Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who dared to interrupt a live TV broadcast to protest her country’s invasion of Ukraine, was briefly detained by Russian authorities for the second time this weekend.
News of her arrest broke on her Telegram account on Sunday after friends reported she was arrested by police in Moscow while riding her bicycle and was put into a white van.
According to the Moscow Times – which has been operating in exile from Amsterdam since March – Ovsyannikova was released three hours later after being accused of “discrediting” the Russian military.
Ovsyannikova was editor of the government-controlled Pervyy Kanal at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Distressed by the footage from Ukraine, she interrupted the channel’s main evening newscast on March 14 and held up a poster protesting the war and calling on viewers not to “believe propaganda”.
She was briefly detained, fined $527 (30,000 rubles) and left Russia soon after. Until recently, she lived outside Russia, working for the German newspaper Die Welt under a temporary contract.
On July 3, the journalist announced on her Instagram account that she was returning to Russia to fight for access to her two children after her ex-husband filed a lawsuit seeking sole custody in Moscow.
Ovsyannikova said in the message that she could be arrested upon her return, but despite those fears, she stepped up her public campaign against the war upon her return.
On Friday July 15, she carried out a second demonstration alone near the Kremlin. Video footage shows her standing facing the Kremlin, holding up a sign with slogans criticizing Russian aggression against Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin. At her feet were two realistic child dolls covered in red dye.
The Moscow Times, however, reported that his new charges were instead related to his participation in the trial of Russian opposition figure Ilya Yashin last week.
Ovsyannikova was among hundreds of journalists and opposition activists who showed up outside the courtroom to show their support.
Yashin has been accused of spreading false information about the Russian military after discussing alleged war crimes committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha on a YouTube video.
There has been a widespread crackdown on anti-war protests and dissent across Russia since its war in Ukraine began.
According to a recent report by Russian independent human rights watchdog OVD-info, there have been 15,000 detentions since February 24 and at least 178 people are currently going through the courts and face long prison sentences. .