Free access to the Internet is fundamental and equally important to every population. In many countries, however, this free access is not necessarily easy because governments block or censor accordingly. To some extent, there are criminally relevant reasons, but they are also partly related to criticism of the government.
The citizens are ultimately the victims and have to live with the fact that the Russian Internet is not free of censorship. We’ll tell you here what can be done about it—at least from a technical standpoint.
Table of Contents
Why is VPN Access in Russia Useful?
Not everyone who wants to surf the Internet freely and obscurely necessarily has the choice. In many countries, there is censorship, which is sometimes not just censorship but otherwise ‘disguised’. In Russia, it depends primarily on who publishes what on the Internet, but even normal users on the network without “ulterior motives” must live with the consequences and rules.
With VPN access, users handle the problem and can surf the Internet
- Without problems
- without censorship
This alone justifies the use of a VPN server in Russia and is used by many citizens (as well as in many other countries).
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How Does Online Censorship Work in Russia?
In China, every citizen knows that censorship is taking place on the Internet. Someone who wants to retrieve certain websites simply does not arrive at the pages. In Russia, it is a bit trickier, because it is not just a firewall blocking certain pages.
Instead, it is about freedom of expression, which has been severely limited in Russia for several years. If Russian society, state authority or other Russian subjects are insulted or otherwise criticised, corresponding blocks may be enacted.
Many newspapers report that the goal of the Russian government is to stop criticising the government. Already in 2010, a “blacklist” was published, in which those portals which criticised the authorities inadmissibly were listed—including the blocked pages. Initially, the authorities still needed “criminally relevant violations” to carry out blocking. Since then, criticism of the government is enough to ban one page for the Russian population and thus censor it.
Censorship or Cybersecurity?
Recently, the Russian Parliament passed the “Sovereign Internet Law”. In so doing, the precedent was set to disconnect the WWW in Russia.
For the Russian Roskomnadzor (Internet regulator), this creates new opportunities to intervene in Net traffic. The Parliamentarians who spoke up in favour of the new law emphasised that it was only to be employed against threats to national security.
But is this just about cybersecurity? Probably not, because even in 2012, a first law was developed which made Internet censorship possible. At that time it was said that this law was for the protection of children, but year after year there were new reasons to block more and more sites.
Why Not Just Use a Firewall Similar to China?
When it comes to censorship in Russia, the question arises as to why the country has not simply set up a large firewall, like China. However, the Internet in Russia is very different from the network in China. The Chinese work with a three-stage filter system, whereas the Russian Internet was previously relatively accessible.
It is therefore not possible to set up a firewall that would resemble the situation in China. Instead, the new law requires Internet service providers to install a specific piece of equipment. Thus, providers can be controlled. Ultimately, the plan is for a central office in Russia to be able to block individual websites.
Are VPN Legal or Illegal in Russia?
In 2017, President Putin signed a law that involved VPNs. There are often reports that VPN programs are now banned in Russia. As the chief analyst at the Russian Association for Electronic Communications, Karen Kasarjan, explains, the law does not mean that VPNs are banned. For technical reasons alone, this would not be possible in her opinion.
Authorities may compel operators of VPN providers to block certain websites. However, the analyst also notes that the Internet structure in Russia actually makes it “almost impossible” to force the operators to do so.
Instructions: Russia VPN with Shellfire
Do you want to surf anonymously and safely in Russia, for example, when you are on holiday? Then a VPN is the best choice because even blocks are not a problem. You surf anonymously and shield your online activities.
In the first variant, you use Shellfire’s free software. Our software is available for all regular platforms, for example, for your PC or for your mobile device. The corresponding links to the individual software versions can be found on our download page.
Do you prefer a hardware solution (a type of VPN-Router)? Then the Shellfire Box is an option because you can get yourself an easily connected box. You do not need to worry about anything after you set up and connect the Box. The Shellfire Box connects the desired device and then you can establish a secure VPN connection.
You can simply take the Box with you to Russia, run it via consoles or TV sticks, or connect it to a computer. There are many benefits to buying Shellfire hardware.
Censorship in Russia is not as pronounced as it is in China for example. Nevertheless, it is not easy to surf uncensored on the Internet in this country. If you want to avoid blocks or censorship, then you cannot get around using a VPN solution.
With Shellfire’s Box or VPN software solution, you can easily surf anonymously and safely on the Internet. You can access any social media, stream what you want and not worry about the blocking of individual series or movies on Netflix or other services. For you, that means the fullest freedom on the Internet.
Image Source: Andrey Yanevich / 123RF