Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who went viral for staging a protest of the country’s war with Ukraine during a live broadcast on state-run TV, is “feared missing,” according to reports.
Ovsyannikova was detained following the on-air protest and has not been seen or heard from since.
“Marina Ovsyannikova has not yet been found. She has been imprisoned for more than 12 hours,” human rights attorney Pavel Chikov said, via the Telegraph. “The pre-investigation check does not provide grounds for detention and imprisonment.”
The sign Ovsyannikova held up read, “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you” and “Russians Against War.”
Knowing it would land her 15 years in a Russian prison that she may not survive-
— Hadley Sheley (@HadleySheley) March 14, 2022
Prior to her protest, Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, recorded a video revealing her father was Ukrainian and her mother is Russian.
In the video, she put the blame for the war on Putin and urged Russians to protest.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor. Responsibility for that aggression lies on the conscience of only one person. That person is Vladimir Putin,” she said, via The US Sun.
A video the TV network employee Maria Ovsyannikova recorded before storming the live Russian state news broadcast with a protest sign is now circulating. In it, she says her father is Ukrainian, her mother is Russian, and blames Putin for the war, calling on Russians to protest. pic.twitter.com/7yICeugRfe
— Paul Sonne (@PaulSonne) March 14, 2022
Ovsyannikova could face several years in prison for her protest.
The Russian parliament passed a law this month that any journalist who reported on civilian deaths or categorized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war” would face three years in prison. The punishment could be up to 15 years behind bars.