1 in 6 Russians is digitally located elsewhere

Neither Facebook, nor Instagram, nor Twitter, nor media that is not controlled by Russia… The digital lives of Russians have become noticeably duller since the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent censorship by the Russian government. or not? Because more and more Russians are now finding their way to the Internet via a VPN connection.

VPN, is the abbreviation for virtual private network, a kind of digital invisibility cloak. Your connection is encrypted and your IP address and location are not visible, and have even been transmitted. In concrete terms, this means that with the help of a VPN, you can temporarily transfer your digital address to the UK, for example. This allows you to access other websites that are not available in your country.

Standard equipment for the Internet user

While VPN has long been used only by true techies, hackers and Internet fanatics, now the network in Russia is almost a certain standard for Internet users. Up to 24 million Russians, or one sixth of the total population, surf the Internet via a VPN connection. This gives them access to more than 1,000 Russian-protected websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, BBC News or independent Russian media. according to Moscow Timesan independent (blocked) media outlet, has up to 65,000 websites blocked by Roskomnadzor, the Russian media monitoring agency.

According to the newspaper, VPN usage has increased by 5,300 percent since the Russian government’s blockade. It will turn a blind eye to the system, and VPNs are not yet banned by law. According to Grigory Asmolov, a communications expert at King’s College London, this will not happen in the near future.

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Not a complete block

“The state is not interested in imposing a complete blockade. He understands that many Russians do not use pages like Facebook and Instagram to find out what is really going on, but just to keep in touch with their loved ones and friends and to have fun. Asmolov was quoted by the British daily as saying in a British daily” times

However, the Russian government is making it difficult for the VPN companies themselves. On March 15th, share Alexander Heinstein, head of the Parliamentary Committee on Information, Technology and Communications in the Russian State Duma, noted that Roskomnadzor had “blocked twenty popular VPN services”. The head of the State Construction Committee, Andrei Klijas, gave an interview to Russian news agency RBC Please note that users who have installed VPN services do not risk a fine or conviction.


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