When using the internet in Russia you are being monitored by the government and there are even laws in place that force VPN providers to ban access to their extensive list of blacklisted websites (we’ll talk more about that later as there are ways to get around this).
The Russian central government blocks any online content that they deem as offensive. Most of us take freedom of speech for granted but those in Russia are fully aware that the government will always be watching their every move. Using a good quality VPN in Russia will ensure that your data and usage is anonymous and secure, giving you access to blocked and restricted content.
The Best VPNs for Russia
We have compiled a list of the best VPNs to use in Russia and have taken into consideration many different factors including:
Connection Speed – essential for downloading movies and streaming content. If your VPN is fast then you’re going to be able to watch movies and play online games without frustrating buffering issues.
No-Log Policy – when using content in Russia it’s vital to know that your information is safe. When VPN providers hold a strict no-log policy it means that they will never store any of your personal data, giving you the freedom to browse any content without fear of the government finding out.
Money Back Guarantee – while it’s great that there are many different VPN providers out there, it can also be confusing. If you choose a provider that offers a money back guarantee, you can test the product first before making a subscription commitment.
ExpressVPN came up top as the best virtual private network for Russia. Your private data and usage will be absolutely safe as they use the very latest 256 Bit AES encryption technology which essentially scrambles your data so it would be useless in the wrong hands. Another nice feature that ExpressVPN provides is a kill switch, which works by cutting off your connection if the VPN cuts out. This means that you are safe 100% of the time.
ExpressVPN provides the best speeds by far as well as a staggering 1700 servers in 100 countries – which means that you can choose your IP address from wherever you please and browse banned and censored website anonymously.
The company provides a 30-day money back guarantee which allows you to test the product before making a full commitment to the service. They provide a variety of packages to suit your needs, but we found the 15-month deal offered the best value for money.
ExpressVPN is also well known for their excellent customer support, with 24/7 representatives available via an online chat feature or email.
Take a look at the full review here.
When accessing censored content in Russia or downloading movies from banned torrent sites you need extra security to ensure your data is kept a 100% safe. Luckily, NordVPN has one of the best reputations on the market for security and they provide military-grade protocols to keep your data safe from government officials or data hackers. As well as their multiple layers of security, the company also offers a strict no-logging policy, keeping your internet search history, communications or any other personal data accessible to your eyes only.
NordVPN also provides a kill switch feature which will add an extra layer of security when using the internet in Russia.
You can sample the product for 30 days before making a full commitment, after which time you can get your money back or stay with your subscription.
Read the full review here.
SurfShark’s strict no-logging policy made this VPN provider stand out as one of the best options for Russia. You can browse any restricted content in Russia and download from torrent sites, safe in the knowledge that your data is encrypted and never stored by the company. Your online activity in Russia is safe and secure. SurfShark offers inexpensive packages, with the two-year subscription offering the best value for money.
They have 500 servers in approximately 50 different countries and their connection in fast. Streaming your favorite Russian TV shows or US Netflix movies will never be a problem again. SurfShark also offer an unlimited device policy which is pretty unique as many of the other VPN providers only allow two to be used at once.
Read the full review here.
We always like to recommend VPN providers who have a good reputation for customer service and CyberGhost VPN ranks highly in this area. If you have a question or need assistance then you can either email the team who will get back to you quickly or access the online chat service for a faster response. The company operates approximately 5,944 servers, which is pretty impressive, giving you access to a number of IP addresses – which is ideal for online activity in Russia where you need to keep your identity hidden.
Super safe, CyberGhost uses the same technology as ExpressVPN: 256 AES Bit encryption. Again, keeping your data safe and away from the government’s watchful eyes. They also offer a strict no-log policy, adding an extra layer of security to the package. The money-back guarantee offered is impressive as they allow you to try the product for 45 days before subscribing to the service.
Check out the full review here.
Is Using a VPN Legal in Russia?
VPN usage in Russia isn’t so straightforward.
The Russian central government blocks any content that it deems offensive and freedom of speech is not very high on the government’s priority list (bloggers have previously faced violence and/or jail time for expressing their opinions). It won’t come as a surprise to hear that VPNs are on the rise, but the government has realized that people are trying to use this service in ways that go against their policies and laws and has, therefore, made moves towards regulating how VPN providers run their services.
Unapproved VPNs were banned by the Kremlin in 2017 after a number of security breaches. Nowadays, not only does the Russian government ban ‘offensive’ websites but it also monitors everyday usage and has put restrictions in place as to the type of VPN that you can use.
Virtual Private Networks are allowed in Russia if they are fully compliant with Russian censorship restrictions. Basically, Russia allows VPNs that block its users from accessing websites and content that is banned by the central government. These VPN providers are also expected to store information on its users too.
Government officials do not want its residents using a VPN and have even made it mandatory for search engines to remove any mention or promotion of VPN use. Big brother is watching and it’s fairly obvious that the central government wants to restrict all internet use at all times.
If you are caught using a non-compliant VPN then you will face a large fine, though it’s tricky for the government to catch people using this type of VPN as they do not yet hold the technology to find out this information on a mass scale.
So, fully compliant VPNs are legal in Russia but you can expect restrictions on the service and that your information will be stored. Non-compliant VPNs are not legal but allow you the freedom to access whichever content you please.
Can I Access Censored Content in Russia with a VPN?
Only if you are using a non-compliant VPN provider. This will give you access to any content that has been banned or blocked by the central government. If the provider also has a no-logging policy then you can feel secure in the knowledge that not only is your data encrypted but it’s not being stored either. Approved VPNs will keep your data safe from hackers but your information will not be anonymous and if you try to access any blocked websites you could still run the risk of a heavy fine.
Streaming in Russia
If you’re signed up to a VPN service you can use it in Russia to access content from other countries and vice versa. This means that you will be able to access your favorite television shows and movies regardless to which country you are visiting.
These are the most popular streaming services in Russia:
Super popular in Russia, Yandex can be used as a search engine, email service and browser. Many Russians use Yandex to stream video content. Similar to YouTube, you will find music content and live music streaming online here.
Netflix is now available in Russia, giving Russians access to thousands of movies, television shows and documentaries. One of the largest streaming services in the world, Netflix content differs from country to country. In fact, many people use a VPN in order to access US Netflix which is thought to have the best and most wide selection of movies and tv series. If you have ever started a series and then traveled abroad you might have noticed that the content was geo-blocked. A VPN will provide you with access to any Netflix content, no matter where you are in the world.
Not to be mistaken by MTV, this website is the go-to site for the latest local and international news. Here you can also access live events, tv shows, movies, music and more. This is a free television site that will also be geo-blocked in other countries. Again, you’ll need a VPN to access NTV from any other country outside Russia.
Why You Need a VPN in Russia
We could write pages and pages of content here on the benefits of using a VPN in Russia but we’ll keep it short and simple.
No one wants to be monitored and told what they can and cannot watch online.
Living in a country where your internet content is heavily censored and your freedom of speech is compromised affects your basic human rights. In order to be able to safely watch whatever content you wish and not have to worry that you are under constant government surveillance, you should use a VPN. Using a Virtual Private Network ensures that your private data is kept away from watchful eyes and you are free to express your opinions online without fear of facing fines or even jail time. Not only will the right type of VPN provider encrypt your data and keep it safe but they will also not store your information, ever.
Using a compliant or non-compliant VPN service in Russia is your choice, but you should be aware that there are risks involved in cases where the service is non-compliant.
In short, using a VPN will allow you more freedom and will keep your identity hidden and safe from the government and from hackers. You will also be able to access your favorite Russian streaming sites whilst out of the country too.