'Russia's Zuckerberg' throws money out the window

27-year-old Pavel Durov spends some of his weekend tossing paper planes made of 5,000-ruble (around $160) notes out of his office window. A crowd scrambles to pick up the money.

msbud2; Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Perhaps this was his version of a reverse IPO. You know, instead of taking money from the people, giving it back to the people.

True, that's not a very Russian concept, but something must explain the actions of Pavel Durov, the 27-year-old sometimes referred to as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg.

For here he was, together with his company's vice president, tossing paper planes out of his St. Petersburg office window. Oh, nothing more than juvenile behavior, you might imagine. But how juvenile.

For the planes were made out of 5,000-ruble notes. That's about $160 per identified flying object.

As Russia Today reports, "the colleagues took great joy watching the crowd's reaction."

Well, indeed. For ordinary Russians are not exactly rich. They spend their days steeling themselves against some of the nation's inevitabilities.

It is not surprising, then, that Russia Today describes one witnesses' view of what happened: "People turned into dogs, as they were literally attacking the notes. They broke each other's noses, climbed the traffic lights with their prey -- just like monkeys. Shame on Durov!"

On his Russian-language Twitter account -- which enjoys a mere 168,000 followers -- the young genius reportedly explained his behavior by saying he just wanted to create a festive atmosphere, for St. Petersburg was celebrating City Day.

He added: "We had to stop soon, though, as people turned into animals. Definitely, more such actions are to follow."

Durov is the founder of VKontakte, a social network whose pages look remarkably similar to those of Facebook.

You will be stunned into tossing your own wallet out of the window when I tell you that he intended to put his company through an IPO. However, Reuters reports that, after Facebook's peculiar public-offering experience , he has decided to delay the offering.

Durov is said to be an interesting individual. Despite being worth a mere $260 million, he recently offered a manifesto, in which he made suggestions on how to turn Russia into a more dynamic country.

On the list was getting rid of the currency, as well as allowing foreigners to buy up parts of Russia to create their own little states. How much should I bid for Siberia?

Watching this footage and reading his explanation, some might imagine that Durov is exhibiting the behavior of a particularly classless oaf, who could do with being locked up in the company of cannibals for a week or two.

A few might ponder, though, whether his actions reflect a mind-set that isn't entirely foreign to tech entrepreneurs, in, say, California.

No, they wouldn't necessarily toss cash out of their office windows, because, well, who needs cash in Palo Alto?

But there's a certain distance -- sometimes very obvious -- between those who can make huge sums by creating hugely superficial tech products, and people who don't know if they'll ever get another paycheck.

Sometimes, it's hard not to imagine that some tech entrepreneurs look down upon real people and think: "What a bunch of ignorant dummies."

 

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