In this blog, I won’t be going into much detail about why Russian laws like 24/7 online surveillances have cropped up, but rather put effort towards how to overcome it in a safe way using the Best VPN for Russia.
Russia, among a couple of other countries in the world, has decided to take control of the way their population uses the internet. This means having full control over censorship of what their public watches or surfs, blocking any and every western or local website that they don’t approve of.
It’s said that as of 2021, Russia will have full control of blocking off any unwanted websites and keeping a strict surveillance over what their internet users are surfing, especially concerning foreign websites like that of Netflix or even LinkedIn. For this reason, the people of Russia are going to need a reliable VPN that will give them full access to any and every restricted website, without being watched or having their data under 24/7 scrutiny.
VPNs to use in Russia
Besides keeping a quick eye on all that the Russian government has decided to block, you need to understand that among these websites or services, they wrote letters to many VPN providers, threatening to block off every provider that fails to comply with their policies regarding the ban or censorship of certain websites, therefore leaving the public squandering over what VPN to use or whether any VPNs still work while residing in Russia.
Luckily for you, I have hunted down and shortlisted the best VPNs to use, or rather reliable ones that still work, through extensive research based on their privacy policies and staunch security measures. So before proceeding any further, these VPNs include:
- Surfshark – All-rounder VPN, strong security, budget-friendly with servers that break through Geo-blocks at $1.99/mo.
- CyberGhost – User-friendly for beginners, having the biggest list of Russian servers and fast speeds at $2.75/mo.
- ExpressVPN – Big league VPN, perfect for streaming and P2P from anywhere in the world at $6.67/mo.
- NordVPN – Bullet-proof security providing access to blocked platforms at $3.49/mo.
- FastestVPN – Fastest speeds heavy security with access to restricted websites globally at $0.83/mo.
How we shortlisted these Best VPN for Russia
Keeping in mind the countless blocked websites and its users’ every activity and data being brought under surveillance in Russia, it’s no news that the people are bound to turn to the services of a VPN. However, since we’ve established that most VPNs have previously and currently being blocked, there are still a few great VPNs mentioned above that still work quite efficiently in Russia. No, we didn’t pick them out of thin air because they’re part of the few that weren’t blocked, but, rather because they have features and security so immaculate that it makes them the perfect choice for Best VPN for Russia. They were picked on the following facts:
- Bypass Censorship – these VPNs were all capable of breaking through any censorship laws or blocks that may have been put up. They each possess server lists that are rich in locations from all over the world, making it easy for you to connect to one of them; accessing both local and international content. All 5 VPNs allow you to access restricted content like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, etc.
- Security – part of preserving your privacy and anonymity which the Russian government puts a halt to, we chose VPNs that observe strict privacy policies and a no-data retention law all while having staunch security features like AES 256-bit encryption, major protocols, a Kill Switch, DNS and IP leak protection.
- Great Speeds – there’s absolutely no point in investing in a VPN that fails to provide efficient speeds. Luckily for you, all 5 of these top VPNs have been tried and tested ensuring you the best speed results; perfect for streaming and torrenting.
- Additional aspects – Besides the above, we chose them based on user-friendliness, compatibility with multiple platforms (iOS, Windows, Android, macOS, browser extensions like Chrome and Firefox, etc., its ability to allow multiple connections simultaneously, and a reliable chat/email support.
Roskomnadzor – Censorship laws to abide by
In case you assume that the name refers to some intimidating, made-up Russian name, you should know that intimidating is the correct word to use. The Roskomnadzor is the Russian Federal executive body that takes care of or is responsible for all the censorship decisions made in media or telecommunication platforms. The laws put out in ordinance with their policies, are religiously practiced and were signed by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin on July 29th, 2017.
Among these censorship laws, includes the ban on all VPNs that failed to comply with the laws regulated by the Russian government. It stated that those VPN providers that object to give complete inside access to the Russian servers provided by the VPN would be completely blacklisted by the government in retaliation. Along with this, the VPN providers will have to abide by the Russian laws of banning whatever sites they deem as prohibited/inappropriate. For more information on the matter, you could read all about it on BBC News.
However, there are still a few VPNs in the coming list, that have amazing services that still work with full functionality. It also makes them the perfect choice when travelling out of Russia. Let’s discuss a little about what makes them the perfect choice for Russia.
What makes these VPNs perfect for Russia
When choosing a VPN, the first thing anyone looks for is security and its ability to knock down blocks put on many websites or services, maintaining your anonymity. It also mainly depends on its availability or functionality in a particular location. And yes that matters, because there are many countries like Russia that have started putting blocks on proxies and VPNs.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a local in Russia or a tourist ready to explore Russia, these 5 VPNs will just about get the job done for you and will make sure that your privacy is preserved. They are:
|Servers||1040+ servers in 61+ countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, browser extensions, FireStick, Smart TVs and more|
Surfshark has been unanimously deemed as the public’s favorite. Hailing from the British Virgin Islands, this VPN doesn’t lack anything in perfection. It may be the new guy in the neighborhood, but that’s what gives it the upper hand. Being new in the industry also means being far from the watchful eyes of the Russian authorities. It has a rich list of 1040+ servers in 61+ countries including Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg). So accessing local content would be a piece of cake.
Speaking of servers, it also includes many in the US that will get you straight access to numerous restricted websites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and much more. So, all-in-all, it provides you with unlimited access to both local and international content.
Now coming to security, this seems to be a dire importance, if you’re ever using a VPN in Russia. Judging by the huge surveillance laws put on most media and western applications like a VPN, you need to be able to choose one with the highest security measures which Surfshark seems to handle pretty well. It provides impenetrable AES 256-bit encryption, supports major protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN and Shadowsocks), a functional Kill Switch which will secure your anonymity if ever the VPN connection drops, DNS and IP leak protection, a Camouflage Mode and the new GPS Spoofing feature allowing you to change your physical GPS location.
Just in case you have any doubts, I also contacted their chat support in reference to whether it works in Russia, to which they replied:
So, if you ever feel like you need a VPN for Russia, Surfshark should be your number one go-to. There’s so much for it to offer, which you can read about in my Surfshark review, but with main focus on security and privacy.
|Servers||5700+ in 90 countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, browser extensions, Fire TV, AndroidTV and Linux|
This Romanian based VPN is not only known for having one of the biggest server lists(5700+ servers in 90 countries)in the VPN industry but also the fact that it is one of the few that actually work in countries like Russia that hold up strict censorship laws.
Among its server rich platform, it has around 48 dedicated Russian servers, allowing you to access any local content in the blink of an eye. And if US Netflix and other restricted streaming services or channels is what you’re looking for, it also has around 1077 US servers in its catalog, which will give you all the access you need. You just have to tweak around with its settings a little bit, switching servers to get the best results. Just to receive confirmation, I went the extra mile and contacted their 24/7 support chat, which said:
There should be no problems using this VPN, as it has some pretty neat security features, enough to preserve your privacy/anonymity; allowing you to surf safely till your heart’s content. Some of these features include military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, major protocols (L2TP, IKEv2 and OpenVPN), DNS and IP leak protected, a Kill Switch, and reasonably good speeds.
All-in-all, if you’re looking for a VPN to use in Russia that’s big on security, CyberGhost is your guy. You could even test it out for yourself or check out a detailed CyberGhost review, showing you just how good it is.
|Servers||3000+ servers in 94 countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Browser extensions, Linux, Routers, Smart TVs & more|
ExpressVPN, another VPN based in the British Virgin Islands, is known for being an all-rounder in the industry. Being one of the VPNs that didn’t comply with the demands made by the Russian Federation, also doesn’t have a Russian server. In turn, it has servers from bordering Russian countries, such as Finland, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Poland which you can use to access local content and unlock much more blocked websites.
This is just a small part of what ExpressVPN can pull off. Looking at its server rich platform of having 3000+ servers in 94 countries, it has around 26 US servers that you can use to break into geo-restricted websites like US Netflix, DAZN, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Amazon Prime and much more. Just to be sure whether the VPN does actually work in Russia, I contacted their support chat:
Knowing that Russia is still on the lookout for users taking to VPNs or other methods to try and gain access to blocked websites, ExpressVPN comes in handy where providing heavy security is concerned. Moving with AES 256-bit encryption, major protocols (PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSEC), Kill Switch, and is DNS and IP leak protected. It also sports other unique features like the split tunneling feature allowing you to separate the traffic you require with ones that you don’t.
Besides the above, it has other perks that you could look into, in an extensive ExpressVPN review for your satisfaction.
|Servers||5309+ in 59 countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Browser extensions, AndroidTV, Linux and routers|
NordVPN, a Panama based VPN is another to make the list of exceptional choices for usage in Russia. Remember we spoke about the censorship laws that Russia enforces and only allows VPNs that comply to their terms and conditions of having full access to the Russian servers, well, NordVPN was among the many VPNs that received a letter from the Russian Federation, asking them to follow through with the demands or be blocked. However, NordVPN cares about its user’s privacy and certainly sticks to its no data-retention policies, and declined the terms.
Just because NordVPN doesn’t have any Russian servers doesn’t mean you lose access to local content. You can easily gain access by connecting to any one of Russia’s neighboring country servers like Finland, Poland, and Ukraine and log into any local content you desire. It has an immaculate server list (5309+ in 59 countries) that you can also use to gain access to restricted services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and more. For mere assurance, I contacted their round the clock support chat asking for a confirmation, which said:
Coming to its security measures, it protects your privacy and anonymity with bank-grade AES 256-bit encryption, major protocols, Kill Switch, DNS/IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection, Onion Over VPN and other features like Smart Play, a feature that allows you to access multiple restricted streaming services with double encryption.
There’s so much more to this VPN which you can see in an extensive NordVPN review; providing you with the ultimate security measures and access to restricted websites.
|Servers||350+ servers in 39+ Locations|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Fire TV Stick, Browser extensions, Smart TVs Android Box, and more|
FastestVPN originated in the Cayman Islands, is another underdog VPN new to the industry, definitely not under the radar of the Russian government. This gives it the upper-hand in providing unlimited access to both local and international websites/services that Russia put a strict block on. One of the best parts of this VPN is that is has a Russian server. But according to the chat support, to use this, you’ll probably have to set-up manually through OpenConnect.
Apart from this, this VPN has a humble list of 350+ servers in 39+ locations, which some may call small, but I feel that simple server lists often render the best results. There are times when VPNs provide huge lists with only functionality on a few. It also has a separate server dedicated to Netflix called “USA Netflix” which you can use on UDP protocol.
When we talk about security, FastestVPN seems to check all the boxes with profound functionality. It includes the biggest list of protocols (PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, OpenConnect, IKEv2, and IPSec), AES 256-bit encryption with AES 128-bit encryption on PPTP protocol. Other advanced features include Ad-Blocking, Anti-Malware, DNS Leak protection; Smart Connect, Split-Tunneling and much more that you can look into, in a detailed FastestVPN review.
It is one of the fewest VPNs in the market that sport the best security, fast speeds, ability to unblock restricted websites and much more all for a super-affordable price.
When abroad – How to get a Russian IP address
There’s a difference in wanting to access restricted or blocked services/websites while living in or visiting Russia and wanting a selective Russian IP address when abroad. If you’re on vacation abroad or migrated to foreign land and want to gain access to your favorite local shows that are only allowed to the residents of Russia, all you have to do is:
- Select one of the best VPN for Russia in this list that offer servers in Russia, and much more depending on what you need.
- Make sure you choose one that is compatible with all devices or major platforms.
- Subscribe to the VPN you went with and then download and install on your device.
- Open your browser of choice, and clear the cache and cookies.
- Restart your device.
- Once done, connect to one of the Russian servers.
- Open up a geo-restricted website or any streaming service that is broadcasted in Russia and binge endlessly!
- Lastly, you could also try connecting to one of Russia’s bordering countries to try and gain access to local content.
My top picks for gaining a Russian IP address; never having to miss out on all your favorite shows or TV, are:
This all-rounder VPN is the new underdog in the VPN market. It has around 2 servers in Russia
Best for bypassing censorship bocks, this VPN has around 48 Russian servers
Another new VPN on the block sporting the best speeds has around 1 server in Russia for the meantime.
“Putin” Things into Perspective
It’s quite common for anyone to have second thoughts about using a VPN and especially when it has to do with a country like Russia that puts up some heavy laws on censorship and strict surveillance. But not to worry, here are the commonly asked questions and answers that will help you sleep peacefully at night:
Can we use a free VPN in Russia?
Firstly, with all the heavy laws put on surveillance of every online activity carried out, you should definitely consider using a proper and reliable VPN like the ones I mentioned above. Free VPNs or proxies never come with the same security measures as a premium VPN has. With a history of most free VPNs stealing their user’s data and selling it to third parties, you need to re-evaluate your decisions.
Why do you need a VPN in Russia?
In normal circumstances, using a VPN is the best option for security purposes and gaining access to restricted websites like Netflix, or even to get the best speed results. But, considering you’re talking about a country that has extreme rules where internet streaming and basic human rights are concerned, with the government monitoring your every move, you definitely need to invest in a reliable VPN that sticks to its privacy policies. Choosing the best VPN will not only let you access blocked content; it will secure your device, preserve your anonymity and privatize your actual IP.
Is it illegal to use a VPN in Russia?
Unfortunately, no they’re not. Even though VPNs aren’t legal in Russia, the government has left the people with no choice. By blocking websites, communication platforms and more, the government has left its people looking for ways to jet-past these heavy laws. So, yes using a VPN may not be the best choice but it definitely is the only choice. The VPNs provided are superlative in features and security measures. However, when using a VPN always make sure you don’t use it for anything more than just the basics, all while following the guidelines.
To wrap things up
To gain access to unlimited blocked websites or platforms, should never be a big hassle with top VPN services. Using one of these VPNs (Surfshark, CyberGhost, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and FastestVPN) would be the best bet to give you all the access you need in Russia, while keeping your privacy preserved. To watch local Russian shows, stream on Netflix, or game on Steam, access them with the Best VPN for Russia . The best part is they also come with free trials or refund policies. So, even if you’re dissatisfied, you could contact the support team for a full refund.