During the whole month of April the Russian-speaking world was watching the fight between Pavel Durov, the founder of Vkontakte, and the current executive board of the hugest social media in former USSR countries. But seems like the games went too far.
The most dramatic part of the story started at the April Fools Day when Pavel published a post that he was leaving VK: ”it is getting harder to stand for the principles that used to be the basis for the VK” because of the new owners. It looked really serious, so inspite of the fact that it was the 1 of April many people believed that Pavel had told the truth. And only two days later he wished the happy Fools Day to those who believed that he could leave the VK by himself. But that was not the end.
A week ago another entertaining news was published on Durov’s page – he told the world that Russian authorities requested to get the personal information about the administrators of the Euromaidan pages and attached this official requests by the Russian Federal Security Service. The answer was strict NO as giving the personal details of the Ukranian citizens is just wrong and also illigal. Pavel said that he had no property, but had something more - clear conscience and ideals. Also the prosecutor's office requested to close the anti-corruption page of the opposition politician Alexey Navalny warning that otherwise VK can be blocked. The answer was obvious again.
And after all this Monday Pavel Durov found out that he was officially fired. He says that he has learned it “suddenly” from the mass media. The reason – his application for dismissal was not cancelled properly (though the executive board had accepted it from the very beginning).
I belive the story is not over yet, but we know that Pavel Durov has left Russia: “I’m afraid there is no going back,” he wrote, “not after I publicly refused to cooperate with the authorities. They can’t stand me.”
Does that mean that Pavel looses the game? Or he chose the right moment to leave? Currently he is choosing a country for his new start up as he says at his Facebook page.
And the Russian authorites have just apploved the law that makes the blogs with over 3000 followers a mass media. It means that bloggers can be punished for the same stuff as the TV channels, newspapers, etc. This morning Livejournal stopped showing the accurate number of followers of blogs in cyrillic segment, now it will say just ”2500+”.
Because the Internet is stronger than any censorship.