As tensions between Russia and Ukraine have escalated into a full-blown Russian invasion, VPN use in Russia is on the rise. Many individuals in Russia are using a VPN to access reliable and accurate information about the ongoing war in 2022. This serves as a powerful reminder that VPNs are still an important tool.
Russia Moves Against Ukraine
After months of rhetoric, Russia mounted an invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. There was an immediate effort by Russia to control access to information about the war within its own borders. This is common in times of conflict, and not unique to the Russian government.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has drawn worldwide attention. It does not seem to be a war that will be resolved quickly. As the battles are being fought in cities like Kyiv, thousands of Ukrainians are being forced to flee their home into Poland and other countries. Some of these individuals are leaving behind family members.
In the midst of the invasion, VPNs have become a necessity for many Russian citizens. This has led to a massive spike in the use of VPN technology. The current numbers are much different from the normal statistics of VPN use in Russia.
Why VPNs are Needed Right Now in Russia
VOA is reporting that VPN use in Russia surged more than 4,000 percent in the early days of the Ukraine invasion. More than 700,000 daily downloads were being reported by VPN providers from February 24-March 5. That is up from an average of 16,000 daily downloads.
There was a time when VPN use was very popular in Russia because of the government’s tendency toward Internet censorship. Following crackdowns against VPN users, the numbers took a drop. The current situation sheds some light on how people in Russia feel about using VPN. It could also reflect that VPN use in the country was never totally forgotten. The government has simply made it hard for individuals to use VPN on their devices.
There is a need for access to honest reporting about the war between Russia and Ukraine. Some people in Russia have family members in Ukraine and vice versa. Many of these individuals in Russia are concerned that they are being fed illicit information when it comes to the war. There is also evidence to suggest that public support for the war among Russians may not be as strong as the Russian government would want its citizens to believe.
What Russian VPN Users Should Consider
While we would agree that a VPN in Russia is a good idea at the moment, it is important that users choose a reputable service. They should also be aware that accessing some VPN provider websites may already be difficult since the beginning of the invasion.
Some may be tempted to use a free VPN service instead of a paid provider. This could create more problems than it is able to solve. Free VPN services are known for security issues. They may also keep logs of user activity which could find its way into the hands of government officials or other authorities.
Using an affordable paid VPN service will resolve these issues. It will also mean having access to more servers in more locations. Paid VPN offers better customer service as well, and there tend to be fewer performance issues.
Another consideration is speed. Those who plan on using a VPN to connect to news outlets with streaming media should choose a provider with adequate speed. A VPN connection should show very little difference when it comes to speed than that experienced with a regular connection.
VPNs today are available for many different types of devices. You should try to choose one that offers convenient apps for mobile phones and tablets. If you are planning on traveling to the region, it is also a good idea to make sure that you have secured your VPN plan before you arrive in a foreign country.
Russia’s Internet Power
Since 2019, Russia has embraced stricter government control of the Internet. The so-called Sovereign Internet Law gives Russia the ability to cut off its Internet from the rest of the world. This means that Internet users can expect limited access to foreign news outlets and blogs.
Some would probably argue that Russia created the law for a time just such as this. For the immediate future, those in Russia who want accurate reporting of the war in Ukraine are going to have to rely on VPN in order to get it.
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