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'Russian Facebook’ founder will not ‘betray’ his social network

April 03, 20:15 UTC+4 MOSCOW
Durov, who announced Tuesday he was stepping down as the company's head, sent a note to shareholders today to explain why he was staying
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©  ITAR-TASS/Dmitry Rogulin

MOSCOW, April 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of Russia's most popular social networking site, VKontakte, has announced that he was not going to resign from his current post as the company's general director.

“I have learnt a lot in the last few days about what could happen to VKontakte if I left,” Durov wrote on his own VKontakte page. “And I could clearly see that my resignation at a difficult moment like this would be a betrayal of everything we have defended over the last seven years. It would be a very simple and destructive outcome.”

“Thanks to everyone who supported me on April 1,” he added. “By choosing this date, I have tried to hint that my decision to resign was not final and was only necessary to collect some information. I am not going to leave anywhere and still remain VKontakte's general director.”

Durov, who announced Tuesday he was stepping down as the company's head, sent a note to shareholders today to explain why he was staying on, said Forbes.

“Since it came to my knowledge that my resignation at this moment can create unnecessary risks for our company, I intend to remain and serve as the CEO,” the note says as quoted by the magazine.

On April 1, Durov wrote on his VKontakte page: “Following my brother [Nikolay Durov], who in the middle of last year left the post of technical director, I resign as Acting Director General of VKontakte.”

“As a result of events subsequent to the change in the shareholding of VKontakte in April 2013, the freedom of the CEO to manage the company has been significantly reduced," he posted. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to defend those principles which were once laid in the foundation of our social network.”

Known as “Russia’s Facebook”, VKontakte has a strong position in the Russian market as a platform for people exchanging views on the world. The social network, available in several languages, has also developed as a key platform for digital media and one of the most popular places to listen to and share music.

The ownership of VKontakte is currently held by two companies, the VC United Capital Partners and Russian Internet giant Mail.ru, with the latter owning just under 52%, after picking up in March the remaining 12% owned by Durov, who first sold it on to Megafon head Ivan Tavrin in January.

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