How to Access Instagram in Russia – A Step-by-Step Guide (2022)

Man fishing Instagram logo from another side of the cliff, where he sits with Russian flag and VPN shield icon next to him
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How to Access Instagram From Russia: A Quick Guide

With Russia’s far-reaching censorship policies, it’s more important than ever to leverage a VPN for internet use, especially with the recent ban of sites like Instagram and Facebook.

With a premium VPN, you can continue to access your favorite social media platform regardless of censorship.

Here’s how you can access Instagram from Russia: 

  1. Navigate to Surfshark’s website.
  2. Purchase a subscription and create your account.
  3. Download the Surfshark app.
  4. Connect to a Surfshark server outside of Russia.
  5. Head over to Instagram and enjoy!

For the full instructions on how to unblock Instagram on your device, read the article below!

Shortly after Facebook’s ban in Russia, the announcement of Russia’s blocking of Instagram soon followed. It came as a surprise to no one. The Roskomnadzor announced on March 11th of 2022, citing that the ban was due to posts encouraging violence against Russian soldiers.

While other censorship in Russia only blocks accounts from outside the country, the Russian ban of Instagram blocks all access to the app. This means an estimated 80 million Russian Instagram users will no longer have access to their accounts or the accounts they follow.

The good news is, there is a way to stay connected to your friends and family on Instagram, regardless of where you’re located or the level of censorship you face. With a VPN, or a virtual private network, you can bypass all such restrictions.


How to Access Instagram From Russia

The way to unblock Instagram in Russia — or any country where it is banned — is by replacing your IP address with one from another country where the site is accessible. The best way to do this is by signing up for one of the best VPNs and downloading it from the VPN provider directly.

Test Results for VPNs in Russia

Since Russia currently blocks many major VPN websites, including NordVPN, downloading a VPN directly from the provider’s website is oftentimes difficult. Fortunately, we have completed some testing within the country and found several VPNs that are still currently available in Russia.

It is important to note that PayPal and many credit cards are not currently working for Russian citizens due to various sanctions. Due to this, you will have to rely on alternative payment methods. Below are the VPNs currently available in Russia and the types of payment methods currently accepted by those VPN providers.

  1. Surfshark – Webmoney, Qiwi, Unionpay, Crypto
  2. CyberGhost – Bitcoin, UnionPay, PayPal, WebMoney
  3. ProtonVPN – Credit card, PayPal
  4. ExpressVPN – Kiwi, UnionPay, Yandex.Money, Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, and many others
  5. PrivadoVPN – Credit card, PayPal

How to download a VPN in Russia – A step-by-step guide

  1. How to install VPN software on your desktop, 6 steps infographicNavigate 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. Now that the premium VPN is installed, connect to a server in a country where Instagram is available. You can also download the mobile app for Surfshark and install it on your device to access and use Instagram on your mobile device.

Screenshot of Surfshark VPN provider, servers list

  1. Head over to Instagram (or open the mobile app) and log in. You will now have access to restricted content.

How to Choose a VPN to Use in Russia

Even in the most internet-free countries, there are a few must-haves for a quality VPN. These are even more important if you want to get a VPN for Russia.

Since Russia is known for its extreme levels of censorship, any VPN you choose must provide premium privacy, safety, and internet freedom to be our recommendation. We looked for VPNs with features like:

  • No-logging: If the VPN logs your data, your private information — including your identity — could make its way to officials or cybercriminals.
  • Server locations with internet freedom in mind: It’s important to pick a VPN with server locations close enough to keep your speed, but in locations with more internet freedom than Russia. Places like Sweden, the UK, and the US are great server locations for optimum freedom.
  • Strong encryption and VPN protocols: The VPN has to provide the ability to circumvent geographical restrictions while keeping your information protected from prying eyes. This will allow you to view restricted content such as news websites and streaming services.

Surfshark VPN: An excellent VPN for an excellent price

Surfshark VPN provider website homepage with added logo to the corner

We recommend Surfhshark over the other VPNs listed above for several reasons. However, the main reasons are Surfshark VPN’s strong encryption, no-log policies, and user-friendly software. It also doesn’t hurt that it accepts several alternative payment methods while keeping the prices low. The built-in kill switch instantly “kills” your internet connection if the VPN disconnects. This keeps your IP address private.

The last security feature we wanted to mention, is Surfshark Nexus. This new addition to the Surfshark VPN keeps your traffic within the network so users can change their server location without disconnecting from the VPN. This offers more protection of the user’s real IP address.

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For more information, please read our complete guide to the best VPNs for Russia.


Why a VPN is Needed for Accessing Instagram in Russia

Russia has a long history of censorship. However, recent events have increased the country’s censorship policies. This was partly due to the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 that pushed many to began uploading videos to social media outlets in an effort to have their stories heard.

Instagram Reels from the warzone were being watched as the attack was happening. Meaning, Putin and the Russian government had less control over the information that was making its way back to the Russian citizens.

This could be partly behind Russia’s new law criminalizing spreading “false information about the invasion of Ukraine.

As mentioned above, there is a way to unblock Instagram wherever you are. All you need to do is signup for a quality VPN and use that to connect to Instagram. This works because a VPN changes your IP address to the VPN’s server IP address. For example, if you’re in Russia and you connect to a VPN server in London, it appears that you’re connecting to Instagram from the United Kingdom.

By changing your IP address, you can bypass internet censorship and enjoy the websites blocked in Russia or any other country.

Unfortunately, there are some countries that make it hard to signup for a reliable VPN, this includes Russia. Due to internet censorship in Russia, many VPN websites are blocked from those within Russia’s borders. In this article, we covered how to download a VPN in Russia, including the current VPN websites that are not blocked.

Dangers of using a free VPN

While we do recommend using a free VPN for certain things, we do not recommend them for keeping your personal information safe in countries like Russia. This is because most free VPNs track their user’s information. This makes them less than ideal for countries with privacy concerns.

Add to that the data limits they apply to their free accounts and you have a major issue for keeping yourself safe from overstepping authorities.


Use a VPN to Unblock Instagram and Other Blocked Apps

Russia’s censorship continues to expand in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine and various sanctions being placed on Russia. So far, the country has blocked or censored websites and platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, as well as others. Without a premium VPN subscription, you’ll be blocked from uncensored news, social media platforms, and the global internet at large.

This is why a VPN is so important. It allows us to keep the internet free and uncensored. It helps us connect to those we love regardless of the government in office. A VPN not only keeps your identity private but opens up the free internet by unblocking Instagram and other websites. Sign up for Surfshark or NordVPN to unblock Instagram.

How to Access Instagram from Russia: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions about unblocking Instagram from Russia, check the section below to get answers to frequently asked questions!

Instagram was blocked in Russia because the Russian authorities deemed it to be spreading fake news about its invasion of Ukraine. This was a move designed by Kremlin to extend its reach to control the narrative surrounding the war. Read our full article on Russian censorship for more information.

Yes, you can! A VPN lets you unblock all blocked content and bypass censorship. You can unblock Instagram in Russia using simple, step-by-step instructions.

Yes, you can. However, it’s generally not a wise idea, as a free VPN isn’t secure and offers limited bandwidth. Instead, you can use a free VPN to unlock access to a premium VPN provider, get a subscription, and then enjoy Instagram! We have step-by-step instructions to unblock Instagram from Russia that you can follow.

Security research coordinator
Kat is an IT security business consultant with experience in project management, process development, and leadership. She coordinates our team's research efforts in the field of cybersecurity, privacy, and censorship.