Russian TV journalist who protested Ukraine invasion during newscast lands job with German newspaper

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Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian state-TV journalist who shocked the world last month with her on-air protest of the ongoing invasion in Ukraine, has landed a new job with a German newspaper.

Ovsyannikova, an editor for Russia’s Channel One, disrupted one of the country’s most-watched newscasts by appearing on the set with a large sign that read “No War.”

On Monday, German publisher Axel Springer announced Ovsyannikova is joining its WELT newspaper as a freelance correspondent and will be a regular contributor to its TV channel. 

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“At a crucial moment, Marina Ovsyannikova had the courage to confront Russian viewers with an unembellished view of reality. In doing so, she defended the most important journalistic ethics – despite the threat of state repression. I am excited to be working with her,” editor-in-chief of WELT Group Ulf Poschardt wrote in a press release. 

“WELT stands for what is being so vehemently defended by the courageous people of Ukraine on the ground right now: freedom. I see it as my duty as a journalist to defend that freedom. And I am delighted to be able to do this now for WELT,” Ovsyannikova also wrote. 

Marina Ovsyannikova, a Channel One employee who staged an on-air protest as she held up a anti-war sign behind a studio presenter, speaks to the media as the leaves the court building in Moscow, Russia March 15, 2022 in this still image taken from a video. REUTERS TV via REUTERS

Marina Ovsyannikova, a Channel One employee who staged an on-air protest as she held up a anti-war sign behind a studio presenter, speaks to the media as the leaves the court building in Moscow, Russia March 15, 2022 in this still image taken from a video. REUTERS TV via REUTERS

Ovsyannikova was praised for what many hailed as her bravery after going viral for interrupting the evening broadcast on Channel One Russia, the most prominent news network in the country. The editor rushed onto the set standing behind the anchor and chanted in Russian, “No to war! Stop the war!” 

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Her sign read in Russian, “Stop the war! Don’t believe propaganda! They’re lying to you here!” with “Russians against war” written in English. 

The broadcast immediately cuts away to a pre-recorded report. The anchor, Ekaterina Andreeva, is seen as an iconic figure in Russian media.

Marina Ovsyannikova  interrupts a live news bulletin on Russia's state TV "Channel One" holding up a sign that reads "NO WAR. Stop the war. Don't believe propaganda. They are lying to you here." at an unknown location in Russia March 14, 2022, in this still image obtained from a video uploaded on March 14.

Marina Ovsyannikova  interrupts a live news bulletin on Russia’s state TV “Channel One” holding up a sign that reads “NO WAR. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you here.” at an unknown location in Russia March 14, 2022, in this still image obtained from a video uploaded on March 14.
(Channel One/via REUTERS)

Ovsyannikova released a video statement before her stunt to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“What’s happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor. And there is only one person responsible for this, this man is Vladimir Putin,” Ovsyannikova said in Russian. “My father is Ukrainian, and my mother is Russian, they have never been enemies, and this necklace is a symbol – that Russia must immediately stop this war and our brotherly nations can still come together.”

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“Sadly, I’ve been working on the First Channel during last couple of years, have been doing Kremlin propaganda, for which now I am very ashamed,” Ovsyannikova said. “I am ashamed that I let lies be spread on television, I’m ashamed that I participated in turning Russian people into zombies, we kept quiet when it all started in 2014, we did not rally when Kremlin poisoned Navalny, we have silently been watching this anti-human regime, and now, the whole world turned back to us, next 10 generations will not be able to get rid of the shame of this war.”

A woman who says to be the employee of Russia's state TV Channel One, Marina Ovsyannikova, speaks in a statement recorded before holding up an anti-war sign live on air, in this still grab taken from a video uploaded March 14, 2022. Marina Ovsyannikova/via REUTERS.

A woman who says to be the employee of Russia’s state TV Channel One, Marina Ovsyannikova, speaks in a statement recorded before holding up an anti-war sign live on air, in this still grab taken from a video uploaded March 14, 2022. Marina Ovsyannikova/via REUTERS.

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Ovsyannikova was arrested following the stunt as some feared she would have faced a significant jail sentence of up to 15 years for violating Russia’s so-called disinformation law that bans claims about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that contradict the Kremlin. 

The journalist was ultimately released and fined 30,000 rubles. She later quit her job at Channel One Russia. 

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