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Russian anti-war journalist briefly detained

July 18, 2022

The Russian TV journalist who protested the war in Ukraine was briefly detained in Moscow. She had recently returned to Russia after working for German newspaper Die Welt.

Marina Ovsyannikova holds up anti-war poster during Russian state TV broadcast
The reporter (right) became famous after holding up an anti-war placard during a live state TV broadcastImage: AFP/Getty Images

Marina Ovsyannikova, the former Russian First Channel journalist who held up an anti-war poster on air and subsequently worked briefly for German newspaper Die Welt, has been released after a few hours in custody in Moscow on Sunday.

"I am at home. Everything is fine," she wrote on Facebook overnight. "Now I know it's better to leave home with my passport and my bag," she added.

Her lawyer, Dmitri Zakhvatov, said she was detained because she was suspected of having "discredited" the army on social media.

Ovsyannikova risks facing criminal prosecution

The reporter had posted photos of herself on Friday with a sign that read "Putin is a murderer!" within sight of the Kremlin.

Such statements could trigger criminal prosecution for publishing "false information" about and "denigrating" the army, offenses that can carry heavy prison sentences.

Ovsyannikova became internationally famous overnight when she interrupted a live TV broadcast in March by holding up an anti-war poster, protesting Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

At the time she was briefly detained and then released with a fine. 

In the months following her March protest, Ovsyannikova spent some time abroad, including in Ukraine.

The journalist said in early July that she was returning to Russia to settle a dispute over the custody of her children.

lo, ar/wd (AFP, dpa)

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