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Russian journalist who made on-air protest of war in Ukraine fined again for discrediting the military

Russian journalist speaks after being fined
Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova fined after anti-war protest during state-run newscast 01:53

A former Russian state TV journalist who quit after making an on-air protest of Russia's war in Ukraine was fined 50,000 rubles ($860) Thursday for discrediting the military.

Marina Ovsyannikova was charged under a law, enacted after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, that penalizes statements against the military. A conviction is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Former Russian state TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova attends a court hearing in Moscow
Former Russian state TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova, who staged an anti-war protest on live state television and was later charged with public activity aimed at discrediting the Russian army amid Ukraine-Russia conflict, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, July 28, 2022. EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / REUTERS

The fine was imposed for her comments at a court where opposition figure Ilya Yashin was remanded into custody pending trial on spreading false information about the military. The online Latvia-based news outlet Meduza, which covers Russia, said Ovsyannikova called the invasion of Ukraine a "horrible crime."

She previously was fined 30,000 rubles ($270 at the time) for holding up an antiwar poster during the March 14 evening news broadcast on state Channel One.

In Russian, the poster said, "stop the war, don't believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here." In English, it said "no war" at the top and "Russians against the war" at the bottom.

She was immediately detained and said she was questioned for 14 hours without any representation present. 

Following her release, she told Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin's February invasion of the neighboring country was a "trigger" for her, as she grew up in Chechnya.

"Very vivid images from my childhood came flooding back. I understood. I could feel what these unfortunate people are going through. It's really beyond the pale," Ovsyannikova had said. "It was impossible for me to remain silent anymore. ... And ordinary people like me — ordinary Russian women — need to do something about it. Everyone in Russia."

A month after the incident, Ovsyannikova was hired as a freelance correspondent for a German news station.

Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova interrupts live Channel One broadcast to protest the war in Ukraine.
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