Russian reporter who protested war on the air has new job with German news company


The Russian television reporter who famously held up a poster during a live prime-time news broadcast protesting the war in Ukraine has a new job — with a major German media company.

Marina Ovsyannikova, a news editor at Russia’s state-controlled Channel One, became the face of resistance to President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine when she appeared on the air behind a newscaster with a handwritten sign that read in part “Stop the war. No to war,” and was signed in English with the tagline, “Russians against the war.”

Ms. Ovsyannikova, who released a simultaneous video criticizing her employer for spreading what she called “Kremlin propaganda,” was detained for more than 12 hours and fined roughly $300 for her outburst, which officials said violated laws against government protests. 

Russian officials have cracked down sharply on public demonstrations against the war that have broken out in St. Petersburg and other cities around the country since the invasion began Feb. 24.

German media giant Welt One said Monday it has hired Mr. Ovsyannikova as a freelance correspondent for Die Welt newspaper and for the media company’s television network, according to owner Axel Springer. She will be reporting from Ukraine and Russia, “among other places,” for the company.

Welt Group Editor-in-Chief Ulf Porschardt said in a statement that Ms. Ovsyannikova had “defended the most important journalistic ethics despite the threat of state repression.”

Ms. Ovsyannikova, who may still face prosecution for her protest in Russia, had announced earlier she was leaving her job, but she also refused an offer from France for political asylum, the Moscow Times reported.

She said in the statement that her new German employer “stands for what is being defended so vehemently by the courageous people on the ground in Ukraine right now: for freedom.”

“I see it as my task as a journalist to stand up for this freedom,” she added.


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