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Russia’s biggest social network gets new CEO

September 25, 2014

Russia’s biggest social network VKontakte appointed a new chief executive on Thursday after the removal of its maverick founder Pavel Durov earlier this year.

VKontakte (also known as VK) also declared a months-long shareholder conflict to be “ended” following the acquisition of 48 percent in the company by Mail.Ru Internet group earlier this week, a deal that made it the network’s sole owner.

The new chief executive of the business is Boris Dobrodeyev, the company said in a statement.

Dobrodeyev is the son of Oleg Dobrodeyev, the head of Russia’s biggest state-owned media holding VGTRK which includes the strongly pro-Kremlin Rossiya channel.

He has “de facto been the CEO since April”, when Vkontakte founder and former CEO Pavel Durov fled the country, the statement said.

Durov, 29 and often compared with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, was ousted following a bitter shareholder dispute and is now involved with other projects.

Durov, who founded the website after graduating from college in 2006, had said that he had no plans to return to Russia, saying he found it impossible to do business there.

VKontakte ( is Russia’s biggest social network, claiming to have 260 million users. Mail.Ru is controlled by billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.