Fired Russian Facebook CEO says site has fallen in the hands of pro-Putin supporters

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The just-fired founder of the Russian version of Facebook said pro-Putin forces had seized control of his site and that going forward, postings would pretty much need the official government stamp of approval.

“So today VKontakte goes under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov,” said former VKontakte CEO Pavel Durov in a post reported by The Hill. “Probably in the Russian context, something like this was inevitable, but I’m glad that we lasted seven and a half years. We had a lot. And part of what has been done is not reversed.”

Mr. Sechin heads up the state-owned oil company Rosneft, The Hill reported. Mr. Usmanov, meanwhile, is an iron ore tycoon. Both are believed to be close friends and supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Hill said.

Mr. Durov’s firing comes after months of confusion over his role at the firm. He claimed a few weeks ago that he actually quit, then said a couple days later that he was only joking, The Hill reported.

He’s also accused the government of trying to collect information about Ukrainian groups that are currently protesting Russia’s aggression.

On Monday, Mr. Durov explained his departure from the company by saying the board of directors didn’t acknowledge his joke, so “I was automatically dismissed,” he said, The Hill reported.

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