Russians Resort to Use of VPNs as Citizens try to Circumvent Government’s Control

Russians Resort to Use of VPNs as Citizens try to Circumvent Government’s Control

  • Russians are rushing to Google and Apple store in droves to download Private Virtual Networks as Russia tightens access to social media
  • According to available data, VPN downloads has surged to about 1,500 per cent averaging 6 million every day since February 14
  • The country has threatened social media platforms like Facebook with severe sanctions and finally cut off access after it labeled the state media posts

The use of Private Virtual Networks has soared in Russia since Vladimir Putin began his offensive against Ukraine.

Russians are resorting to VPNs as the country tries to tighten internet controls.

Russians download VPNs en mass
Russians download VPNs en mass Credit: Picture alliance / Contributor
Source: Getty Images

VPNs masks internet users’ identity and location to help them get access to block websites activities.

VPN downloads soar in Russia

Top VPN apps in Google and Apple stores saw massive downloads by Russians, averaging about 6 million between February 24 when Moscow began the invasion of Ukraine to march 8, data from SensorTower said.

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CNBC reports that this was up by 1,500 per cent in comparison to the top 10 apps in the last two weeks.

Internet in Russia has been subjected to censorship for many years, main platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google have been freely available, in contrast to China where they are totally blocked, Russia has constantly threatened these companies, especially when the host content is perceived to be ant-Kremlin.

Putin's firm grip on social media

Putin has considered tightening his grip on the internet as a way of warding off criticisms and more recently.

Russia made a law in 2019 which gives the government a range of powers to try to disconnect its internet from the rest of the world. The country said the law was made to protect Russia from cyberattacks.

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Russia wants to continue to tighten security as the invasion of Ukraine continue and restrict access to platforms Facebook and other social media outlets.

VPN sales surge in two weeks

On March 5, after Facebook was blocked, demand for VPNs soared above normal, Top1oVPN said.

VPN firm, Surfshark announced that its weekly sales in Russia has spiked by 3,500 per cent since Feb. 24, with the most spikes recorded on March 5 to March 6 when Facebook was blocked.

Russia fights back, blocks access to Facebook, warns others against 'censorship'

Legit.ng has reported that regulators of media in Russia said on Friday, March 4 that it will cut off access to the social media site, Facebook in the country as it seeks to intensify its unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

According to the media watch-dog, Facebook has flouted federal law by denying access to accounts of several state-controlled media organisations, a translated version of a statement said, according to CNBC.

According to the regulator on Friday, March 4, 2022, there were cases of bias against Russian media and information resources by Facebook.

Source: Legit.ng

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