VPN usage in Russia escalates amid the Ukraine invasion

Nwachukwu Glory  - Tech Expert
Last updated: November 15, 2023
VPN usage Russia Ukraine
  • Following Russia's ban on social media platforms and websites, Russians seek VPNs as their alternative to outside information.
  • Consequently, VPN search queries on Google trends, installations on mobile app marketplaces, and VPN usages skyrocketed.
  • Amid all these, Russia still hasn't been able to take any concrete action against VPNs within the country.

Millions of Russians now use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) following President Putin’s nationwide ban on external websites and social media platforms. Since the Ukraine invasion by the Russian military forces, the Russian President Vladimir Putin restricted access to over 1,000+ sites. As a result, the number of people looking for a VPN for Russia has exploded. This was explained by a report released on May 6. 

Top social media platforms and websites that the Russian Government has banned

In 2019, Russia endorsed a law of Sovereign internet, alias its “digital Iron Curtain.”  According to The Kremlin, President Putin approved this bill to secure Russia from external intrusion and cyber-attacks. Thus, enabling the Russian Government to have firmer control over its internet. 

Following the Ukraine invasion, the Government blocked several internet platforms; restricted some while leaving others, like Google, unscathed. According to the report, over 50,000 platforms were analyzed, and precisely 1,457 of them were related to the Russia-Ukraine war. 

Also from the list, some notable platforms restricted by the Russian Government include:

  • Meta’s Facebook and Instagram
  • Twitter
  • BBC News
  • Google News
  • Ukrayinska Pravda
  • Meduza.io
  • Voice of America
  • Chess.com
  • Amnesty International
  • NPR
  • Bild
  • Radio Free Liberty sites
  • And Interfax-Ukraine

VPN usage in Russia soars

As the ban on these websites and platforms increased, so did the use of VPNs within the country leap greatly. Also, the reports that on March 5, the usage of VPNs within Russia grew by over 10,000% since the ban on Instagram commenced. This information was reported by AtlasVPN.

Their report showed that following the Instagram ban, the search query for VPNs recorded an All-Time-High result in one month. 

The search for VPNs began on Feb 25 and through until March 12, when it recorded massive record-breaker search queries. As a result, the volume of VPNs installed from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Russia spiraled by over 11,253% times the regular occurrence. Fortunately, many premium VPNs such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN are not blocked in Russia and still work fine.

Meta executives’ response to the ban on their platforms

After the ban on Instagram, some of Meta’s executives took their perspective on the restriction to the public. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, stated on Saturday 12th March 2022 that over 80 million Russians and Russian residents would be cut off from the rest of the world. Over 80% of Russian-based Instagram users follow at least one Instagram account outside Russia. 

Why is VPN use a must for internet users today?

With the level of insecurity and lack of privacy on the internet, there is a need for a VPN. Check out some of the reasons to get a reliable service today! 

Camouflages your Locations

One great advantage of using a VPN is that it hides the location of your IP address and replaces it with another remote location. Using a VPN, you can use the ‘VPN location spoofing’ to change from one within your country to various others. Also, since your IP address can determine your location, you will be able to browse the internet without being tracked down securely by switching to another server. 

Robust encryption

An encryption key enables you to read data easily. However, if it’s not available, it would be almost impossible for a computer to perform brute force deciphering. By using a VPN, all your activities online will be hidden, and your browsing anonymous. 

Geo-restriction bypass

Some websites and online platforms enforce geographical/regional restrictions. This can occur in some countries or parts of a country and users. But, by using a VPN, you can easily change your server’s location to another country or region within a country and access the website and social platform without having issues.

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About the Author

Nwachukwu Glory

Nwachukwu Glory

Tech Expert

Nwachukwu Glory is a writer, blogger, and tech nerd. She loves trying new gadgets that make life more fun ( and easier). Glory is passionate about digital security and privacy alongside browsing the World Wide Web without any limitations.

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