Former Russian journalist, Marina Ovsyannikova, confirmed on Telegram Wednesday she had escaped pre-trial house arrest and fled to an undisclosed location.
Ovsyannikova, who had been under house arrest since August but said she is “completely innocent,” made headlines in March when she protested live on Russia’s state-owned Channel 1 flagship news program.
Wearing what appeared to be an ankle bracelet, Ovsyannikova posted a video to defiantly confirm her escape. The former editor also called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be arrested for his crimes against Ukrainian people.
“Respected employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service, put such a bracelet on Putin,” Ovsyannikova said, according to The Washington Post. “It is he who must be isolated from society not me, and he should be tried for the genocide of the people of Ukraine and for the fact that he destroys the male population of Russia en masse.”
The Backdrop: In response to her protest on Channel 1, Ovsyannikova, a 44-year-old born in Ukraine, was fined 30,000 roubles ($482.70) for disobeying protest laws.
Ovsyannikova quit her job, according to The Guardian, and was arrested in August during a solo protest across from the Kremlin on the Moskva River embankment, where she held a card that read, “Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists.”
Following her arrest, Ovsyannikova was put under a two-month house arrest order while awaiting trial but escaped on Sept. 30. If found guilty, Ovsyannikova was facing up to 10 years of imprisonment for the offense of discrediting Russia’s military.
“I consider myself completely innocent, and since our state refuses to comply with its own laws, I refuse to comply with the measure of restraint imposed on me as of 30 September 2022 and release myself from it,” Ovsyannikova said in the video.
What’s Next: Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband reported her and their 11-year-old daughter missing to the Russian authorities on Monday. The Kremlin responded by adding Ovsyannikova to its most wanted list.
Ovsyannikova was to appear at a court hearing on Wednesday but the case was held in absentia after investigators failed to locate her, Ovsyannikova’s lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said.
According to the Post, Igor Ovsyannikov spoke to the pro-Kremlin RT network and said that he was unaware of his ex-wife’s and their daughter’s location but that the 11-year-old is without a passport.
Photo: Marina Ovsyannikova, photo in the public domain via Flickr