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This article was published on January 31, 2014

    All the tech news you need to know from Eastern Europe this January

    All the tech news you need to know from Eastern Europe this January
    Andrii Degeler
    Story by

    Andrii Degeler

    Andrii Degeler is the community growth manager at Rockstart and a technology journalist with a particular interest in companies based in Cen Andrii Degeler is the community growth manager at Rockstart and a technology journalist with a particular interest in companies based in Central and Eastern Europe. He also runs a CEE-focused weekly tech newsletter, ProCEEd.

    The past month has brought many interesting stories from all across Eastern Europe. If you think I have missed something, or would like to draw my attention to an important story, feel free to ping me in Twitter (@shlema) or by e-mail at [email protected].

    VK.com drama

    In the Eastern part of Eastern Europe — I mean, in Russia, — the main tech topic of January was definitely its most popular social network Vkontakte, known abroad as VK.com. Founded in 2006, VK today is one of the top 10 social networks in the world, but what’s happening in its top management is similar to struggles of those younger startups, founders and investors of which didn’t agree on what they want from the venture.

    At the end of January, local media learned that VK’s CEO Pavel Durov had sold his 12 percent share in the social network to Ivan Tavrin, who is affiliated with another VK stakeholder, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. The deal puts Usmanov in indirect control of 52 percent of the company, while the other 48 percent is owned by United Capital Partners, which acquired the stake in April 2013.

    In his post in VK, the “mutinous CEO” Pavel Durov said that he will remain in charge of the social network he’s created, but Russian media have already reported that allegedly Durov will leave VK within a month. The news comes after the social network lost two top managers, brothers Igor and Ilya Perekopskiy, who used to be VK’s financial director and a vice president respectively.

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    The most likely place to go for Durov, as Russian journalists see it, is his “pet project” instant messenger Telegram. Founded independently from Vkontakte in the US, Telegram is based on a protocol developed by Durov’s brother Nikolay and is claimed to be faster and more secure that most alternatives. According to statistics provided by Pavel Durov to Roem.ru, Telegram has recently reached 1 million unique daily users, while its user base grows by 100,000 per day.

    In other news

    Investments and acquisitions

    Don’t miss: How the Kiev disturbances are affecting Ukraine’s tech sector – for better and worse

    Image credit: Shutterstock