On March 27, 10 VPN providers received an ultimatum from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator. The demand: VPN providers must connect their services to the government’s content-filtering system, or they will be banned. Roskmonadzor gave these 10 companies 30 days to respond. Two top VPN providers—IPVanish and NordVPN—resisted, stating they will not comply with the demand.
Russia tells ten major VPN providers including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, Kaspersky, Hola, and OpenVPN, to block sites on the country's blacklist (Andy/TorrentFreak) pic.twitter.com/BGsU45VFW4
— Aamir Multani @Soft Eng.💻 (@multani_aamir) March 29, 2019
This order was based on a 2017 law that’s designed to suppress VPN use. However, until this latest order, little was done to enforce the law. The order aims to prevent Russian users from viewing online content deemed critical or hostile to the Russian government. In February, similar demands were also sent to search engines, including Google.
As a response, NordVPN says it’s unable to comply with the order. NordVPN said it would have to give the Russian government access to its servers, something that’s against NordVPN’s no-logging policy. The company chose instead to cease operation in Russia.
In a statement, NordVPN said:
“To comply with Roskomnadzor’s request, we would need to provide outside access to our servers. We wouldn’t control the key to this door once we create it, meaning that we wouldn’t be able to answer for who opens it or what they do with it. Creating this type of vulnerability is unacceptable for us.”
NordVPN will shut down all its servers in Russia by April 1. While removing servers means fewer endpoints for Russian users, NordVPN says it will continue to offer its VPN services through other channels. For the meantime, customers are advised to choose another endpoint or change device configurations to avoid malfunctions or service disruptions.
This was the right move ofr NordVPN as they continue to make smart decisions for their service, and for their customers. Learn more about NordVPN’s service at this link!
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IPVanish refuses to comply
IPVanish also responded, saying it won’t abide by the Roskomnadzor’s order. While IPVanish no longer has a physical presence in Russia today, it says complying to Roskomnadzor’s blacklisting requests is still against the company’s no-logging policy.
In its blog, IPVanish stated:
“While we regret not being able to serve customers with physical servers in Russia, our position on logging is absolute. The same is true of our views on censorship: we believe in an open internet, and will not be pressured into enforcing unjust restrictions by any governing body.”
From a Russia based user – thank you very much for your response. The 1st line of your statement saying "Russia’s government censorship agency"… well, I didn't really have to read further. Great to know the fee paid for privacy is worth it.
— Президент❌Говорите (@talk2president) March 29, 2019
This isn’t the first time IPVanish faced pressure on Russian territory. When the government passed new data retention laws in 2016 which compelled Internet services to store users’ data, IPVanish removed all its physical servers. This is the same move being done now by NordVPN.
Despite zero physical presence in Russia, IPVanish was still able to serve Russian users through its outside servers. This proves that IPVanish not only has the technical capability, but is also dedicated to upholding the privacy and security of its users. IF you feel the need to get the best VPN for Russia, see our list below of the top 3:
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