Generally, Putin has maintained his control of Russia by allowing his allies to control vast chunks of the economy, like Rosneft. This appears to be an extension of that control into social media.
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The founder and CEO, 29-year-old Pavel Durov, posted on his VK page that he had finally given up control of the company to two investors allied with Putin, Buzzfeed reported:
Announcing his firing on his VKontakte page, Durov said: “Today, VKontakte goes under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov.” Usmanov is a metals tycoon who expanded into tech via his company, which has steadily upped its stake in the Russian social network. Until recently, Usmanov owned a 10% stake in Facebook. Sechin is the leader of the hardline silovik faction that backs Putin, is CEO of Rosneft, the state-owned oil company, and is believed to be one of the Russian president’s closest advisors.
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