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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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | 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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