Pavel Durov

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Pavel Durov
Pavel Durov sitting portrait.jpg
Pavel Durov in 2012
Born (1984-10-10) 10 October 1984 (age 32)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Citizenship Russian, Kittitian
Alma mater Saint Petersburg State University
Occupation Entrepreneur
Years active October 2006–Present
Known for

Founding VK in 2006

Founding Telegram Messenger in 2013
Net worth US$ 600 million (2016)[1]
Relatives Nikolai Durov (brother)

Pavel Valeryevich Durov (Russian: Па́вел Вале́рьевич Ду́ров; born 10 October 1984) is a Russian entrepreneur who is best known for being the founder of the social networking site VK, and later the Telegram Messenger.[6] He is the younger brother of Nikolai Durov. Since being dismissed as CEO of VK in 2014,[7] the Durov brothers have traveled the world in self-imposed exile[8] as citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis.[9]


Pavel Durov's grandfather Semyon Petrovich Tulyakov participated in the World War II. He served in the 65th Infantry Regiment, participated in the battles at Leningrad front on Krasnoborsky Gatchinsky and other directions, was wounded three times, receiving the Order of the Red Star,[10] the Order of the Patriotic War II degree,[11] and on the 40th Victory Day, the Order of the Great Patriotic War level I.[12] After the war, he was arrested.[13]

Durov's father Valery Semenovich Durov is a Doctor of Philological Sciences, the author of many scientific papers, and since 1992 he has been head of the department of classical philology of philological faculty of St. Petersburg State University.[14]

Durov's brother Nikolai Durov is a mathematician, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, winner of multiple Russian and international competitions in mathematics and informatics, twice the absolute world champion in programming among students, has been the technical director of "VKontakte" since the founding, and until mid-2013.


Pavel Durov was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), but spent most of his childhood in Turin, Italy. His father Valery (who holds a PhD in philology) was employed there.[15] He attended an Italian elementary school, and after returning to Russia in 2001 attended the Academy Gymnasium in St. Petersburg.[16] In 2006, he graduated from the Philology Department of the Saint Petersburg State University, where he received a first class degree. Pavel Durov's early life and career are described in detail in the Russian-language book The Durov Code. The True Story of VK and its Creator (2012).[17]

Durov started VKontakte, later known as VK, in 2006, which was initially influenced by Facebook.[18] During the time when he and his brother Nikolai built upon the VKontakte website, the company grew to a value of $3 billion.[9]

In 2011 he was involved in a standoff with a police team outside his home in St. Petersburg after the government demanded the removal of opposition politicians' pages after controversial parliamentary elections.[17][18] They left after about an hour.

In December 2013, Durov was pressured[vague] into selling his 12% of VK stock to Ivan Tavrin, the owner of the major Russian internet company,[9] who subsequently sold it to, giving it 52% majority ownership of VK. In 2014, bought all remaining shares became the sole owner of VK.[19][20]

Dismissal from VK[edit]

On April 1, 2014, Durov submitted his resignation to the board; at first, due to the fact the company confirmed he had resigned, it was believed to be related to the Ukrainian crisis which started in February.[21] However, Durov himself claimed it was an April Fool's Joke on April 3, 2014.[22]

On April 16, 2014, Durov publicly refused to hand over data of Ukrainian protesters to Russia's security agencies and block Alexei Navalny's page on VK.[7] Instead he posted the relevant orders on his own VK page [23][24] claiming that the requests were unlawful.

On April 21, 2014, Durov was dismissed as CEO of VK. The company claimed it was acting on his letter of resignation a month earlier that he failed to recall.[7][25] Durov then claimed the company had been effectively taken over by Vladimir Putin's allies,[25][26] suggesting his ouster was the result of both his refusal to hand over personal details of users to federal law enforcement and his refusal to hand over the personal details of people who were members of a VKontakte group dedicated to the Euromaidan protest movement.[25][26] Durov then left Russia and stated that he had "no plans to go back"[26] and that "the country is incompatible with Internet business at the moment".[7]

Life after VK[edit]

Upon leaving Russia, he obtained Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship through donating $250,000 to the country's Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, and secured US$300 million in cash within Swiss banks. This allowed him to focus on creating his next company, Telegram, which was originally based in Berlin and focused on an encrypted messaging service.[9]

A long time ago, Pavel developed a Galaxy - Chat & Play application for Windows Desktop users. Later this application was not updated and left the projects, but a WEB version identical to the application is on the Galaxy's own website. Galaxy, is currently one of Mobstudio's applications, in which Pavel is still part of his current PAVELNEXT username.


Durov is a self-described libertarian and vegetarian.[27] In 2012, he published manifestos described by commentators as "anarcho-capitalist" detailing his ideas on improving Russia.[28] For his twenty-seventh birthday in 2011, he donated a million dollars to the Wikimedia Foundation,[29] the founder and honorary chairman of which is a fellow libertarian Jimmy Wales.[30]


He has been called the Mark Zuckerberg of Russia.[31][32]

In August 2014, Pavel Durov was named the most promising Northern European leader under 30.[33]


  1. ^ "Telegram Founder Makes Forbes' List of Russia's Richest Businessmen". Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Дуров затроллил православных: Теме надо было писать "Бог" с большой буквы,, 2012 
  3. ^ Горелик А. (2012-02-17). "Владелец ВКонтакте Павел Дуров раздает миллионы и ездит по Питеру на метро" (in Russian). Комсомольская правда. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  4. ^ Ермаков А. (2014-04-24). ""Фонтанка" нашла Дурову страну". Фонтанка.ру. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  5. ^ Bond, Anthony. (2012-05-30). "Russia's Zuckerberg, 27, folds notes into paper aeroplanes and spends weekend throwing them from his window (until people were acting 'like animals')". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  6. ^ "Why Telegram has become the hottest messaging app in the world", The Verge, 25 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "Durov, Out For Good From, Plans A Mobile Social Network Outside Russia", TechCrunch, 22 April 2014.
  8. ^ Hakim, Danny (2 December 2014). "Once Celebrated in Russia, the Programmer Pavel Durov Chooses Exile". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d Vivienne Walt (February 2016). "With Telegram, A Reclusive Social Media Star Rises Again". Fortune. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Наградной лист Тулякова Семёна Петровича" (in Russian). Вконтакте. 8 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Фронтовой приказ № 692/н от 15.06.1945, страница 2". Электронный банк документов «Подвиг народа в Великой Отечественной войне 1941—1945 гг.». Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  12. ^ "Туляков Семен Петрович". Электронный банк документов «Подвиг народа в Великой Отечественной войне 1941—1945 гг.». Retrieved 2016-05-25. 
  13. ^ "Николай Валуев объявил бойкот сети "ВКонтакте"" (in Russian). 2012-05-10. Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  14. ^ "Дуров Валерий Семёнович" (in Russian). Филологический факультет СПбГУ. Archived from the original on 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  15. ^ "Is Pavel Durov a Kremlin target?", Bloomberg, 1 August 2013
  16. ^ "Prominent Russians: Pavel Durov", Russia Today. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  17. ^ a b "The Pavel Durov Code: Five stories from the life of VK and its creator" (Russian), Forbes, 22 November 2012.
  18. ^ a b Danny Hakim (2014-12-02). "Once Celebrated in Russia, Programmer Pavel Durov Chooses Exile". New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Subscribe to read". Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  20. ^ "Russia's Mail.Ru buys remaining stake in VKontakte for $1.5 bln". Reuters. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "No joke as 'Russian Facebook' founder resigns amid dispute (Update)". Published April 1, 2014. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
    Pavel Durov Resigns As Head Of Russian Social Network, Ukraine Conflict Was The Tipping Point. Published April 1, 2014. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  22. ^ Going, going, gone - Pavel Durov quits VK. Rusbase. Published April 2, 2014. No update time given. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
    Founder of Social Network VK Pavel Durov Says Resignation as CEO was April Fools' Prank. The Moscow Times. Published at midnight Moscow Time (MST) on April 4, 2014. Last modified at 7:26 MST. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  23. ^ "Wall". Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "Wall". Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  25. ^ a b c "Vkontakte Founder Pavel Durov Learns He's Been Fired Through Media", The Moscow Times, 22 April 2014.
  26. ^ a b c "Pavel Durov left Russia after being pushed out", The Economic Times, 22 April 2014.
  27. ^ "Pavel Durov". Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  28. ^ "A Manifesto for 21st-Century Russia, Afisha Magazine, 18 May 2012.
  29. ^ "Founder of Facebook for Russia donates $1M to Wikipedia at DLD", VentureBeat, 24 January 2012
  30. ^ Lamb, Brian (September 25, 2005). "Q&A: Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder". C-SPAN. Retrieved October 31, 2006. 
  31. ^ "Russia’s Zuckerberg, 27, folds notes into paper aeroplanes and spends weekend throwing them from his window", Daily Mail, 30 May 2012.
  32. ^ "Pavel Durov, Russian Millionaire, Throws Money Paper Planes Onto Passersby", The Huffington Post, 30 May 2012.
  33. ^ "Pavel Durov the Most Promising Northern European Leader Under the Age of 30", Nordic Business Forum, 21 August 2014.

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