Russia’s ban on Facebook has left millions in the lurch, as it banned the largest social media in the world.
But with a premium VPN like Surfshark, you can easily unblock access to Facebook and other social media platforms and apps that are banned in the country.
Here’s how you can access Facebook with Russia:
- Navigate to Surfshark’s website.
- Purchase a subscription and register an account
- Download the Surfshark app
- Connect to a Surfshark server that’s outside of Russia
- Log on to Facebook and start browsing!
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. With nearly 2.5 billion monthly users, it’s simply too big to ignore. For many people, it’s the main way to access news, organize themselves, and stay in touch with friends and family.
Social media platforms are also a political tool. By restricting access to a platform like Facebook, or by banning it altogether, a government can keep control over the flow of information that reaches a population.
That’s exactly what is happening in Russia right now. After invading Ukraine in February 2021, the Kremlin implemented a ban on Facebook on March 4. Within hours, Twitter was banned, too.
Censorship of this scope harms media outlets as well as regular people, since journalists, activists, and ordinary Russians suddenly find themselves completely cut off from information.
For people in Russia, it’s impossible to log on to Facebook. However, one way to get around restricted access is by using a VPN (virtual private network).
If you can’t access Facebook in Russia, we’ll explain how to bypass restrictions and unblock Facebook and other blocked platforms.
Big Tech in Russia: A Standoff
Big tech companies have a strained relationship with Russia. While the war in Ukraine rages on and millions of people are trying to flee from the conflict, tech giants such as Google and Meta (Facebook’s parent company) are engaging in a digital standoff with the Russian authorities.
Russia’s decision to block Facebook is a move in a larger battle for information control. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have previously blocked state-run media channels such as Russia Today and Sputnik. They have done so in response to the decision of the European Union to limit the reach of what EU President Ursula von der Leyen calls the “Kremlin’s media machine.”
On Kremlin orders, Russian media have to call the invasion of Ukraine a heroic “special military operation” and omit footage that shows violence against Ukrainians. Meanwhile, independent media are desperately trying to debunk disinformation and push back against a Kremlin liberation narrative.
Experts worry about the double-sided consequences of the ban on Facebook. This is the crux of censorship: if Facebook continues to restrict pro-Kremlin content, inevitably people will be cut off from the social network entirely. Facebook has about 66 million users in Russia, but its other services, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, have 122.2 million users together.
Similarly, human rights organizations are concerned that censorship measures taken by Facebook, will cut people off from seeing what state press is reporting on the issue. They believe access to information should always take priority over pushing back against ideological propaganda.
While Facebook remains blocked in Russia by order of the Kremlin, VPNs offer a way out.
How to Access Facebook in Russia
The way to unblock Facebook in Russia or anywhere else it’s banned (such as China) is by replacing your IP address with one from another country where the site is accessible. And to do that, you will need a subscription to one of the best VPNs that are active in Russia, and then download a subscription straight from their website.
Test results for VPNs in Russia
Since Russia currently blocks many major VPN websites, including NordVPN, it’s not as easy as it once was to quickly download a VPN and get started. Fortunately, we worked with a team on the ground in Russia to complete testing and have compiled a list of several VPNs that are still currently available and can be accessed in Russia.
It is important to note that PayPal and many credit cards are not currently working for Russian citizens due to international sanctions, so you might have difficulty in making payments when buying a subscription. But you can still get a VPN in Russia.
Due to this, you will have to rely on alternative payment methods. Fortunately, we tested that too. Below are the VPNs currently available in Russia and the types of payment methods currently accepted by those VPN providers:
- Surfshark (Our pick)- Webmoney, Qiwi, Unionpay, Crypto
- Cyberghost – Bitcoin, UnionPay, PayPal, WebMoney
- ProtonVPN – Credit card, PayPal
- ExpressVPN – Kiwi, UnionPay, Yandex.Money, Credit Card, PayPal, Bitcoin, and many others
- PrivadoVPN – Credit card, PayPal
How to download a VPN in Russia – A step-by-step guide
1. Navigate to Surfshark to signup for a subscription.
Depending on which device you’re installing your VPN on, the steps might be slightly different. Here are a few of our in-depth articles for installing a VPN:
2. Once you download and install Surfshark on your device, simply open the app and connect to a server in any other country where Facebook works. In this case, virtually anywhere in the world, except Russia, will do!
3. Head over to Facebook (or open the mobile app) and log in. You can access your Facebook News Feed again!
What about mobile users?
If you primarily prefer using Facebook on your mobile, there’s no reason to worry. Surfshark also has a mobile app that you can download once you get a subscription. Simply install it on your mobile, and you can select a server to connect directly!
Why You Need a VPN to Access Facebook From Russia
In Russia, media watchdog Roskomnadzor holds the power to block content without a court order. If they find web pages or platforms that they wish to see blacklisted, they order internet service providers (ISPs) to block people from being able to access these pages. If ISPs refuse to do so, they can get their license revoked.
Your ISP can prevent you from being able to access a website, by blocking your IP address from reaching it. If you’re a journalist, activist, or just want to keep up with global affairs and communicate with others, you will need a VPN to get around this level of censorship.
A VPN provides you with a different IP address than your real one, one that won’t be blocked by your internet service provider. A VPN encrypts your data, which means that your ISP won’t be able to connect your activity back to you.
If you use additional security features such as a killswitch or obfuscated servers, you can remain virtually anonymous online.
Are VPNs legal in Russia?
In Russia, there’s an indirect ban on VPNs.
While using a VPN itself is not illegal by law, all VPNs have to comply with Roskomnadzor’s protocols and regulations. This means providers are not allowed to assist users in getting access to any of the blacklisted web pages or platforms.
In 2017, the Russian government passed a law to block people’s access to websites of VPN providers, including premium ones such as NordVPN. However, Surfshark is still active in Russia. This makes it difficult to actually download VPN software directly from a provider’s website.
What to Look for When Choosing a VPN for Russia
Because of the current political climate in Russia, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a VPN.
- You want to choose a VPN with excellent security features. This means access to the OpenVPN protocol and 256-bit AES encryption at the bare minimum. A kill switch is also important.
- Finally, a VPN with an extensive server network allows you to access reliable information from other parts of the world.
- You also need a VPN that has a no-logging policy so that your information isn’t tracked.
We’ve made an overview of best VPNs for Russia that you can check out if you want more advice for picking a VPN.
Surfshark VPN: Fantastic VPN at a great price
Surfshark’s a fantastic VPN with robust encryption, no-logging, and an incredibly intuitive client. It’s all available at a fantastic low price, making it an excellent choice for use in Russia to unblock Facebook.
There’s also Surfshark Nexus, which keeps your traffic within a specific network so that your information never leaks. This greatly improves your privacy while you’re connected to the VPN.
- Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
- 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
- Cheap with many extra options
CyberGhost: A reliable choice for use in Russia
CyberGhost has a long-standing history of excellence in the VPN industry. It’s incredibly easy to use, offers more than 3,000 servers, and has a fantastic no-logging policy that ensures your information remains safe.
It provides AES-256 encryption, IPv6, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. As per our testing, CyberGhost still works in Russia, so you can easily download it on any device you use.
- Very user-friendly
- High quality for a low price
- Torrents and Netflix possible
Why not use a free VPN?
As stated, we don’t recommend using a free VPN in Russia. While the price of premium VPN providers can sometimes be off-putting, there are several risks when you choose to use a free service instead.
Free VPNs tend to have weak privacy policies. This means your data can still be exposed. You also run the risk of your data being sold off to third parties.
Another limitation is the fact that free VPNs don’t offer as many servers. The servers they do offer tend to get crowded from over-use. This makes your connection slow and unreliable.
In most cases, free VPNs have bandwidth restrictions. This means you won’t be able to use the VPN for everything you wish to do online.
Final Thoughts on Unblocking Facebook in Russia
Censorship of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter negatively affects people’s access to diverse media and opportunities to connect with others. It’s a tool of political oppression, especially in times of war.
While it’s understandable that companies want to prevent misinformation from spreading, human rights organizations warn that the standoff between the Kremlin and tech giants will ultimately harm ordinary citizens the most.
Wherever you are in the world, using a VPN is a good and safe way to access Facebook, Russia included. We personally recommend Surfshark.
To get around VPN restrictions in Russia, you can just download Surfshark, which works in the country. Once you’ve installed it on your device, you can easily access Facebook! We also have a dedicated guide for unblocking Instagram in Russia if you want.
If you want to know how to get access to Facebook in Russia, our Frequently Asked Questions might be able to point you in the right direction.
Russia chooses to block Facebook as a form of censorship. By restricting people’s access to the social network, the Kremlin can control the flow of information that reaches Russians.
It is also a move of power against big tech companies. You can however access Facebook in Russia through a simple workaround.
The use of VPNs is legal in Russia, but the websites of VPN providers are blacklisted. By law, these providers have to comply with media protocols that forbid them to assist people in accessing blocked content. While it’s been made somewhat difficult to get your hands on a VPN, the use of one is not illegal.
You can get a VPN by downloading it directly from the provider’s webpage. In Russia, these websites are blocked. But, there’s a way to get a VPN in Russia:
- Create a free Softpedia account.
- Find and download a free VPN.
- Connect the free VPN to a server outside Russia.
- Use your connection to get access to the premium provider’s site.
While it’s possible to use a free VPN in Russia, we don’t recommend it. There are some disadvantages to free VPNs that can make things difficult in Russia:
- Free VPNs often have a limited amount of servers. You can only get an IP address from a select number of places.
- Most of the time, free VPNs restrict bandwidth.
You can’t access Facebook in Russia using a free VPN, for instance.