Budapest decided to stop receiving gas through the Ukrainian pipeline and chose to have it delivered through Austria and Serbia, the most loyal countries to the Kremlin.
By Martin Chomsky

Gazprom has taken control of Russia’s popular social networking site VKontakte. The gas giant bought the stake from Russia’s richest man Alisher Usmanov through a network of companies.

Russian gas giant Gazprom has taken control of popular social networking site VKontakte, Reuters Agency reported. The platform has about 600 million users, mainly from Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The transaction was carried out through Sogaz, a company founded by Gazprom. This company provides insurance services. The head of the supervisory board of this entity is Alexei Miller, who also holds the position of chairman of Gazprom. Interestingly, a shareholder in Sogaz is Yuri Kovalchuk, who is considered a friend of Vladimir Putin.

Sogaz has bought back the shares in MF Technologies (which controls the VKontakte Group) owned by USM, a company owned by Alisher Usmanov, a multi-billionaire famous for being the richest Russian. In addition, Gazprombank also increased its stake in MF Technologies.

All these actions have given Gazprom control of the majority of votes in the VKontakte Group. Criticism of the venture, voiced in The Moscow Times, pointed out that Gazprom, a Russian state-owned company, is a facade for government control of the Internet and digital platforms. The gas giant – through its company Gazprom Media – has launched a portal called Yappy, a rival to TikTok.