Do you want to unblock censored websites and access geo-restricted content from around the world? A VPN for Russia will provide privacy while also letting you unblock websites and online services.
Sadly, since October 2017, Russia has also begun to restrict access to VPNs. ISPs now block access to VPN and proxy websites. This means that finding a VPN that still works in Russia can be tricky. Fear not, however, as we have done the work for you and found the best five VPNs guaranteed to work in Russia today.
The Best VPN for Russia 2019
The best VPN for Russia in 2019 is NordVPN. Take a look at our video review below.
For some alternatives, take a look at the table below. The VPNs listed are the 5 best VPNs for Russia in 2019.
Why use a VPN in Russia?
In Russia, the government is highly invasive. Huge numbers of foreign websites are blacklisted for many different reasons. Foreign news is often subjected to blackouts - as are foreign services such as Google. Ukrainian sites are blocked due to the ongoing conflict, and other websites that are critical of the Russian government (or that the Kremlin decide are incompatible morally and religiously) are also censored. Pornography, for example, is heavily restricted.
The government also places citizens under high levels of surveillance. This is due to get even worse this year thanks to the introduction of new Yarovaya laws - a VPN is the only way to ensure both internet freedom and digital privacy within the country.
In 2014, the Russian government passed a law requiring all bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to follow the same regulations as large-scale media outlets. This includes having to write using their real name and official registration with Koskomnadzor, the nation’s media regulator.
Expressing dissenting political views can result in imprisonment within Russia. Any support of "terrorism" (mainly defined as anti-government rhetoric) within the nation can also result in a seven-year prison sentence. Since the ‘law on bloggers’ came into effect, many Russians have begun to take their privacy more seriously. As a result, the use of VPNs in the country has vastly increased.
Russia Bans Telegram Messenger
On Friday 19 April 2019 a Moscow court authorized Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications, and technology watchdog, to block the popular Telegram Messenger app.
The move follows demands from the Federal Security Service (FSB) that Telegram hand over its encryption keys to the secretive KGB successor after claiming that it is widely used by terrorists. Telegram refused.
Good news, however, is that Telegram can still be freely accessed in Russia using a VPN. This is because a VPN hides the fact that you are connecting to the Telegram network from your internet and/or mobile provider (and therefore the Roskomnadzor).
For more information on this story please see our full Russia Bans Telegram Messenger article.
Using VPN for privacy in Russia
A Virtual Private Network for Russia overcomes all government-imposed censorship. Once connected to a VPN, users are free to look at any blog or news source that they wish, without fear of being flagged up as someone with dissenting opinions and views.
A VPN also bypasses geo-restrictions so that people can access content and services from overseas. A VPN will also allow users to overcome network restrictions imposed by local administrators such as employers and landlords.
In addition, reliable Russian VPN apps encrypt all web traffic. By scrambling data with military grade encryption, a VPN for Russia stops ISPs from collecting web browsing data on behalf of the government. With this in mind, a VPN app is the best digital privacy tool available.
A VPN also conceals the user's real location. This stops the websites that they visit from being able to track their real IP address. This is good for privacy but also means that VPN users can pretend to be in a different country. By connecting to a VPN server in a foreign country - users can overcome both censorship and geo-restrictions.
Using a VPN for Security in Russia
Whether you are at home or on public WiFi, a VPN can help you to stay secure. Using public WiFi on a regular basis opens you up to the possibility of being hacked. Even at home, your IP address can give hackers a way to pinpoint cyberattacks at you. With a VPN your IP address is securely concealed.
In addition, VPN encryption protects all your data from hackers by scrambling it. This protects your passwords, credit card details - and other sensitive data - from being snooped on by hackers, IPS, and the government. It also protects your data from being hacked by anybody exploiting the KRACK vulnerability found in many routers.
Are VPNs Legal in Russia?
In October 2017, Putin's government banned VPNs. However, the law doesn't actually make it illegal to use a VPN for personal or business reasons. As such, it is legal to use a VPN in Russia. However, since Russia started banning VPNs, getting hold of a reliable one has become much more difficult. Thankfully, once you do manage to get a VPN installed - it is legal to use it.
Russian VPN Laws
At the end of October 2019, the law banning VPNs came into force. It forces ISPs in Russia to block all websites that sell VPN services. It is possible that some of the VPNs in this article are blocked. That may put you in the unusual position of needing a VPN, or proxy service, in order to access the VPN that you want. If the VPN app you want to subscribe to is blocked in Russia, please inform us by leaving a message at the end of this article. We will help you to resolve the issue.
VPN in Russia
Due to the fact that the Russian government forces Russian-based servers to hand over data to the government, some VPNs are unwilling to run servers within the country. Even when VPNs do have Russian servers, on the whole, it is better to use a server located elsewhere. By using a VPN server in a country with strong data protection laws, you guarantee that your online activities are better protected from Russia's invasive government.
All of the VPNs in this article have been carefully selected because they have important features such as a killswitch, DNS leak protection, VPN cloaking technology, auto connect, and OpenVPN encryption. Our recommended VPNs have strong privacy policies that never store logs about what their users do online.
Russian VPN for Android
The VPNs in this article provide software for all platforms. That means you can use the VPN on three simultaneous devices (or more - depending on the VPN). That includes on Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
What Can I Do with a VPN in Russia?
A Russia VPN is extremely useful. Not only can you overcome government censorship and regain access to blacklisted websites, but you can also access geo-restricted websites too. With a VPN, you can unblock and watch British TV channels like ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer.
You can also watch foreign sports such as football, formula 1 or UFC fighting a lot cheaper. You can even subscribe to US cable on Sling TV and watch the world's best shows the moment they come out. A VPN truly unlocks the whole internet, allowing you to visit any website or use any service.
Connect to VPN Servers in Russia
If you are outside of Russia and want to use Russian websites such as Vkontakte (VK.com), the search engine Yandex, Mail.ru, and Odnoklassniki (OK.ru) - you will need to connect to a VPN server in Russia. Many Russian speakers in Ukraine, for example, must use a VPN with a Russian server in order to use Russia's version of Facebook (VK.com).
No matter where you are, you can use a VPN server to pretend to be in Russia if that is what you wish. However, on the whole, we recommend using servers located outside of Russia whenever possible: as this will be better for your privacy.
In Russia, the government imposes an iron will on its people. Mandatory data retention and censorship are common and there is pressure on firms to store all data about Russian citizens on servers located within the country.
With a VPN for Russia, citizens can regain control of their data privacy thanks to encryption. Internet users can access websites without fear of being snooped on. In addition, a VPN will keep their data safe from hackers both at home and on public WiFi.
For others, who don't necessarily want to bypass Russia's censorship, a VPN is still awesome for unblocking websites that are geo-restricted for copyright reasons. Geo-restrictions stop Russians from watching foreign TV channels, sports competitions, and online services. With a VPN, anybody can pretend to be overseas to access foreign content.
Title Image credit: Ad_hominem/Shutterstock.com