The Roskomnadzor Strikes Back: Kremlin Online Crackdown

With China enacting stricter VPN regulations, Russia is following suit. Recently, China has banned the usage of many VPNs, forced app stores to remove VPN programs, and even jailed VPN multiple VPN sellers.

The Kremlin Online Crackdown

The law signed by President Vladimir Putin July imposing restrictions on Internet privacy tools has gone into effect November 1st. The Kremlin online crackdown limits the usage of virtual private networks, or VPNs, as well as anonymous proxy servers.

VPN providers must work closely with the Russian media, called the Roskomnadzor. This translates to the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass media.

How Will Restrictions Work?

Despite what many think, this law does not completely ban the usage of VPNs and proxies. However, the law does restrict the access to a list of many websites.

VPN services that wish to continue operation must adhere to the Roskomnadzor’s blacklist of banned websites. According Banki.ru, to The Roskomnadzor will also be given access to their servers  “within the legal framework.”

According to Leonid Levin, the head of the Russian State Duma’s information policy committee, the law is meant to block access to “unlawful content”. Restrictions made by this law will not impose restrictions to law-abiding citizens.

Will The Restrictions Work?

Through the Kremlin online crackdown, the Roskomnadzor is working to identify and block suspicious websites, there are still some hoops to jump through.

For instance, only one registry of banned domain names exists. This past summer, one of Google.ru’s web pages redirected to a blocked online gambling domain. As a result, the entire search engine was blocked for several hours.

According to many IT experts, corporate VPNs will be exempt from the new regulations. Currently, it is unclear on how the Roskomndazor will differentiate between corporate and public VPNs.

As stated by Leonid Yevdokimov, an expert on the Tor Project, it is presently impossible to distinguish between the two.

Avoid Kremlin Restrictions with a VPN

While it is unclear what the difference between corporate and public VPNs is in the eyes of the Roskomnadzor, it is still imperative to look into VPN services to help prevent the Kremlin from spying on your activities.

Some recommended VPNs for Russia include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish.

Using a FlashRouter, you can integrate a VPN on the router level. Furthermore, any device that is connected to a FlashRouter network will be encrypted. This will work for all devices, regardless of whether or not the product has native VPN capability.

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