After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin passed a law criminalizing “fake news” of the conflict. In response, the Chinese-owned social media platform, TikTok, banned Russian users from uploading new content or seeing any non-Russian content at all.
Here’s how to access TikTok from Russia:
- Get to a premium VPN provider’s website, we recommend Surfshark. This was one of the few VPN websites still working in Russia at the time we were running our tests.
- Create your Surfshark account and purchase a subscription.
- Activate Surfshark and select a server outside of Russia to download the official TikTok app from the official TikTok website (unless it’s already installed on your device, of course).
- You can now sign into TikTok!
Surfshark is a reliable VPN with a fantastic mobile app that’ll give you access to TikTok with just a couple of clicks. It’s easy to use, incredibly secure, and relatively affordable.
Is TikTok getting banned in Russia? It isn’t at the moment, although you won’t be able to access all of TikTok in the country, due to recent steps taken by the company. The video-sharing app, owned by a Chinese company, banned new content uploads and live streaming on the platform. It now applies labels to content on the platform, indicating if it’s from state-controlled media.
The step was taken in response to Russia’s draconian censorship measures, which criminalize any content that it deems to spread fake information about its invasion of Ukraine. All non-Russian content is now blocked, which means Russians can only view older videos from Russian accounts.
Why You Need a VPN to Access TikTok From Russia
The Kremlin already maintains a high level of censorship on Russian citizens, but the invasion of Ukraine made things worse. NPR reported that TikTok users were uploading scenes from movies, previous conflicts, and even video game clips as if they were actual video footage of the Russian invasion.
Russia passed a new law that criminalizes “false information about the invasion of Ukraine under the penalty of imprisonment.” In response, Chinese company ByteDance, which owns TikTok, banned anyone using a Russian IP address from seeing any non-Russian content or uploading new content on TikTok. But, you can still get a VPN in Russia.
The good news? There’s a workaround for unlocking all content on TikTok. All users need to do is download a reliable VPN before connecting to TikTok. With a VPN, you can change your IP, making it seem like you’re logging into TikTok from another country altogether. This will allow you to bypass online restrictions and access any apps or websites that are blocked in Russia. Essentially, with a VPN, you can unlock all content that’s currently banned in the country.
However, it might not be possible to download your VPN directly from the VPN’s official site due to censorship in Russia. Read on to learn how to download an excellent VPN and get around the TikTok ban.
How To Access TikTok From Russia
Since TikTok is a mobile app, the best way to access the video-sharing app from within Russia is to subscribe to a VPN provider that works in the country and offers a mobile app. Since anonymity and privacy are so important, it’s imperative that you choose the best VPNs for protecting yourself.
The VPN will simply replace your IP address, thus making TikTok think that you’re accessing the site from another country, and grant you access. Because there’s always a risk of downloading a tampered file, it’s generally a wise move to only buy a subscription directly from the VPN provider.
Which VPNs work in Russia?
Russia has doubled down on censorship and blocked many VPN providers’ websites, including big names like NordVPN. We tested VPNs within the country and have compiled a list of the top VPNs that are still active in the country.
However, you should know that major credit card providers and services like PayPal no longer work for Russian citizens. As a result, you’ll have to buy a subscription using other means of payment. Below, you’ll find a list of the VPNs that are still active and accessible within Russia and the payment methods they accept:
- Surfshark (Top choice) – 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
We recommend Surfshark because not only is it incredibly reliable, but it also accepts payments via cryptocurrency, which means your account will remain truly anonymous. And, Surfshark also has a fantastic mobile app!
How to download a VPN in Russia – A step-by-step guide
1. Navigate to Surfshark to signup for a subscription. Now, you can download the mobile app for your iOS or Android device too.
Simply download the application on your mobile, sign in, and you’re good to go. If you want to access the web version of TikTok, you can also install Surfshark on your computer too. Here are a few guides on installing a VPN on different devices:
2. Once you install Surfshark on your mobile, you’ll have to sign in. After you do, just select any server outside of Russia where TikTok works, and you will be able to unblock TikTok in Russia!
3. Head over to TikTok (or download the app) on your mobile device and start using the app! It’ll work on your computer too.
The Best VPNs to Access TikTok in Russia
There are a few things to look for when choosing a VPN for Russia. Because Russia has strong censorship, you should choose a VPN provider that offers privacy, safety, and freedom. VPNs that hold those values will have features like:
- A strict no-logging policy: Your data could be leaked or shared with official parties without one.
- Servers in other countries: Servers in a country close to Russia will often give you higher speeds. However, countries with great online freedom like the US or UK are good choices, too.
- Unblocking tools to get around geographical restrictions: The more specialized tools a VPN offers, like obfuscation and double servers, the bigger the chance that you can access content that is otherwise unavailable in Russia, such as news websites and streaming services.
More importantly, to access TikTok in Russia, you also need a VPN that has a mobile app, since TikTok is primarily a mobile app. Based on these features and other factors, we chose two of the best VPNs to access TikTok in Russia.
1. Surfshark: Secure and fast connections
Surfshark is one of the best VPNs in the market right now, and for good reason. Surfshark is very easy to use, it’s fast, and takes your privacy seriously. Like CyberGhost, our runner-up choice, Surfshark offers military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and prevents IPv6 and DNS leaks.
On top of that, they have very user-friendly Android and iOS apps that will help you unblock TikTok with ease.
- Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
- 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
- Cheap with many extra options
2. CyberGhost: An affordable VPN with reliable speeds
Like Surfshark, CyberGhost offers great security, military-grade encryption, and a kill switch in case your connection is compromised. It’s also incredibly affordable, making it an excellent choice for accessing TikTok.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option that won’t let you down, CyberGhost is a great choice for unblocking TikTok in Russia. Their mobile app is also incredibly intuitive and works very well.
- Very user-friendly
- High quality for a low price
- Torrents and Netflix possible
Would you like some more options? You can read our complete guide to the best VPNs for Russia for more details about these providers and other great VPNs that work well to access TikTok and other content in Russia.
Dangers of using a free VPN
We don’t recommend using a free VPN at any time, especially in Russia where privacy is essential to getting around censorship regulations. Free VPNs give you limited data, so the most you can do is download an app for your paid VPN or subscribe to it. Since TikTok is primarily based on video sharing, you can expect to run out of data quickly with a free VPN!
Other issues with free VPNs include:
- Fewer servers (which mean fewer choices for a fast, secure connection)
- Overcrowded (resulting in seriously slow connections)
- Not updated regularly (so platforms like Netflix or even TikTok may recognize the VPN servers and continue to block you)
Get a VPN Subscription to Unblock Access to TikTok and Other Platforms
Russia continues to block major platforms including Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter. If you don’t have a VPN subscription already, you’ll find yourself being cut off from the global internet, so you’re only able to access a “splinternet” version that’s native to Russia and is heavily censored. You can also unblock other apps like Instagram from Russia.
In times like this, the true value of a VPN really shines. It not only hides your identity but also allows you to access all social media platforms and blocked websites. You can use Surfshark to unblock TikTok and other websites quickly. However, do make sure you’re aware of the privacy risks of TikTok when you use it.
Do you have any questions regarding the decisions taken by TikTok and the Russian government? Here are some frequently asked questions.
In 2021, the Biden Administration revoked bans against TikTok in the U.S. However, countries like Russia are facing new bans in 2022 after the invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin passed a new law criminalizing fake news about the invasion. So, TikTok banned Russian users from seeing non-Russian content and uploading any new content. You can however access TikTok from Russia using a simple workaround.
TikTok is banned in China due to an ongoing conflict between the Indian and Chinese governments. However, for the first time in social media history, TikTok has banned Russian users from uploading new content or seeing non-Russian content in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Chinese company claims to have done this in response to The Kremlin’s criminalization of “fake news” content about the invasion. There is still a way to access TikTok in Russia, however.