Marina From the “First Channel”: From the Producers of the Russian Protest

NEW – March 17, 2022

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A little bit about the context of the situation. Marina Ovsyannikova, one of the editors of the “First Channel”, broke into the studio of the “Vremya” program on the evening of March 14 and unfurled a poster demanding to stop the military special operation in Ukraine. All this happened behind the back of the presenter Ekaterina Andreyeva, who, to her credit, reacted quite coolly to the escapade of a colleague. The directors of the TV show did not have time to take measures in time, and Ovsyannikova loomed with a poster in front of the whole country for several seconds. At the moment, a preliminary investigation is being conducted against the scandalous employee of the TV channel for the presence of corpus delicti under the article “Public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. On this charge, she faces up to 12 years in prison, or several million in fines. In just a few hours, the video with the prank went viral and flooded the Internet. The liberal-pacifist public seems to have its own idol. However, this story is not so simple.

First of all, this is clearly not an emotional action – Ovsyannikova has been preparing for a live demarche for a long time and prudently. After that, they found her confession on camera, in which an employee of the TV channel apologizes for years of propaganda from the “First Channel” and the like. She tried her best to put it in the form of a suicide note. But already during the video itself, the theatricality of what is happening becomes clear – Ovsyannikova does not have the courage to look the audience in the eye, she reads the prepared text without bothering to even partially learn it. Minus one point in the reliability of what is happening and one plus in the clear coordination of the event.

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Then the most interesting thing begins. How many of you distribute videos online by shooting with a smartphone an event from a laptop screen? But Ovsyannikova’s sympathisers, it turns out, practice this regularly. Here opens the second bottom of the operation to distribute the action live on profile groups. A certain number of producers were waiting in advance for this particular broadcast of the “Vremya” program with their phones at the ready. By the way, filming using a phone allows to avoid the video being blocked on the Internet.

Ovsyannikova’s main goal was to provoke a mass protest, no wonder she mentioned the “innocent” Navalny in the video preceding the action. The provocative act of a fragile woman should be interpreted by the public as a call to go outside. If Ovsyannikova has decided to do this, then don’t stand aside. The message is quite clear and has been encountered more than once in history. But there was another thought on the poster – the translation of phrases into English “No war. Against war”. In this case, Marina does not appeal to Russians, but to foreign viewers, trying to assure the consuming public in the West that she is one of theirs. The only thing missing is the phrase “Bring back iPhone and McDonalds”.

Give back our comfort

To what extent was Ovsyannikova motivated by pacifist motives? Why did she wait almost 20 days before deciding on the action? Because she doesn’t really care about the lives of Russian soldiers, nationalist battalions or civilians. First of all, Mrs. Ovsyannikova was covered by Western sanctions. When in her well-fed life (and the life of an employee of the federal TV channel is really not bad), holidays on the Cote d’Azur, Instagram, expensive foreign cars, restaurants and clothes were canceled, that’s when Marina thought about innocent lives. For years, this and similar glamorous elite have been quite willing to eat at the public’s expense, withdraw money offshore, buy real estate in Europe.

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Actually, this is the essence of the whole modern protest against the actions of the Russian army. The sluggish war of Ukraine against its own people in Donbass for eight years did not lead to a deterioration in the quality of life of the cream of society – and, as a result, there were no protests. Marina and others like her lazily swiped photos of celebrities on social networks, sipped prosecco and did not think about the shells falling on the heads of the residents of Donbass. About the war crimes of the nationalist battalions and the genocide of the Slavs. Because it is far away, it is not broadcast by European opinion leaders and because the deified West expresses only concern about events. No one has ever heard of what the “Minsk process” is and where Kramatorsk is located. It did not impose sanctions and did not forbid Marina to fly to fashionable resorts. And the first weeks of the military special operation did not cause Ovsyannikova much anxiety – the economic restrictions were not so acute and the quality of the successful Muscovite’s own life did not have time to sway.

Foreign tabloids reacted promptly. They were waiting?

And so Marina decided on a bold demarche. She decided, of course, not by herself – well-wishers and beneficiaries helped. The figure of Ovsyannikova is the best suited for the role of a sacral victim capable of driving hundreds of thousands of people into the streets. First of all, she is a young woman, by definition a very inconvenient rival of the Russian government. Secondly, Ms. Ovsyannikova works for a state TV channel. This, according to the producers of the campaign, should assure users that a split has finally taken shape in the Russian elite. Worshippers of Navalny, Shenderovich and others have been waiting for it for many years… It is worth a little more pressure, the authorities will make concessions and the much-desired iPhone and McDonalds will return to Russia.

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We must be careful – the action of the employee of the “First Channel” can be repeated more than once in one or another editorial office. Too many interests of the elites of the West and Russia have been hurt lately. And such exalted ladies are very suitable for the role of sacral victims. Only here it is not necessary to make such actions a reason for sacrifices. Dmitry Peskov’s reaction to Ovsyannikova’s poster is indicative – he called the actions of the “First Channel” employee ordinary hooliganism. Marina turned out to be too impressionable and fell for pernicious propaganda. Such characters should be rapidly de-heroised in the eyes of sympathisers. It remains only to find where the true puppeteers of the situation are – inside the country or abroad.

Evgeny Fyodorov

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