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Russia 'incompatible with the internet', cries web CEO 'axed by Putin'

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Tech mogul Pavel Durov – dubbed Russia's "Mark Zuckerberg" for creating a Facebook-a-like website – has said he will never return home until corruption is quashed in his country.

Durov was CEO of VKontakte, an online social network, but fled the Putin-led nation after allegedly spending months resisting Russia's Federal Security Service demands for website records on political activists.

In a "farewell message", Durov called for an end to "feudal throwbacks" in Russia. He called for reforms to the educational system, elected judges, and open courts.

The social network chief sold more than half of VKontakte to the Mail.ru group, which now owns 52 per cent of the firm. The rest is held by United Capital Partners, which is thought to have links to the Kremlin.

Last week, Durov wrote: "Today I was fired as general director of VKontakte. It's interesting that the shareholders didn't have the bravery to do this directly, and that I learned about my firing from the press."

Durov claimed VKontakte is now being run by Igor Sechin, a close Putin ally this week hit with US sanctions.

"Today VKontakte goes under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov," Durov added. "Probably, in the Russian context, something like this was inevitable, but I'm happy we lasted seven and a half years. We did a lot. And part of what's been done can't be turned back."

According to the Russian press, Durov has become a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis after allegedly donating $250,000 to the Caribbean nation's sugar industry.

Readers may or may not know that anyone can donate the same amount to the island's sweetest industry and and gain the right to live on the sunkissed shores.

On his Facebook page last week, Durov wrote: "I'm out of Russia and have no plans to go back. Unfortunately, the country is incompatible with Internet business at the moment."

VKontakte has 52.7 million users in Russia. Meanwhile, the country's President Vladimir Putin reckons the internet is a CIA stunt. ®

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