In this blog, I won’t be going into much detail about why Russian laws, regarding 24/7 online surveillance have cropped up, but rather put effort towards how to bypass them 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. It will also keep strict surveillance over what its 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.
VPN services to use in Russia
Besides keeping a quick eye on all that the Russian government has decided to block, you need to keep other matters in light.
Russia sent out many letters to various VPN providers, threatening to block them off if they fail to comply with their policies regarding the ban or censorship of certain websites. This left the public squandering over what VPN to use or whether any VPNs still work while residing in Russia.
Luckily for you, I have tested 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 are:
- Surfshark – All-rounder VPN for Russia, strong security, budget-friendly with servers that breakthrough Geo-blocks at $2.49/mo.
- NordVPN – Bullet-proof security providing access to blocked platforms in Russia at $3.71/mo.
- ExpressVPN – Big league VPN, perfect for streaming with high speeds in Russia, or from anywhere in the world at $6.67/mo.
- CyberGhost – User-friendly for beginners, having the biggest list of VPN servers in Russia, with fast speeds at $2.75/mo.
- FastestVPN – Budgeted VPN for Russia, with heavy security allowing access to restricted websites globally at $0.83/mo.
How the Best VPN for Russia was chosen
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 been blocked, there are still a few great VPNs (mentioned on this list) that still work quite efficiently in Russia.
No, these providers weren’t picked out of thin air because they’re part of the few that wasn’t blocked, but, rather because they possess security features so immaculate that it makes them the perfect choice for Best VPN for Russia.
These providers 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. They were also chosen for offering the best on VPN deals.
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 traveling out of Russia. Let’s discuss a little about what makes them the perfect choice for Russia.
What makes these VPN services 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||1700+ servers in 64 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 1700+ servers in 64 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 of dire importance, if you’re ever using a VPN in Russia. You need to be able to choose a VPN with the highest security measures, which Surfshark offers.
Surfshark provides impenetrable AES 256-bit encryption and supports major protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN and Shadowsocks). It comes with a functional Kill Switch, 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 the main focus on security and privacy.
In case you’re interested in putting this VPN to the test, Surfshark offers a free trial for smartphones and a 30-day refund policy for extensive testing. Surfshark always comes with great discounts, so choosing the best package shouldn’t be difficult.
|Servers||5000+servers in 59 countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Browser extensions, Firestick, Linux, routers, and more|
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 with their terms 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.
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 (5000+ in 59 countries) that you can also use to gain access to restricted services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO, and more. For mere assurance, I contacted their around 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. Other advanced features include a Kill Switch, DNS/IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection, Onion Over VPN, and other features like Smart Play that allows you to access multiple restricted streaming services with double encryption. The NordVPN CyberSec feature is also pretty impressive.
You can try accessing a few of the blocks streaming services or just simply test out its advanced features, using the NordVPN free trial, or access it for a longer time using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Either way, you could ask for a refund, if you’re not happy.
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||3000+ servers in 94 countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Browser extensions, Linux, Routers, Firestick & 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 many 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 23 US servers that you can use to break into geo-restricted websites.
Knowing that Russia is still on the lookout for VPN users or other means being used to try and gain access to blocked websites, ExpressVPN comes in handy where providing heavy security is concerned.
It operates on 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 this, it has other perks that you could look up, in an extensive ExpressVPN review for your satisfaction.
ExpressVPN also comes with a 7-day free trial to test out its premium features on Android or iOS mobile devices. You can also use its 30-day refund period for a longer testing period, for multiple device connections.
|Servers||6000+ 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 (6000+ 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 have strict censorship laws.
Among its server rich platform, it has around 96 dedicated Russian servers, allowing you to access any local content in the blink of an eye.
And if Netflix and other restricted streaming services or channels are what you’re looking for, it also has around 1048 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.
You can put these advanced security features to the test using the CyberGhost free trial or its 45-day refund policy.
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||350+ servers in 39+ Locations|
|Compatibility||Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Fire TV Stick, Browser extensions, Smart TVs Android Box, and more|
FastestVPN based in the Cayman Islands, is another underdog VPN new to the industry, definitely not on 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, the VPN comes with a simple yet smart coverage of 350+ servers in 39+ locations. Some may call this list small, but I feel that simple server lists often render the best results.
There are times when VPNs provide huge server coverage but an overall lack of functionality. It also has a separate server dedicated to Netflix called “USA Netflix” which you can use on UDP protocol. A few other services that FastestVPN unblocks include Hulu, Amazon Video, BBC News, and much more.
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. FastestVPN doesn’t offer a free trial but it does have a 15-day fund period that you can use to test it out.
“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.
However, if you have your heart set on free services only for a short time, why don’t you just go for one of the premium providers free trial periods?
Why do you need a VPN in Russia?
In normal circumstances, using a VPN is the best option for security purposes. It’s equally great for accessing restricted websites like Netflix.
But, considering that the Russian government is monitoring your every move, you definitely need a 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. There are blocked 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 do it safely.
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.
Using the best VPN, you can now gain access to the best platforms in Rusia. 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, asking for a full refund. If, however, you’re looking to access local content or apps while traveling abroad, a few of these top providers also offer Russian IP addresses to give you that access.