The CEO of Russia’s largest social network has been sanctioned by the US
Though it does not have the global reach of Facebook, VK — formerly known as VKontakte — is Russia’s most popular social media platform. It claims to have over 70 million monthly active users, nearly a fifth the size of Twitter, and the great majority of these accounts post in Russian from within Russia’s geographical borders.
Kiriyenko was not a founder of Vkontakte; in fact, his affiliation with the company began in 2021. However, his appointment as CEO is the climax of a narrative that has seen the social network pivot away from a platform dedicated to privacy and free expression and toward one that is far more likely to toe Putin’s party line.