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The Best VPNs for Russia

Illustration of the flag of Russia
Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

Whether you live in Russia or want to get a Russian IP address, it’s important you choose a safe VPN that securely bypasses web censorship.

We tested 68 VPN services and identified five that aren’t yet banned and still work reliably in Russia.

These top Russia VPNs give you fast access to the free internet with strong encryption and effective obfuscation.

Based on the most recent tests, the five best VPNs for Russia in 2021 are:

  1. Astrill VPN: The top-rated VPN for Russia overall. Read Summary or Visit Astrill VPN
  2. Windscribe: The best free VPN for Russia. Read Summary or Visit Windscribe
  3. PrivateVPN: The most affordable top Russia VPN. Read Summary or Visit PrivateVPN
  4. VPNArea: Reliable anti-censorship VPN with Russia servers. Read Summary or Visit VPNArea
  5. Surfshark: Secure servers in Moscow & St. Petersburg. Read Summary or Visit Surfshark

Russia is one of the most heavily-censored and surveilled countries on the planet. Many popular websites are blocked and inaccessible without the use of a VPN or proxy.

All five VPNs recommended in this article successfully bypassed Russian web filters in our testing. They’ll protect your web browsing with high encryption and private logging policies.

EXPERT TIP: If you want to get a Russian IP address, PrivateVPN, Surfshark, and VPNArea have secure servers in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The 10 Best VPNs for Russia Compared

Using the table below, you can compare the top VPNs for Russia based on their logging policy, obfuscation technology, and ability to bypass censorship.

You’ll find data on their average speeds, server network, and everything else you need to choose a safe VPN for Russia.

The Top VPNs for Russia: Performance Ratings

In the table below, you can compare the five top-rated VPNs for Russia based on their performance in five key testing categories:

The 5 Top-Rated VPNs for Russia in 2021

  1. 1. Astrill VPN: The Best VPN for Russia

    A reliable anti-censorship VPN with obfuscation and servers in both Russia and Eastern Europe.

    Ranked #1 out of 68 VPNs for Russia
    Astrill mobile screenshots
    No user reviews
    Visit Astrill


    1. Proprietary Stealth VPN protocol
    2. VPN servers in Russia
    3. Nearby servers in Eastern Europe
    4. Kill switch & no IP, DNS, WebRTC leaks
    5. Privacy-friendly jurisdiction


    1. Mobile apps lack key features
    2. Clunky and unappealing apps
    3. Expensive compared to rivals

    Overall Rating for Russia: 9.5/10

    This rating is calculated using the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for Russia.

    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 9.49.4/10
    • 8.78.7/10
    • 9.29.2/10

    Astrill bypasses censorship effectively using its proprietary Stealth VPN protocol, which adds an extra layer of obfuscation over the already ultra-secure OpenVPN protocol.

    It offers excellent security, no IP or DNS leaks, and a range of VPN servers in Russia itself. Though it is excellent for censorship, our testing found its mobile apps lacked key features and its user interface was difficult to use.

    Logging PolicySome User Logs
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    Data LeaksNo
    JurisdictionSeychelles (Privacy Haven)
    Cheapest Price$10.00/mo over 12 Months See all plans

    An extremely effective anti-censorship VPN

    Astrill has earned itself a reputation for its ability to beat the most sophisticated online censorship.

    It’s not the most popular VPN, but this comes with its benefits – it’s yet to be targeted by the Russian government. This allows the service to operate physical VPN servers within Russia, minimizing any potential speed loss.

    The VPN is packed with advanced security features and configuration options. This includes ‘Smart Mode’ which works automatically to use your VPN IP address on international websites but keep your real IP for local sites.

    Excellent security, but poor user interface

    Astrill is full of options to customize your encryption and security, too. As a minimum standard, it provides an essential kill switch and IP and DNS leak protection.

    Astrill VPN's security settings

    Astrill’s security settings offer both StealthVPN and TCP.

    All your VPN traffic is routed through Astrill’s own DNS servers, which means there is no possibility your traffic will be routed through less-secure third-party servers.

    Like our other top picks, Astrill provides an alternative download link, which means it’s possible to download within Russia’s borders.

    The biggest drawback of Astrill is its visually unappealing apps on all platforms. Its archaic and clunky interface is sure to put off anyone at first – from VPN beginners to experts.

    Mobile users in Russia should not use this option, either. Astrill’s Android and iOS apps lack some essential features including a kill switch and the Stealth VPN protocol.

  2. 2. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for Russia

    An unusually fast and reliable free VPN with obfuscation and a 10GB data limit.

    Windscribe mobile screenshots
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe


    1. Works reliably to access websites and apps
    2. Three Russian servers
    3. Easy to use and intuitive apps
    4. Best free tier of any VPN service
    5. Minimal logging policy


    1. Stealth protocol not available on iOS
    2. Based in privacy-unfriendly Canada
    3. No live chat
    4. Lackluster speeds

    Overall Rating for Russia: 9.4/10

    This rating is calculated using the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for Russia.

    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 9.29.2/10

    Windscribe offers both a paid and free VPN. Its free service is the best free VPN for Russia, but both versions are good choices if you’re looking for simplicity.

    Windscribe uses its own in-house VPN obfuscation protocol – also called Stealth VPN – which works consistently in Russia, but isn’t as reliable as Astrill VPN.

    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    Data LeaksNo
    JurisdictionCanada (Five-Eyes Member)
    Cheapest Price$4.08/mo over 12 Months See all plans

    A good choice for casual VPN users

    Windscribe is designed for VPN beginners. Its apps are lightweight, simple, and appealing. This doesn’t come at the cost of advanced features, though; it also provides plenty of security settings.

    Windscribe Free is the only effective free VPN for Russia, which allows you to test its usability before committing to a subscription. If you don’t upgrade to the premium tier, you will be limited to 10GB of data per month.

    This data cap is generous for a free VPN, but will quickly get used up by high-bandwidth activities like streaming or torrenting.

    Three Russian servers, but no Stealth VPN on iOS

    Windscribe works reliably to access restricted websites and apps in Russia. It has a minimal logging policy, reasonable speeds, and the premium tier even includes three servers in Russia itself.

    Windscribe with stealth (Stunnel) turned on

    Windscribe offers an obfuscation protocol called Stealth.

    Though it works well against censorship on PC, Mac, and Android, iPhone and iPad users are better off with an alternative option. This is because the Stealth protocol is unavailable through the iOS and iPadOS applications, which means it is less secure on those devices.

  3. 3. PrivateVPN: Best for Mobile Users

    A cheap choice with stealth VPN on mobile, servers in Russia, and a full seven-day free trial.

    Image of PrivateVPN's app on mobile
    (1,736 user reviews)
    Visit PrivateVPN


    1. Stealth VPN protocol works on mobile
    2. Servers in Russia and neighboring countries
    3. Extremely cheap on long-term plans
    4. Best free trial of any VPN service
    5. Safe, secure & no leaks


    1. Small overall server network
    2. Poor customer support
    3. Mac & mobile apps lack configurability
    4. No browser VPN extensions

    Overall Rating for Russia: 9.3/10

    This rating is calculated using the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for Russia.

    • 9.49.4/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 9.99.9/10
    • 8.98.9/10
    • 8.88.8/10

    PrivateVPN works reliably in Russia, but is also extremely cheap compared to most top VPN services. On long-term subscription plans, it can cost as little as $1.89 per month.

    It offers servers in both Russia and neighbouring countries, and unlike Astrill or ExpressVPN, its stealth VPN protocol works on mobile devices.

    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    Data LeaksNo
    JurisdictionSweden (14-Eyes Member)
    Cheapest Price$1.98/mo over 24 months See all plans

    A small network with VPN servers in Russia

    PrivateVPN doesn’t have a large server network overall, but it does offer VPN servers in Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia. This will ensure you get fast and reliable speeds from Russia.

    PrivateVPN’s obfuscation protocol is also called Stealth VPN. It works in Russia, but our testing found it to be less consistent than ExpressVPN and Astrill VPN.

    However, PrivateVPN’s Stealth VPN protocol works on iOS and Android. This is a huge plus over Astrill and Windscribe, and is a reason to opt for PrivateVPN if you’re a mobile user.

    Safe to use, but limited customer support

    PrivateVPN also includes a VPN kill switch, AES-256 encryption, and protection against IP and DNS leaks. This is coupled with a strict no-logs policy, which ensures none of your online activity is recorded.

    PrivateVPN's server list

    PrivateVPN offers VPN servers in Russia.

    If you want to try out PrivateVPN before committing to a long-term plan, you can also take advantage of its superb seven-day free trial.

    Though it is an excellent choice for Russia in terms of security, privacy, and simplicity, our testing did find issues with PrivateVPN’s limited customer support and lack of configuration options on Mac and iOS.

  4. 4. VPNArea: Good Obfuscation & Nearby Servers

    Comes with X-Stunnel anti-censorship servers and IP addresses within Russia.

    VPNArea mobile screenshot
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit VPNArea


    1. X-Stunnel servers bypass Russian censorship
    2. Servers in Moscow & St. Petersberg
    3. Connections in neighboring Eastern Europe
    4. No logs privacy policy


    1. Not the most user-friendly
    2. Overall server network is small

    VPNArea is not banned in Russia and has servers within the country and its surrounding neighbors, making it ideal if you want to get a Russian IP address or bypass state censorship within the country.

    This VPN comes with proprietary X-Stunnel servers, which are designed to get around the strictest censorship systems in the world, including China’s Great Firewall. It’s also a no logs service, meaning its tightly private.

    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    Data LeaksNo
    JurisdictionBulgaria (EU Member)
    Cheapest Price$2.99/mo over 36 Months See all plans

    Effective anti-censorship obfuscation

    VPNArea is a good VPN for getting around state censorship throughout the world.

    It’s not quite as reliable as Astrill VPN, which works 100% of the time in any country, but our tests have shown that VPNArea works the majority of the time in China, which has the strictest censorship in the world.

    Russia is less sophisticated when it comes to clamping down on VPN use, so VPNArea is a reliable option for Russian internet users.

    It is also a zero logs VPN, which is fantastic for privacy. Even if Russian authorities seized VPNArea servers there would be no sensitive information revealed.

    Servers within and near Russia

    VPNArea has IP addresses within Russia and in nearby countries, ensuring that you maintain good internet connection speeds after you bypass the web blocks.

    The server network covers Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Finland, and more. This is very good, as you’ll get fast internet speeds. But we’d like to see Belarus included, too.

  5. 5. Surfshark: Best for Simplicity

    A fast and easy-to-use VPN with servers in Russia and an effective 'No Borders' feature .

    Surfshark app
    (120 user reviews)
    Visit Surfshark


    1. ‘NoBorders’ feature works to beat censors
    2. VPN servers in Moscow & St. Petersburg
    3. Very low price on long-term plans
    4. Works with all major streaming services
    5. Unlimited simultaneous connections


    1. Not the fastest VPN
    2. Relatively small server network

    Overall Rating for Russia: 9.1/10

    This rating is calculated using the following subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology for Russia.

    • 99.0/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 8.68.6/10
    • 9.19.1/10

    If you’re looking for an affordable VPN for Russia, Surfshark is a good choice. The VPN costs just $1.99 per month on its two-year plan, which is amongst the lowest prices on the market.

    The service includes VPN servers in Moscow & St. Petersburg, unlimited simultaneous connections, and a ‘NoBorders’ features that works to access restricted websites safely in Russia.

    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on 100Mbps local test connection

    Data LeaksNo
    JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
    Cheapest Price$2.49/mo over 24 months See all plans

    'NoBorders' works to bypass Russian censorship

    Surfshark comes with bespoke‘NoBorders’ obfuscation technology that reliably bypasses internet restrictions. Just be sure it is enabled in the application’s settings before connecting to a VPN server.

    This technology is available on both the Android and iOS apps, too, which means you can beat the Russian VPN ban on all of your devices.

    Surfshark’s alternative download link also means you can download the app even if you’re already in Russia.

    VPN servers in 59 countries, including Russia

    Admittedly, Surfshark’s network of servers in 59 countries isn’t the largest available. However, it is redeemed by its two native Russian server locations.

    The Surfshark VPN app connected to a Russian server

    Surfshark has a VPN server in St. Petersburg.

    This means that your connection is not routed via distant locations, minimizing any internet speed loss. Nearby regions are well-covered too, with nearby VPN servers in Ukraine, Latvia, and Belarus.

    Our tests found that Surfshark isn’t particularly fast, but it is one of the top choices for accessing streaming services, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It even works with Disney Plus on every single server.

    The generous allowance of unlimited simultaneous connections means you can also share an account across all of your devices.

Which VPNs Have Servers Near Russia?

If you’re looking to retain the fastest speeds while using a VPN in Russia, you’ll need to connect to a server as close as possible to your physical location.

This reduces the distance your internet traffic has to travel, minimizing any potential internet speed loss.

If your VPN service doesn’t have servers in the country itself, it’s best to choose a server in a nearby country like Ukraine, Latvia, Finland, or Kazakhstan.

These are the closest countries to Russia that most VPN services typically host servers in.

Using the table below, you can find out which popular VPNs have servers in Russia, and which have servers in countries nearby.

Are VPNs Banned in Russia?

By encrypting your traffic and changing your IP address, VPN software can be used to access online content that has been deemed incompatible with the views of the Russian government.

As a result, many VPNs are banned in Russia as part of a larger attempt to make the internet’s information conform to the ideals of the Russian state.

A protestor marching against Russia's increasing internet censorship laws

A protester marches against Russia’s increasing internet censorship.

Using a VPN in Russia is not illegal in itself, but using an ‘unauthorized’ VPN is against the law.

The punishment for using an unauthorized VPN in Russia is 300,000 RUB ($5,100) for the user and 700,000 RUB ($12,000) for the VPN service.

To become an ‘authorized’ VPN service, the company must cooperate with the Russian state and agree to block all of the websites in the government’s extensive website blacklist. They must also agree to share user data with Russian security services.

This makes using an ‘authorized’ VPN in Russia useless from a privacy and anti-censorship perspective.

If you use the best VPNs with strong encryption and effective obfuscation technology, it’s very unlikely your traffic will be identified or intercepted.

Which Websites and Apps Are Blocked?

Online content that is inaccessible without a VPN includes websites from the LGBT+ community, certain Wikipedia articles, as well as popular apps like LinkedIn and Dailymotion.

Websites like LinkedIn and Dailymotion have been blocked in Russia after they refused to agree to the country’s Personal Data law. Under this law, any internet company with users in the country must agree to store its data on servers within Russian borders.

The law has been enforced by the state under the guise of ‘protecting Russian internet users’.

There are risks that more impactful companies will be banned in the near future, with tech juggernauts YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram the latest to receive threats.

These companies are likely to receive bans due to their unwillingness to store Russian user data on Russian servers, as well as reportedly refusing to open offices within Russia.

How to Use a VPN in Russia

It’s not always possible to download and install a VPN before entering Russia.

Fortunately, the five VPNs we recommend in this list provide alternative websites to download and install their software within Russia.

Simply contact your chosen VPN service’s customer support to get the latest URL that works.

To safely download and use a VPN in Russia, follow the steps below:

  1. Before you arrive in the country, visit the VPN service’s website and sign up.
  2. If you’re already in Russia, contact your VPN service to find an alternative download URL.
  3. Locate the ‘Download VPN’ section and click the button for your desired device.
  4. Open the downloaded file, launch the app, and input your username and password.
  5. Ensure OpenVPN is the VPN protocol selected – or an obfuscated protocol, like Astrill’s StealthVPN.
  6. Ensure the kill switch is enabled, as well as any traffic obfuscation features.
  7. Connect to a server in Russia or a nearby country such as Ukraine.

How to Get a Russian IP Address

Getting a Russian IP address is useful if you need to access content that’s only available within the country’s borders.

Some major VPN services, like ExpressVPN, have removed their servers from Russia to protect their users from surveillance. As a result, it can be hard to find servers that reliably provide a Russian IP address.

VPNs with servers in Russia include Surfshark, Astrill VPN, VPNArea, Windscribe, and PrivateVPN.

To get a Russian IP address:

  1. Sign up to a VPN with servers in Russia.
  2. Visit the service provider’s website and install the software on your device.
  3. Open the application and sign in with your account details.
  4. In the app settings, enable the kill switch, OpenVPN, and leak protection.
  5. Enable traffic obfuscation if possible.
  6. Select Russia from the list of available server locations, and connect.
  7. Check your Russian IP address using an IP lookup tool.

How We Test the Best VPNs for Russia

Our experts use a unique, scientific testing process to make sure we only recommend the safest and most reliable VPNs for Russia.

We test every VPN service in five key categories, and use these results to calculate an overall rating for Russia.

For Russia specifically, we test every VPN for:

  • Bypassing censorship in Russia
  • Effective obfuscation technology
  • VPN servers in nearby countries
  • AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN
  • Safe no-logs policy & no IP or DNS leaks
  • Fast download & upload speeds

Here’s a more detailed list of the five testing categories, along with how much of the overall rating for Russia they make up:

1. Bypassing Censorship: 30%

Minimum Requirement: Some VPN servers work in Russia.
We Recommend: All VPN servers reliably work in Russia.

The most important attribute of a top Russian VPN is its ability to bypass censorship.

We use remote servers to test every VPN on its ability to access restricted websites and services.

The most effective VPNs will work to bypass website blocks on all servers, without limitations. However, we also reward the services that can work to bypass censorship almost all of the time.

2. Obfuscation Technology: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Some obfuscation functionality.
We Recommend: Multiple advanced obfuscation tools.

Obfuscation is a type of technology designed to disguise or camouflage your VPN traffic.

Typical encryption stops third parties from being able to see your activity. Obfuscation prevents them from knowing it is VPN traffic at all.

This type of technology is vital if you’re looking to bypass online censorship safely and effectively.

For this reason, we test every VPN for the ability to select an obfuscation protocol from the settings menu. VPNs with multiple obfuscation options, AES-256 encryption, and IP leak protection are rewarded.

3. Logging Policy: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Anonymized connection logs.
We Recommend: A strictly zero-logs privacy policy.

Russia has banned unauthorized VPNs, which means it’s important there are no logs of your internet connections in the country.

We analyze every VPN privacy policy in detail to assess its logging policy, jurisdiction, and ownership. We do not recommend any service that collects identifying logs or has ties to the Russian government.

4. Average Speed: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Average download speeds over 60Mbps.
We Recommend: Average download speeds over 80Mbps.

Speed is important to any high-quality VPN. We use both manual and automated speed tests to assess every VPN on its upload, download, and latency speed performance.

We also conduct speed tests on both local and international connections to provide relevant recommendations for users connecting into and out of Russia.

5. Nearby Servers: 10%

Minimum Requirement: VPN servers in some countries near Russia.
We Recommend: A wide range of VPN servers in Russia and nearby countries.

Finally, we test every VPN to assess the number of server locations on offers both within Russia and its neighbouring countries.

The closer these servers are to your physical location, the better your VPN speeds will be.

VPN services with multiple server locations in a wide range of neighbouring countries are rewarded, while those that cater only to Western countries are penalised.

Russian Internet Censorship and Regulation

Over the past decade, the Russian government has made several attempts to increase its control over the domestic internet. Here are some of the most important events affecting the country’s online freedoms:

1. Blocking Telegram

In April 2018, the Russian Communications Watchdog blocked over 4 million IP addresses in an attempt to ban the private messaging app Telegram.

Telegram remained online, while hundreds of unrelated websites and apps were unintentionally shut down.

Graph illustrating the number of IP addresses suddenly blocked by the Russia government

The sudden rise in blocked IP addresses in Russia after the attempted block on Telegram.

The sites and services involved included MasterCard, Twitch, Viber, and popular e-commerce and online banking sites. It took over a month for these apps to be put back online.

2. The Yarovaya Law

In 2016, Russia’s parliament approved the ‘Yarovaya Law’.

This law requires all Russian telecom companies and Internet Service Providers (ISP) to store detailed user communication records for six months, and all connection metadata for three years.

This allows the government to access records of everything you do online at any time.

Promoting ‘extremism’ online is punishable by up to five years in prison. Under the Yarovaya Law, ‘extremism’ can include modest protests, including “humiliation of national dignity”.

3. Russia’s Domestic Internet

More recently, Russia has initiated the final steps of its censorship strategy — to create its own domestic alternative to the global internet.

In November 2019, the aptly named ‘Sovereign Internet’ law came into force. This law allows the Russian state to switch off Russia’s access to the worldwide web in the event of an “emergency.”

As part of this, the government even plans to write its own version of Wikipedia by 2023, to provide citizens with more ‘reliable’ information regarding the country’s history.

If this physical disconnection from the global internet ever happens, VPN services would no longer work.

Russian VPN FAQs

What Is the Best Free VPN for Russia?

The best free VPN for Russia is Windscribe Free. It’s capable of working in Russia and offers obfuscation technology, top-standard AES encryption, reasonably fast speeds and a 10GB monthly data limit.

This can be a convenient option if you’re looking to access restricted content safely, but you don’t want to subscribe to a premium VPN service.

Free VPN services aren’t as reliable as their paid equivalents, though, so you might be left frustrated on occasion.

ProtonVPN Free is another safe free VPN for Russia that comes with an unlimited data allowance, which is impressive for a free VPN service.

There is a catch, however, as ProtonVPN’s free tier only offers three server locations. The Netherlands is the closest to Russia, so you’ll see a noticeable drop in your internet speeds if connecting from Russia.

What Is the Best VPN Protocol to Use in Russia?

Generally speaking, OpenVPN is the best VPN protocol for balancing speed and security. It’s an open-source VPN connection protocol that has been verified for safety time and time again.

OpenVPN does not obfuscate your internet traffic by default, though, so it’s recommended to use any bespoke stealth protocols instead if they’re available.

These stealth protocols are often built using OpenVPN as their foundation, and will prevent authorities from identifying your VPN traffic.

What's the Best VPN for Netflix in Russia?

Based on our most recent tests, the best VPNs for streaming in Russia are ExpressVPN, PrivateVPN, and Surfshark.

These VPN services can consistently bypass Russia’s censorship and reliably work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.

They also maintain very fast speeds, which are essential for high-bandwidth streaming sessions.

How Can I Stay Anonymous Online in Russia?

If you’re an internet user in Russia, the country’s laws on internet freedom can be frightening.

If you’re looking to stay safe and anonymous online, here are a few best practices you should follow:

  1. Use a pseudonym. No level of encryption or digital hygiene can hide who you are if you post under your real name. Pick a fake one that can’t be linked back to you.
  2. Use a VPN. A VPN will keep your browsing activity and location private by encrypting your internet traffic, routing it through a secure tunnel, and masking your true IP address.
  3. Use the Tor Browser. Tor works by encrypting your online communications and relaying your traffic through randomized nodes. Tor is slow, but if you’re unable to access a VPN then it is an alternative choice for anonymous browsing in Russia.
  4. Use common sense. Don’t geotag your content, discuss events from your personal life, or keep a local record of your written content. Stay away from social media websites, and be careful about what you post.

About the Author

  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio