ua en ru

Kremlin disables VPN to cut Russians off from information about war - UK intelligence

Kremlin disables VPN to cut Russians off from information about war - UK intelligence VPN restricted in Russia to hide the truth about the war (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The Kremlin is trying to increase censorship by restricting access to virtual private networks (VPN) for Russian residents. Thus, the Russian authorities want to deprive citizens of access to objective international news sources, the UK Ministry of Defense reports on Twitter.

As indicated in the report, over the last week, the Russian authorities have likely increased their ongoing efforts to disrupt Russian citizens’ access to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Reports suggest many of the most popular VPNs have become unusable in some regions of Russia.

VPNs allow users to obfuscate their access to the internet, to maintain privacy, and to bypass state-imposed censorship.

According to British intelligence sources, VPNs are hugely popular in Russia, despite being illegal since 2017. They allow users to access objective international news sources, including about the war in Ukraine.

"VPNs likely represent the greatest single vulnerability within the Russian state’s attempts at pervasive domestic information control. As well as increased technical disruption, the Russian state has also launched a public information campaign, attempting to scare citizens into avoiding VPNs by claiming they put their personal data at risk," writes the British Ministry of Defence.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a virtual network that encrypts traffic between the client and the VPN server, altering the user's IP address. When connected to a VPN, a secure channel is established between the user's computer and the VPN server. The data within this channel is securely encrypted, preventing the user's internet provider from discerning their location and the websites they visit.

According to surveys conducted by the independent Levada Center, the percentage of Russians supporting the war in Ukraine has remained unchanged since February 2022. In July, 75% of Russian respondents approved of the war, with 60% of the population considering it successful.