Pável Dúrov, the visionary from whom the Kremlin snatched his 'Facebook' and counterattacked with an even bigger hit: Telegram | Business | EUROtoday

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Raising one of many primary communication channels on this planet in some of the repressive international locations on the planet, Russia, has loads of advantage. Doing it a second time when the Kremlin took away his first firm is an anomaly. Entrepreneur Pável Dúrov (St. Petersburg, 39 years outdated) based the Russian various to Facebook, vKontakte (VK), in 2006, and eight years later he was compelled to promote his shares for 300 million euros beneath harassment from the safety companies of Vladimir Putin. Instead of retiring on the age of 29, he created the Telegram messaging service.

This platform, acknowledged for its system to cover the knowledge that circulates by means of its non-public chats and information teams and which is consistently accompanied by controversy – the choose of the National Court, Santiago Pedraz, initially attended the assembly this week. petition by a number of media shops to dam the appliance from distributing content material protected by copyright, though it was lastly backed down—has greater than 900 million customers. And Dúrov, exiled in Dubai, has huge plans for the corporate and refuses to promote it regardless of having obtained provides with dizzying figures.

Every week in the past, Dúrov gave his first interview to the media since 2017. The businessman introduced within the British newspaper Financial Times that he’s contemplating taking Telegram public sooner or later and claimed to have rejected funding fund provides of $30 billion—greater than 27,000 million euros on the trade charge—for his firm. “We want to remain independent,” mentioned the businessman earlier than launching this week a bond difficulty of $330 million maturing in 2026, the 12 months during which he plans to launch Telegram available on the market.

If the supply for Telegram is actual, its worth would multiply virtually two dozen occasions the practically 1.5 billion euros that VK is price within the Russian market, an organization that’s at the moment run by the son of the person who is taken into account the cardinal within the shadow of President Putin, Sergei Kiriyenko. Vladimir Kiriyenko, who’s barely a 12 months older than Durov, was from a really younger age vice chairman of one other expertise big, Rostelecom, sheltered from his father's ties to the Kremlin. His father, deputy head of the presidential cupboard, leaked the candidates who “competed” with Putin within the farce of his presidential elections this 12 months.

Durov graduated in Philology from the Saint Petersburg State University within the 2000s. An excellent scholar, he designed a number of internet pages for college students to trade notes on the similar time that Facebook was born, which inspired him to create VK in 2006 together with his brother Nikolai and his pal and classmate Ilia Perekopski, at the moment second at Telegram.

The twenty-year-old Pável Dúrov was the protagonist of some controversies whereas his social community gained a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of customers within the post-Soviet area. Among others, in 2012 he precipitated a struggle on the entrance to his headquarters by throwing payments of multiple hundred euros from his workplace, and in 2013 he was concerned in an accident that went unpunished.

It was not his eccentricities that value Russia's most promising younger man his first empire. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) demanded that he hand over all data on the non-public accounts of a number of political opponents in 2011. Durov refused, as he did two years later, in December 2013, when the previous KGB requested him for the info of Ukrainian customers who participated within the Maidan protests, which might find yourself main two months later in a massacre of protesters and the flight of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Durov, carefully investigated by Putin's spy companies, left Russia in April 2014 and bought his stake in VK for $300 million to a enterprise group near the Kremlin, Mail.ru. “It is impossible to manage an Internet business in this country,” cried the entrepreneur.

The founding father of VK had launched Telegram a 12 months earlier, a platform that has multiplied its person base from 500 to 900 million since 2022 due to a number of elements. The primary one is to mix the messaging service with different private contacts, resembling WhatsApp, with a channel system that additionally serves as a supply of knowledge in a easy and quick approach. Its good interface and the corporate's zero interference within the content material that its customers comply with has performed the remainder. Its reputation has skyrocketed because the conflict unleashed on Ukraine, in contrast to the course taken by

Telegram by no means had it simple in its homeland. The Russian company for Internet management, Roskomnadzor, demanded from Durov the keys to entry its customers' chats in 2017 beneath the pretext of stopping terrorist assaults. The entrepreneur rejected the Kremlin's calls for for the third time, and Moscow handed a regulation requiring expertise firms to retailer all knowledge on servers in Russian territory. Telegram refused, and Putin's justice ordered it to be blocked in 2018.

That measure by no means labored. Roskomnadzor's makes an attempt to forestall its operation failed. However, Durov and the Russian prosecutor's workplace surprisingly introduced in the summertime of 2020 that they’d reached an settlement whereby Telegram might function usually in Russia once more if it handed over data on suspected terrorists to safety forces. If this concession is restricted to them, doubts nonetheless persist: the Kremlin considers “extremist organizations” from the LGTBI motion to the crew of dissident Alexei Navalni, and several other ultranationalist channels vital of the defeats of the conflict have been persecuted by the police.

In any case, Telegram is aiming increased than ever. Dúrov introduced on the finish of February that it’ll open its platform in 100 extra international locations and can permit promoting in them to be monetized even with cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, as he confessed in his interview within the Financial Times, the corporate already has a turnover of “hundreds of millions of dollars” and expects to generate earnings this or subsequent 12 months. All this with barely fifty full-time staff.

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