A Russian court has sentenced Dmitry Ivanov, the founder of an opposition Telegram channel, to more than eight years in prison.
Ivanov was accused of spreading misinformation about the country's armed forces, violating a law passed by the Kremlin last year that criminalizes the publication of false information about the war in Ukraine, which the Kremlin refers to as a "special military operation."
Ivanov, a former student at the University of Moscow, was using a Telegram channel for students when he allegedly spoke out about the Russian military's attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the killing of civilians in Bucha. He also posted a video message from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and called for protests in Russia. Moreover, he referred to the Kremlin's preferred term of "special military operation" in Ukraine as a "war." These actions led to his arrest and sentencing.
Kremlin's Law on Misinformation
The law passed last year allows the Russian government to jail journalists and publishers who spread misinformation about the military and the war in Ukraine. In addition to his prison term, Ivanov will be barred from having any online presence for four years following his release.
Ivanov has maintained his innocence and stood by his original comments. Images and videos on Telegram show him shrugging his shoulders as the sentence is read out, as well as smiling and laughing. Discrediting the army publicly in Russia can result in a punishment of up to 15 years in prison, highlighting the severity of the charges against Ivanov.