Russian Social Network Changes HandsAdded: Monday, April 7th, 2014
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Pavel Durov, the founder of the most popular social network in Russia and the former Soviet Union, VKontakte (InTouch), has just resigned as CEO of the company after 7 years.
29-year-old Durov claimed that it became impossible to stick to the principles of freedom and independence he believed in. His resignation was expected after two months ago he had flogged his 12% holding in the company to a CEO of Russian mobile phone operator Megafon for about $420 million. The mobile phone operator in question is known to be co-owned by Russia’s richest oligarch, a close chum of President Vladimir Putin.
Pavel Durov explained that he had less freedom in managing VKontakte after the changes occurred in the company shareholders’ structure a year ago.
VKontakte is currently the 2nd most popular social network in Europe, with an especially strong following in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus. The network accounts for about 200 million accounts and 45 million daily users, while Facebook has over one billion accounts and 665 million daily users.
Pavel Durov has always been known as an eccentric libertarian in start-up and left-wing groups. He made $280 million before selling his stake in VKontakte. The industry observers admit that the problem emerged back in 2011, when protests against the Kremlin exploded in the streets amid allegations of election-rigging. At the time, Putin’s allies demanded that Pavel Durov to remove VK pages operated by activists.
After the young businessman refused, he faced a police raid on his own home and charges of driving a white Mercedes over the foot of a traffic cop. Pavel Durov denied any wrongdoing but fled Russia before police could arrest him. After the raid, two co-founders of the social network made the decision to sell their 48% stake to United Capital Partners (UCP), an investment company managed by an individual believed to be close to Vladimir Putin. Since then, the UCP owner has been slamming Durov’s actions accusing him of using the resources of VKontakte to promote the instant messenger Telegram, a Berlin-based company that he recently was funding.
[/center] Posted by: Date:
Monday, April 7th, 2014
|posted by (2014-04-08 22:13:26)|
|It's always amazing to me to hear people talking about how awesome Russia and Putin are when slamming the U.S. I know things are messed up in the U.S... But holy shit - look at what is happening in Russia. Putin had the Constitution changed to essentially guarantee him remaining virtual dictator in that country until such time as he doesn't want to be anymore. All dissent is squashed before it gets any momentum, and they actively censor anything which is unflattering to the official Putin narrative. You have these people who lucidly point out the failings of America but are completely blind to what is happening in Russia. It's amazing.||
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