Founder of Russian social network fired, claims Putin influenced decision

23 Apr 2014

VKontakte image via Wikimedia Commons

Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia’s most popular social networking site VKontakte, has been fired from the business and now claims that President Vladimir Putin has put his allies in his place.

Durov had originally announced that he had intended to resign his position, but later reversed his decision but was not listened to by the company he helped create that now boasts 100m users.

In a statement to the media, Durov said: “Today I was fired as general director of VKontakte. It’s interesting that the shareholders didn’t have the bravery to do this directly, and that I learned about my firing from the press.

“Today VKontakte goes under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov. Probably, in the Russian context, something like this was inevitable, but I’m happy we lasted seven and a half years. We did a lot. And part of what’s been done can’t be turned back.”

He has now reiterated his plans to start a new social network outside the political influence of Russia, according to TechCrunch.

The two men who now control the company are well known in Russian circles and outside for their backing and close relationship to President Putin as Russia’s former deputy foreign minister and Russia’s second richest man and major shareholder in Arsenal Football Club, respectively.

Durov’s announcement of his resignation was first announced on 1 April, April Fools’ Day, something which Durov later claim was just a joke.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic