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5 Best Russian VPN services in 2022

Using a Russian VPN can drastically improve your online privacy and security. VPNs encrypt all your data, which protects you against government snoops, hackers on public wifi, and tracking at the hands of your ISP. 

A VPN also changes your IP address. This allows you to unblock region-locked or censored websites. As a result, you can access Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and other international services from Russia - or websites and services only available in Russia - from abroad.

Russia now blocks IPs associated with VPNs and forces VPN providers to log data from Russian servers. This makes it much harder to find a reliable Russian VPN service.

In this guide, we have recommended the best VPNs for Russia. These services still work in the country. We also provide tips for staying secure online in Russia and abroad.

What are the best Russian VPNs in 2022?

We have listed the best Russian VPN services below. If you need more information about any of the services listed below, scroll down for an in-depth analysis of each service.

  1. NordVPN - The most user-friendly VPN for Russia. It's jam-packed with privacy features, offers great speeds, and it's very easy to use.
  2. ExpressVPN - A security-first premium VPN, with stealth servers, lightning fast servers worldwide, and a proprietary protocol called Lightway.
  3. Surfshark - A reliable and fast VPN for Russia– it's a super-fast, budget-friendly service that offers Russian servers and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  4. PrivateVPN - An excellent, cheap VPN for Russia. It offers exceptional security features, including stealth servers, and Russian IPs.
  5. VyprVPN - An all-round Russia VPN. Offers Russia IPs, was audited by a third-party to prove that it's secure, and it doesn't keep logs.

All the VPNs for Russia have the following features to ensure you get the most out of your VPN:

Paying for a VPN in Russia

In light of global sanctions on Russia and its citizens, you may need to pay for your subscription with cryptocurrency. Fortunately, Surfshark accepts cryptocurrency payments for seamless and anonymous purchasing.

The best VPN for Russia – In-depth analysis

We take a closer look at the best VPNs for Russia below. If you still want more information about any of the services listed, check out our detailed VPN reviews.

NordVPN is a user-friendly Russia VPN. It's highly customizable, with advanced features, excellent apps, and impressive speeds. All at a budget-friendly price.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • Christmas Deal - 24 months + 3 months FREE: $2.99/mth
      76% OFF
    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $3.69/mth
      70% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Highly customizable VPN with advanced features
    • Provides obfuscated (stealth) servers
    • Lightning-fast, great for streaming
  • Cons

    • Doesn't have servers in Russia
    • Less server locations than ExpressVPN
    • No port forwarding
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Nord Demo

Nord Demo Nord Demo


 


NordVPN is a zero-logs VPN provider from Panama (a country that's great for your privacy) that has been independently audited (twice) – making it a perfect choice for privacy-conscious users in Russia. Its apps are extremely elegant and easy to use, and they come with some of the most advanced features on the market, such as a kill-switch, Onion over VPN, DNS leak protection, and obfuscated servers that can hide your VPN usage altogether.


The provider offers super strong AES-256 encryption and a great variety of VPN protocols, including its proprietary protocol called NordLynx, based on speedy and reliable WireGuard. So it's no wonder that, whenever I tested and used it, this VPN was incredibly speedy – even with the most data-consuming tasks such as VoIP calls, gaming, and streaming. Speaking of which, NordVPN is particularly adept at giving you access to all the popular streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime. Besides, many of its servers are optimized for streaming, and others are P2P enabled, so you can enjoy both safe streaming and torrenting in Russia.


Currently, NordVPN doesn't have servers in Russia. However, dut to current circumstances and the Russia's Yarovaya laws we strongly recommend against using Russian servers for privacy purposes.  With NordVPN, you'll get no shortage of foreign servers, which makes it ideal for geo-hopping. Connecting to a server couldn't be simpler. NordVPN is famous for its interactive servers map, where you can choose a preferred server location and just hit connect. Or, you can choose the Quick Connect option, which instantly pairs you with the best-recommended server for you at that moment.


This VPN allows up to six simultaneous connections and great cross-platform compatibility, so you can secure all your connections at home or work. Besides, there's a variety of subscription plans to choose from, some of which offer more than just VPN protection. All this makes NordVPN a great value-for-money service. But don't just take my word for it, instead take it for a spin, risk-free, with its 30-day money-back guarantee, and decide for yourself.

ExpressVPN might lack servers in Russia, but can still unblock a wealth of international content in a few clicks. Besides, it's a lightning-fast service and feature-rich.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 12 months + 3 months FREE + Backblaze backup: $6.67/mth
      49% OFF
    • 6 months: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Over 160 locations in 94 countries to choose from
    • Super-fast servers, perfect for streaming and gaming
    • Easy-to-use apps for all platforms
  • Cons

    • Only 5 simultaneous connections
    • An expensive option, but you get a top-notch service
    • No servers in Russia
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo ExpressVPN Demo


ExpressVPN is a superb service that doesn't skimp on security. Admittedly, it doesn't have any servers in Russia, but because of the Yarovaya laws and the ongoing circumstances in Russia, we recommend against connecting to a server within the country, anyway. Of course, if you desperately need to connect to an IP address within Russia, you will need to consider another option.


The good news is that ExpressVPN can unblock just about any service you can think of while in Russia. It works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, international news websites, and much more. The service can also unblock social media sites, so you can stay up to date with loved ones and all the most recent stories from around the world.


ExpressVPN prevents eavesdroppers and the authorities from monitoring your online activities using robust OpenVPN encryption that's strongly implemented. It also runs its very own encrypted DNS, and comes with an automatically enabled kill-switch that prevents your home IP from leaking if your VPN connection drops out. Plus, an audited no-logs policy makes ExpressVPN one of our most secure and feature-rich recommendations for Russia.

Surfshark is an excellent option for Russia that is very affordable. It has strong encryption, it's great at unblocking sites, and has Russian VPN servers in St Petersburg and Moscow.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • Black Friday Deal - 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.22/mth
      83% OFF
    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.3/mth
      83% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Easy-to-use apps for all platforms
    • Exceptional geo-spoofing capabilities
    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • Camouflage servers can bypass strict government censorship
    • Super fast - great for streaming and gaming!
  • Cons

    • Single-month subscription is pricey
    • Fewer server locations than some VPNs bellow
    • Fewer features for macOS users
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

Surfshark Demo

Surfshark Demo Surfshark Demo


Surfshark is an awesome VPN that can be purchased for as little as $1.99 US per month. That is surprisingly cheap considering that this VPN has servers 100 countries worldwide and a heap of security and privacy features for users to take advantage of. 


It has apps for all platforms that come with a wealth of features, including a kill-switch, obfuscation, malware filtering, and ad blocking. It even lets you install the apps on an unlimited number of devices, which means you can share your account with friends and family.


Despite being a zero-logs VPN, Surfshark is one of the few VPN providers that continues to offer a server in Russia. That means that can use it to access regional Russian services while outside of Russia (or to use Russian internet services with added privacy while in Russia). Just bear in mind that because of the Yarovaya laws and the ongoing circumstances in Russia, we recommend sticking to servers elsewhere if possible (Russian servers could be raided).


Finally, Surfshark impressed us with its ability to unblock Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, and it can help you at any time of day thanks to its fantastic 24/7 live chat support. You can take it for a test run yourself, by using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

PrivateVPN boasts coverage in St. Petersburg, stealth servers, and a kill-switch, making it an ideal pick for anyone in Russia.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 36 months: $2/mth
      84% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • SmartDNS technology on every server
    • Beginner-friendly, smooth interface and easy to use
    • P2P and port-forwarding available
    • One of the cheapest VPNs for Russia
  • Cons

    • Not independently audited
    • Not as fast as NordVPN, Surfshark, or ExpressVPN
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN has the feel of a premium VPN service without the expensive price tag! This is doubly impressive when you consider that the service actually has servers in Russia. Connect to its server location in St. Petersburg if you need a Russian IP address, or browse restricted international content by making good use of PrivateVPN's other servers in 63 countries across the globe. Just bear in mind that due to ongoing circumstances in Russia, we generally tend to recommend using servers outside of Russia whenever possible, as the authorities could cease control of Russian-based servers under the worst circumstances.


The VPN can unblock in-demand sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu, and also allows P2P activity – though you'll want to make sure you've turned the kill-switch on before you download anything.


PrivateVPN well and truly lives up to its name, by providing OpenVPN encryption and stealth servers that can get around censorship imposed by even the strictest of regimes. PrivateVPN also protects against DNS and IPv6 leaks, so you don't have to worry about any personal data accidentally making its way back to your ISP or government, and it enforces a watertight no-logs policy.


If you need help at any point, you can reach out to PrivateVPN's customer service via email or live chat to speak to a team of in-house developers. They're friendly, answer queries quickly, and are available 24/7.

VyprVPN is a great all-round VPN for Russia. It has been audited by a third party to prove it is secure and keeps no logs, has great apps, and a server in Moscow.

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    • 12 months: $5/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $10/mth
  • Pros

    • Proprietary Chameleon stealth servers for advanced obfuscation
    • An independently audited VPN with no-logs service
    • Torrent friendly servers
    • Very fast and secure due to own infrastructure
  • Cons

    • A smaller server network than some of the competitors
    • Connection times can be a little slow
    • Only 5 simultaneous connections
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Website

VYPR Demo

VYPR Demo VYPR Demo


VyprVPN has a zero-logs policy and, despite Russian Yarovaya laws that insist on mandatory data retention practices, continues to provide a server in Russia. It's a solid provider focusing deeply on customer privacy, and even offers advanced obfuscation (VPN cloaking) technology in the form of its Chameleon protocol. It's perfect for Russians who want to unblock foreign content without their ISP or government finding out.


What's more, VyprVPN is one of the few providers that has proven its no-logs infrastructure with a full third-party audit of its services. We love that VyprVPN provides access to geo-restricted content worldwide, and because this VPN runs on a proprietary network (that belongs to Golden Frog) it can provide lightning-fast speeds. It even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can compare it to our other providers without risking your cash.

How to use a VPN in Russia

Once you have subscribed to a VPN, using it to gain privacy and bypass censorship is not hard. You can follow the steps below to get your VPN up and running securely:

  1. Choose a VPN that suits your needs best. We've listed the best services for the job above.
  2. Download and install the VPN software onto your device, then log in.
  3. Open the settings menu and ensure that your kill-switch and obfuscation (stealth mode) are turned on to conceal your VPN use from the government.
  4. Choose a VPN server that is close to where you live for the best speeds.
  5. Access restricted services and any content censored by the Russian government.

Why use a VPN in Russia?

In Russia, the government is highly invasive and 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.

A huge number of foreign websites are also blacklisted for many 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 decides 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.

Blogging restrictions

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.

How we research the best VPNs for Russia - VPN testing methodology

Russia has some of the heaviest internet censorship controls in the world, so finding a VPN that works there is a challenging task. However, once we find a VPN that can evade Russian censorship controls, we consider several other criteria to ensure your VPN does more than just "works", allowing you to use your VPN to its full potential.

Our testing criteria looked a little like this:

  • Does it have servers in Russia? Before beginning our testing, the first step is to see if the VPN has Russian servers. If it doesn't, we can guarantee it won't be able to bypass the strict censorship controls in place.
  • Does it unblock popular Russian websites? We then try to access some of the most popular Russian websites, including Yandex, Mail.ru, and more. The VPN is a front-runner if it can successfully unblock these sites.
  • Is it fast enough for streaming and gaming? A VPN might be able to bypass censorship controls, but if it's too slow, it's not going to be much use for anything else. We test the speed of each VPN using Ookla's speedtest.net, so you can see exactly how fast (or slow) it is.
  • Is it easy to use? We want a VPN that's easy to set up and use, even if you're not a tech expert. All VPNs on our list come with clear instructions and user-friendly apps.
  • Is it safe to use in Russia? We only recommend VPNs that are known for their robust security features. This is important not only for evading censorship but also for keeping your data safe from government surveillance.
  • Does it offer good value for money? We think a VPN is only worth paying for if it provides good value for money. That means a combination of features, price, and performance.

The above is only a snippet of our criteria, but it gives you an idea of the lengths we go to find the best VPNs for Russia. Read our testing process to learn more.

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.

The 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.

Gain privacy with a VPN for 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 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 Wi-Fi, a VPN can help you stay secure. Using public Wi-Fi 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.

It is currently legal to use a VPN in Russia... Before you jump for joy, however, it's important to note that using a VPN to access any content blocked by the Russian government has been banned by law.

In Russia, the Federal Security Service works with ISPs to monitor user telecommunications (including emails and phone calls) and block websites. Faced with this extensive surveilling and censorship, plenty of Russian citizens seek out VPNs to safeguard their privacy and open up the web, but it's a risky choice.

VPN usage in and of itself is not a criminal offense in the country, and you can still use a VPN for personal or business purposes – you're only skirting the law if you're trying to bypass those government-imposed restrictions or access blacklisted websites. This law was introduced in October 2017, and was followed in 2018 by another law ordering the URLs of certain VPN services themselves, or any sites that sell VPN services, to be blocked. Search engines that allowed access to VPN sites and services were also liable to fines.

As a result, you might find that some of the websites of the VPNs in this article are blocked – if that's the case, keep reading to learn how you can still sign up for a VPN service.

How to access blocked VPN websites in Russia

If you've decided that you'd like to try a VPN out for yourself, you might go to visit the homepage of one of our recommended providers only to find that it's been blocked. Schools, workplaces, network administrators, and governments have been known to restrict access to VPN sites – which can be frustrating and makes purchasing and downloading a VPN that much more difficult. However, it's not impossible!

  1. Russian users who find that VPN websites are blocked may want to try changing their DNS, or Domain Name System. Your ISP can assign you a DNS, which could end up being slow or block you from certain sites – like VPN pages! Fortunately, you can change your DNS by using a free service. Try using Google's DNS (8.8.8.8) and accessing the VPN page again. You'll hopefully be able to access it, and may even see an improvement in your overall connection speed.
  2. It's also possible to use the Tor browser (and its anonymous network) to bypass website restrictions. First, you'll need to download Tor, and you can do so on any Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android device. Some VPN providers even have onion websites accessible to Tor users – like ExpressVPN!
  3. Finally, Russian users may want to consider using a VPN mirror website. You can find these sites with a quick Google search. Mirror sites behave just like a regular VPN page (just with a different URL or domain), and you'll be able to purchase and download your VPN from them just as you would on the main site.

VPN in Russia – is it safe?

Because 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 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.

A VPN for Russia should also have a strong privacy policy, advanced VPN features, and well-implemented military-grade encryption. This will allow you to have confidence in the protection provided by your VPN. Many VPNs are outdated – or make revenue from their user's data. Those VPNs should be avoided.

All the VPNs in this article have been carefully selected because they have important features such as a kill-switch, 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 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.

Can I get a free VPN for Russia?

If you're a Russian citizen, you may find it hard to find a free VPN for Russia. Even if you can find them, you need to be very careful because many free services collect data from their users and sell it to the highest bidder. Studies have revealed that free services have poor encryption, bad data practices, critical leaks, and even adware designed to track your habits to serve you ads. This is the opposite of what a VPN should be doing. 

Luckily, there are some free VPNs that are safe to use in Russia. Our recommended services provide a limited free plan so that you can use their service a little each month. Although these services are useful, they will not compare to the unrestricted service you get with a full VPN subscription. 

If you want to try a full, unrestricted VPN service, we advise that you try one of the VPNs on this page. The VPNs for Russia in this article all have VPN free trials and a money-back guarantee. That means you can try out the full premium VPN and get your money back to try another if you want to.

This post available in: Russian English

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

5 Comments

Poøllemås
on April 12, 2020
Reply
please update this article with new information, PIA and NordVPN does not support Russia anymore. Dont know abou the other mentioned VPN's.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Poøllemås
on April 14, 2020
Reply
Hi Poøllemås. Ray is looking into this and will update the article as required. Thanks.
Sam
on May 30, 2017
Reply
Visiting next month! I'll let you know how ExpressVPN works!
Robert replied to Sam
on August 23, 2017
Reply
So, Sam, how did it do for you?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Sam
on May 31, 2017
Reply
Hi Sam. Please do! :)
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