hometechnology NewsMeet Telegram founder Pavel Durov, the 'Zuckerberg of Russia'

Meet Telegram founder Pavel Durov, the 'Zuckerberg of Russia'

Meet Telegram founder Pavel Durov, the 'Zuckerberg of Russia'
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By CNBCTV18.com Jan 14, 2021 12:50:34 PM IST (Published)

Durov has been taking potshots at Facebook as the latter has found itself in trouble after the issue of privacy. Taking a dig at Facebook, Durov said the “secret” of Telegram’s success was: “Respect your users.”

Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram messenger app, has taken the world by storm with his bold statements and the record-shattering growth his company has seen over the last few days. The instant messaging app has added more than 25 million users in a span of just 72 hours and is posing a stern challenge to Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

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Telegram has been around for a while but has got a special shot in the arm after WhatsApp’s recent announcement on privacy terms which have led to a lot of concerns among users.
But the story of Durov is not so simple and he has walked a tightrope almost all his life. The entrepreneur, who is also called the Zuckerberg of Russia, was born in 1984 in Leningrad but spent most of his childhood in Italy. He returned to his native country in 2001 and graduated with a first-class degree from the Philology Department of the St Petersburg State University in 2006.
Rise of VKontakte and Durov’s ouster
In 2006, Durov founded VKontakte, which later became Russia's biggest social network valued at $3 billion, with his elder brother Nikolai Durov. In 2012, the brothers thwarted their rival Mail.ru’s attempts to take over the company. But eventually, Pavel had to give away 12 percent of VK stock as Mail.ru’s owner managed to acquire the majority share in the company.
Pavel Durov also found himself on the wrong side of the Russian administration when he refused to block Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's VK page. He also refuted attempts by Russian secret services to provide data of VK users. He publicly called out the orders terming them unlawful.
On 1 April 2014 Durov submitted his resignation at VK, which two days later he claimed to be an April Fool's Joke. Later that month, he was removed from his position as CEO as the board claimed to be acting on his resignation which he had not recalled. Durov alleged the company was taken over by Russian President Vladimir Putin's allies.
Durov also got caught up in a hit-and-run case which he described as politically motivated. He fled Russia shortly afterwards.
New country and rise of Telegram
Durov along with his brother left Russia for good, saying the country was not suitable for internet business. They obtained the citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis after making a donation of $250,000 in one of the domestic industries.
Telegram was launched in 2013 but they had to move their headquarters to Berlin in 2014. After he failed to receive residential permits for his core team members, he had to move from there too. The company is currently based out of Dubai.
The instant messaging platform has been rising steadily over the years, reaching 100 million users in 2016, 300 million in 2019 and 500 million users in 2021, to which over 25 million more were added recently.
Durov has been taking potshots at Facebook as the latter has found itself in trouble after the issue of privacy. Taking a dig at Facebook, Durov said the “secret” of Telegram’s success was: “Respect your users.”d
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