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“Don’t believe the propaganda” | Anti-war protester interrupts Russian TV news

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(Moscow) A woman burst into Russia’s most-watched newscast on Monday night with a sign criticizing the military offensive in Ukraine, an extremely rare scene in a country where information is strictly controlled.

The NGO defending the rights of protesters OVD-Info, which presents this woman as Marina Ovsiannikova, an employee of the chain, reported that she had been arrested and taken to the police station.

The scene took place during the main evening news program of the most powerful television channel in the country, Pervy Kanal, dubbed “Vremia” (“the time”), a daily appointment followed by millions of Russians since the Soviet era.

While the famous presenter Ekaterina Andreïeva is speaking, Mme Ovsiannikova appears behind her with a sign that reads “No to war. Don’t believe the propaganda. You are being lied to here”.

“The Russians are against the war”, can we still read on the sign on which the flag of Ukraine and that of Russia are drawn.

Imperturbable, the presenter continues to speak for a few seconds while the protester chants “stop the war”, then the channel hastens to broadcast a report on hospitals, ending the live broadcast on the set.

“An internal investigation is being conducted” on this “incident”, Pervy Kanal said laconically in a statement.

According to the Tass news agency, the young woman could be prosecuted for having “discredited the use of the Russian armed forces”.

The Russian government recently passed several laws providing for heavy sentences of up to 15 years in prison for the dissemination of what the authorities consider to be “false information” about the army.

The mere use of the word “war” by media or individuals to describe Russian intervention in Ukraine is liable to prosecution.

“Extraordinary Courage”

The video of the incident has spread like wildfire on social networks, many Internet users hailing the “extraordinary courage” of this woman, in a context of brutal repression against all forms of dissent.

Since the start of the intervention in Ukraine on February 24, several thousand demonstrators have been arrested in Russia, including more than 5,000 on March 6 alone.

“Russia’s salvation can only come from women like her!” “, enthused a user on Twitter, while another called for” protect immediately “.

Leonid Volkov, a close friend of opponent Alexei Navalny, imprisoned since last year after surviving poisoning, said on Twitter that his movement was “ready to pay any fine” that would be imposed on Mme Ovsiannikova.

In a video previously recorded and published by OVD-Info, Mme Ovsiannikova explains that her father being Ukrainian and her mother Russian, she cannot see the two countries as enemies.

“Unfortunately, I worked for Pervy Kanal for the past few years, doing propaganda for the Kremlin. I am very ashamed of it today,” she said.

“I am ashamed of having allowed lies to be broadcast on television, ashamed of having allowed the Russian people to be ‘zombified’,” she adds.

In their attempt to control all information about the conflict, the authorities have blocked most of the still independent media, as well as the main social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.

As a result, most Russians only have access to the version issued by the government and Kremlin-controlled media, including Pervy Kanal, of a “special military operation” aimed at “denazifying” Ukraine and preventing a “genocide”.

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