Marina Ovsyannikova, 45, held up a protest placard during an evening news programme March last year, that read “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you”, but was sentenced for a separate protest she made outside the Kremlin last July.
“The court sentenced Ovsyannikova to eight years and six months’ imprisonment, to be served in a general regime penal colony,” the Moscow prosecutor’s office said.
Ovsyannikova, who was not present for the sentencing, fled the country last year with her 11-year-old daughter, for an unspecified European country after escaping from house arrest, according to her lawyer, saying she had no case to answer.
She staged her original protest less than three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in what it called a “special military operation”.
The charge of “fake news” relates to a protest in July last year when she stood on a river embankment opposite the Kremlin and held up a poster calling President Vladimir Putin a murderer and his soldiers fascists.
In a statement posted on Tuesday before the sentencing, she called the charges against her “absurd and politically motivated”.
“They decided to flog me for not being afraid and for calling things by their names,” she said.
“Of course, I do not admit my guilt. And I do not deny any of my words. I made a very hard, but the only right moral choice in my life, and I have already paid a high enough price for it,” she said.
Russia passed new laws against discrediting or distributing “deliberately false information” about the armed forces on March 4, 2022, eight days after invading Ukraine.