Marina Ovshannikova, the Russian woman who disrupted Russian state television on Monday with a protest against the war in Ukraine, has resigned. She refuses the political asylum France has offered her and says she will remain in Russia, even though she “ruined her family’s life with her action”.
Ovshannikova has been admired worldwide for her protest in recent days. She interrupted a live broadcast from the main Russian state broadcaster by walking into the studio shouting, “stop the war”. “Don’t believe the propaganda; they’re lying to you”, read a protest sign that she could display behind the newscaster for a few seconds.
Ovsyannikova, who worked for the state broadcaster, told the television channel France 24 on Thursday that she had submitted her resignation. “It’s a legal procedure,” she says. After her action, she was imprisoned and interrogated for 14 hours, after which she was fined 30,000 rubles (almost 260 euros). She has since been released but faces 15 years in prison for spreading “false information”.
The family life of Ovshannikova, who has two young children, has been “ruined” by her protest, she says. Her son, in particular, suffers from anxiety attacks. “But we must end this war with our brother people so that this madness does not degenerate into nuclear war. I hope my son when he is older, will understand why I did this,” Ovsyannikova said.
In an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel, the Russian already said on Thursday that she refuses political asylum in France because she is a patriot. “We don’t want to leave, and we don’t want to go anywhere,” she said, despite a proposal from French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Ovshannikova told Der Spiegel that she acted alone. However, she does believe that many colleagues from the state broadcaster “silently” sympathize with her.