Russian Journalist Who Organized TV Demonstration Quits Job, But Rejects French Asylum Offer | Russia
A Russian editor who protested Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on a state television newscast said she was quitting her job but wouldn’t accept Moscow’s offer of asylum France, calling himself a “patriot”.
Marina Ovsyannikova, editor-in-chief of the Channel One television station, burst onto the set of her flagship evening newspaper, Vremya, on Monday, shouting: “Stop the war. No to war. She was holding a sign saying, “Don’t believe the propaganda. They lie to you here. It was signed in English: “The Russians against the war”.
She was arrested and a Moscow court quickly fined her 30,000 rubles (£220). But despite her release, she could face further prosecution, risking years in prison under draconian new laws.
She told France 24 television from Moscow on Thursday that she had “submitted all the documents” for her resignation from Channel One. “It’s a legal process,” she said.
Ovsyannikova, who has two young children, said she had “shattered our family’s life with this gesture”, with her son notably showing anxiety.
“But we must end this fratricidal war so that this madness does not turn into nuclear war,” she said. “I hope when my son is older he will understand why I did this.”
French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week offered asylum or other forms of consular protection to Ovsyannikova, saying he would raise her case with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But Ovsyannikova told German Spiegel in an interview published Thursday that she would not accept his offer and would stay in Russia.
“I don’t want to leave our country,” she said. “I am a patriot, my son is even more so. We don’t want to leave in any way, we don’t want to go anywhere.
She told Der Spiegel that she prepared her action alone, but indicated that she believed that many colleagues privately sympathized with her. “Most people who work for state television understand very well what is going on. They know only too well that they are doing something wrong.
Ovsyannikova told France 24 that some of her colleagues had quit but many were unable to do so even if they wanted to. “I’m glad people have resigned but the economic situation is very difficult and people are having a hard time quitting their jobs.”
Press freedom activists outside Russia accuse its state television of painting a badly distorted picture of the war in an effort to maintain support for what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”.