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Anti-war journalist has her home RAIDED by Russian officials

Anti-war journalist who famously stormed set of Putin’s favourite news channel with ‘stop the war’ banner has her home RAIDED by Russian officials

  • Marina Ovsyannikova has been handed fines for protests against Ukraine war
  • She famously stormed the set of Russia’s most-watched news show with a poster saying: ‘They’re lying to you here’ and ‘Stop the War!’
  • Under laws introduced since invasion began, protestors face 15 years in prison
  • Russian officials accuse the Ukrainian-born journalist of discrediting the army

A leading Russian anti-war protester has had her home raided by Russian law enforcement, in the latest case of state harassment against her.

Marina Ovsyannikova famously stormed the set of Russia’s most-watched news show with a poster saying: ‘They’re lying to you here’ and ‘Stop the War!’

The TV journalist has been repeatedly targeted by Vladimir Putin’s officers since her protest in March, and could face up to 15 years in prison for her dissent under new draconian laws aimed at stifling any criticism of the war in Ukraine.

Through this law Putin has strong-armed independent media outlets into peddling Russian propaganda – referring to a ‘special military operation’ instead of a ‘war’ or ‘invasion’ while denying mass Russian casualties and war atrocities.

Russian officials accuse Ukrainian-born Ovsyannikova, 44, of discrediting the army.


Marina Ovsyannikova – pictures being detained by police on July 17 – famously stormed the set of Russia’s most-watched news show with a poster saying: ‘They’re lying to you here’

The TV journalist (pictured right) has been repeatedly targeted by Vladimir Putin’s officers since her protest in March, and could face up to 15 years in prison for her dissent under new draconian laws aimed at stifling any criticism of the war in Ukraine

Last week Ovsyannikova – a mother of two – was fined 50,000 roubles (£690) and this week another court fined her a further 40,000 roubles (£550). She was detained on July 17, but later released.

Her home was raided under the law on ‘dissemination of knowingly false information about the actions of the Russian armed forces,’ Lawyer Dmytro Zakhvatov said.

Despite a request for Zakhvatov to be present for the raid, it was carried out in the early hours of Wednesday morning without him being there.

Ovsyannikova has bravely continued to protest the war despite the regular fines.

‘I go to the courts like I go to work,’ she said this week.

Her latest fine was due to a Facebook post when she mocked Putin’s ‘greatness’.

‘I could not express my gratitude to Putin on behalf of 30 million Russians who live in the 21st century without sewers and warm toilets,’ she said.

‘Any accusations against me are absurd and unacceptable.’

She also staged a protest near the Kremlin, holding a placard labelling Putin a ‘killer’.

Pictured: Marina Ovsyannykova holds up a banner in Moscow protesting the war in Ukraine

In April, she was hired by German media outlet Welt as a ‘freelance correspondent’ to report for the Welt newspaper as well as for Welt’s TV news channel, including from Ukraine and Russia. 

Welt is the respected flagship publication from the Axel Springer publishing group, with a daily circulation in Germany of around 180,000.

Welt Group editor-in-chief Ulf Porschardt said at the time that he was excited to be working with Ovsyannikova, adding that her on-air protest ‘defended the most important journalistic ethics – despite the threat of state repression.’

‘At a crucial moment, Marina Ovsyannikova had the courage to confront Russian viewers with an unembellished view of reality,’ he went on to say.

Ovsyannikova made international headlines when she stormed a live broadcast at the state news station where she was a senior producer, shouting: ‘They are lying to you’. The transmission quickly cut to a different segment and Ovsyannikova was detained and arrested.

She disappeared for a number of days with many fearing the worst for her.

In the end she was only handed a £227 fine by a Russian court – a mere fraction of the retaliation expected – sparking a number of theories about the true nature of her protest.

Ovsyannikova’s status as a senior television editor at the Channel One station meant she was able to get access to the broadcasting centre to make her protest

Some of those theories range from Ovsyannikova being a plant by the Kremlin to her being a ‘British spy’ by the head of news at Channel One.

Ovsyannikova has remained in Russia after her arrest and fine, seeming to have dodged the worst of state retaliation, but she told Reuters in June that she was worried for her safety and hoped her protest would open Russians’ eyes to propaganda.

She has continued to describe what Russia insists is a ‘special operation’ in Ukraine as a war and invasion.

In her first report for her new employers earlier this year, she spoke about petty persecution she has faced since the protest.

Her membership of a swimming pool was revoked, a pet shop refused to supply her with dog food, and she found her car with all four tyres deflated and a flat battery.

During an interview with American media, the journalist also said had turned down French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer of asylum because ‘she is a patriot’ and wants to live in Russia.

‘I want to say to everyone, the Russian people are really against the war,’ Ovsyannikova told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. ‘It’s Putin’s war, not Russian people’s war.’

 Last week Ovsyannikova – a mother of two – was fined 50,000 roubles (£690) and this week another court fined her a further 40,000 roubles (£550)

‘[It] was a spontaneous decision for me to go out live on air, but dissatisfaction with the current situation has been accumulating for many years because the propaganda on our state channels was becoming more and more distorted,’ she added.

‘I came to work and, after a week of coverage of this situation, the atmosphere on the first channel was so unpleasant that I realized I could not go back there.’

Ovsyannikova said she thought of assisting an anti-war protest at Moscow’s square – likely referring to the city’s Red Square – but quickly realized being jailed was going to be ‘rather useless.’

‘I decided maybe I could do something else, something more meaningful where I could attract more attention and show to the rest of the world that Russians are against the war,’ she said on Sunday.

‘I could show the Russian people this is just propaganda, expose this propaganda for what it is and maybe stimulate some people to speak up against the war and I was hoping that my performance in a way would help people change their mind,’ she added.

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