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‘Resignation’ no laughing matter

Moscow - The founder of Russia's top social network, Pavel Durov, retracted his resignation from VKontakte on Thursday, hinting that news of his departure had been an April Fools' joke.

Durov had announced that he was stepping down as chief executive of the site sometimes referred to as “Russia's Facebook” on Tuesday, April 1, signing off with a cryptic quote from the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series: “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish”.

Screenshot of VKontakte

Although the news was initially thought to be an April Fool's stunt, it was later confirmed by shareholders.

But on Thursday he posted a picture of a dog on his page on VK - the new name of VKontakte - with the caption: “I want to wish everyone who had thought that I would resign of my own will a happy recent holiday.”

United Capital Partners, a major shareholder with whom Durov had fallen out, confirmed that the social media guru had also sent the company a note informing them that he wanted to retract his resignation.

“We can confirm that around 4am Moscow time, all board members of VK received a letter from Pavel Durov revoking his prior resignation,” spokeswoman Nafisa Nasyrova said in an email, without explaining whether or not Durov will be allowed to resume his former post.

Durov is said to have officially offered his resignation in March, although news of his departure only became public this week.

In the letter, published by Forbes magazine's Russia edition, Durov reportedly said: “My resignation at this moment can create unnecessary risks for the company. I intend to remain and serve as the CEO.”

Commenting on Durov's suggestion that his resignation had been a joke, Nasyrova suggested shareholders had not found the whole escapade particularly humorous.

“We do not consider it funny especially taking into account that the board of VK is meeting at the moment in Riga to discuss candidates for Durov's replacement,” Nasyrova said.

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