5 Best VPNs for Russia To Stay Safe Online In 2023
For years now, Russia has developed a dictatorial stance towards the Internet, censoring social media platforms, as well as many other sites its government deems inappropriate. It has only worsened, as users in Russia can’t enjoy normal free speech rights or use the Internet without fearing their security and privacy.
Fortunately, using a VPN in Russia can help you avoid all of these issues and protect your IP address from government snoopers. This is more important than ever for privacy-oriented users who want to bypass censorship and avoid the increasingly prevalent government propaganda.
We’ll share the best VPNs for Russia and go over valuable tips on using a VPN in Russia. Equally as important, we’ll highlight what to keep in mind and discuss the services that have been banned in Russia.
Here are the five best Russian VPN services in 2023:
The 5 Best VPNs for Russia
Headlining our list of the best VPNs for Russia, NordVPN is packed with privacy-oriented features that make it an ideal pick for Russia. It comes with server obfuscation, which lets you mask that you’re connected to a VPN and stay hidden from the government and Russian internet service providers.
There are also advanced features like Double IP Protection and Onion Over VPN. You can rely on a kill switch to cut off your connection in case of a VPN network drop, so your security and privacy don’t get compromised.
While it has all of the tools that make it a top-quality VPN for Russia, NordVPN wasn’t left immune to Russia’s threat back in 2019. The NordVPN Russia server was removed soon after, so NordVPN currently doesn’t offer any servers in the country.
Still, you can choose from a massive selection of over 5300 servers. Many of these are in neighboring countries close to Russia. So, if you’re looking for the best VPN for Russia, NordVPN is hard to beat.
- Thousands of lightning-fast servers
- Unblocks streaming services
- Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
- Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
- Ad blocker and malware protection features
- Robust security features and military-grade encryption
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Only 6 simultaneous connections
- No free trial
Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs around. What’s more, it’s also one of the best services for unblocking censored and geo-restricted content, thanks to its Bypasser tool.
Privacy and security-wise, Surfshark is very safe to use and will keep you maximally protected. With private DNS and leak protection, Camouflage Mode, No Borders Mode, a kill switch, and many other settings, Surfshark is as safe as they come.
Surfshark used to have servers in Russia, but it turned them off at the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, not wanting to support the Russian state in any way. It still has over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, all supporting WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN protocols.
- Very affordable
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Ad-blocking feature
- Unblocks streaming platforms
- Allows split-tunneling and has multi-hop VPN feature
- No-log policy and strong security features
- GPS spoofing on Android devices
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No free version
- Does not allow P2P seeding
3. Atlas VPN
Atlas VPN doesn’t have any servers in Russia but offers more than 750 servers across the globe. It’s an excellent all-around VPN, as it boasts robust security and network protection features, but it is also a capable performer in terms of streaming and torrenting.
Some of the most impressive features you can rely on include MultiHop+, SafeSwap, and private DNS. Atlas VPN also has zero logs policy. With these and other features, you can protect yourself from deep packet inspection and ensure no one sees your private information.
This VPN also allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices on one subscription plan. Moreover, it supports a split tunneling feature, which lets you route specific parts of your connection through the VPN’s tunnel. This is particularly convenient, as you can access social media channels through the VPN while keeping the rest of your connection on your real IP address.
- Very affordable plans and it has a free version
- Fast Speeds
- Unlimited device support
- WireGuard protocol and strong security features
- Unblocks streaming services
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Limited Linux app
- Based in the US
- Not so many servers
PrivateVPN is one of the very few VPNs that offer servers in Russia. It currently has two Russian servers, one in the western part of the country in Moscow and another in the Siberian east in Krasnoyarsk. Besides these Russian servers, PrivateVPN has over 200 server locations in 63 countries worldwide.
PrivateVPN is a uniquely compatible VPN for both beginners and more experienced users. This is because you can switch between a simple and advanced view. For instance, the simple idea includes only basic control options. On the other hand, the advanced view allows you to switch your encryption standards, protocols, and adjust other settings.
- Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
- Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- Zero-logging policy
- Free Static IP servers
- 10 simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Not as many servers as other VPN providers
- No split-tunneling
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Russia for online users that want to lock down their privacy and security. This service uses TrustedServer technology, meaning that all of the servers run on RAM. No data is saved anywhere, and everything is wiped every time a server is turned off.
To expand on this, ExpressVPN features private DNS on every server and doesn’t keep any data logs on its users’ activities. It features strong encryption, and a kill switch and allows you to tailor parts of your connection using its split tunneling tool.
That said, similar to the case with NordVPN, you won’t find any ExpressVPN Russian servers. But, this isn’t much of a problem, as ExpressVPN still offers servers in over 160 locations in 94 countries.
- Works with streaming
- Supports torrenting
- No-logs policy
- TrustedServer technology with RAM-only servers
- Premium security features
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Expensive subscription plans
- Only 5 simultaneous connections
Why Use a VPN for Russia
Even if you’re not that in tune with online privacy and the latest world news, you could probably name the most important reasons why using a VPN in Russia is a smart idea. With that in mind, here are the most important reasons why you should use a VPN for Russia:
Avoid Internet Censorship
Internet censorship exists in many countries, but Russia is especially bad in this regard. The country even has several agencies, most notably Roskomnadzor, that arbitrarily decide what gets censored or blocked in the country. Moreover, even ISPs can block certain content they deem inappropriate or dangerous.
Most ISPs use DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) to monitor your data. All of this makes it very challenging to express your true opinion online or follow the things that really interest you. A VPN makes it much harder for government agencies to track you and restrict the information you access.
Apart from accessing objective content without censorship and geo-restrictions, you probably also want to make sure your ability to communicate isn’t limited by any external factor.
Without a VPN, your communication abilities and freedom of speech will most likely be stifled. You can even go to jail for saying something that the government doesn’t like. But, by encrypting and protecting your data with a VPN, you can reduce your trackability and express yourself online without fearing for your safety.
Stream and Torrent Without Issues
The third notable reason is strictly a practical one but can still be very valuable. If you want to access streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and others, a VPN provides you with all of the tools for doing so.
Not only that, but you can also engage in P2P file-sharing more safely. Russia often bans torrenting platforms, so having a VPN can help you get stable and private connections and torrent with maximum privacy.
How to Connect to Russian VPN Servers?
The best way to set up and connect a Russia VPN is to do so before you enter the country. Naturally, this option is not always available, particularly if you already live in Russia. That said, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to connect to VPN servers from Russia:
- Sign up with one of the best VPNs for Russia (we recommend NordVPN)
- Download and install the app
- Log into your account
- Check the settings to ensure you’ve selected the safest protocols and features available.
- Choose the server you want and connect!
The same steps apply if you want to connect to a Russian IP address. That said, keep in mind that NordVPN doesn’t currently offer Russian-based servers, so you’ll need to pick PrivateVPN if you’re looking to get Russia VPN servers.
How to Choose a VPN for Russia?
Depending on your needs and preferences, you’ll need to look for specific features that would impact your experience the most. However, there are some universal aspects that you need to look for when choosing the best VPN for Russia from your perspective. To help you out, here’s what you need to watch for when picking a VPN for Russia:
Privacy and Security Features
Without a doubt, the most important things to keep in mind when narrowing your list of the best VPNs for Russia are the privacy and security features. Speaking of the latter, the VPN should have strong encryption, a good selection of protocols, leak protection, and a safety kill switch.
When it comes to privacy, the right VPN service for Russia should offer advanced obfuscation. Moreover, when talking about privacy features, we can also include supported payment options, primarily cryptocurrencies. By signing up with a VPN that accepts crypto payments, you can pay in complete anonymity.
As the Russian government has a very privacy-invasive policy, you want a VPN that has a strict no-logs logging policy. This is expressly important if you’re connecting to servers in Russia and not only abroad.
For example, if the Russian government decides to seize the servers, you don’t want them to discover any identifiable data that points to you. So, when a VPN has a 100% no-logs logging policy, even if someone breaks into their servers, they won’t find any usable data.
Another very important attribute a solid VPN service for Russia should have is the ability to bypass censorship within the country and access geo-restricted content in other countries. The most effective VPNs, like the ones we’ve featured above, can bypass nearly all blocks and avoid online censorship nearly every time.
The minimum standard your VPN should clear is to have a wide network of servers globally and especially in Russia’s neighboring countries. You want a good selection of options so you can always make sure you’ll get fast and stable speeds, and you don’t get any “access blocked” messages when trying to open up different sites and services.
Ideally, the VPN should also have one or more servers in Russia. This isn’t imperative but can come in handy when you want to use domestic social media and online services in privacy.
This aspect directly ties into the previous one, as you need quality servers to enjoy good connection speeds. The VPN’s overall speeds are especially important to factor in if you want to stream and torrent online. The VPN shouldn’t slow down your base internet connection by more than 20%, although this number should preferably be around 10% or under.
Paying for a VPN In Russia
This topic has grown especially important since the start of 2023 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Not to get too political, but with the sanctions imposed on Russia, paying for a VPN in Russia has become more complicated in 2023 than it was before. This is because major card operators like MasterCard and Visa have suspended their operations in the country.
So, unlike when using a VPN for Ukraine in this situation, if you’re a Russian citizen and want to purchase a VPN from the country and not from abroad, you’ll need to take into consideration alternative payment methods available to you. Most users opt for cryptocurrency payments, although you can also use options like WebMoney and Qiwi, among others.
The Best Free VPNs to use in Russia
Our regular readers know how adamant we are in our opinion that using free VPNs is a bad idea. But, to elaborate on it quickly, using a free VPN generally carries with it a lot of potential problems.
Free VPNs are generally less secure and not as careful as premium services when it comes to protecting your online privacy. And, the last thing you want is to get detected by a Russian government agency because of a data leak or because a third party got ahold of your personal information.
But, if you’re still set on using a free Russian VPN, we recommend Atlas VPN’s free service. Besides being a premium plan provider, Atlas VPN is also the best free VPN for Russia.
This is because the free version comes with many features you’ll find in the paid plan. The main difference is the selection of servers, as you’re limited to only three options with the free plan.
Still, if you want the best and most complete online experience and don’t want to be restricted in any way, purchasing a paid plan is always the best way to go. Most of the VPNs we’ve discussed above are fairly affordable, as you can get a plan for just around a couple of bucks a month if you get a long-term option.
VPN for Russia FAQs
Is a VPN legal in Russia?
Yes, surprisingly, using a VPN in Russia is completely legal, and you won’t get in any trouble with the Russian government for doing so. However, while VPN use is legal, the country still blocks certain VPN providers. This mainly happens to services that online users use to bypass censorship in the country.
And, when you put it like that, it’s safe to say that most VPNs in the country are primarily used to bypass Russian censorship. So, there’s no clear rule of thumb to help you tell whether or not a VPN you’re using will get banned. But, you don’t have to worry about having any issues with the law.
Can the Russian government see that I’m using a VPN?
The answer to this question will primarily depend on the specific VPN you’re using. To be more precise, if a VPN service you’re using has obfuscation and other advanced privacy protection features, it’ll be much more difficult for Russian authorities to see that you’re using a VPN.
Which VPNs are blocked in Russia?
Currently, there are several VPNs banned in Russia, with the two most notable ones including VyprVPN and Opera VPN. The first official ban was issued in 2021 under the guise of fighting against extremism and preventing the distribution of illegal content online.
Moreover, in 2019, the Russian government agency Roskomnadzor sent a notice to a handful of the top VPN providers to comply with their requirements. This included names like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, both of which refused to do so. These services were blocked in Russia, but only in the sense that they no longer offer Russian servers.
Do I need a VPN in Russia?
If you care about your Internet freedom and want the right to have free speech, using a VPN is the only way to do so. Russian authorities keep tight control over Russian users. So, whether you want to use social media or combat the increasing authoritarianism in Russia in 2023, a VPN is your best tool for doing so.
Can I get a Russian IP address?
Yes, some VPN services allow you to get an IP address based in Russia. That said, not all VPNs that work in Russia offer you the option of getting a Russian IP address. Here are the best VPNs that will help you get a Russian IP address:
Are there Russian VPN providers, and should I avoid them?
We recommend you avoid using any VPNs Russia has to offer, as there’s no telling whether or not they are working with the government. Instead, we advise you to stick with one of our recommended VPN services that accept Russian users but have no direct ties to the country itself.
Which is the best VPN with servers in Russia?
The best VPN that has Russian servers is PrivateVPN. It’s a very safe and trusted service that has been around for more than a decade. CyberGhost is another excellent choice if you want to use a Russian IP address.
What VPN protocol is best to use in Russia?
If you’re looking for a protocol for general usage like accessing social media, streaming, and unblocking Internet censorship, then OpenVPN is the best choice for Russia. It’s a well-balanced protocol that delivers both privacy and performance and is suitable for most online users.
Although the Russian government has done its best to disable VPNs from working in Russia, many of the industry’s top services still work great for combating internet censorship in the country.
The five top VPNs, along with the tips we shared with you on this page, provide you with everything you need to know to enjoy maximum security and privacy when using a VPN with Russian server options.
Each of the five Russian VPNs above will help you combat censorship in Russia and stay private. Still, our top pick for the most reliable VPN for Russia and overall best Russia VPN service goes to NordVPN. It offers some extensive privacy and security protection tools and even allows you to pay in crypto to minimize your online data footprint.