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Russia's 'Zuckerberg' says he fought the government over Ukrainian protester data

Russia's 'Zuckerberg' says he fought the government over Ukrainian protester data

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Did the Russian government use social media to spy on Ukrainian protestors? According to Pavel Durov, founder of the Russian Facebook clone VK, the answer is yes.

"I do not regret anything."

Durov says that in December of 2013, the Russian FSB service demanded he give up private data from organizers of the Evromaydana group, a major player in the protests that ultimately forced Ukranian president Yanukovich to step down. Durov refused, saying Ukrainian citizens are not under Russian jurisdiction, but he says the resulting struggle cost him his ownership shares in the company. "I do not regret anything," Durov wrote in the post. "I still have something more important, a clean conscience and ideals that I am willing to defend." In a later post, he said a prosecutor also pressured him to close the page for an anti-corruption group, a request he also refused.

Durov has become increasingly embattled as CEO since VK was subject to a hostile takeover last year. (Durov maintains the takeover was illegal.) He resigned as CEO on April 3rd, claiming ownership changes had made the company increasingly difficult to run, but returned to the role less than a week later, saying he was too concerned about "what might happen to VKontakte after my departure."