Russia to block VPN next year

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

A Russian lawmaker for the ruling United Russia party announced on Tuesday that Russia’s communications watchdog intends to prohibit Virtual Private Networks as of March 1 of next year.

After President Vladimir Putin ordered soldiers into Ukraine in February 2022, Russia censored access to some Western social media, driving up demand for VPN services.

On March 1, a Roskomnadzor directive blocking VPNs would go into effect, according to Senator Artem Sheikin.

State news agency RIA cited Sheikin as stating, “An order will go into effect on March 1, 2024 to block VPN services providing access to sites blocked in Russia.”

Sheikin emphasised the need to restrict access to Meta, the company that controls Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

“I would like to note that it is especially important to restrict citizens’ access to the products of Meta which is recognised as an extremist organization,” Sheikin added.

In particular, he emphasised that this restriction also applies to VPN providers that provide access to Instagram, which is prohibited in Russia.

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