Podcast: Then & Now #5 – Teresa Cherfas in conversation with Marina Ovsyannikova

20 April 2023

by Teresa Cherfas

Welcome to the fifth episode of our new Russian-language podcast Then & Now with me, Teresa Cherfas.  

With me today is Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who shocked the world with her anti-war protest on 14 March 2022, which went live on Russian State TV’s prime time news programme “Vremya”.

Since that moment, she has been through such a rollercoaster of adventures –  fleeing Russia with her daughter, work as a journalist in Germany, and now her recent relocation to Paris. Her book Between Good and Evil recently came out in three languages and will soon be published in four more.  No doubt other languages will follow. 

This recording took place on 19 April 2023.

Marina Ovsyannikova’s autobiographical Between Good and Evil describing her life in Moscow as a journalist and the media ‘propaganda factory’ that works on behalf of the Kremlin is published by Post Hill Press, March 2023, pp190, ISBN: 979-8888450505.

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My questions include:

  • Marina, how do you remember 24 February 2022? Could you have imagined that such a thing could happen? Or did the invasion by Russian troops of Ukraine come as a complete surprise to you?
  • What was your job at Channel One then?
  • When did you start working for the state TV channel? What does it mean to you to be a conscientious and professional journalist?
  • Were there instances in the past when you and your colleagues might have acted differently?
  • What thoughts were going through your head that prompted you to act on 14 March? Tell us how it happened. I’ve heard that an English journalist unwittingly played a key role in your decision to act.
  • Weren’t you afraid of the consequences? You are a mother, you have children …
  • Did Channel One introduce new procedures after your protest to make sure it couldn’t happen again?
  • What happened to you immediately afterwards?
  • You were placed under house arrest. Did you have an electronic bracelet? How long did that period last and were there people watching you?
  • When did the offer of help to flee Russia come? What did you decide to do?
  • In the end, it was a very big adventure! Tell us in as much detail as you can about your escape. How did you manage to get the bracelet off?
  • Are you in touch with your husband? And with your mother?
  • What about your son?
  • A new law on digital conscription was recently introduced. What does this tell you about the path Putin is taking Russia down in the years to come? Are you afraid for your son?
  • Vladimir Kara-Murza was recently convicted of treason and given a sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment. What are your thoughts about this?
  • Are you afraid for yourself?
  • How has your daughter coped through all these dramatic events and changes to her life?
  • Do you think your former colleagues at Channel One are still genuinely and sincerely committed to their jobs? 
  • What is life like for you in Paris?
  • How do you see your future?

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