A Moscow court has handed down an eight and a half year prison sentence to Marina Ovsyannikova, a former editor for Russian state TV who has since become a critic of the Kremlin. The sentence was given in absentia.
According to the Moscow prosecutor’s office, the Basmanny District Court has declared Ovsyannikova guilty of spreading untrue information about the Russian military. This news was reported by state news agency TASS on Wednesday.
In July 2022, Ovsyannikova was charged for protesting near the Kremlin with a sign accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of being a murderer and his soldiers of being fascists. She was initially put under house arrest, but later escaped to Europe with her daughter, making her a wanted person by the Kremlin.
In March of last year, Ovsyannikova gained global attention for speaking out against Moscow’s actions in Ukraine during a live broadcast on Russian television. She disrupted the top evening news program Vremya by holding up a sign that read “Stop the war” and “They are deceiving you.”
Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 rubles (equivalent to €250 at the time) for her participation in the protest. She then left Russia and was employed by Die Welt, a newspaper owned by Axel Springer (the parent company of POLITICO). Eventually, she returned to Russia to engage in a legal battle for custody of her child.
Following her escape from Russia, Ovsyannikova now resides in France with her daughter, as seen in recent social media posts and reports.