Pavel Durov

known for founding social networking site VK and Telegram Messenger. The billionaire has been called the "Mark Zuckerberg of Russia.".

Pavel Durov is a prominent tech entrepreneur and billionaire known for his role in revolutionizing the way people communicate and share information online. Born on October 10, 1984, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Durov co-founded the popular social networking platform VK (formerly VKontakte) along with his brother Nikolai. Dubbed the "Russian Facebook," VK quickly gained immense popularity and became one of the most visited websites globally. However, Durov's unwavering commitment to protecting user privacy eventually led to his departure from VK and his journey towards creating a more secure messaging platform.

In 2013, Durov founded Telegram, an encrypted messaging app that places a strong emphasis on user privacy and data protection. Telegram quickly gained a loyal following, with its secure and user-friendly interface attracting millions of users worldwide. Durov's vision for Telegram extends beyond a simple messaging app, as he envisions it as a platform that champions freedom of speech and provides a secure communication channel for individuals, organizations, and communities. With his entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to privacy, and innovative mindset, Pavel Durov has become a key figure in the tech industry, reshaping the way people connect and communicate in the digital age.


Pavel Durov, born on October 10, 1984, is a renowned Russian-born French-Emirati entrepreneur. He is best known for his involvement in founding two prominent platforms, VK (VKontakte) and Telegram Messenger, which have had a significant impact on the social media and messaging landscape.

Durov was born in Leningrad, which was part of the Soviet Union at the time. However, he spent a considerable portion of his childhood in Turin, Italy, where his father was employed. In 2006, Durov graduated from the Philology Department of Saint Petersburg State University, where he earned a first-class degree. His early life and career are described in detail in the book "The Durov Code: The True Story of VK and Its Creator" published in 2012.

Durov's entrepreneurial journey began in 2006 when he co-founded VKontakte, commonly known as VK. Inspired by Facebook, VKontakte started as a social networking site and quickly gained popularity, becoming one of the largest social media platforms in Russia. Durov played a pivotal role in its growth, and the company reached a valuation of $3 billion during his tenure.

However, Durov faced several challenges during his time at VKontakte. In 2011, he had a standoff with the police in Saint Petersburg when the government demanded the removal of opposition politicians' pages following the 2011 election to the Duma. Durov responded by posting a picture of a dog with its tongue out wearing a hoodie, causing the police to leave after an hour of waiting at his door.

In 2014, Durov submitted his resignation to the board of VKontakte, which initially sparked speculation that it was related to the Russo-Ukrainian War. However, he later claimed it was an April Fool's joke. Subsequently, Durov publicly refused to hand over the personal data of Ukrainian protesters to Russia's security agencies and also declined to block the page of opposition figure Alexei Navalny on VK. These actions resulted in his dismissal as CEO of VKontakte, with the company claiming they were acting on his earlier letter of resignation.

Following his departure from VKontakte, Durov embarked on a new venture and founded Telegram Messenger in 2013. Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging app known for its strong emphasis on privacy and security. The platform quickly gained popularity worldwide, attracting millions of users who value its end-to-end encryption and other privacy features.

Durov's entrepreneurial journey continued with Telegram's success. He obtained citizenship from the Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis by making a significant donation to the country's Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation. He also secured substantial funds within Swiss banks, enabling him to focus on developing Telegram further. In 2018, Durov announced plans to launch the "Gram" cryptocurrency and the TON (Telegram Open Network) platform as part of Telegram's monetization strategy. However, these plans were halted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which argued that the Grams violated U.S. financing laws.

Throughout his career, Durov has been recognized for his achievements and contributions to the tech industry. He has been named the most promising Northern European leader under 30 and has been included in Fortune magazine's "40 Under 40" list of influential young people in business. Durov's net worth has also been notable, with Forbes estimating it at $15.1 billion as of September 2022.


Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, is known for his strong vision and principles that guide his work in the technology industry. Here are some key aspects of Durov's vision:

Data Privacy and Security: Durov is a staunch advocate for data privacy and security. He believes that individuals have the right to control their own data and that technology companies should prioritize protecting user information. This belief is reflected in the design and features of Telegram, which emphasizes end-to-end encryption and secure communication.

Free Speech and Freedom of Expression: Durov is a vocal supporter of free speech and freedom of expression. He believes that individuals should be able to express themselves without fear of censorship or surveillance. Telegram, under Durov's leadership, has positioned itself as a platform that champions these principles, allowing users to communicate freely and securely.

User Empowerment: Durov believes in empowering users by providing them with tools and platforms that give them control over their digital lives. He aims to create products that prioritize user needs and provide them with the freedom to make their own choices. This user-centric approach is reflected in Telegram's features, which offer a wide range of customization options and control over privacy settings.

Innovation and Disruption: Durov is a proponent of innovation and disruption in the technology industry. He believes in pushing the boundaries of what is possible and challenging the status quo. This mindset is evident in Telegram's continuous development of new features and its willingness to take on established competitors.

Global Connectivity: Durov envisions a world where people can connect and communicate freely across borders. He believes in breaking down barriers and enabling global communication without restrictions. Telegram's popularity and availability in multiple languages and countries align with this vision of creating a globally connected community.

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Durov embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and encourages others to embrace it. He values independence, creativity, and the pursuit of ambitious goals. His own journey as an entrepreneur, from co-founding VKontakte to creating Telegram, reflects his belief in the power of entrepreneurship to drive positive change and innovation.

Recognition and Awards
Fortune's 40 Under 40 World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders Crunchies Award for Best International Startup Entrepreneur of the Year by Kompaniya magazine Breakthrough of the Year at the Digital Top 50 Awards Inclusion in the TIME 100 list

Pavel Durov
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Software Developer, Computer Scientist & Entrepreneur
Known for
The billionaire has been called the "Mark Zuckerberg of Russia.".
Fortune's 40 Under 40 (2018), World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders & TIME 100 list (2021)
Saint Petersburg State University - Philology (2001-2006)
Social Media
Fri Feb 23 2024

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