Vladimir Gabrielyan and Sergei Merzlyakov died as a result of a tragic car accident near the White Sea, northwest coast of Russia.
"Today, we learned about the tragic death of Vladimir Gabrielyan and Sergei Merzlyakov. They were among the best Russian IT specialists," the Russian communications watchdog said.
The Union of Reindeer Breeders reported the accident. Four people in two vehicles were driving along the coast of the White Sea. The cars overturned while crossing the river. Two people, including Gabrielyan's wife, managed to get ashore while Gabrielyan and Merzlyakov disappeared.
Since 2005, Gabrielyan has been Vice President and CTO of Mail.ru Group. In 2019, he became the first deputy general director of VK, and this March, he joined VK's board of directors.
"Vladimir is one of the most famous Russian internet professionals. His name for everyone in the industry and far beyond is inextricably linked with Mail.ru Group, VK, the development of advanced Internet technologies, and iconic digital projects in Russia. He stood at the origins of the company, created its infrastructure, and launched products that, without exaggeration, changed people's lives for the better," VK said in a press release.
Before joining VK, Merzlyakov was the CEO of MaxPower. In 2018, he became VK's purchasing director.
In April, VK reached an agreement in principle with Yandex LLC to purchase its media business, namely News and Zen.
Last year, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's company sold 57.3% of VK's voting shares to state-run insurer Sogaz, founded by Gazprom and part-owned by banker Yuri Kovalchuk, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin.
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