Russian TV Journalist Who Protested War On-Air Arrested

MOSCOW -- Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, known for her live on-air antiwar protest, has been detained by police near her house in the Moscow region, she and her lawyer said on July 17.

Ovsyannikova published a post on Instagram saying she was taken to the police station in the capital's Krasnoselsky district.

She later wrote she had been charged with "discrediting the actions of the army of Russia" during an interview she gave near the Basmanny Court of Moscow in support of opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who is being held in pretrial detention for allegedly spreading false information about the Russian military.

Ovsyannikova last week staged a single picket against the backdrop of the Kremlin, unfurling a poster with the inscription "Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists" and photos of children killed in Ukraine. She was not detained at the time.

Ovsyannikova on March 14 burst onto the set of the Vremya news program on Russia's Channel One holding a poster reading in part “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you” in Russian. She also shouted in Russian "Stop the war. No to war."

Ovsyannikova, who was a producer with Channel One at the time of her protest, on April 11 published her first opinion piece in Die Welt's online edition. Titled The Russians Are Afraid, the piece discussed the consequences of her protest.

She was later detained and fined 30,000 rubles (about $500) by a court for calling for illegal protests.

Ovsyannikova resigned from Channel One and spent several months abroad, including in Ukraine, repeatedly expressing her condemnation of the war.

For three months she trained at the German edition of Die Welt. In early July, the journalist announced her return to Russia.

Russia has stepped up detentions and prosecution of journalists, activists, and others who challenge the Kremlin line on its invasion of Ukraine. The government calls it a “special operation” and not a war.

Yashin, 39, is an outspoken Kremlin critic and one of the few prominent opposition politicians still in Russia after a wave of repression against supporters of jailed opposition figure Aleksei Navalny and people who have spoken against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Yashin has been fined four times in recent weeks on charges of discrediting the Russian military over his open opposition to the war in Ukraine.

He said last month after his arrest on the disobedience charge that he did not exclude that a criminal case may be launched against him after he serves his jail term.

Yashin also said that the authorities are trying to force him to leave Russia, which he refuses to do.