Marina Ovsyannikova Refuses to Retract Antiwar Statements in Moscow Court

Marina Ovsyannikova, a former employee of the state-run Channel One television station in Russia who protested the invasion of Ukraine by holding up a “No War” sign on the air, was offered the chance to retract her antiwar statements in a Moscow court on Tuesday.

She refused to do so, and pleaded no guilty to administrative charges that were brought against her.

Those charges did not stem from her protest, but from the content of a pre-recorded video she made ahead of her action, in which she explained her antiwar views and how she was “embarrassed” for being part of the propaganda machine on Channel One.

“What’s happening in Ukraine right now is a true crime. And Russia is the aggressor,” she said in that video. “And the responsibility for this crime lies only on the conscience of one person, and that person is [Russia President] Vladimir Putin.”

Ovsyannikova was convicted of violating the administrative laws and fined 30,000 rubles (the equivalent to $280 USD). For her on-air protest, she could face criminal charges.

Ovsyannikova’s lawyers pointed out that her rights were being denied to her during her detainment — under Russian law, women who have children under the age of 14 cannot be detained for violating administrative laws(Ovsyannikova is the mother of two children below this age limit.

In addition to refusing to retract her statements and pleading not guilty, Ovsyannikova reiterated her viewpoints on the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine to the judge overseeing her case.

“I still believe that Russia committed a crime by attacking Ukraine,” she said. “I do not retract any of my words, it was indeed an antiwar statement.”

Ovsyannikova spoke outside the courthouse after she was fined and shared her experiences during detention. Her lawyers believed she was gone due to the fact that she wasn’t allowed to contact them. The dissident, who is Ukrainian in father and Russian in mother, explained that she was interrogated for more than 14 hours while under arrest, and wasn’t allowed to call any of her family to tell them what was going on.

“I spent two days without sleep,” she added.

Ovsyannikova’s protest is but one example Out of thousands of Russians in Russia, thousands speak outProtest against the Putin-ordered invasion Ukraine. Protests have taken place in many cities across the country. Dissidents are risking their livelihoods to voice their opposition to the war.

The Kremlin made it illegal for citizens to protest against the war or to independently report on it earlier this month. It also threatened those who did so with up to 15 years imprisonment if they were found guilty.

According to the Associated Press, more than 13,000 Russians were arrested last week for protesting the invasion in Ukraine. a protest monitoring group called OVD-Info.