Channel One employees in the information department got a pay raise of 20% starting May, according to Faridaily’s two sources in the media. The department in question is the information broadcast editor's office, which oversees the production of daily news broadcasts and the Vremya program. It was here that Marina Ovsyannikova, known for her appearance on prime-time TV with an anti-war protest sign, worked as an editor.
With an official headcount of around 1,000 employees, the department has twenty or so news offices in Russia and just over a dozen overseas. The editor's office is headed by Konstantin Ernst’s deputy Kirill Kleymenov, who accused Ovsyannikova of pursuing financial interests with her protest.
As one of Faridaily's sources explains, the employees’ income includes a fixed rate and bonuses, with the latter often accounting for most of the income. Thus, many ordinary employees had a salary of 100,000-110,000 rubles a month, upped to 120,000 rubes after the raise. The source also points out that the standard working schedule provides for weekly rotations, which means they only work two weeks a month for this paycheck.
In a recent interview to BBC, former Channel One anchor Zhanna Agalakova shared that channel employees are deprived of their bonuses if they refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “war” instead of a “special operation” on air. This year, Channel One will receive over 6 billion rubles in state funding (~$100 million).
Marina Ovsyannikova burst onto the set of a live news broadcast on March 14 with a banner: “No war. Stop the war. Do not trust propaganda. They are lying to you.” She also released a pre-recorded video in which she condemned the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine's territory.
On March 15, she got a 30,000 ruble (~$420) fine. She refused to testify, invoking Article 51 of the Russian Constitution and was tried for an administrative offense under Part 2 of Article 20.2 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses (“organizing an unauthorized public event”). The case was initiated because of the pre-recorded video, in which Ovsyannikova had called on everyone to protest the war.
Furthermore, a report was drawn up on her allegedly discrediting Russia’s armed forces, but the court returned it to the police.
Some media also pointed out that the journalist could be prosecuted under criminal law; a TASS source claimed that the Investigative Committee was conducting a pre-investigation check under the recently passed article on “spreading deliberately false information about the activities of Russian armed forces” (Article 207.2 of Russia's Criminal Code). Penalties under this article vary from a fine to a prison term of 3 and up to 15 years.
In April, German media brand Die Welt hired Ovsyannikova as a freelance correspondent, which was announced by the owner, the Axel Springer company. Her new responsibilities include covering events in Russia and Ukraine and contributing to news broadcast production for Die Welt's television channel.