5 Best VPNs for Russia That Still Work in 2020Last Updated by John Bennet on September 01, 2020
Many VPN providers have pulled out of Russia due to its strict internet security laws. Yet, I saw all over the web that review sites are still recommending VPNs that no longer have working servers in the country. CyberGhost, for example, has not had any Russian servers since June 2020.
A VPN keeps you safe from Russian government surveillance. In addition, if you’re outside Russia, accessing its web content is a challenge without a Russian IP address. A reliable VPN will let you stream Brigada using Okko or access your online Russian bank account while overseas.
Out of the dozens of VPN I’ve tested, the 5 that made this list are your best options for bypassing Russian online censorship. All of them can give you a Russian IP address wherever you are. If you want the quick answer and to get unlimited access to your favorite Russian websites for a low price, I recommend you try Surfshark and take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Quick Guide: 5 Best VPNs for Russia in September 2020
- Surfshark — #1 VPN for Russia for online security with CleanWeb to keep you safe from malware, ads, and trackers.
- PrivateVPN — Military-grade encryption protects your privacy while in Russia, but can’t access US Netflix.
- ZenMate VPN — Automatic kill switch protects anonymity if connection speeds drop, but doesn’t work in China.
- Hotspot Shield — Catapult Hydra Protocol provides fast speeds and robust security, but had issues with privacy under a previous owner.
- HMA VPN — IP shuffle bypasses geo-blocking and censorship, but has only 2 servers in Russia.
3 Easy Steps to Get a Russian IP Address
- Get a VPN with servers in Russia. I recommend Surfshark for its fast and reliable Russian servers.
- Connect to a Russian server.
- Start browsing!
Here’s a Tip: To make sure you’ve successfully connected to a Russian server, use this IP address checker.
Best VPNs to Use In Russia — Safe, Fast and Reliable
- 1,700+ servers worldwide with 10-20 servers in Moscow and St. Petersburg
- AES 256-bit encryption and zero-logs policy for data security
- Speeds high enough for bufferless streaming
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections for the whole family
- Torrenting supported on optimized servers
Surfshark has over 1,700 servers in 64 countries, with 10 to 20 of those in Russia. When I spoke to customer support, I was told that the number of Russian servers available fluctuates due to government restrictions on VPNs — however, there are more than enough to ensure you’ll always get a reliable local IP address.
Surfshark offers physical servers in Russia, which are faster than the virtual ones that some other VPN providers use and give you smooth connections without interruption. I tested its Moscow and St. Petersburg servers and was able to watch Univer on THT in HD with no lag or buffering on both.
If you’re worried about what authority the Russian government has over VPN servers located physically in the country, you don’t need to with Surfshark. It has a strict no-logs policy so even if Russian authorities seized its servers they would find nothing on them because all user information will already have been deleted. With this, you can rest assured that Surfshark will prevent data about your browsing activity from falling into the wrong hands.
In addition, Surfshark’s CleanWeb keeps you protected from adware, malware, trackers, and phishing scams while browsing with a Russian IP address. With CleanWeb turned on, it’s more difficult for companies or the Russian government to track or locate you. Plus, it prevents annoying pop-up ads when you’re streaming on Russia1 or MatchTV. During my tests, Surfshark blocked all ads on Forbes, which means the page loaded quickly and without annoying interruptions.
Surfshark’s Whitlelister feature lets you customize which apps or sites bypass your VPN connection. I was impressed that it let me stream a Premier League football match on LAOLA1 online using a Russian server and browse a local Canadian news website at the same time.
With connections supported on an unlimited number of devices at the same time, Surfshark is a cost-effective VPN. This is great if you’re a business owner with a bunch of employees, because they’ll all be able to use the VPN at the same time and won’t unintentionally log out their co-workers when the number of device connections is capped.
Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs on this list and has a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try all its features risk-free. Its 24/7 live chat and friendly customer service staff made the refund process easy. Be aware that the refund time for PayPal (1-2 business days) is shorter than credit cards (7-10 business days).
Surfshark also unblocks: THT, Russia1, LAOLA1, MatchTV, Yandex, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Rambler, and more.
Surfshark works on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Smart TVs, Xbox, and PS4.
- 150+ server locations worldwide and 3 in Russia
- AES 256-bit encryption and a strict zero-logs policy for data security
- Unlimited bandwidth means your speeds will never be capped
- Up to 6 connections at the same time
- Supports torrenting with P2P servers
You can be assured of your security with PrivateVPN’s strong encryption, which is the same as what’s used by the military. This means that if cybercriminals tried to hack your connection, all they would be able to see are a string of random letters and numbers instead of your personal data. Additional security features like built-in leak protection and an automatic kill switch defend your devices against hackers, spies, and suspicious government agents.
PrivateVPN is headquartered in Sweden, which has a legal system that protects freedom of speech, prohibits most censorship, and bans arbitrary interference with privacy. Authorities must have court permission before requesting access to your data. This, combined with PrivateVPN’s zero-logs policy, keeps your internet activity anonymous and untraceable despite Russia’s strict internet censorship and government surveillance.
I had no issues when connecting to PrivateVPN’s servers in St. Petersburg, Moscow, or Krasnoyarsk. I found that Moscow was faster than St. Petersburg or Krasnoyarsk for streaming. For example, while accessing 131 Bank to check my account, I also streamed Chernobyl on THT and noticed there was minimal buffering when I used the Moscow server and the video loaded almost instantly. However, the St. Petersburg and Krasnoyarsk servers took about 15 seconds longer to load the video.
PrivateVPN is one of the simplest VPNs to set up and use on this list and is great for beginner VPN users. Its clean interface lets you quickly connect to a server in your desired country with one click. The interface is similar across Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux, which means you can spend more time using it to browse and stream and less time troubleshooting its setup process.
Keep in mind that PrivateVPN cannot bypass Netflix’s annoying proxy error. That won’t be an issue if your main purpose for getting a VPN is to bypass Russian censorship, but if you want a VPN that can unblock Netflix I’d recommend Surfshark, which let me get around Netflix’s geo-blocks every time I used it.
You can try PrivateVPN for 30-days risk-free with its money-back guarantee. Like other VPNs on this list, it has a 24/7 live chat service. However, customer service can be slow — when I used this function to obtain a refund, a representative took over half an hour to respond to me.
PrivateVPN also unblocks: THT, Russia1, LAOLA1, MatchTV, Yandex, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Rambler, and more.
PrivateVPN works on: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers.
- Over 3,600+ servers worldwide with 9 in Moscow
- AES 256-bit encryption and a strict no-logs policy to mask your identity
- No data limits for high-speed streaming
- Supports up to 5 connections at the same time
- Servers specifically for downloading and torrenting
ZenMate has fantastic security features. Not only does it have malware and tracking protection, but also a kill switch that activates if your internet connection drops and makes sure no identifying information is leaked. This ensures your real IP address will never accidentally be exposed to snooping government agents, spies, or cybercriminals. In a country like Russia where what you say and do online can get you thrown in jail, these features really put my mind at ease.
Fast speeds for streaming is one of ZenMate’s strong points. I tried its servers during peak and off-peak hours and found there was minimal difference in my speeds. I was able to stream BBC iPlayer in HD with minimal buffering.
ZenMate can bypass geo-restrictions on both local and global websites. Its US servers let you unblock Netflix US to watch Stranger Things, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more. Meanwhile, if you’re overseas, you can connect to one of ZenMates’ 9 Russian servers to access Ekaterina on Russia1 or your 131 bank account online.
A minor con of ZenMate is that you won’t be able to use it if you’re thinking of traveling abroad to Russia’s neighboring country, China. The VPN also does not work in Iran or Saudi Arabia. For a VPN that can bypass China’s notorious Great Firewall, I recommend Surfshark which has a reliable history of working in the country.
ZenMate VPN offers a 7-day free trial and a 30-days risk-free money-back guarantee. I recommend the 30-day trial to fully experience all the security features ZenMate has to offer. Bear in mind that there is no live chat support, so you’ll need to ask for your refund through email, and wait an average of 2 business days for ZenMate to receive your request. There are no refunds if you pay with PaysafeCard, Bitcoin, or UKash.
ZenMate VPN also unblocks: THT, Russia1, LAOLA1, MatchTV, Yandex, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, and more.
ZenMate VPN works on: Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
- 3,000+ servers in 27 countries with 5-10 dedicated virtual servers in Russia
- AES 256-bit encryption and no-logs policy for secure browsing
- Catapult Hydra technology keeps speeds fast
- Connect up to 5 devices simultaneously with one subscription
- Supports torrenting on all servers on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra technology keeps your data secure and connection speeds high by reducing the file size of the data transported. If you want to stream Russian TV like ETVNET on any of Hotspot Shield’s Russian servers, Hydra will minimize buffering and lag while keeping your activity private.
You can browse and bank knowing Hotspot Shield’s military-grade encryption is keeping your personal and financial data secure. If you’re travelling abroad, using hotel or public WiFi to check your bank account can leave you vulnerable to cybercriminals. With an encrypted VPN connection, it’s a lot more difficult for hackers to hijack your connection and obtain this private information.
This controversy is just one reason why I wouldn’t recommend using Hotspot Shield’s free version. The other is that the free version only lets you connect to an American server, which means it won’t be very useful if you want a Russian IP address. Instead, I’d recommend taking advantage of Hotspot Shield’s 45-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied you can get a refund hassle-free. When I tested out its refund policy, I found that its customer service was nice, but did pressure me to stay before issuing a refund.
Hotspot Shield also unblocks: THT, Russia1, LAOLA1, MatchTV, Yandex, Netflix, HBO, and more.
Hotspot Shield works on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Chrome.
- Over 1,000+ servers worldwide and 13 in Russia
- AES 256-bit encryption and a strict no-logs policy ensures privacy when you browse
- Unlimited bandwidth for high-speed streaming
- Up to 5 connections at the same time
- Torrenting supported but no dedicated torrenting servers
HMA VPN’s IP Shuffle feature scrambles user data to prevent you from being recognized when you’re connected. It randomly and regularly changes your IP address when you have it turned on, which makes it even easier to bypass Russia’s internet restrictions and access global sites like US Netflix.
Security is vital when you’re connected to the internet in Russia and HMA VPN’s high-end encryption and zero-logs policy keeps all your data private. In addition, HMA VPN uses no third-party servers — all servers, coding, and maintenance is 100% owned and operated by the company. This means HMA has no external companies interfering with its operations, who could potentially have access to your personal data.
HMA VPN’s Moscow servers use Lightning Mode to keep connection speeds high for buffer-free streaming. I could connect to all its Moscow and Saint Petersburg servers quickly and easily. Using a Moscow server, I was able to trick Twitter into thinking I was in Russia and see the latest Twitter trends for the country.
You can try HMA VPN for free for 7 days but a week is often not long enough to fully test all the functions of a VPN. Instead, I recommend you take advantage of HMA VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. With this trial period, you can test its entire service at no risk to you or your wallet.
HMA VPN also unblocks: THT, Russia1, LAOLA1, MatchTV, Yandex, Netflix, and more.
HMA VPN works on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Smart TVs, and routers.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Russia
I chose the VPNs on this list according to the following essential criteria:
- Russian servers available: Many VPNs don’t have Russian servers available because they are banned in the country unless they’re heavily censored. Make sure you choose a VPN that has physical or virtual servers in Russia.
- Proven ability to bypass geo-blocks: I’ve tested all the VPNs on this list to make sure they can access local Russian sites from overseas.
- Strong encryption: Your VPN should have industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to keep you safe from hackers and authorities.
- Strict no-logs policy: No-log policies are especially important when connecting to a Russian server. The Russian government has strict laws regarding VPNs and you’ll need to ensure that your VPN can’t turn over your data if the authorities ever ask for it.
- Lightning-fast speeds: Ensure your VPN offers fast speeds and doesn’t cap your data usage.
Why You Need a Russian IP Address
- Access local content like your favorite Russian TV shows, that are only available to people within the country.
- Check your online banking from anywhere — many Russian banks use geo-blocking technology to prevent fraud.
- Protect your browsing activity from hackers, spies and suspicious government agents.
How a VPN Gets You a Russian IP Address
A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. Any data you send over the internet stays inside the tunnel. Websites, spies, and hackers are stuck outside it, which means they can’t see what you’re doing or where you’re located. This prevents third parties from tracking your online activity and keeps your internet activity anonymous, which is especially important in a restrictive country like Russia.
Your IP address shows the physical location of your device. When you connect to a VPN server, it masks your true IP address with a different one — so when you connect to a Russian server, you’re given a Russian IP address. This allows you to bypass geo-restrictions to access blocked content.
FAQs: Legality and Free VPNs for Russia
⚠️ Is it legal to use a VPN in Russia?
Yes — it is. There are no laws preventing individuals from using VPNs while in Russia.
However, there are laws preventing VPNs from operating in the country. Vladimir Putin signed a bill on 1 November 2017 which bans websites and software related to circumventing internet filtering from operating in Russia. VPNs that do not blacklist websites as directed by the government are not allowed to operate in the country.
This means that while it can be difficult to get your hands on a VPN when you’re in Russia, you’re fine to use it when you’re there. I’d recommend downloading a reliable and secure VPN like Surfshark before you enter the country.
🔎 Can I use a free VPN to get a Russian IP address?
Technically, yes — but I wouldn’t recommend it in a country with as invasive internet surveillance as Russia. While there are some good free VPNs available, many of them compromise on security measures by retaining user logs which can be handed over to the Russian government on request. Others generate revenue by selling user information to third parties or collect information about your location to run ads that target you.
With limited resources, most free VPNs either don’t let you choose server location or only give you a tiny number of countries to choose from, which means it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to get a Russian IP address with a free VPN. Don’t take the risk of downloading a free VPN and then realizing it doesn’t have Russian servers when you’re in the country and can’t download another one
You also won’t be able to stream your favorite shows on many free VPNs. A small selection of servers can cause slow connection speeds which make it challenging to connect at peak times.
I recommend you use a premium VPN like Surshark that can provide fast speeds without interruptions, protect your data from government eyes, and block ads when you’re browsing websites.
How to Save on VPNs for Russia
Check out these deals for more savings on some of the VPNs on this list:
- Save up to 83% off your Surfshark subscription by using this coupon. Get this premium VPN for less than the price of a chocolate bar.
- Check out this HotSpot Shield offer to get up to 36% off a 1-year subscription.
- Get an extra month of PrivateVPN free with this campaign.
- Use this coupon to save up to 80% off of a ZenMate subscription.