Putin specifically wanted lists of Ukrainian protesters in Russian controlled Ukraine. That is very bad if he starts taking moves from Stalin’s playbook, having lists like that also give them addresses and work and friends. I wonder if these people will start to “disappear”.
Pavel Durov is no longer CEO of VK, saying in a resignation post on the social network that he was no longer able to defend the site’s founding principles.
NOTE (3 April): Two days later, Durov un-resigned. The plot thickens…
Pavel Durov, the founder of the Russian social network VKontakte, or VK, has resigned as chief executive after a seven-year tenure, claiming he was no longer able to defend the network’s founding principles.
Durov‘s departure was not unexpected — at the end of January, he sold his remaining stake in VK after a surreal chain of events in 2013.
Having already given the finger to Russia’s authorities over censorship requests in 2011, Durov was accused of driving over a traffic cop’s foot. VK’s offices were raided and Durov disappeared for a few months. Around the time of the raid, in April 2013, two of his founders sold 48 percent of VK to United Capital Partners (UCP), a fund run by Ilya Sherbovich, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and board member at state oil company Rosneft.
Durov sold his 12 percent stake in VK, estimated at a value of $420 million, to MegaFon chief Ivan Tavrin. Megafon is co-owned by Russia’s richest oligarch, Putin ally Alisher Usmanov. The remaining 40 percent of VK belonged to the Mail.ru group, co-owned by … Alisher Usmanov. Then Tavrin sold the 12 percent stake to Mail.ru, consolidating Usmanov’s control over VK.
In other words, VK, the site that once resisted Kremlin censorship, is now significantly more Kremlin-friendly. On top of all this, UCP clashed with Durov, accusing him of misusing company resources to launch the Berlin-based secure messaging firm that he funds, Telegram.