State propaganda ‘is increasingly distorted’

Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova’s decision to publicly protest her country’s invasion of Ukraine did not come easy, she recalled in an ABC News interview released Sunday.

“Once the war started, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep,” Ovsyannikova said in Russian, according to ABC’s translation.

Ovsyannikova, an employee of state-run Channel One, said she was considering attending a street protest against the war, but the prospect of spending years in prison convinced her to make a more public statement. lay.

The news editor eventually decided to interrupt the live broadcast of her own channel’s evening news and walked across the set holding a sign that read “no war” and “Russians against war.”

In Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has an iron grip on power and his critics are often killed or imprisoned, this was a risky protest. The Russian government recently passed a law threatening 15 years in prison for publishing news that contradicts the Kremlin’s war reports, which deny that there is even a “war” taking place. She has already been arrested and fined, and is reportedly under investigation under the new draconian censorship law.

“This protest was a spontaneous decision for me to go live on the air, but the dissatisfaction with the current situation has been mounting for years as the propaganda on our state channels became more and more distorted,” Ovsyannikova said on Sunday. “And the pressure that has been exerted in Russian politics could not leave us indifferent. When I spoke to my friends and colleagues, everyone could not believe until the last moment that something like this could happen, that this horrific war could take place.”

Marina Ovsyannikova interrupts the evening news broadcast on the main Russian news channel. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

She said she “could see what was really happening in Ukraine, and what we showed our programs was very different from what was actually going on.”

Ovsyannikova said she hoped her protest showed the world that “not all Russians” support the war. “Maybe half the people in Russia are against the war,” she said, adding that many of them are suffering from the West’s harsh economic sanctions.

“It’s Putin’s war, isn’t it [the] Russian People’s War,” she said.

Despite the risks she faces in Russia, Ovsyannikova also said she resides in her home country and has turned down French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer of political asylum.

“First of all, I am very concerned about the safety of my children. And I am very grateful to Mr Macron for his offer, but I have publicly refused to take political asylum in France, because I am a patriot. I live in Russia. My children want to live in Russia,” she told ABC on Sunday.

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