A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced the founder of an opposition social media platform to nearly nine years in jail on charges of spreading “false” information about the army, Russian news agencies reported.

Dmitry Ivanov, a 23-year-old former maths and cybernetics student at Moscow State University, created and curated a channel critical of the government on the Telegram social media app.

He reportedly shared posts critical of what Russian President Vladimir Putin describes as Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

The verdict is the latest in a series of rulings under legislation that critics say is designed to criminalise opposition of the Russian intervention.

A court in Moscow “found Ivanov guilty… and sentenced him to imprisonment for eight years and six months,” the TASS news agency quoted the court’s press service as saying.

Prosecutors had requested a nine-year sentence.

“You must understand that Russia is not Putin. Tens of millions of Russians are against this criminal war,” Ivanov was cited as saying in court by the independent news platform Mediazona.

“This is a dark moment in our history, but it has always been like this before dawn,” added Ivanov, who has been in pre-trial detention since June 2022.

Last year, he served two short-term prison sentences on administrative charges for posts on his Telegram channel, Mediazona reported.