Does NordVPN Work in Russia? (Full Guide for 2022)
Virtually every part of the internet space is crawling with cybercriminals and nosy people here and there who cannot wait to lay their hands on your information for various reasons. In order to protect yourself, your family, and your friends, you need a good and reliable Virtual Private Network that offers speed as well as reliability. If you’d like to know if you can use NordVPN in Russia, the answer is: Yes. However, follow along as we explain this in detail.
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Is it possible to use NordVPN in Russia?
NordVPN no longer has its servers in Russia. As such, you cannot access restricted Russian sites using NordVPN. However, you can use NordVPN to access other servers outside the country if you are inside Russia.
This is the short answer. Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is not entirely satisfactory. As such, we can’t leave you with just that as it would bring so many more questions afterward. With that in mind, pardon us as we take you through the long route. In the end, your question would be answered, and you should fully understand the reason behind the answer itself.
Why NordVPN Does Not Work in Russia: The Deal with Roskomnadzor
Now, it is no news that the Russian government is pretty intense with its internet laws and the amount of censorship that it has placed on the use of the web in the country. It is such that there are laws that are being processed to separate the Russian internet from that of the outside world. The government would be able to control what comes into and out of the country easily. As stated earlier, it does have its advantages as it prevents the festering of certain unlawful things like child sexual abuse, illegal gambling, etc. However, in the same vein, it has its disadvantages too, as it is quite restricting on the populace which just wants to surf the web freely.
On March 27th, 2019, ten Virtual Private Networks, including NordVPN, were given an ultimatum by a part of the Russian government. The body is known as Roskomnadzor. It is the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media. It is the regulatory body of Russia’s media. They gave NordVPN and ten others a total of thirty days to give the Russian government access to their servers that can be found in Russia. The goal of this order, which the Russian government gave to the Virtual Private Networks, is to ensure that the citizens of Russia who use NordVPN are unable to access sites or pieces of content on the internet that have been blacklisted.
However, if NordVPN had chosen to comply with the dictates of that order, it would have implied that they also submit to the other requirements detailed in the broader internet law. This would have compromised a number of things in the way NordVPN functions.
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Why NordVPN Stood Up to the Russian Authorities
First of all, they would have had to provide Roskomnadzor with outside access to their servers. It would have created such a vulnerability in security because as soon as that door is created (backdoor access to servers), NordVPN would not have had access to the keys and would not be able to control what the person with the keys does with it. That means whatever is done on the server can be accessed by Roskomnadzor through that backdoor, and users’ information would no longer be as safe as it should.
Secondly, they would have had to violate their zero-logging policy and undermine their dedication to privacy. This is so because by complying with the content filter, the Russian government would have had the authority to monitor what NordVPN users do online.
Thirdly, and perhaps most, unfortunately, they (the Russian government) would have deprived their users the freedom to do what they want online. NordVPN considers this unacceptable because one of the main reasons anyone uses a Virtual Private Network in the first place is to be able to get online freedom, especially in states where the government restricts what you can do in your online space.
After putting all of these into consideration and being a company that puts its customers safe, it is no wonder that NordVPN decided against complying with Russia’s directives. As such, they decided to remove all their servers from Russia.
So, to answer your question about whether or not NordVPN works in Russia, the response is no and yes. No, because they do not have their servers in Russia anymore. This means if you want to use a Russian server, whether or not you are in Russia, you would be unable to because of the government’s insistence on compliance. Yes, because even though they do not have their servers in Russia, residents of the country can still access other servers in other countries as close as Poland, Latvia, etc. This means that you have unrestricted access to any other piece(s) of content or any part of the internet that you want.
To break it down properly, you can access servers outside Russia with NordVPN even if you are in Russia, but you cannot access any servers inside Russia whether or not you are in Russia because there are no servers to access.
Why do you need a VPN in the first place?
A large majority, if not all, of the things you do on the internet, is just your internet-enabled device communicating with a server. The server in the aforementioned statement identifies your device with a unique set of numbers called an IP (internet protocol) address. Afterward, it grants it access to the content or the portion of the internet your device is trying to gain access to. This is under the assumption that your IP address is one that is approved. Also, it should be permitted to access the information on the server.
The upside to this process is that you get to use the internet. The downside, however, is that with your IP address, you can easily be tracked, censored, monitored, etc. A Virtual Private Network helps you mask your IP address in order to ensure your security, maintain your privacy and anonymity, etc. Apart from that, it also helps bypass geo-restrictions and allows you to consume content that you normally would be unable to because you do not reside in a particular geographical area.
This is known as internet censorship. It is a term used to refer to when a government prevents or bans its citizens from doing or saying certain things online. The purpose of it, among others, is to aid national safety by preventing people from using the internet in ways that could be detrimental to the health of the nation. Internet censorship is a phenomenon that is most commonly found in places such as Iran, China, and, of course, Russia.
While the intentions seem noble, it is somewhat disconcerting to know that there are now people who are watching the things you do and say online, in your virtual home. Apart from this, you can be punished if you are caught saying or doing the wrong thing. This is precisely the case in Russia.
As expected, people stood up against it and spoke vehemently for their freedom of speech and expression. However, and unfortunately, for one reason or the other, there have been cases where these people get imprisoned. The government even went so far as to ask the Virtual Private Networks operating in Russia to block numerous sites. One of those VPNs was NordVPN. As a matter of fact, the government directly compelled the company to allow them to see its servers. Fortunately, they did not find anything incriminating.
Having said all of this, it is pretty clear that some countries, Russia included, are rather intense about their internet space and treat it as though it is physical streets that need to be kept safe at all costs. What a VPN does in cases like this is that it helps you to maintain anonymity. This means that you would be able to post or say whatever it is that you want to and be sure that you are not being tracked or monitored and you would not have to spend the next couple of months/years in jail.
Why is NordVPN Such a Great Choice?
You are probably wondering why NordVPN is such an excellent choice. Well, NordVPN came into existence in the year 2012. It was created by four friends who apparently knew each other from childhood. As it has been around for about seven years, it has been able to grow gradually and consistently into a name that it can be reckoned with in the internet privacy industry.
Large Server Count
Among other Virtual Private Networks of its kind, NordVPN has been able to stand out with several things. One of the outstanding features of this Virtual Private Network is its staggering 5200+ servers across 59+ countries in the world. Some of these servers even stretch as far as places like Israel, Hong Kong, South Korea, Costa Rica, etc. That means that it pretty much covers any and every part of the world where you might be looking to get some extra security and privacy.
Asides from that, it has breakneck speeds in different locations in the world with internet connection getting as fast as 14MB per second in the most remote regions.
NordVPN is located in Panama, a country that has no compulsory data retention laws. Panama is not a member of the Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes alliances. The Five Eyes and Fourteen Eyes are Anglophone intelligence alliances comprising the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. The lack of data retention laws and non-alliance of Panama, where NordVPN is located, means that it is not bound to the laws of this agency, and your footsteps on the internet are much less prone to being looked into.
Great Security Features
In terms of security, this Virtual Private Network is also able to hold its own. Having gone through several tests in the past, it can be said confidently that the VPN has a security system that does not allow for DNS leaks at all. It provides a kill switch that cannot be turned on or off regardless of the situation. That is, NordVPN does not take any chances with your security no matter the conditions.
The SmartPlay DNS proxy that this VPN possesses allows for it to bypass any geo-restrictions and consume whatever pieces of content you might have had your eyes on before. Alongside that, and to even further boost your security, this Virtual Private Network throws in an extra feature that is known as CyberSec. CyberSec blocks and prevents you from having to deal with phishing threats, malware, and unwanted advertisements.
Unlimited Bandwidth and Awesome Device Compatibility
The amount of bandwidth that the Virtual Private Network offers, just like the number of connections it allows, is unlimited. That means even without a router, as soon as you subscribe to a plan on NordVPN, you can surf without any of those bandwidth restrictions you would get normally. Also, you can connect an infinite number of devices to your VPN without having to use a router like other Virtual Private Networks.
Risk-free Money-back Guarantee
NordVPN also provides a thirty-day money-back guarantee. This feature allows you to pay for the service for thirty days. If right after or during those thirty days, you are not satisfied, you can just as easily opt-out of the subscription and get your money back by requesting a refund. This means that you practically get to try out their services completely risk-free.
Responsive Customer Service
Apart from providing you with state-of-the-art security, unlimited bandwidth, infinite connections, and almost unrivaled privacy, this VPN provides you with excellent customer service, that is available twenty-four hours a day. They can easily be contacted on their social media pages and via email.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Whether NordVPN Works in Russia
Can I encrypt my network using NordVPN while in Russia?
Yes, you can. Connecting to a NordVPN server automatically encrypts your network, regardless of your location. Thus, while in Russia, you need only connect to a NordVPN server in a region where the service is freely accessible. Your network will then get encrypted. An encrypted network means that unauthorized third parties will be unable to access your data. This keeps you safe from targeted attacks.
Are there benefits of using NordVPN in Russia?
Yes. While you cannot obtain a Russian IP address when you use NordVPN for Russia, there are other benefits you get. As mentioned above, you get an encrypted network, free from interference. Similarly, you will be able to unblock content from dozens of countries. Additionally, you will be able to send and receive files securely using this service. Finally, if you get to travel outside Russia, your NordVPN account will still be fully functional.
Can a free VPN work in place of NordVPN for Russia?
Most likely not. NordVPN is a premium provider, one of the best in the industry. Yet, it does not work for Russia. Hence, the chances of having a free VPN work in the country are very slim. The authorities will most likely detect the VPN use and block your access. You might even run into problems with the government.
How can I use NordVPN for Russia?
To use NordVPN in Russia, you ought to first get on a subscription plan. NordVPN has several, catering to different users. Next, download the NordVPN app compatible with your device. Install and run the app. Select a NordVPN server in a location outside Russia. If you are traveling to Russia, you may want to finish up all of these before you step into the country.
As has been made clear in this article, the Russian government is quite strict with the internet space, and it is relatively difficult to use that freedom that you thought you had. What we have essentially done for you here is to explain how NordVPN works in Russia in our answer to the question of whether or not it works in Russia. If you are looking for a VPN that has its servers in Russia, you must be very careful to ensure that your privacy is secure.