Putin's Allies Just Seized Control of Russia's Largest Social Networking Site

The Beeb reports:

The founder of Russia's most popular social network site says he has been fired and that allies of President Putin have taken over his site.

Pavel Durov who ran VKontakte had previously announced he was leaving the company but said he had withdrawn his resignation.

The company denied it had been withdrawn.

Mr Durov had previously refused requests from the Russian government to censor posts on his site.

In a statement Mr Durov said that he only found out about the loss of his job from press reports: "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.

"Today VKontakte goes under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov. 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."

Sechin is Putin's former chief of staff, and he currently runs state-owned oil company Rosneft. Now he runs a more or less state-owned social network, too. Usmanov is Russia's richest man, with iron and steel and English football's Arsenal among the things he has at least partial ownership of. He is one of Russia's oligarchs.

I'm sure Edward Snowden will rush out to denounce the seizure of VKontakte any...second...now.