Russia VPN law tightens but won’t change much

A new tightening of Russia’s VPN restrictions due to come into effect next month won’t affect citizens who really want unrestricted internet access, a provider says.

The assessment comes from AdGuard, which describes itself as “one of the few larger VPN providers still fully operational in Russia.”

AdGuard says the new law, which forbids VPN services that do not agree to block access to websites blacklisted by the Kremlin, “will affect third-party media resources that distribute information about VPN providers such as ours.”

It adds: “This will limit users' exposure to information about circumvention tools, but it won't affect the performance of VPNs in Russia in any additional way.”

AdGuard says this is because Russia’s crackdown on VPNs has already been in effect for quite some time, forcing many providers to cease operating within the Federation.

It cites its own website as an example, blocked by Russian media regulator Rozkomnadzor in 2022 but still doing business thanks to workarounds.

“AdGuard VPN did not stop operating in Russia because it uses its own protocol, which is harder to detect since it is designed to look like regular traffic,” it said.

AdGuard says its resilience in the face of government restrictions has also been proven in other countries with authoritarian web controls, such as Iran, UAE, Turkey, and China.

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