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Russian VPN Use Has Increased 1000% As Putin Tightens Internet Censorship

  Russian demand for VPNs has increased 1092% in the past month, according to data from   Top10VPN . Citizens are turning to online tools th...

 Russian demand for VPNs has increased 1092% in the past month, according to data from Top10VPN.

Citizens are turning to online tools that help them bypass internet restrictions and information from outside of the country in the face of external sanctions and internal censorship imposed by the Kremlin.

The Kremlin has recently enforced a new law making dissemination of 'false information' punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Almost two weeks into the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Russian authorities have banned over 200 websites, including the Russian-language versions of BBC News, German outlet Deutsche Welle, and a plethora of Ukrainian news sites.

On 5th March, Russia blocked both Facebook and Twitter. Other platforms such as TikTok, Amazon, and Netflix have voluntarily restricted their services from the country in line with the heavy sanctions imposed by the West. This has further increased demand for VPNs.

In 2019, thousands of people in Russia have protested against the cyber-security bill that aims to impose tighter restrictions on the internet, according to the BBC.

AFP (2019)

Analysis website AppFigures reported on Monday that downloads for the top 10 VPNs in Russia increased by 4,375%:

In the 10 days between February 24 and March 5, the top 10 VPN apps on the App Store and on Google Play saw more than 4,600,000 new downloads. And our estimates are very conservative here.

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