Russia’s internet is edging closer to totalitarianism and the full suppression of free expression. Activists for digital rights are often arrested and subjected to assaults and cyber attacks. All of this has resulted in a dramatic surge in the usage of VPNs.
Due to the worsening nature of internet freedoms in Russia, web surfing requires the usage of a VPN. A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, encrypts all traffic to and from your device and routes it via a chosen intermediate server. It conceals your true location from curious monitoring agencies and hackers, making it very difficult for intruders to dig into your online activity.
Additionally, VPNs may be used by bloggers, social media activists, and others advocating for digital rights to continue posting online anonymously and with much less danger of being found (more on that later in this article). Simultaneously, a VPN significantly improves your online experience by restoring access to your favorite services (such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and Vudu) when traveling.
Our top VPN for Russia is based on the following criteria:
- Service reliability and speed.
- A vast network of servers located around the globe.
- Collaborate with well-known streaming providers, such as Netflix.
- Encryption settings that are strong enough to guarantee privacy and anonymity.
- Convenience of usage.
- Without a hitch, unblock geo-restricted content.
- Android and iOS applications.
Russia has asked that many prominent VPN services connect their domestic servers to the country’s state-run censorship agency. As a result, the provider mentioned below has refused to comply and hence does not have servers in Russia at the moment. However, this service may still be used in Russia to circumvent restrictions. Simply put, you are unable to connect to a Russian server or get a Russian IP address.
Methodology used for Russian VPN testing
Finding a reputable VPN for Russia might be a pain. There are several VPN providers on the market, but not all of them provide Russian servers or the level of secrecy required to use a VPN without running afoul of the law.
To identify VPNs that are both highly successful and have robust privacy and security features, we use a meticulous VPN testing technique. We’ve provided a list of the most critical aspects we looked at while evaluating VPNs for Russia below.
- Reliable servers: To access banned content in Russia and to browse the internet in complete privacy and freedom, you’ll need a VPN with a large global server network. We’ve highlighted a service in this guide that has fast servers capable of HD streaming and torrenting. Additionally, we sought servers in Russia that would allow you to access local services while encrypting your traffic for privacy concerns.
- All-platform applications: A reliable VPN for Russia must have applications for all commonly used devices. This means that the VPN is adaptable and can be used to get internet privacy and access from anywhere, whether at home, work, or public wi-fi. In this article, we’ve selected a VPN with applications for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Additionally, we prefer a VPN that enables simultaneous usage on numerous devices.
- Protection against DNS leaks. We examined each VPN to ensure there were no IP or DNS leaks. Additionally, we tested for dedicated IPv4 and IPv6 leak protection to guarantee that your browsing requests are always securely proxied to avoid spying by your ISP or government.
- Encryption of military-grade. The tunnel built between your device and the VPN server must be very secure to ward off eavesdroppers such as government snoopers. We’ve suggested a top-tier provider in this article that uses safe VPN protocols with robust AES-256 encryption.
- Excellent accessibility. Not all VPNs provide servers that are capable of connecting to popular overseas services. We examined VPN for Russia to guarantee that they would allow access to Netflix US, iPlayer, Hulu, and banned applications and content such as Telegram.
- Support through live chat. We’ve picked up a VPN in this guide that offers an abundance of informative instructions and FAQs on their websites. Additionally, our suggestions include email and live chat assistance to assist you with setting up and utilizing the VPN.
How can I utilize a virtual private network (VPN) in Russia?
In this section, we’ll walk you through the process of configuring your VPN. If you are a foreign expatriate residing in Russia and want to get an IP address from your home country or another non-Russian location, follow the procedures detailed below:
- Browse our suggested VPN provider and choose the package that’s right for you.
- Create an account and pay for the service.
- After that, download the associated applications (for your phone) or software (for your computer) (for PC or macOS).
- To erase outdated location identifiers, clear your cookies and cache in all web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, and UCWeb).
- Restart your computer or device.
- Begin by launching the VPN companion program and logging in.
- Choose a server in the nation from which you’re attempting to receive an IP address—for example, Canada or Spain.
- Allow a few seconds to establish the connection. After that, a green notification symbol should appear in the taskbar or at the top of your smartphone’s screen.
- Browse the web normally. You’ll notice that host websites will assume your location is in the nation to which you are now connected, allowing you to view previously inaccessible content.
If you are a Russian citizen traveling abroad and want to access your typical services and websites from your home country, just pick a VPN with Russian servers and choose Russia in step 7 above.
Russian VPN FAQs
Is it necessary to utilize a free VPN?
Free VPNs are plentiful and may appear in your search results due to their heavy advertising. However, if you’re looking for a quality browsing experience, avoid them.
Free VPNs have a bad tendency to finance their services by bombarding you with intrusive advertisements, encrypting your data, and selling it to marketers. Additionally, some have stolen your bandwidth to convert you into a foot soldier in a vast botnet army.
Expect bandwidth restrictions, data limits, and extremely limited server selection.
The VPN mentioned in the article has a free trial period. That is a viable choice if you are unsure whether to totally rely on a VPN. However, we highly encourage you to stay away from random ones available on the internet. There is no such thing as a complimentary meal.
What is the internet’s future in Russia?
According to internet advocacy group Freedom House, the country’s digital environment is “not free,” citing a series of recent legislative changes dubbed “Yarovaya’s Law” that weaken the security of encrypted communications and expand government access to user data. “Inciting” or “justifying” terrorism online is now punished by a possible seven-year prison sentence, with the Russian government targeting social media users with ambiguous and broad wording in the law.
The monitoring organization places responsibility squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that the crackdown on internet freedom is a clear effort to cement his rule. Content critical of the government’s activities in Crimea and its role in the Ukrainian crisis is regularly filtered through independent news organizations under legal and economic pressure from the Kremlin.
If the prior several years are any indication, the Russian internet environment is unlikely to see an increase in freedom. Authorities have continued to impose restrictions on access to information relating to radical Islam, the war with Ukraine, or any sort of organized political opposition.
Thousands more websites continue to be blacklisted arbitrarily. In July, almost 2,000 protesters marched through Moscow’s streets, demanding that the government abandon all attempts to restrict and monitor internet content.
A series of new laws, presented in parliament but not yet enacted, seek to compel VPN companies operating in the nation to follow a government-approved list of blocked websites. Additionally, the legislation contains a provision requiring internet service providers to maintain a six-month log of the websites their customers visit. Additionally, it would oblige instant messaging providers like WhatsApp to pass up encryption keys, allowing authorities to monitor communications’ content.
According to Human Rights Watch, Russian interference on the internet has been a key state strategy since 2012, when authorities recognized the need to avert the kind of public rebellion seen in 2011–12. Previously, the internet was seen as a benign place incapable of influencing public opinion, and ministries concentrated their efforts on limiting information on television, print, and radio.
The internet is currently considered the sole channel through which considerable criticism of the governing party’s policies exists, and one that must be reined in. The situation has deteriorated to the point that ordinary Russian people have no idea what constitutes free expression. Arbitrary legal definitions are used to stifle truth-telling, while state-run media channels continue to spew slanted reportage, notably on regional disputes.
How can I maintain an anonymous blog in Russia?
We’ve already discussed how the Kremlin is attempting to suppress bloggers by threatening them with imprisonment and brutal physical attacks. That is a frightening concept. However, whether you are an activist or a journalist, we realize the critical nature of spreading your message. After all, the media is the fourth pillar of the state, and democracy cannot thrive without free expression.
Our article on how to remain anonymous when writing on the internet contains adequate depth and recommended practices. Attempt to follow the detailed instructions we’ve described. While there is no assurance that your privacy will stay concealed in perpetuity, we think you may safeguard yourself enough by taking reasonable precautions to reduce your digital trace.
Are Virtual Private Networks legal in Russia?
Although VPNs are not banned in Russia, those used by Russian citizens must be government-approved and licensed. VPNs that are not state-approved are blocked in the country, and the Kremlin is investigating a number of providers for allegedly supporting criminal actions endangering national security.
Additionally, a series of new legislation presented in parliament but not yet enacted seeks to compel VPN companies operating in the nation to follow a government-approved list of blacklisted websites. Additionally, the regulations contain a provision requiring internet service providers (including VPNs) to maintain a six-month log of websites visited by subscribers.
If approved, these rules might have a detrimental effect on Russia’s VPN environment. It is worth emphasizing, however, that the Kremlin will have difficulty enforcing many of the laws it has enacted (and is attempting to enact) in reality. Having said that, Russia’s regulations have the potential to transform internet service providers such as ISPs, messaging services, social media platforms, and VPN providers into de facto criminal organizations, simply because compliance with all of the Yarovaya legislation is so difficult.
Due to the continuing political situation in Russia, the usage of VPNs is more appropriately considered as a gray area. In general, using a VPN to conduct lawful activities should not get you in hot water. However, obtaining a VPN download from inside Russia might be difficult, and anyone planning to visit soon will benefit from purchasing a VPN subscription and installing VPN applications before their arrival.
Finally, it is important to remember that using a VPN to access information that has been prohibited by the government for political purposes may constitute a violation of anti-terrorism legislation. As such, we highly advise you to do your own research prior to selecting to use a VPN. Nothing in this tutorial represents legal advice, and you use a VPN at your own risk.