Russia putting pressure on VPN providers

This morning I woke up only to notice blog posts from several of the biggest VPN providers on the market about new requests from Roskomnadzor, the censorship agency in Russia (appointed by the government). This couldn’t be good, I thought, and it isn’t. But, what is it all about? What does the Russian censorship agency require from the VPN providers, and why don’t they do what they are asked to do?

They often say that you only need a drop of poison in order to destroy a glass of water. It might only be a drop, but it is enough to change everything. And that is what has just happened in Russia.

A couple of years ago Russia came with some requests to all the VPN providers in the country. Some of the providers already then left Russia, while some VPN providers remained in the country. But, this time it is getting way more serious, and I do believe most VPN providers will leave the country based on this. But, what are the requirements from the Russian government?

The requirements from the Russian government (Roskomnadzor)

  • The Russian government has required VPN providers in the country to ban websites on the Russian list of banned websites.
  • They want access to all VPN servers and traffic on them located in Russia.
  • This has to happen within 30 days… unless!!!

Now, why is this causing trouble for the VPN providers?

Well, if you know anything about VPN services, then you probably recognize that this is just about destroying the entire purpose of a VPN. A VPN is about hiding your online activities and also giving you the chance to surf the Internet without restrictions. As a result, banned websites turn available, and you can watch content online that is blocked or banned. Not only is this an important matter, but when Russia requires access to the actual VPN servers, they are also looking into the actual activities of the users, meaning that the no-blocking policies most VPN providers take pride in would be completely destroyed and a great lie.

Based on this, I can confirm that VPN providers such as IPVanish and NordVPN has decided to remove all their VPN servers in Russia, meaning that they will no longer have actual servers available in the country.

This might cause trouble for people in need of a Russian IP address, but luckily, people in Russia can still use NordVPN and IPVanish. The difference is that they will have to connect to servers outside the borders of the country. This might cause a bit slower speeds, but at least they will be able to surf with encryption, and also able to bypass geo-blocks.

A search for Russia in NordVPN gives no results - all Russia servers have been removed.
A search for Russia in NordVPN gives no results – all Russia servers have been removed.

What I will pay attention to after this – Which VPN providers will remain active with servers in Russia?

Now this is something I am very curious about. In one month from now, which VPN providers will still be active in Russia with servers available in the country? I know for sure that IPVanish and NordVPN will not, but what about the rest of the big-shots? I will, hopefully, write an article to update you all about this in the start of May 2019.

Do you have any thoughts about the new regulations and demands from the Russian government? I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic!

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