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Security

Telegram CEO poses topless in riposte to Putin ban

Commentary: After Russia blocks his messaging app, Pavel Durov shows that his body is more beautiful than even that of the Russian president.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, shirtless

A future Russian president?

Pavel Durov/Instagram; screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

What do you do if Russia decides that your encrypted messaging app is a danger to its, um, democracy and blocks it?

Scream to the high heavens, perhaps? Or merely rip off your clothes and stare menacingly?

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov seems to have decided on the political artistry of the latter.

He took his shirt off to reveal a singular buffness, and displayed it for all to see on Instagram.

The caption read: "My favorite movie is '300'. The story about 300 Spartans fighting to protect the freedom of their compatriots will inspire people thousands of years from now."

Naturally, this is a reference to Russia and its very particular definition of freedom, one that some say embraces trying to freely use technology to interfere in free elections all over the world.

Durov added: "News from the front: Russian authorities have blocked 18 million IP addresses to ban Telegram, but the app remains accessible for Russians. Thank you for all the support and love ?? #digitalresistance #putinshirtlesschallenge." 

Should you be unfamiliar with the PutinShirtlessChallenge, this was originally created by Durov -- who founded the Russian version of Facebook, VKontatke, as well as Telegram -- in order to tweak the Russian president's own topless photos.

I feel sure that aesthetes everywhere would compare Durov's physique favorably in a side-to-side with Putin's.

Durov didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Of course, the tussle over encryption isn't confined to Russia. In his new book "A Higher Loyalty," former FBI Director James Comey expresses his distaste for Apple's insistence on it.

I fancy the fight has only just begun. Will Putin now strike back? With a new topless photo, that is?

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