Ex-journalist for Russian state TV says she quit over war

PARIS (AP) — A former Paris-based Europe correspondent for Russian state-controlled broadcaster Channel One said Tuesday she resigned this month due to Russia’s war against Ukraine and voiced fears she’ll be accused of being “a highly paid spy.”

Zhanna Agalakova quit as the war broke out in Ukraine, joining a string of colleagues from Russia’s strictly state-controlled network. She told a press conference in Paris that “when I spoke to my bosses, I said I cannot do this job anymore … I left Channel One specifically because the war started.”

The 56-year-old, who used to be a newsreader at the channel, said she believed Russian networks had been commandeered by the Kremlin to broadcast lies and propaganda for years now, leaving little remaining in the way of independent media. Russians, she said, were being “zombified” as a result.

Agalakova said that she expected a backlash from the Kremlin over speaking out.

“In Russia they will accuse me of being a highly paid spy for this declaration (today). That is how the propaganda works,” she told the press conference organized by media freedoms group Reporters Without Borders.

Agalakova tendered her resignation on March 3, leaving the channel officially on March 17.

Marina Ovsyannikova, the Russian journalist who protested the war in Ukraine on live state TV, also worked for Channel One.

Speaking from hiding, Ovsyannikova has since told media of her resolve to stay in her country.

“I don’t want to leave Russia. I am a patriot,” she told German news site Der Spiegel.

Ovsyannikova turned down an offer of asylum from French President Emmanuel Macron, even as she feared severe repercussions from Russian authorities and called herself Russia’s “enemy No. 1” in anti-war dissent.

At least two journalists have also left rival station NTV, including Lilia Gildeyeva who had had worked as a presenter there for 16 years and longtime employee Vadim Glusker.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Europe News | World News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up