Kremlin: Russia has made no decision on blanket VPN ban

Demand for VPN services soared in Russia after Putin ordered troops into Ukraine in 2022 and the authorities restricted access to some Western social media

Reuters
Published : 6 Feb 2024, 10:53 AM
Updated : 6 Feb 2024, 10:53 AM

Russia has made no decision on a blanket ban on Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

Peskov was answering a question from reporters concerning a remark made by Alexander Khinstein, head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, that there was "no talk yet" of a complete ban on VPNs.

Demand for VPN services soared in Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine in 2022 and the authorities restricted access to some Western social media.

Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor has already blocked access to some large VPNs, but others remain available.

On Monday, the head of Russia's League for a Safe Internet, a body founded with the authorities' support, said it was "most likely" that large VPNs would be blocked in Russia from March.

Yekaterina Mizulina later appeared to retract that remark in a post on her Telegram channel, calling it a "free interpretation."

A 2017 Russian law obliged providers of VPN technology to cooperate with the Russian authorities and to restrict access to content banned by Russia or be banned themselves.