Journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, Who Protested Ukraine War On-Air, Describes Escapes To France

Journalist who protested the Ukraine war online, describes defections to France

She was assisted in her escape by Reporters Without Borders, based in France.


The Russian journalist, who captured the world’s attention last year when she protested the war in Ukraine on live television, described her “unusual” flight to France on Friday.

Marina Ovsyannikova, who is facing 10 years in prison, fled Russia in October shortly before her sentencing.

The former Channel One editor made headlines globally in March when she stormed into the studio of the channel’s flagship Vremya (Time) evening news, holding a poster that read “No War.” .

She was assisted by France-based Reporters Without Borders to escape, using seven different vehicles and walking across the border into a forest at night.

“We had to navigate with the stars and that was a real challenge,” she told a news conference at RSF headquarters in Paris.

“We evaded the lights of the border guards and the tractors in traffic but in the end we succeeded and made it to the border.”

The 44-year-old mother of two, who was put under house arrest and had to cut off her electronic bracelet while escaping, said she was reluctant to leave Russia.

“It’s still my country, even when the war criminals have come to power, they don’t give me a choice – it’s prison or migration,” she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered Ovsyannikova asylum a day after her televised protest, and she now lives among several safe houses in France with her daughter.

“Of course I fear for my life. Every time I talk to my friends in Russia, they say ‘Which do you prefer – Novichok, pollonium or a car crash?'” she said. refers to the various methods of assassination allegedly used by the Russians. Security services.

‘I fear for my life’

Ovsyannikova said she faced a very difficult childhood – her family home in Chechnya was destroyed in an earlier war there – and this prompted her to oppose the invasion of Ukraine.

“I was right in the middle of the propaganda bubble,” she said. “I managed to burst this bubble.”

Ovsyannikova faced criticism from some areas for supporting state propaganda for years before she protested.

She admitted she had been deliberately complicit for years but buried her head in the sand, “taking refuge in the daily lives of friends and family” and was only forced into action by the “great shock” of war.

She moved to Germany after the initial TV protest but returned three months later and organized a rally for a woman near the Kremlin, holding a poster that read “Putin is a killer” leading to her arrest.

The head of the RSF, Christophe Deloire, said she contacted them shortly before deciding to run for office.

“It was an extraordinary escape,” he said. “Her evasion is reminiscent of the most famous escapes through the Berlin Wall.”

Ovsyannikova said she lives with the hope of one day seeing Russian leaders face war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

“I think the regime is living its last days but I don’t know how long the war and the regime will last.

“But it must end with a complete victory for Ukraine, otherwise there won’t be any future for Russia,” she said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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