The Enigma of Pavel Durov: 10 facts you probably didn’t know

Often referred to as the “Mark Zuckerberg of Russia”, Pavel Durov is a name familiar to many due to his significant impact on the world of tech. Famous for his work as the founder of VK (VKontakte) and Telegram, Durov have made substantial contributions to the field of electronic communication. But how well do you really know the man behind these popular platforms? In today’s post, we will delve into a collection of intriguing information about this tech tycoon which might surprise even those who consider themselves well-versed in his life and career.

1. Durov’s Early Ejection from VK

Durov clashed with his VK co-owners over control of the platform. In a series of events that seem more fitted to a dramatic Hollywood film than real life, Durov found himself forced out of VK, the company he himself had founded. The main bone of contention came from his refusal to share user’s information with Russian authorities. This steadfast stand on privacy ultimately led to his ejection.

Just a few years into VK’s existence, he was already facing significant pressure from the Russian government. These incursions into his control of the platform only increased after he openly refused to shut down a page devoted to an opposition activist, drawing even more attention from authorities.

2. Durov’s Self-Imposed Exile

After leaving VK, Durov became a digital nomad. Following his exit from VK, Durov left Russia, embarking on a self-imposed exile. Claiming he had been faced with an “impossible choice” between compromising his values and losing control of the company he founded, Durov opted for the latter and decided to live life as a citizen of the world.

Since leaving Russia in 2014, Durov has lived in a variety of locations, including Dubai, the Caribbean, and multiple European destinations. He also mentioned once that he does not own a house or a car, adding to his nomadic lifestyle.

3. Stand off with Iran

Durov has faced controversy not just in Russia, but also in Iran. In 2015, Iranian authorities demanded that Telegram provide them with spying and censorship tools. True to form, Durov refused, stating that “privacy is not for sale”. As a result of his refusal to capitulate to their demands, Iran subsequently banned access to Telegram, making it inaccessible for the nation’s 40 million users.

Despite the ban, many Iranians still access Telegram using VPNs, demonstrating the importance the platform has in the region.

4. Revealing Window 10

Durov has been emphatic about his lack of trust in Windows 10. In 2015, he took to Twitter to advise his followers to avoid the new Windows 10 operating system. He stated that the OS was essentially a ‘backdoor’ for the US government, a claim corroborated by many privacy advocacy groups who have echoed these concerns.

Despite the controversy, Windows 10, has found critical success and is now the most used operating system in the world. However, Durov’s concerns have added fuel to the ongoing debate about user privacy and data collection in today’s digital age.

5. His Battle with Apple

Durov’s battles aren’t just limited to governments; he’s been known to take on tech giants as well. In 2018, Durov openly criticized Apple for their policies, specifically their 30% tax on app developers. He argued that this cost is typically passed on to consumers, and stated that without Apple’s monopolistic practices, prices for apps could be significantly lower.

In addition to his criticism of Apple’s app tax, Durov has also criticized the company for inhibiting innovation, asserting that the iPhone X’s design was outdated.

6. Durov’s Aspiration to Create a New Internet

After leaving VK, Durov didn’t retire from the tech world. Instead, he launched a bold new project – the creation of a new internet. Durov’s ambition is to build a blockchain-based system that cannot be controlled by any one entity, including governments. This concept is part of the larger project called the “Telegram Open Network” (TON).

The TON project was expected to revolutionize the internet by allowing everyone to be online without the fear of censorship or control. Unfortunately, regulatory issues have halted the project, but Durov has not given up on his vision.

7. Durov’s Veganism

Durov is a committed vegan, a lifestyle that extends beyond just his diet. Durov not only practices veganism in his food choices, but extends this concept to other areas of his life as well. For instance, he only uses leather substitutes for clothing and accessories.

On his public social media profiles, Durov has frequently spoken about the benefits of veganism. He considers it not only healthier for the individual, but crucial for environmental sustainability.

8. His Love For Animals

Durov extends his vegan lifestyle to his love for animals. In addition to being a committed vegan, Durov is a known animal lover. His love for animals is witnessed by millions, through his posts on social media where he’s seen interacting with different creatures.

One of the most famous symbols of his love for animals is his pet dog, Buffy. Durov is known to tote his Pomeranian with him wherever he goes, often featuring her in his social media posts.

9. Deleting his Facebook Account

Durov is no fan of Facebook and even deleted his own account. In 2018, Durov deleted his Facebook account, citing the platform’s “colossal issues with respect to user privacy.” His decision came amidst Facebook’s infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Durov’s distrust for this social media giant even extends to his colleagues. He has been on record stating that anyone who is “still on Facebook” is essentially a “digital slave”.

10. The Rare Coin Collector

Durov has an intriguing hobby: he collects rare coins. Despite his tech-oriented lifestyle, Durov has an interest in the more traditional hobby of coin collecting. However, his collection isn’t just any random selection – he specifically collects rare, ancient coins.

This hobby, perhaps more than any other, photos the picture of a complex figure, connected with the world of the past even as he’s been shaping the technologies of the future.

We hope that this trip through Pavel Durov’s unique path from humble beginnings to becoming a major figure in the tech world has given you a greater understanding of the man himself.

You are interested to explore more? Check these URLs:

Durov’s take on hardforks

Pavel Durov’s VK Page

Pavel Durov’s Twitter Account

Each of those websites will help you to learn more about Durov’s experiences and thoughts, providing you in-depth insights into his diverse and pioneering path in the tech industry.