Chief executive of “Russia’s Facebook” isn’t resigning afterall.
Pavel Durov retracted his resignation from VKontakte, or VK, Thursday morning, and asked to resume his role as CEO of the popular Russian social network.
“I am the head of the company,” Durov told the Wall Street Journal. “As soon as I found out how it was planned for the company to be managed in my absence in these challenging times, I made the decision to stay.”
“We can confirm that around 4am Moscow time, all board members of VK received a letter for Pavel Durov revoking his prior resignation,” said Nafisa Nasyrova, a spokeswoman for United Capital Partners, which owns 48 percent of VK’s stock.
Two posts to Durov’s VK page imply that his resignation was an attempt at an April Fools joke. One, written Thursday, mentions that Durov’s announcement to resign on April 1 was intended to symbolize that his decision was not final. Another post included a picture of doge along with the caption, “I want to wish everyone who had thought I would resign of my own will a happy recent holiday.”
“Needless to say, we do not consider it funny, especially taking into account that the board of VKontakte is meeting at the moment in Riga to discuss candidates for Durov’s replacement,” Nsayrova said.
VK originally confirmed the 29-year-old’s resignation following pressure from company stakeholders and rocky relationships with shareholders, many of whom are allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Along with his resignation, Durov released a statement saying it had become “increasingly difficult” to adhere to the principles upon which the site was founded.
Durov’s return is seen by some as the next step in his fight against Russia’s strict censorship rules. Since declining the Russian government’s request to delete certain VK pages, and an accident that landed VK on Russia’s blacklist, Durov’s resistance to the Kremlin has reportedly become symbolic in Russian communities.
It remains unclear, however, whether Durov will be allowed to resume his position—or keep it if he does.
Photo by Josef F. Stuefer/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed