An anti-war protester stormed the set of Russia’s state-run evening news broadcast on Monday, holding a sign aloft behind the Channel One anchor before the feed abruptly changed cameras.
“NO WAR,” the sign read in English. Then, in Russian below: “Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you.”
Journalists at Meduza, an English-language independent Russian news outlet, identified the protester as Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at the station. The mother of two has reportedly been arrested and, under a new law, could potentially face up to 15 years in prison.
Shortly after her arrest, a prerecorded video circulated online of Ovsyannikova explaining why she chose to speak out, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the “fratricidal” war against Ukraine, and apologizing to viewers for her past work at the station.
“Unfortunately, I’ve spent many of the last few years working for Channel One, doing Kremlin propaganda, and I’m deeply ashamed of this,” she said, according to a translation. “Ashamed that I allowed lies to come from the TV screen. Ashamed that I allowed the zombification of the Russian people.”
“We Russians are thinking and intelligent people,” she added. “It’s in our power alone to stop all this madness. Go protest. Don’t be afraid of anything. They can’t lock us all away.”
In a surreal turn, Russian media reporting on Ovsyannikova’s actions were unable to accurately do so under the country’s strict new media laws.
Instead, outlets like Novaya Gazeta, a paper published in Moscow, had to censor the image first to obscure the offending language: