Pavel Durov, the enigmatic founder of Telegram, announced that the number of Telegram Premium subscribers has soared past the 5 million mark. The renowned messenger’s premium service witnessed an extraordinary surge of one million new subscribers in just a month, marking a rapid acceleration in growth.

While Durov’s initial benchmark of 20 million premium users to cover all costs remains distant, the recent leap from 4 million to 5 million within a month is a significant feat. Notably, the journey to the first 4 million took a year and a half, underscoring the intensified momentum in Telegram’s premium adoption.

In a peculiar twist, a Telegram representative recently confirmed the company’s lack of assets in Russia. This revelation coincides with Russia unexpectedly rescinding fines imposed by local courts. Strikingly, similar fines on global tech giants like Google, YouTube, Alphabet, Meta, and TikTok were mysteriously cleared after updates to the debtor registry earlier this year.

The premium saga began in mid-June 2022, and since then, Telegram Premium has become a phenomenon. Durov proudly shared that Telegram Premium is the fastest-growing paid subscription in messenger history. Doubling its subscribers in just five months and quadrupling within a year, the premium service has now exceeded 4 million users.

Telegram’s Stories feature, borrowed from Snapchat, debuted during the messenger’s 10th-anniversary celebration, gaining traction amid the Ukrainian conflict. As one of the primary news dissemination platforms, Telegram’s popularity in Ukraine has surged.

Despite its success, Telegram faces scrutiny for potential dangers, especially during wartime. Concerns about propaganda and hostility led Ukrainian authorities to explore regulation. Criticisms also stem from the absence of end-to-end encryption in regular chats, a point emphasized by Yaroslav Azhnyuk in a column questioning Ukraine’s tolerance of Russia’s Telegram.

Pavel Durov’s complex identity adds another layer to Telegram’s narrative. An Emirati programmer of Russian origin, Durov, averse to being labeled Russian, co-founded the banned Russian social network Vkontakte. Despite his history, Durov has yet to publicly denounce Russia as an aggressor, contributing to the intricate tapestry surrounding Telegram’s growth and its founder’s enigmatic stance.