The Washington PostThe Washington Post

How the founder of the Telegram messaging app stood up to the Kremlin — and won

By Isabelle Khurshudyan

27 Jun 2020 · 5 min read

The man who took on the Kremlin and won is rarely heard from: a tech nomad in self-imposed exile with a reclusive aura and signature all-black attire as a nod to "The Matrix."

Two years ago, Pavel Durov refused to grant Russian security services access to users' encrypted messages on his popular Telegram messaging app, then a favorite of Russian opposition groups. The reply from authorities was either submit or become wiped off the country's digital map.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content