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Former State TV Journalist Loses Custody of Children in Russian Court

Marina Ovsyannikova with her daughter. Marina Ovsyannikova / Instagram

Former Russian state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova has lost custody of her two children after a court battle with her ex-husband, independent media reported Thursday.

Moscow’s Shcherbinka District Court issued the ruling behind closed doors as it dealt with issues relating to minors, according to the independent Sota news outlet, which cited the court’s spokesperson in its report.

Ovsyannikova fled house arrest in Russia last year with her 11-year-old daughter and currently resides in France.

Her 14-year-old son remains with his father Igor Ovsyannikov, who serves as the head of the state-funded broadcaster RT’s Spanish bureau.

In August, Ovsyannikov filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife seeking to terminate her parental rights.

Sota reported that Ovsyannikov accused his ex-wife of pressuring their son not to apply to a Russian university and illegally leaving Russia with their daughter.

The outlet also said that Ovsyannikova’s son and mother testified against her in court.

Ovsyannikova had worked at the state-run broadcaster Channel One for two decades before she was fired last year for storming the channel’s evening news broadcast with an anti-war poster. 

Earlier this month, a Russian court sentenced her in absentia to eight-and-a-half years in prison for staging a separate protest outside the Kremlin in July 2022.

Osyannikova denounced Thursday’s court ruling that deprived her of parental rights in a social media post.

“I hope my children will be proud of me someday,” she wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“For sacrificing everything for them to live in a free country that doesn’t wage expansionist wars and doesn’t attack its neighbors under the cover of night,” she added. 

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