Marina Ovsyannikova, Swimmer Who Protested War on Russian Television, Fined

Russian journalist and former high-level swimmer was fined 30,000 roubles (about $280) for her actions on Russian television protesting the war in Ukraine. This fine is similar to those that have been levied against other protesters, even those with lower profiles, after Russia’s crackdown on anti-war protesting, which it has deemed spreading false information.

Ovsyannikova was arrested after holding a sign behind a live television broadcast that read:

NO WAR. [in English]
Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here. [in Russian]
Russians against War [in English]

She also shouted “Stop the war. No to war,” in the background as newscaster Ekaterina Andreeva continued to read the news from a teleprompter. The message was aired for a few seconds before the station cut away to a different report.

Even after the fine, Ovsyannikova continued to post anti-war messages on her personal social media, including adding a “STOP WAR” stamp to her Instagram profile picture.

Over the past week, she has shared stories of Ukrainians who have been injured in the war, especially children, with her 12,500 followers on Instagram.

Channel One responded to her protest by airing a statement by Kirill Kleimyonov, head of the news division, who claimed that she is a British spy. Kleimyonov said that she has “betrayed [her] country and all of us…coldly, duplicitously, for a bonus.”

In an interview with American journalist George Stefanopolous on ABC, Ovsyannikova says that she wanted to show the Russian people that it wasn’t so black and white and to demonstrate to the world that not all Russian support the war – though she said that she still believes that western sanctions on her country are appropriate.

Ovsyannikova has reportedly rejected offers of asylum by other countries.

Ovsyannikova began swimming at the age of 6, she said in a 2002 interview, and was good enough to compete at the top level of Russian youth swimming, as well as for her university team. There, she was a university champion of the Krasnodar territory.

In the interview, she said she continues to swim occasionally in the pool. Her Instagram bio still mentions swimming, and she claims to have swum across the Volga River in Russia and the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey.

Before her arrest, Ovsyannikova released a statement saying that the war in Russia is a crime, and that the blame falls fully on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 44-year old currently lives in Moscow and has two children.

Her statement on one of Russia’s most-watched television channels has earned her global attention – but also puts her in danger at home. A Russian crackdown on anti-war protesters has led to “tens of thousands” of arrests, including celebrities, with some facing charges as serious as treason.

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1 year ago

Very suspicious that she WASN’T put in prison for this.

Reply to  Bossanova
1 year ago

Absolutely…Regular folks are imprisoned when she gets off with slap on the wrist. It almost looks like Putin wants to show the Russians can protest and not go to jail.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tomek
Reply to  Tomek
1 year ago

Her case is too visible now and drew too much attention already. There is no benefit to punish her right now as “a spy” and “a traitor” deserves. She has been already labeled by the media, so the ordinary person in Russia knows who she actually is and how much she was paid for her “protest”. Just give it a little bit more time to finish the job quietly.

Swim mom
Reply to  Bossanova
1 year ago

Her case is not over yet, The 30,000 roubles fine was given to her automatically. Two more investigation are still going on and one of them might result in a real prison time

1 year ago

I think we should be glad that this fine is the only consequence so far.
Could have been much much worse and might still be.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 year ago

Oh ya, given the rest of the headline I was not sure what that last word was gonna be.

Given the range of possibilities, “fined” is one of the better ones.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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