Pavel Durov does not intend to sell Telegram, in part or in full. The founder and CEO of the encrypted messaging service recently denied reports that he’s in talks with a Russian tech company. Durov also criticized the Trump administration regarding its stance against TikTok, claiming that the U.S. could “kill the internet.”
Durov’s statement came after a report by a Russian tech outlet claimed that he was in talks with Mail.ru to sell Telegram. The report by iXBT claimed that Telegram had been going through financial struggles after the failed TON blockchain project which regulators thwarted. Telegram’s tense relations with the Russian government also reportedly played a big part in the decision to sell.
Durov denied the rumors on his Telegram channel, stating, “We are not selling Telegram – neither in part, nor in full. This will always be our position.”
He revealed that he has been under pressure to sell Telegram for years to specific investors who are aligned to their governments. This is a struggle many global tech companies go through, he claimed, citing Uber’s sale of local operations in China and Russia to local investors.
“I am proud that, unlike Uber, we at Telegram have always declined offers to sell our operations in specific countries.”
This isn’t the first time that the Russian government has pressured Durov to sell a company he founded. In 2012, he came under intense pressure to sell his stake in VKontakte, a social media company he had founded. Just as with Telegram, he came at odds with the Russian government after he refused to allow it to access user details. He was eventually forced out, with Mail.ru buying his stake to become the sole owner.
In his Telegram post, Durov also attacked the Trump administration for its stance against video-sharing social media app TikTok. The U.S. government has fought TikTok fiercely, claiming its close ties to the Chinese government make it a security threat to the United States.
According to Durov, “the US move against TikTok is setting a dangerous precedent that may eventually kill the internet as a truly global network (or what is left of it).”
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