Telegram’s Pavel Durov is no hero

Poor Pavel Durov.

The Russian tech guru sees himself as the slavic Mark Zuckerberg. And now he’s on the run from the Russian government.

Of course, one big difference between Durov and Zuckerberg is that the Facebook-founder never enabled neo-Nazi gay-bashers while wrapping his abhorrent actions in a bogus mantle of free speech.  Durov can’t say the same.

Durov is the founder of VKontakte, aka, a social media forum that’s seems clearly fashioned after Facebook.  He’s also the founder of Telegram (a new mobile app that’s getting a lot of talk lately). VK’s primary audience is Russian (and that audience is huge), and the site has become well-known as a pirating bay for people interested in trading illegal music and videos.

Pavel Durov, founder of, a Russian social media site used by Russian ultra-nationalists to broadcast their gay-bashing videos and to execute their anti-gay attacks.

Pavel Durov, founder of, a Russian social media site used by Russian ultra-nationalists to broadcast their gay-bashing videos and to execute their anti-gay attacks. Durov also has founded Telegram.

VK has found itself in increasing hot water because of its resistance to following, and obeying, international copyright law.

VK has also come under increasing criticism for enabling the kidnappings of perhaps as many as 1,500 mostly-gay Russians.

You see, is the home of Occupy Pedophilia (OP), a Russian neo-Nazi group that, along with its many affiliates and offshoots, has for two years been planning and executing the abduction and torture of young gay men, and boys as young as 13.

OP claims to have committed nearly 1,500 kidnappings since 2012, some of which (at the very least) have been organized using

A young gay South African is attacked by Russian vigilantes, who filmed it and posted the video online.

A young gay South African is attacked by Russian vigilantes from an Occupy Pedophilia affiliate, who filmed it and then posted the video on

I’ve written at length on this topic, including the fact that the NYC and NY state pension funds invest in affiliates, as does CalPERS, the pension fund of the state of California. So I won’t repeat everything here. But suffice it to say that OP’s online home base is

For example, OP has posted repeated “help wanted”-type notices on VK, seeking assistance executing its anti-gay abductions, including searching for an apartment in which to conduct the tortures, and seeking staff to help them commit the crimes.  Similar to how VK handles the videos of the abductions, which are also posted on, the hate-crime-help-wanteds had yet to be removed after being up for months.

Here are four such want-ads that were still live on VK the last time I checked:

russian gays occupy pedophilia


vk-op-ad-againvk-ad-bait has been contacted repeatedly about the use of its service for the commission of hate crimes against gay and trans people, and has done little in response.  VK told the Brits two months ago that it had no idea that neo-Nazis were posting kidnapping videos on their service, but they would get right to it!

In fact, VK appears to have done little if anything.  At last count, there were still nearly 3,700 Occupy Pedophilia videos published on  All of them under the tutelage of Pavel Durov.

In all fairness to Durov, he did block a number of the neo-Nazi gay-hating profiles and videos so that no one outside of Russia could see them – though they remain live inside Russia. In other words, rather than addressing the problem, Durov addressed the criticism; The West can’t complain about hate crimes it can’t see. Keep all of this in mind should Durov, or any of his upcoming tech ventures, cross your path in the future.

Durov talks a good talk about “free speech” when the RIAA and MPAA come calling, asking him to stop permitting the pirating of movies and music. But he doesn’t have a terribly good answer for why he permitted his service to be used for years, by anti-gay kidnappers, to plan and execute their crimes.

The latest from Russia is that Durov has fled the country, after his site was taken over by a Putin crony, and the richest oligarch in Russia, Alisher Usmanov.  Durov claims that the Russian government is persecuting him because he refuses to turn over private information about Ukrainian activists, and refuses to shut down Web sites of Putin opponents.

Durov’s claimed defense of “free speech” is laudable, and refreshing for a Russian.  But as is typical with Russia, they try to copy the best-of-the-west, and just can’t seem to get it right. We are talking about neo-Nazis who have been using Durov’s Web site for nearly two years to plan and execute the kidnappings of gay kids as young as 13 years of age. And Durov, as head of the company, did little to stop it because, presumably, he thinks “free speech” extends to the kidnapping and torture of young boys.

Pardon me, but my sympathy-well for multi-millionaires who enable hate crimes is running a tad dry of late.

Two presumably gay men, kidnapped, and forced to dance with each other while the neo-Nazi leader sings in the background.  The men's heads were shaved down the middle and a rainbow flag was painted on their scalp.

Two presumably-gay men, kidnapped, and forced to dance with each other while a Russian neo-Nazi leader sings in the background. (This is an animated gif I made of the video, so there is no audio.) The men’s heads were shaved down the middle and a rainbow flag was painted on their scalp. Typically, the captives are forced to drink urine as well, in order to “cure” them of being gay.  The one man was audibly crying.

A free-speech martyr, Pavel Durov is not.  When children are being kidnapped as part of a criminal conspiracy to commit hate crimes again minorities in your country, your aiding and abetting of those abductions does not constitute “free speech” in any normal, modern, high-tech-driven society.

Durov is now working on a new high-tech venture, a mobile messaging app called “Telegram.” Remember this man if you ever come across Telegram. Durov’s actions show that he believes in permiting his high-tech companies to be used for the commision of hate crimes against gays, blacks and Jews. Any business associating with Pavel Durov or Telegram is going to have to do some explaining about Durov’s neo-Nazi enabling, gay-bashing, past (Wall Street, you stand warned).

The good news for Pavel Durov, embattled as he claims to be, is that, so far, no one has kidnapped him, stripped him naked, shaved his head, painted Stars of David all over his chest, forced him to drink urine, beat him, and then posted a video of his abduction online, for the world to enjoy.

And the good news for Russian state security is that should they get their hands on Durov, at least they’ll have a top-ranked social media site ready-and-willing to make a few bucks off of broadcasting his torture, no questions asked.

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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19 Responses to “Telegram’s Pavel Durov is no hero”

  1. JPeron says:

    The problem with Russia today is keeping track of which neo-Nazis are in government and which are not.

  2. Kimm Ryland says:

    My Uncle Nathaniel recently got a nearly
    new red Chrysler 200 Sedan only from working part time off a home pc… find
    out this here C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

  3. As I explained below, Eugene is either a liar or uninformed. VK has yet to delete the accounts of Tesak an his deputy, the red headed sadist from St. Pete’s. They promised U k channel 4 they would take action and they did not. I’m more than happy to have this conversation as we have ample evidence to disprove every Russian govt sponsored lie that you are spewing. As for the number of our readers, we seemed to have ample readers to tie your little dictator in knots over the last year. Heh. :-)

  4. Mike says:

    >I don’t care.

    That’s why you don’t have and probably never would gain a 60 million users/day site. All you can do is just spread hysteria all over the place. “Look it’s Durov who supports kidnapping and torturing”

    If you are Facebook, you can delete everything and everyone seems to be happy. And if they not, they don’t even have a place to complain because Facebook doesn’t have any help center where you can talk with real people (correct me if I’m wrong)

    When you’re trying to give people a bit of freedom there are always yelling activists appear who always complain about something. Everybody seems to know how you need to manage a giant site except those one who did it for 7 years.

    Pursuing a policy of freedom of speech, you need to think about every step and where would it leads you, not to succumb to the cries of activists who misinterpret the facts.

    As Eugene wrote below, videos of torture are removed upon request in VK help center. You don’t know about that because none of the victims would ever tell loudly that site helped him to remove the video, where they are accused of pedophilia. But every case of miscommunication with support you give as a complete unwillingness to cooperate from site’s side .

    There are living people who work in help center and they can make mistakes. If you can now find a video of torture where the person is forced to drink urine or being shaved or any other humiliation, you can take it to support and they’ll remove it. Do not take my word for it, go and check .

    As for the video with the 13 year old boy, do you have a link to it? Do you have screenshots showing that you applied in VK help center and they refused to remove this video? Can you show them?

    I am sorry for any grammar mistakes if there are some.

  5. And the other shoe drops. What Yevgeny asks is:

    “(pardon the indelicate question) You have been a victim in the video?”

    And there’s the rub. VK refuses to take videos of 13 year olds being propositions with money for sex, and being abucted and publicly humiliated for being gay, unless and until that 13 year old themself comes public and asks that the video be removed. They have the same policy about the videos in which gay men and boys are kidnapped and tortured on film. Imagine demanding that the victim of a rape, for example, go public, or the won’t remove the video of her being raped, a video that’s published for sport.

    VK’s other excuses they gave were:

    1. Gosh, who knows if the video is a fake.
    2. Gosh, how do you define a video that’s insulting and dehumanizing? (I’m paraphrasing).

    3. Gosh, how can you call kidnapping and torture a crime when the person hasn’t gone to court to prove that it’s a crime? We can’t make that determination (in order to decide whether to take the video down).

    Just ignore for a moment the fact that all of these excuses violate VK’s own terms of service.

    Pavel Durov’s acts like no other high tech company on the Web that I’ve ever seen. Facebook would never permit videos of children being solicited for sex and then abducted. does. End of story. You want to join the real world, you want Durov’s Telegram project to not be dogged by accusations of aiding and abetting child prostitution, well, then fix it.

  6. That’s a lie. If you’d like me to post the transcripts of VK’s help center telling Russians that it refuses to remove the videos, I’d be happy to. In fact, we posted them in another story. So good try, but that’s a lie.

    Second, that’s also a lie about Facebook. Your child-prostitution loving friends posted some of their garbage on Facebook and Facebook removed it within a day. So again, that’s a lie.

    Third, again that’s a lie about Russian law. Russian law says nothing about requiring Pavel durov to permit his site to be used to plan and execute kidnappings of children as young as 13, who are propositioned for child prostitution. Russian law also says nothing about Pavel Durov being forced to keep videos of abductions live on his web site.

    I’m not sorry, but your comment is 100% untrue. Durov couldn’t give a damn about the gay or trans people, or he’d have stopped these neo-Nazis from using his Web site to plan and execute the kidnappings of gay and trans Russians. I get that may this kind of thing is acceptable in Russia, but it’s not acceptable in the developed world where Durov is trying to do business. If he’s going to try to play with the big boys, then he has to act like a modern citizen of the world, and that includes not tolerating child prostitution, kidnappings, and hate crimes. It’s not really that much to ask,.

  7. I don’t care. We’d win. The Russians don’t hold a candle to us – most of the world doesn’t – in terms of online activism. We had Putin tied in knots over the last year. Let them say this is all about pedophiles, I’ll be happy to bring out the videos of the 13 year old boys these guys propositioned for sex, with money, which is child prostitution, using Pavel Durov’s web site to commit the crime and then publish the crime. Durov wants to play that game, I’m happy to play.

  8. Mike says:

    The problem is that OP activists claims themselves as pedophilia fighters. If you ban their activity they would make mass media hysteria that VK supports pedophiles like you did here by this post only opposite style.

    I can’t see from where did you realize that OP kidnap kids as far as they actually try to catch pedophiles who is not kids at all.

  9. (извините за нескромный вопрос) Вы были жертвой на видео?

  10. Alexander Burkov says:

    Он ничего не удаляет и я готов это подтвердить.

  11. I think you put things out of context.

    1. VK removes a video upon receiving a complaint from the victim shown in it, and you totally “forget” to mention that.

    2. Facebook has refused to delete pages with hate speech, animal torture, bomb making instructions and rape jokes. The question of the free speech limits is extremely difficult, and it’s easy to paint Zuckerberg as a villain just as you did with Durov. Why do you still use Facebook?

    3. The problem with homophobia in Russia is not limited to VK. It spreads to the Russian laws that Durov had to comply with — like the notorious “gay propaganda ban”. The police is doing little to stop OP — and they’re the people whose job is to stop things like that. A couple of days ago a screening of a documentary about gay kids was disrupted by homophobic activists and police didn’t do a thing to stop them. You could as well tell your readers to avoid the whole Russia.

  12. It’s worse than that. They proposition the 13 year olds for sex by offering them cash in exchange and they make the offer via So it’s actually child solicitation.

  13. Medio Planeta says:

    Thanks for your point of view: I’m now looking for others…

  14. Thom Allen says:

    Question: If the Occupy Pedophilia idiots recruit young “bait” and have to tell them that they’re trying to entrap gays via sex, isn’t that promoting “gay propaganda” to children? Shouldn’t they be prosecuted for doing that?

  15. I can’t wait for the first investor to be named. I’m guessing it’ll be the first time they’ve ever had to answer questions about neo-Nazis.

  16. annatopia says:

    and i just googled up that article. had i read it prior to today that app woulda been off my phone ages ago.

  17. annatopia says:

    telegram will become a big deal once the general public catches on to it’s intended features. investors are going to be pouring money into telegram this year. basically it’s a messaging app that encrypts messages, then destroys them. so yea, with all the snooping/snowden revelations, there is a demand for these sorts of things.

    it’s user based increased dramatically back in february when whatsapp started having issues. you can read about it here if you like:

  18. Oh, good, I had no idea Telegram was that big a deal. But feared it might. Potential investors, and business partners, are forwarned. They work with this company and they’re going to need to explain why they support the kidnapping of gay 13 year old by neo-nazis.

  19. annatopia says:

    john i’m really glad that you let us know this jackhole is working on telegram. i got real excited about that because it’s supposed to encrypt some mobile phone traffic. just deleted the app from my device.

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