In the wake of Russia’s parallel cyberwar against foreign virtual private network (VPN) suppliers, which have largely been banished from its soil, Kaspersky has announced a phased withdrawal of its services from the increasingly isolated superstate.
“We are starting a phased shutdown of the Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN application in the Russian market,” it said, confirming that the service “will no longer be available” in the Russian Federation.
It added: “The shutdown of the product in Russia will occur in stages to minimize inconvenience for current users.”
It also supplied one other caveat, stating that the paid version of its VPN would remain available until December, and that any Russian resident who has already purchased and activated it using their personal account on Kaspersky’s website will continue to enjoy it for one year.
The free version of the software will terminate on Russian soil imminently, however, with November 15 given as the cut-off date.
This will not be surprising to anyone who has watched foreign VPN services falling like dominos to Russian comms watchdog Rozkomnador, which blocked AdGuard in July after imposing similar bans on Windscribe, Proton, Browsec, Proxy Master, Melon, and RedCat.
“Changes in the operation of Kaspersky Secure Connection will not affect any countries other than Russia,” said the company. “The Russian-language version of the application will still be available on Kaspersky Lab websites and mobile app stores. For users outside of Russia, the set of available features and VPN servers will not change.”
Kaspersky has courted some controversy since the outbreak of full hostilities in Ukraine. Named after its Russian founder, Eugene Kaspersky, the company adopted a neutral stance after the Kremlin’s decision to attack its neighbor in February.
Before founding his company in 1997, he was educated at a technical college sponsored by the KGB, the Soviet-era secret intelligence service of Russia, and collaborated with the military on various projects.
Kaspersky’s managing director for North America recently denied that the company has any ties to the Kremlin, despite its being headquartered in Moscow.
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