Having a VPN in Russia is a must, not only to stay safe and anonymous online but also to keep in touch with friends and family back home via popular social media platforms that have been blocked and banned since spring 2022.
If you’re looking for the best VPN to use while travelling in Russia, this short Russia VPN guide will help you to bypass censorship on blocked social medias and websites and allow you to access Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix etc while in the country (rumor has it that Whatsapp is about to be blacklisted too …)
This post contains affiliate links, however the VPNs are listed in no particular order.
Last updated 19/02/2024
Why should you use a VPN in Russia ?
Internet censorship in Russia isn’t as bad as let’s say China but the numbers of banned and censored websites & social media platforms has been growing fast especially since spring 2022.
You need to use a VPN in Russia for your own online security, anonymity, access your favourite Western news websites and social media plaforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram if you wish to keep in touch with your loved ones at home.
What is Roskomnadzor?
Roskomnadzor is the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media in Russia. It is responsible for overseeing the implementation of laws related to telecommunications, internet, media and also regulates the use of VPNs.
Basically Roskomnadzor is responsible for the censorship of popular social medias such as Twitter, Instagram etc and banning well known VPNs such as NordVPN and Expressvpn.
Note : Banned VPNs = No servers in Russia but they still works inside the country.
What makes a VPN good for your travels in Russia ?
There are many VPNs that still work in Russia, including free ones (most locals use these to access blocked social media platforms). When choosing which VPN to use inside the country, there are a few key features to consider :
1 – Servers in Russia. You won’t be able to access the national railway wesbite (RZD) to book your trains with a Western IP address for example.
2- Security and online anonymity. Not only from the Russian government but also hackers. Russia is in the top 5 countries with the most hackers in the world.
3 – Speed. If you wish to watch your favourite Netflix show, upload video on your Instagram story or whatever else that has to do with uploading, downloading or streaming you better get a fast VPN.
The 5 best VPNs to travel in Russia
The following VPNs are listed in no particular order. They all provide excellent online security, good speed and have servers in Russia. The famous NordVPN, ExpressVPN, HideMyAss etc aren’t here because they have no server locations in the country anymore.
Hotspot Shield VPN has 256-bit encryption and a server in Russia. You can get a 7 day free trial to give it a go before your trip.
Cyberghost is a well known VPN service that has 62 server locations in Moscow, a 24/7 live customer support and P2P file sharing.
VPN.ac is a little known VPN service based in Romania that offers strong encryption, good speed and solid custumer service. VPN.ac provides a Double-hop Russia – Netherlands server. I’ve been using it for years in all my travels in Russia and beyond.
Vpyr VPN has a strong AES-256-bit encryption, is free from data retention laws and has servers in Moscow.
Proton VPN offers 16 different server locations in Saint Petersburg and connection speed up to 10 Gbps.
Are VPNs legal in Russia ?
Yes they are. However it is illegal is to use VPNs in Russia to bypass censorship and access blocked/banned wesbites.
Do I need a VPN in Crimea ?
Yes. It happened to me many times before switching on my VPN to be located in Ukraine so russian booking platforms such as RZD’s was incaccessible.
Don’t you think for a sec that the Ukrainian goverment isn’t watching foreigners (having entered illegally what they consider theirs) in Crimea.
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