Zelensky is 'thankful' for anti-war protesters in Russia 'fighting against disinformation'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applauded the employee of Russia's Channel One who held up a sign during a Monday night news report that stated, "NO WAR. Stop the war. Don't believe propaganda. They are lying to you here."

The protester has been identified by the OVD-Info human rights organization as Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor and producer at Channel One. In a message recorded before her protest, Ovsyannikova said, "What is going on in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor country." While working at Channel One, she spread "Kremlin propaganda," Ovsyannikova continued, and is now "very ashamed. I am ashamed that I've allowed the lies to be said on the TV screens." It is up to Russians to "stop this madness," she added. "Take to the streets. Do not be afraid. They can't jail us all."

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Ovsyannikova stormed the set of one of the most popular news programs in Russia, and other media outlets in the country are censoring her sign in their reports. A law was recently passed in Russia that makes it illegal to spread "fake news" about the Russian military amid the invasion of Ukraine, and it's possible Ovsyannikova, who has been detained, will face charges under this rule.

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Zelensky praised Ovsyannikova and other Russian protesters during his nightly address on Monday. Speaking in Russian, Zelensky said, "I'm thankful to those Russians who don't stop trying to deliver the truth, who are fighting against disinformation and tell real facts to their friends and families, and personally to that woman who went in the studio of Channel One with an anti-war poster. Those who aren't afraid to protest. As long as your country isn't completely closed from the rest of the world, turning into a huge North Korea, you have to fight, you don't have to miss your chance."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.