “I have publicly refused to take political asylum in France because I am a patriot; I want to live in Russia.”

She acknowledged that Russia is in a “very dark and difficult” period, but she encouraged people to speak out.

Stephanopoulos went on to ask Ovsyannikova what her message is for President Vladimir Putin and the West.

Ovsyannikova said she wanted to show the world that not all Russians believe the same. She said the sanctions against Russia don’t just affect Putin and his oligarchs.

“Ordinary people, ordinary Russian citizens who are against the war, are also affected,” Ovsyannikova said.

Ovsyannikova then gave her final message to her fellow citizens: “think critically and critically analyze the information presented to them.”

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