Russia is not necessarily the best place to conduct a worldwide internet experience from, simply because of the fact that you cannot experience it. Since 2012, there have been increasingly more and more restrictions and bans, blocks placed on websites, regardless of them being Russian or not, but with regard to its content. There is an active and expanding blacklist in the country, and various policies promoting or enforcing a more homogenous way of life also lead to a change in the Russian internet’s contents. Though life is considerably different in Russia now, the cultural aftermath of times before 1989 is still present in a broad sense. Thus, the world largest country by area is very prone to join the likes of China, Oman or North Korea as a country of great restrictions.
Best VPN Services for Russia of 2018
Using a Russian IP
In general, the population residing in Russia has good access to the internet. This fact is used well by the residents. According to W3Techs, Russian is the second most used language on the planet today, after English and .ru is most the popular top-level domain for any country. As far as connection speeds go, most are over 10Mbit/s, but some offer over 10Gbit/s, too. If you plan to connect to use a Russian IP address, we suggest you employ a VPN service to do so. There are many restrictions active that are best bypassed, both for Russian and foreign websites. The tricky part is that since there is a wider range of possible speeds in Russia, make sure to always inform yourself about the maximum bandwidth of a particular server. For example, a very popular destination like the Netherlands might operate on a bandwidth of 3Gbit/s, but a more distant epicenter of internet like Moscow gets less support from the get go.
Russian Online Privacy Laws
The single most important law of recent times to mention here that affects the state of Russian internet is the Russian Internet Restriction Bill. As its name suggests, it involves the blacklisting of additional material according to the broadly worded “on protecting children from information harmful to their environment” sanctions, and others. Furthermore, blacklisted content can now be banned altogether in Russia. Another interesting change regarding the Internet Restriction Bill is that it made changes to the Protecting Children Act: content labeling is mandatory in today’s Russia. Online content is divided into age groups. Therefore, if you are a minor, you will most likely face restrictions ranging from the blocked display of a comment section to complete websites not being available altogether. All ISPs are obliged to employ all restrictions and bans identified by the Russian government. The situation is not that favorable, if not dismal and unsupportive of internet freedom. In fact, Russia is considered to be an “Enemy of the Internet” by the Reporters Without Borders organization.
Internet Censorship in Russia
This highly government-oriented control of the internet thus also manifests in the form of censorship and bans, block, blacklists. Child pornography is banned altogether, and so is content related to drug use and abuse. Websites promoting and providing instructions on suicide are similarly prosecuted. Interestingly, actions dubbed as “extremism” are similarly not allowed. This is understandable and widely accepted in the form of hate speech, for example. However, in Russia being an extremist online also includes expressing views that simply oppose the current political leadership, even if it is done in a peaceful manner. Because the main reference point is the single word “extremism”, it creates an opportunity for Russia to abuse the concept, resulting in many restrictions that are not or rarely present elsewhere. Since these changes also venture into the realm of the public and commonly accessible topics, internet freedom in Russia is bad overall and has been worsening in the 21st century so far.
Streaming Services in Russia
Russia actively creates internet content and structures that serve as a substitute for popular “western” online internet. The state-controlled aspects of these sites, or just the fact that they’re running their operations from within Russia, means that the information on display is modified according to the leadership’s needs. This means that if you do opt to use a Russian search engine like Yandex, the results will be filtered based on the governments’ intentions. A popular video streaming service in the country is Ivi.ru, while music streaming is distributed by Zvooq quite heavily. Netflix is not available in the country, but there are plans of introducing the service there. However – as with most non-US branches – Netflix will probably employ a restricted availability of shows, and Russian authority is often subject to being selective too. The overall situation can change fast regarding Russia’s online streams. Political and financial interests frequently wrestle each other, with varying results depending on the provider.
Free Russian VPN Trials
From the perspective of internet freedom, blocks, bans and censorship are a widespread problem in Russia. Therefore in our opinion, VPN services are highly recommended when using the country’s IP address. We will now present you three that excel in these matters. First, we would like to suggest you take a look at VyprVPN, a company with a vast amount of servers in different locations across the world including within Russian borders. Not only do they offer their own smart DNS solution called VyprDNS, but your connections are protected by a built-in NAT firewall too. If your main aim is unblocking the Russian net and bypassing restrictions, VyprVPN is equally a tested choice. Another very much suitable option is ibVPN. Similarly to the previous provider, they too have a customized smart DNS solution for you to use named ibDNS. With prices as low as $3.08 per month, ibVPN also happens to be one of the most affordable around. And lastly, fix your eyes on Hong Kong’s IronSocket. While they do not provide a smart DNS feature as a way to make streaming content speedier than on their VPN service, they do offer other means of bypassing restrictions. From HTTP, to HTTPS and SOCKS proxies – you will be met with a good selection of alternative choices.