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VPNs in Russia: Staying Safe with the Best VPNs for Russians 2024

Russian internet freedom is hard to come by. Since the annexation of Crimea – that coupled with the current conflict with Ukraine – cyberattacks and misinformation are rampant. If you want to get beyond government-sanctioned websites, you’re out of luck unless you use a VPN. We’ve put together a list of the top VPNs that are safe to use in Russia.*

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*The goal of this article is to help those in Russia access safe internet through a VPN. We do not support the invasion of Ukraine or side with dictators who violate human rights at every turn. We want to ensure that anyone looking to get real news and updates can safely do so.

Open internet access and online privacy in Russia took a serious blow in mid-2017 when President Vladimir Putin announced a ban on VPN services throughout the country. The bill aims to make it more difficult to obtain a VPN in Russia and will likely lead to stricter censorship efforts in the near future. Are VPNs legal in Russia? Are VPNs safe? Although, VPNs are not accessible to the general Russian public (because they aren’t aware of them), if you’ve found this page, you are on the right side of history. If you want to stay safe, get relevant (and factual) information about the conflict, using a virtual private network, is the only way to do so.

Russian censorship is amongst the harshest in the world. Take back your right to privacy with these VPNs:

  1. NordVPNBest for Russia – NordVPN is already one of the most popular choices amongst Russians seeking unsupervised access to the free and open Internet. Features include military-grade NordLynx encryption, massive network, and specialized servers for enhanced performance.
  2. Surfshark – Automatic censorship-breaking methods, obfuscation, leak protection, and more.
  3. ExpressVPN – Unique Lightway encryption enables extreme security and speed without compromising either.
  4. IPVanish – Great all-rounder used by torrenters, streamers, and gamers in particular.
  5. VyprVPN – Chameleon protocol stealths past government censors. 100% provider-owned network.

Anyone who lives in or is planning on visiting Russia should get a VPN as soon as possible. Not only do VPNs help keep your online activity safe and secure, but they also protect you from mass surveillance and let you access a censorship-free internet no matter where you go. 

68% OFF + 3 Month FREE

What Makes a Good VPN: Beating Russian Internet Bans

There are dozens of considerations you should take into account when searching for the right VPN. Encryption protocols are a high priority, as are things like server speed, logging policies, and security features exclusive to certain VPNs. We’ve made the process easier by providing a few recommended VPNs for use in Russia, listed below. We chose them based on the following criteria, ensuring you’ll have a safe connection to the internet in Russia.  Moroever, if you have to flee in the middle of the night and relocate to a neighboring country these VPNs will work anywhere. 

  • Logging policy – Online privacy is only as strong as a VPN’s logging policy. If the company stores records of your activity, that information can be matched to your account, destroying your privacy in an instant. If no logs are kept, your data can never be leaked.
  • Reputation – It’s difficult to measure a thing like reputation, but it’s critical when looking for a reliable VPN. If you use a company that’s well-established and has a proven record of fighting for its users, you know your privacy is secure. If you don’t, your data could be sold to the highest bidder.
  • Extra security features – Not all VPNs are created the same. Some have added security features like DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to keep your physical location a secret. We put a priority on VPNs that go the extra mile in the name of privacy.
  • Jurisdiction – Where a VPN company is registered can have a huge impact on your privacy. Depending on the local laws, some VPNs may be required to keep hidden data logs or share information with government agencies without notifying users. The best VPNs are based in countries with no mandatory data retention regulations.
  • Payment methods – Using payment options like PayPal or a credit card automatically links your real identity to your VPN. For an extra layer of anonymity, choose a VPN that accepts anonymous cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Best VPNs in Russia

With the above factors in mind, these are the top four best VPNs for safe use in Russia:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN - Editors choice

A lot of NordVPN’s features stand head and shoulders above the rest. The most notable of the list is the size of the company’s network, currently sitting at over 5,280 servers in 60 different countries. This many locations means you’ll always have a fast connection in the country of your choosing, no question about it. It also allows NordVPN to offer specialized servers that deliver faster P2P downloads and increased encryption, all with unlimited bandwidth and no speed throttling.

NordVPN also has one of the best zero-logging policies around. It covers everything from bandwidth to traffic, time stamps, and even IP addresses, creating a perfect shell of privacy for all your online activities. Backing this policy are software features that include an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit AES encryption on all data. You can even sign up using bitcoin, making NordVPN an excellent choice for a fast and anonymous VPN for Russia.

Other notable features include double encryption and onion routing servers deliver privacy and open internet access even in countries like China, Russia, and Turkey; unique server offerings with features such as faster P2P downloads, dedicated IP addresses, and DDoS protection; easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more; steady access to Netflix streams even when other VPNs are blocked.

Read our full NordVPN review.

  • Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
  • GooglePlay users rating: 4.3/5.0
  • Zero leaks: IP/DNS/WebRTC
  • Based in Panama
  • Money back guarantee policy.
  • Some servers can have average d/l speeds
  • Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
BEST FOR RUSSIA: NordVPN is the best VPN to lock down your Internet security in Russia, without a doubt. Get a huge 66% discount on the 2-year plan ($3.99/mo), backed by a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark treats government censorship as a matter of life and death because in countries like Russia, that can well be the case. They lock down your connection with 256-AES-GCM encryption–the same protocol used by the NSA–and reroute it to your choice of 3200+ servers in 65 countries. This lets you virtually escape the country without ever letting snoops in on your business for just $2.49/month.

For government firewalls and DNS poisoning, there’s Surfshark’s NoBorders anti-censorship method. It, along with Camouflage obfuscation, is available on every server, and automatically activates when your Surfshark app detects the need.

Additional security measures include IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection, a kill switch, RAM-only servers that can’t store logs of your data (plus a no-logging policy), as well as anti-malware/adware/tracking/pop-ups software. 

  • Break through harsh censorship to securely access social media and foreign news sites
  • Torrent safely on any server, no guesswork required
  • CleanWeb mode blocks ads and popups before they load, saving your mobile data and speeds
  • Based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws
  • Get help any time of day via email, phone, or live chat.
  • Overall, not much to complain about
  • Apps don’t allow for much manual fiddling for power users.

Read our full Surfshark review.

BEST BUDGET OPTION: Surfshark is uncompromising on your security, and effectively dispatches with Russian censorship. Get 83% off a two-year plan + 3 months FREE for just $2.21 per month.

3. ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN focuses on two key areas in the VPN market space: ease of use and fast downloads. Both of these make for an incredible experience, no matter what you plan on using your VPN to do. It starts with custom software for a wide variety of modern devices, everything from Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs to Android and iOS smartphones. All you have to do is sign in and click a single button to connect to the fastest server. No messing around with configuration files or encryption protocol settings, just VPN level protection with a single click.

With ExpressVPN you have access to over 160 server locations in 94 different countries, all offering incredibly fast downloads to cities around the world. A built-in speed test lets you take a closer look at the performance numbers of each server, allowing you to find the best speeds in any country within moments. ExpressVPN also works to protect your privacy with strong 256-bit AES encryption backed by a zero-logging policy on all traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. Combine that with DNS leak protection and an easy-to-use automatic kill switch and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a strong, secure, and private VPN!

Rounding out ExpressVPN’s best features are zero restrictions on bandwidth, P2P network downloads, or torrent traffic; accepts bitcoin payments through BitPay for anonymous subscriptions; and reliable access to Netflix streams through the website and apps. 

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

  • Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
  • 94 countries, 3,000+ servers
  • Very simple and easy to use
  • No personal information logs kept
  • Great customer service via chat.
  • Limited configuration options
  • High cost for month-to-month users.
GREAT ALL-ROUNDER: Save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money-back guarantee included.

4. IPVanish


The IPVanish experience is designed to make it easy to stay invisible online. Your digital security begins with 256-bit AES encryption on all data backed by a strong zero traffic logging privacy policy. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch lock down your identity so nothing ever sneaks through, even if you lose your connection to the VPN. And if you’re concerned about snooping government agencies or censorship filters, IPVanish comes with an array of port and protocol options that let you customize your connection for top-quality privacy at any time.

The IPVanish network is one of the largest in the VPN business: over 1,900 servers in 88 different countries with a combined 40,000 shared IP addresses. This adds up to incredible online anonymity, and it offers tons of options for accessing geo-blocked content, as well. You’ll be able to take advantage of all this privacy with unlimited bandwidth, no speed throttling, and unrestricted access to P2P networks and torrent downloads, all while staying completely hidden.

Top IPVanish features at a glance include plenty of servers with extremely fast connections, perfect for streaming videos.; easily download movies and TV shows through BitTorrent with full anonymity; enjoy custom software for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices.

Read our full IPVanish review.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: AddictiveTips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $3.75/mo.

5. VyprVPN


Unique privacy features set VyprVPN apart from the rest. One of the more unique facts is that the company owns and operates its entire server network of over 700 nodes in 70 different countries. Third parties never have access to VyprVPN’s servers, allowing them to conduct all hardware maintenance and software upgrades for a premium level of privacy. A zero-logging policy on traffic and DNS requests keeps your data invisible, while automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection features make sure no identifying details sneak through your device. All information is secured with 256-bit AES encryption by default, creating a sturdy foundation for your entire online experience.

The best privacy feature in the VyprVPN experience is Chameleon. This exclusive protocol takes encrypted data packets and wraps their metadata in a new layer of encryption, a process that helps defeat deep packet inspection (DPI) used by ISPs and governments to spy on user activity. With Chameleon in place, you can break through censorship barriers, defeat ISP throttling, and gain open access to the internet in places like Russia and even China. No complicated configuration is required, just choose Chameleon and stay private and anonymous!

In short, VyprVPN is great because it has an entire network of servers owned and maintained by VyprVPN with no third parties involved; the unique Chameleon protocol helps defeat tough censorship blocks to maintain anonymity; unlimited bandwidth and no restrictions on P2P or torrent traffic; smart custom apps for desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

Are VPNs Banned in Russia?

A bill announced in mid-2017 confirmed rumors that Russia was moving towards banning the use of VPNs throughout the entire country. Contrary to a lot of English language reports, however, this bill did not ban VPNs, only websites that allow users access to VPN technology. Now, however, VPN providers are facing bans in Russia, making it harder for Russian citizens and in-country travelers to gain access to a virtual private network. T

As of November 2017, Russian internet service providers block websites that let users download free VPNs or sign up for paid VPN services. VPN apps on Google Play and the iOS App Store will also likely be removed, though the specifics of this remain to be seen. Proxy services are also included in the ban, as is the Tor Browser and all software that utilizes the Tor network or onion routing in general. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t secretly access one of the providers we list above in our list of top VPNs for Russians. How else are you going to get accurate news and discover what is really going on with your country and the world?

Is the Russian VPN Ban Similar to the Great Firewall of China?

Many are comparing the Russian VPN ban to the ongoing censorship efforts in China. There are significant differences between the two, however, as China’s VPN block is far more vigilant than Russia’s initial efforts. The two countries may deploy similar methods in the future, but for now, it’s not really a fair comparison. It’s much easier to obtain and use a VPN in Russia. 

The Great Firewall of China actively blocks VPN providers and VPN traffic in mainland China. The Chinese system utilizes ISP-level filters as well as deep packet inspection (DPI), a process that takes a closer look at every packet of data to see if it was encrypted with VPN technology. Russia doesn’t seem to be using DPI yet, which means it shouldn’t be difficult to step around the ban to download a VPN for personal or business use.

Start Using a VPN in Russia Right Away

The VPN provider block just step one. Privacy advocates predict more drastic measures will soon grip the Russian internet, including keyword censorship, foreign website filters, and a complete ban on all VPN traffic. Freedom of expression will only get more difficult as time goes by, which is why it’s important to get a VPN as soon as possible to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.

The recent history of Russian data laws is a strong indicator that heavy censorship is on the way. In 2016 the Yarovaya law was passed, requiring in-country ISPs to keep detailed logs on all user activity. Metadata such as time stamps and connection duration are stored for at least six months, giving Russian officials a chance to build profiles of internet users they feel are suspicious. A 2015 law also prohibits storing data on Russian citizens on servers outside the nation, thus preventing users from redirecting their traffic through foreign resources.

In 2022, Russia launched a new law that outlaws what it considers “Fake News”. This is a ploy to keep Russian citizens from finding out the reality of their situation and what the military is actually doing. TikTok has pulled out of Russia, along with Starbucks, IKEA, Netflix, and Nike. 

Be Careful with Messaging Services in Russia

Along with the VPN provider ban, another bill was quietly passed in January 2018. The bill simply states that all online messaging services are required to associate users with their real identities. This also holds true for end-to-end encryption apps, including WhatsApp and its many alternatives. Even though the content of encrypted messaging services will be unreadable, the Russian government can use the metadata to track users.

A VPN can help keep your VoIP communications and messaging contents secure, but with the metadata laws in place, it isn’t easy to hide your identity or location. Your best option is to use a third-party messaging service that doesn’t officially do business in Russia and route that connection over a secure VPN. A decentralized chat program like BitTorrent’s Bleep is a good place to start. You can also sign up for a VyprVPN premium account and use their proprietary encrypted messaging service Cyphr.

RELATED READING: Russia bans Telegram, VPN use soars

Wrapping Up: Please Stay Safe

Internet freedom in Russia is a delicate topic, with many laws and practices in place that undermine the online rights of individuals connecting to the Internet within that country. We’ve outlined some of the risks, as well as what you can do to take back some level of control. In short, you need to use a VPN in Russia, and we’ve shared some of our favorite providers to help you do just that.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use to keep your Internet private in Russia? Let us know in the comments below.

How to get a FREE VPN for 30 days

If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. NordVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.


  1. Yeah, I have been using ExpressVPN whenever I travel throughout Asia. Its amazing! A little more pricey than the other options, definitely, but they give the best streaming speeds for me to grab my shows outside the UK.

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