Due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia has been hit by numerous sanctions. Citizens can’t access a plethora of popular social media websites, impartial news sources, and common payment services due to increased censorship. However, with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you can bypass Russian content blocks. Here’s how to get one:
- Choose a VPN provider like Surfshark, which is one of the cheapest remaining VPNs that work in Russia.
- Register for a subscription and determine which payment option works for you.
- Download the VPN software and install it onto your device. Also, download the mobile app.
- Sign into your new account and choose a VPN server in a country such as the United States or the United Kingdom.
- Connect to the VPN server, and you should be able to bypass internet censorship in Russia.
As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, online censorship in Russia has reached new heights. At the time of writing, the websites blocked in Russia include major social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Citizens are also unable to access BBC News, among other popular digital news outlets. In total, over 250 news services have been blocked as Russia attempts to control the rhetoric around the Ukraine invasion.
The good news is that with a VPN (virtual private network), you’ll be able to unblock websites in Russia and keep up to date with unbiased news from around the world, or access social media. In this article, we’ll talk about how to get a VPN in Russia. And since it’s 2022, you can now pay for a VPN subscription with Bitcoin!
We highly advise reading through the guide below, as using a VPN in Russia has become more difficult due to the impact of world sanctions against common payment services.
How to Get a VPN in Russia
If you want to get a VPN in Russia, you’ll need to know which VPN services still work following recent sanctions. One of our most popular choices, NordVPN is currently blocked in Russia. What’s more, PayPal and major credit cards can no longer be used to sign up for a VPN subscription.
However, it’s more important than ever to consider using a VPN in Russia if you want to protect your privacy. With authorities cracking down on freedom of speech and the information that citizens can access, you’ll need a virtual private network to remain secure and anonymous. What’s more, a VPN will allow you to access websites that have been blocked in Russia.
Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide that will show you how to get a VPN in Russia. We’ve also covered the payment methods that you can use to pay for a VPN subscription, and at the time of writing, these should all work.
Step-by-step guide: Get a VPN in Russia
- Choose a VPN provider. Right now, we recommend using Surfshark. The service has not been blocked, and it’s one of the cheapest premium VPN providers in the industry, which should help avoid expensive subscriptions while the economy is experiencing a downturn.
- Create an account on Surfshark’s website. We’ve listed specific instructions further down in this article that will show you how to register a subscription while card services and PayPal are blocked.
- Download Surfshark, or choose another VPN provider from our list of available services further down in this article.
- Search for a VPN server in another country that has greater internet freedom. For example, get an American IP address or UK IP address for access to more impartial news sources.
- Access blocked websites in Russia once you’re connected! You’ll also make it far more difficult for third parties to see what you’ve been looking at on the internet.
Is It Safe to Use a VPN in Russia?
Russia allows the use of VPN software, though some VPN providers have been blocked for allowing access to websites or services that are banned in the country. This doesn’t mean that a VPN won’t help you to access blocked websites in Russia; it simply means that a few providers have been caught out and blocked, though there are others that remain operational.
In fact, many citizens of Russia are now turning to VPNs in order to access websites that are unavailable. Take AtlasVPN for example; the provider has reported an increase of around 1,906% in new installations since the Ukrainian invasion began.
Clearly, there are many internet users still turning to virtual private networks to access their usual services or find unbiased news sources.
Bear in mind that using a VPN gives you greater security and anonymity online in general:
- Since connecting to a VPN changes your Russian IP address to one from another country, you’ll be harder to track. You’ll also hide your browsing activity from your ISP (internet service provider) and other third parties.
- When connected to a VPN, your data traffic will be encrypted. This offers your personal information greater protection against malicious actors, which is crucial right now with Russia’s attitude toward freedom of speech.
- Downloads are much safer when using a VPN, which is especially good news for anyone interested in torrenting. Nobody in your torrent swarm will be able to see your true IP address.
Below, we’re going to cover VPNs that work in Russia, even after the recent uptick in internet censorship.
Which VPNs Still Work in Russia? Our Top 3 VPN Providers
There are many great VPNs in the industry, and we talk about all of these in detail in our coverage of the best VPNs. However, if you need a VPN that works in Russia, the good news is that there are still several options. That’s why we’ve revised our list to bring you the best VPNs for Russia, which will let you bypass content restrictions.
1. Surfshark: The most affordable VPN that works in Russia
- Supports unlimited devices under a single subscription
- Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
- One of the cheapest premium VPN providers
- Multiple payment options including WebMoney, Qiwi Wallet, UnionPay, and cryptocurrency
Surfshark has long been one of our preferred, highly secure VPN providers, so it’s great news that it still works in Russia. What’s more, you’ll be able to subscribe to this VPN in Russia using a range of payment options. While PayPal and major credit cards won’t work, you can set up an account using crypto, Webmoney, Qiwi, or UnionPay.
What’s more, one Surfshark subscription allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices. Most other premium VPNs have a limit of five to seven devices per account, so this is a major benefit if you’re trying to bypass website blocks in Russia.
It means you can connect all of your devices to an unrestricted VPN, or purchase a single subscription so that the whole family can avoid internet censorship.
You can use Surfshark on desktop devices, but there’s also a user-friendly mobile app for iOS and Android. Of course, Surfshark’s connection speeds are awesome too; if you want to see our speed test results, check out our Surfshark review.
The bottom line is that this provider offers great security, privacy, and speeds that are fast enough for both browsing and streaming. They’ve also been historically good at avoiding content blocks by the likes of Netflix, just in case the Kremlin comes knocking.
- Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
- 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
- Cheap with many extra options
How to pay for Surfshark in Russia
Surfshark makes it simple to subscribe to their VPN service with an alternative payment method. Follow the below steps, and you should be up and running in no time:
- Click on “Get Surfshark VPN” on the homepage
- Select your preferred plan, then scroll further down the page until you reach the section titled “Select payment“.
- Choose the payment option that you’d like to use. For example, selecting “cryptocurrency” will allow you to pay for Surfshark with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple. However, you’ll need to use either the CoinGate or CoinPayments platform.
- If you’d like to pay for Surfshark with using WebMoney, Qiwi Wallet, or UnionPay, click on the “Other” payment option and follow the similar steps laid out on-screen.
- Complete the subscription process with your chosen payment method.
2. CyberGhost: Get a VPN for Russia with an extended money-back guarantee
- A slightly extended 45-day money-back guarantee
- Offers over 6,000 VPN servers globally
- Doesn’t keep logs of your browsing activity
- Subscribe to this VPN in Russia using Bitcoin, UnionPay, or WebMoney
CyberGhost is another top VPN, and while it’s not quite as cheap as Surfshark, it’s equally strong at streaming and bypassing content blocks. While you don’t get an unlimited number of connections under one account, you can still connect up to seven devices.
Outside of Surfshark, this is one of the best providers for connecting multiple devices or users without paying for a second account.
CyberGhost, like Surfshark and ExpressVPN, uses 256-bit AES encryption. What’s more, this is another provider that stores zero logs of user activity. Strong encryption and zero-logging are two things that you should definitely look out for when using a VPN in Russia.
If you subscribe to CyberGhost, you’ll get a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is slightly longer than the industry average of 30 days. You should be able to create your VPN account in Russia using Bitcoin, UnionPay, or WebMoney payment options.
- Very user-friendly
- High quality for a low price
- Torrents and Netflix possible
How to pay for CyberGhost in Russia
CyberGhost allows you to pay for its subscription using a number of alternative payment methods. This should allow you to get around the payment sanctions and create a VPN account in Russia. Here’s how:
- Click on the yellow “Get 82% OFF” button in the upper-right of the screen of CyberGhost’s homepage. The text may differ depending on your location and the link you followed to get to CyberGhost’s website.
- Decide on the plan you’d like to subscribe for, then click on the green “Get Plan” button beneath it.
- Select your preferred payment option to continue. On the payment screen, you’ll see several tabs along the top of the screen, which denote the payment methods you can use. In Russia, these should be Bitcoin, UnionPay, and WebMoney.
- Scroll down a little further and click on the button in the lower-right of the screen to connect to your chosen payment service. This button will say “Continue to BitPay” or “Continue to WebMoney” for example, depending on your selection.
- Complete the subscription process with your chosen payment method.
3. ExpressVPN: Get a VPN in Russia Using Yandex
- Access to VPN servers in 94 countries
- Like CyberGhost, offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Payment options available in Russia include Yandex (YooMoney), Qiwi Wallet, Bitcoin, WebMoney, or UnionPay
ExpressVPN is well-known for its security and privacy features, and it’s also highly adept at bypassing content blocks online thanks to advanced obfuscation features. However, more pertinently, ExpressVPN’s zero-logs policy has been verified and is backed up by TrustedServer tech that wipes servers on reboot. Even if the Russian authorities attempted to get hold of user logs, there’d simply be nothing to seize.
While PayPal and credit card payments were previously possible, there are plenty of remaining options to create an account with ExpressVPN. These include the same services as Surfshark — Qiwi Wallet, crypto, WebMoney, and UnionPay — but you can also use Yandex’s YooMoney service, which should prove a popular option among Russian users.
With ExpressVPN’s servers, you can get a VPN connection to more than 90 countries worldwide, including the UK, U.S., Japan, Australia, and many more. You can also get a 30-day money-back guarantee with this provider, so there’s plenty of time to try out the service for free.
Just bear in mind that ExpressVPN is one of the priciest premium VPN providers in the industry at the moment. It’s generally quite expensive when compared with other VPNs that work seamlessly in Russia.
- Very easy to use VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
How to pay for ExpressVPN in Russia
ExpressVPN makes it easy to create a new VPN subscription using an alternative payment method. Here’s how:
- Click on the green “Get ExpressVPN” button on ExpressVPN’s homepage.
- Choose your plan and populate the required field with your email address.
- Scroll down to section 3, titled “Select your preferred method of payment.”
- Make payment using Bitcoin or any other option by selecting the relevant section. Alternatively, choose “Other” to get access to YooMoney, Qiwi Wallet, UnionPay, or WebMoney.
- Complete the subscription process with your chosen payment method.
VeePN is a Panama-based VPN provider that has a lot of servers in Russia. However, its speeds are slow and its app is faulty.
Can I Get Use VPNs That Work in Russia?
At the time of writing, both PrivadoVPN and ProtonVPN are free VPNs that work in Russia. While there are also paid-for subscription tiers, these providers offer a free service that you can use. However, you should bear in mind the drawbacks that come with a free subscription.
- PrivadoVPN is currently our best free VPN, so it is a viable option if you need a VPN in Russia but don’t want to pay for a subscription. However, on the free tier, you’ll only be able to connect one device simultaneously. You’ll also be limited to 10GB of data per month, and you’ll have a fairly limited choice of 12 server locations in 8 countries to unblock websites in Russia.
- ProtonVPN took the second spot on our list of the best free VPNs. Their free subscription tier doesn’t allow torrenting, nor can it unblock streaming services like Netflix. What’s more, you can only choose from 23 server locations in just the countries. However, it doesn’t impose a data limit, so you won’t have to worry about being cut off.
Why Should I Get a VPN in Russia?
While internet censorship in Russia has never been as stringent as other countries like China, the recent invasion in Ukraine means that the Russian government has been ramping up online restrictions. The country maintains something known as the “Single Register,” which is a list of websites and services that are blocked for Russian citizens.
Starting in 2012, the Single Register was used as a rather innocuous way to block obviously illegal activities, including drugs and other criminal resources. However, it has rapidly grown into a source of wide-reaching internet censorship since the beginning of Russia’s war.
The Single Register now features a number of popular internet resources, including Voice of America and BBC News.
So, if you want to avoid Russia’s content blocks and enjoy the internet without restrictions, you’ll need a VPN. As an added benefit, using a VPN won’t just unblock websites in Russia. It’ll also give you access to regional websites and services in other countries.
For example, if you get a U.S. IP address, you can access all of the streaming services enjoyed by U.S. citizens, including:
What Should I Look For in a Russian VPN?
When choosing a VPN, there are several things to look out for. These include connection speed, security and privacy policies, features, and the locations in which VPN servers are available. However, if you’re looking for a VPN in Russia, you’ll want to think first and foremost about bypassing content blocks and maintaining your anonymity.
As a result, you should look for:
- Strong encryption: The three VPNs we’ve recommended all use 256-bit AES encryption, which is the choice of many governments and military organizations around the world. This ensures that all of your internet traffic is encrypted and safer from prying eyes.
- Zero-logs policies: Some VPN providers log browsing activity, and there have been instances of authorities seizing user data in the past. While this is typically something that affects free VPNs, it has been known to happen with paid services. The VPNs we’ve recommended all have verified no-logs policies.
- VPN servers in countries with few internet restrictions: To bypass Russian internet censorship, you’re going to need to connect to a VPN server in another country. In doing so, you’ll change your IP address, which will allow you to access websites that are blocked in Russia but available in your VPN server’s host country.
Bypass Censorships With a VPN
Since the invasion of Ukraine, internet censorship is becoming more stringent, and you’ll have to use a VPN if you want to access blocked websites in Russia. It’s also advisable to protect yourself with a VPN due to the harsh punishments being imposed on anyone speaking out about the events in Ukraine. Above all, exercise caution, and keep yourself safe.
At the time of writing, we recommend Surfshark as the best VPN for bypassing Russian censorship. You can also try CyberGhost or ExpressVPN. However, bear in mind that you’ll have to use the alternative payment methods outlined above if you want to create a VPN account since Russia is currently barred from using services such as Mastercard, VISA, American Express, and PayPal.
If you have any questions about how to get a VPN in Russia right now, or how you can pay for a VPN subscription, check out our frequently asked questions below.
Due to a crackdown on internet censorship in Russia, some VPN services do not work, such as NordVPN. Similarly, other VPNs may work but prevent you from subscribing for a paid account due to a lack of currently available payment options. This includes PrivadoVPN and ProtonVPN. We recommend choosing one of the following VPNs that work in Russia, and support payment options that have not been sanctioned:
You’ll find more specific instructions for each of these VPNs in our full article.
Setting up a VPN in Russia is straightforward, provided that you choose the right VPN provider. Simply follow the steps below or visit our full article if you get stuck:
- Make sure you choose a VPN that works in Russia, such as Surfshark.
- Go to the provider’s website to follow the signup process, taking care to choose an unsanctioned payment method.
- Download the VPN software once you’ve created an account, then install it on your device.
- Sign into your VPN account and locate a VPN server in a country with lax internet freedom.
- Connect to the VPN server to change your IP address and bypass Russian internet censorship.
Despite recent world events, VPNs are still legal to use in Russia. However, some services are unavailable (notably, NordVPN). Others are simply impossible to use because they only offer payment options that have been sanctioned and thus withdrawn. However, you can still use VPNs like Surfshark, CyberGhost, and ExpressVPN to bypass content blocks.