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Easy money: Russian Zuckerberg provokes crowd fight over $160 notes

Published time: May 28, 2012 15:33
Edited time: May 28, 2012 21:02
Pavel Durov throwing money out of his window (photo from www.facebookru.com)

Pavel Durov throwing money out of his window (photo from www.facebookru.com)

While Mark Zuckerberg is on honeymoon, his less romantically successful Russian colleague – founder of the country’s most popular social network VKontakte – seems to be splashing out on doubtful experiments.

­Bored with his never-ending dolce vita, 27-year-old millionaire Pavel Durov and his vice president spent their weekend making paper planes out of 5,000-rouble notes (around $160) and sending them into the St. Petersburg crowd – right from the window of the social net’s central office.

The colleagues reportedly took great joy watching the crowd’s reaction. Stunned at first, people quickly realized what was happening and got caught up in a big street brawl – fighting for the notes.

“People turned into dogs as they were literally attacking the notes,” one of the witnesses wrote. “They broke each other’s noses, climbed the traffic lights with their prey – just like monkeys. Shame on Durov!”

Meanwhile, those who triggered the fight were laughing and filming the events. All in all, the young men sent down about $2,000. Later Durov explained that all they wanted was to create “a festive atmosphere” in the city – that weekend, St. Petersburg was marking City Day.

“We had to stop soon, though, as people turned into animals,” he wrote in his Twitter. “Definitely, more such actions are to follow.”

Russian bloggers called Durov’s “experiment” crazy and provocative.

“5,000 rubles is a big sum for many people,” an outraged web author wrote. “It was too cruel to throw away such money and watch how others behave.”

Pavel Durov is the creator and owner of VKontakte (“In Contact”) social network – one of the best-known social platforms in Russia. His fortune is estimated at 7.9 billion rubles ($260 million).

Making aeroplanes out of money is not Durov’s only odd gesture in recent months. He also published his political manifesto, suggesting ways of turning Russia into a thriving country. Among the measures were getting rid of the rouble, as well as laws and restrictions, and letting foreigners rent Russian territory so they can create mini-states.