Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who was arrested in absentia by the Basmanny District Court of Moscow, gave a press conference in Paris on Friday at the office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The press conference was chaired by the secretary general of the journalistic organization, Christophe Deloire.
In Russia, Marina Ovsyannikova is accused of committing a crime under paragraph “d” part 2 of Art. 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (public dissemination of deliberately false information containing data on the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation motivated by political hatred). This is due to her solo picket in Moscow on July 15, 2022 and the sensational action on March 14, 2022. Then Marina Ovsyannikova, on the air of the Vremya information program hosted by Ekaterina Andreeva, showed the audience a poster with an inscription against Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. The speech at the office of Reporters Without Borders was timed to coincide with the release of Maria Ovsyannikova’s book Between Good and Evil. How I finally spoke out against Kremlin propaganda,” already translated, she said, into six languages. At a press conference, the journalist spoke about the reasons that prompted her to take part in the action, which was recognized as a one-man picket (in front of millions of viewers of Channel One). Among them, in particular, are personal ones – her Ukrainian roots and childhood spent in Chechnya, where “she also became a refugee.”
In early October, Marina Ovsyannikova escaped from house arrest with her daughter and ended up in one of the countries adjacent to Russia. Recall that Ms. Ovsyannikova has a 17-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. The first one immediately said that he wanted to stay with his father. But the journalist’s daughter had to wait for the court’s decision. In October, a meeting was held at which the court ruled that both children should live with their father, Igor Ovsyannikov.
At a press conference, stating that she did not want to emigrate, Marina Ovsyannikova referred to lawyers who strongly advised her to run away, promising an early prison sentence at the trial scheduled for October 9, and urging her to take care of her daughter’s fate. During the escape, undertaken “on the night from Friday to Saturday, when all Russian law enforcement officers are sitting at the dacha with vodka and kebabs … we changed seven cars,” Marina Ovsyannikova said, but did not specify where exactly she crossed the border “along a plowed field, orienting herself literally by the stars, ”explaining this by the unwillingness to let down the people who helped her.
The Secretary General of the RSF, who led the press conference, thanked the French authorities. He recalled that after Marina Ovsyannikova’s speech at the Channel One studio, President Emmanuel Macron offered her asylum and, according to Christophe Deloir, “kept his promise.” Answering the audience, Mr. Deloir assured that the escape of Marina Ovsyannikova “was not organized by any special services.” And he added: “But we were helped by numerous friends.”