Russia: War Protest Journalist Sentenced in Absentia

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Marina Ovsyannikova, a former Russian TV journalist who made headlines when she interrupted a newscast with a sign reading "Stop the war" and "They're lying to you," was sentenced in a Moscow court on Wednesday in absentia to eight and a half years in prison.

    • Ms. Ovsyannikova was charged with spreading false information about the Russian army, a criminal offense under a law adopted after President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine. In July 2022, she staged a protest near the Kremlin, holding a sign that said, "Putin is a killer.“

    The Spin

    Anti-Russia narrative

    Russian authorities' crack down on government critics, and their actions in Ukraine, are deeply troubling. Ms. Ovsyannikova has courageously denounced the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and France strongly condemns her prison term. Russian authorities must abide by international human rights law and respect the freedom to inform, as well as release all political prisoners and drop legal proceedings against them.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    Breaking the law should always incur ramifications. Ms. Ovsyannikova was tried at the Basmanny District Court and found guilty of spreading false information, carrying a sentence of eight and a half year in prison. Having made dangerous accusations against Putin, Ovsyannikova is now facing the consequences.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 13% chance that a post-Putin Russia will substantially democratize within five years, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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