back to article Boss of Russia's Facebook says Putin cronies have taken over his company

Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social network, is complaining that he has been thrown out of his company on a technicality and claims that the firm has been taken over by pro-Putin oligarchs. Durov, who set up the social network VK (also known as VKontakte – ВКонтакте) in 2006, handed in his resignation last …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold?

    Perhaps Mr Durov is an Alec Leamas character - formerly on the inside, now publicly thrown out to establish his bona fides. Or perhaps he's a good egg ridden down roughshod, and now to spend the rest of his days waving a Geiger counter over his cup of tea (at least when dining with old chums from the motherland).

    And to think that back in the 90s we thought we'd miss the Cold War...

    1. Vociferous

      Re: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold?

      It's a pretty safe bet he's just a mobster who's dumb enough to air his grievances in public.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        In any case it would appear that :

        1) he's rich (like The Zuck)

        2) behaves like a jerk (like The Zuck)

        3) is not intelligent enough to not antagonize immensely more powerful people in a country where such people can have you legally extraordinarily rendered to a holding facility and kept there for the rest of your life - if they're feeling magnanimous (so not like The Zuck)

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          It's good to antagonise people like that, if it means exposing them in some way. Rather him than me, as well.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he has any sense

    He will be in the next plane out, with as much of his wealth as he can take with him. He has just lost his business, with no redress in law. His wealth and liberty will follow shortly.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: If he has any sense

      > His wealth and liberty will follow shortly.

      Yes. He's also publicly criticized Putin and the other oligarchs -- all his property will be seized by Putin & co. and he's destined for a "corruption" trial and 20 years in a maximum security prison in Siberia if he doesn't GTFO of Russia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If he has any sense

      The article states he has already fled Russia.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Don't be pedantic

        You should know by now that internet forums are for people who are terminally hard of reading.

  3. Vociferous

    Second Richest.

    FTA: Usmanov, whose personal fortune of over $20bn makes him Russia's richest man

    Putin is estimated to have a personal fortune of $70bn, making him the richest man not just in Russia, but on the planet. Russia is effectively run by mafia, with Putin as capo di tutti oligarchi.

    1. El Presidente

      Re: Second Richest.

      Gangster State.

      Don't worry, they have a tradition of turning over their ex-presidents.

      There'll be another stooge along in a while.

  4. TheFatMan


    So he resigns and when the response is not to let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, he tries to take it back?

    Seriously, you need to grow up mate.

    They called your bluff and you’re gone.

    Stop whining, buy an island somewhere and drink mojitos.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: eh?

      Couldn't have put it better.

      Durov likes attention - after all he offered Edward Snowden a job - so perhaps he won't be fleeing to the good old US of A. Perhaps he could hang around other immature former soviet oligarchs in London, and perhaps buy a football team.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: eh?

      Yes but resigning (I guess as CEO or equivalent is just resigning, it still leaves him with ownership of all the shares he had. It's not clear if VK ever had an IPO or whatever and if he still had majority share control. Did he still actually own >50% of voting shares in VK and still get kicked out? Were any of his shares confiscated? It's not clear at all what happened here.

      1. Roj Blake

        Re: eh?

        I would guess that at some point he sold a stake in the company to some dodgy types to raise money to expand.

  5. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton


    "No more heroes anymore" ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    personal fortune of over $20bn

    it only proves that hard work still pays. Honest!

  7. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Usmanov also owns a large chunk of Arsenal FC (~30%).

    1. Ossi

      I'll add that to my extremely short list of 'reasons why I should continue supporting Spurs'.

    2. Suricou Raven

      So, about sixty quid's worth?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, I am not surprised by this....

    Mr. Durov seems to have tweaked the bear's tail, and the Putin administration facilitated a shady, opaque and probably extralegal takeover of his company. Hardly the first time this has happened in modern Russia, and probably predictable considering his company's potential as a platform for communication and dissent outside of the control of the Russian government.

    Mr. Durov comes across as a self-indulgent jerk, but that's hardly illegal. Indeed, if you locked up every self-indulgent jerk, there would be more than a few new CEO searches going on in Silicon Valley. So, my condolences to Mr. Durov, best wishes for his future endeavors in the badly needed secure messaging space, and I hope he lives to someday see Russia ruled by an actual honest, pluralistic government.

    1. asdf

      Re: Unfortunately, I am not surprised by this....

      > if you locked up every self-indulgent jerk, there would be more than a few new CEO searches going on in Silicon Valley.

      Hey like with the CEO of Hooli (Gavin Belson). Brilliant show.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Russian Facebook"?

    Why assume that your readership are so nescient that they would not know VKontakte by name? Not even a first paragraph mention?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Russian Facebook"?

      It is not clear, to me at least, which is really the "Russian Facebook". There is another social network which is also very popular.

      Almost as a reflection of what has happened elsewhere, the dominant Russian search engine, Yandex, has a social network which is "cool" but not really used widely.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems Mr. Durov could learn a few things from America.

    Like, when the Feds ask for information on your "customers", charge them for it, pocket the change, and quietly hand over everything they want.

    So, yeah, maybe a football team and mojitos are best.

  11. Ramazan

    el reg shouldn't mess with the politics

    karma -1

  12. Levente Szileszky

    Just wait until he shows up in London... give you another example of the shining "democratic values" of the Camron-led British Gov and their ilks (ie all the "elite") when it comes to welcoming literally any mobster, blood-covered dictator, egomaniac celebrity or autocratic dirtbag if it arrives with a bunch of money to London.

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