Marina Ovsyannikova: The Normal Response of a Normal Person

On May 25 Marina Ovsyannikova received the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize in Oslo. The honor is provided every year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to recognize outstanding acts in the protection of civils rights.

This award, like her work as a freelance contributor– without pay– at Die Welt, has actually caused something of a fury in Moscow. On March 14 Ovsyannikova jumped onto the set of Vremya on national Channel One– one of one of the most enjoyed, and also potentially among the most unethical, newscasts in Russia.

She backed up President Putin’s favorite support Yekaterina Andreyeva and also held up a homemade banner that checked out in English “No War”as well as in Russian “Stop the War. Do not believe the publicity. They’re existing to you here.”Ovsyannikova was on air for a number of minutes before the producers had the clearheadedness to reduce to an additional video clip sector. The protection guards accompanied Ovsyannikova off phase and handed her over to males in uniform, who interrogated her for 14 hours prior to till the court ordered her to pay a 30,000 ruble ($370)fine. Ovsyannikova was fired from Channel One’s info service.

After she was terminated, Kirill Kleimenov, head of the so-called”news directorate “of what is truly the state publicity channel, implicated her of treason. He transparently meant her connection with the British Embassy, where he declared she called five mins before she went on air. It’s like an old joke in Russia: The English Queen is causing problem for us once again. In addition to the charge that caused the penalty, an additional instance was filed against Ovsyannikova.

But Ovsyannikova’s lawyer Sergei Badamshin, said that the court had accepted the second instance and afterwards the really following day all of a sudden sent it back for more investigation by the authorities. The factor for this about-face might have been a call from French President Macron, who promised to follow her instance. It is additionally possible that Macron stated something to Putin too, which Putin provided an order to hold off on an additional fee against Ovsyannikova– at least in the meantime.

Her hiring by Die Welt and also her honor have raised a great deal of journalists’brows. I had a thorough as well as long discussion with Ovsyannikova, offered in print and also video, because I was curious concerning what drove her to do what she did. After talking with her, I concerned the verdict that Ovsyannikova committed an act of individual courage. Without having also the least little bit of experience in political resistance, objection, or dissidence, she marched into the den of the beast with an anti-war poster .

Thiswas an act of utterly reckless valor. As well as it was done while numerous of those reporters with raised brows were leaving Russia faster than the wind, acquiring tickets to Tbilisi, Yerevan, and also Astana– that is, to tranquil nations, not Ukraine. Why did a clean, well-to-do lady who resides in a gated community near Moscow, make a decision to take such a hopeless action? Pure feeling. Ovsyannikova’s work was to enjoy Western tv channels non-stop. Throughout the day she experienced the nightmare of what was happening in Ukraine– the bombings, the remains, the burnt-out and also ruined houses. All the time she watched CNN, BBC, Sky News …

She saw it day in day out, heard what the news presenters of Vremya stated, and ultimately she couldn’t stand it. She was, after all, Ukrainian on her daddy’s side. This really did not imply that she would come to be anti-Putin or sign up with the resistance. Not. She was seen by the 10s of millions of visitors of Russia’s most preferred TV network, audiences who were intoxicated on publicity.

As well as what makes this action of hopeless resistance even more crucial is that it was the act of an ordinary person. It was, in the long run, merely the typical response of a typical individual who is can not act that other individuals and also dead bodies’s discomfort were none of her problem. An earlier version of this post was released in Russian in The New Times.

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