Russia is the largest country in the world, and has a landmass that is greater than 1/8th of the world’s land. Population wise however, they only have 144 million residents. For many years, Russia was the center of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia, and was also the capital of the Soviet Union. If you are planning on traveling there, we strongly recommend using a VPN.
After World War II, the USSR was the primary antagonist of the US and the western world. So great was this rivalry between the two superpowers, that a “Cold War” existed. That is, not a war in the traditional sense, but one fought with technology. For many years, there was a fear of Russia that dated back before the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Since both countries possessed nuclear weaponry, stockpiles built up and mutual destruction could be assured if either leader was to “push the button”, that is, launch those weapons.
In the Russia of today, the country is no longer officially Communist. However, some would argue it is. The current leader of Russia is Vladimir Putin. During the days of the USSR, he worked for the KGB, their version of the Central Intelligence Agency. He has done some things to gain world condemnation while in office. Not surprisingly, some of the old rules and practices have begun to resurface in a way that is disturbing to some former Russian citizens. An entire generation is seeing actions that are all too familiar. Surveillance is part of those policies. Because of that, we will take a look at some very good reasons to use a VPN if you are in Russia, or plan on visiting the country.
We mentioned surveillance, and Russia has long been known for spying on it’s citizens. Though some might think the trend is more towards freedom of speech, Putin’s government has demonstrated just the opposite. If you are going to be in Russia, you will want to use a VPN. The way a VPN works is by creating a secure connection to a server that may be located in another country. This connection is encrypted, so whether you are concerned about nefarious characters acquiring your sensitive data, or the FSB snooping through your browsing activity, your data is secured.
The next good reason to use a VPN has to do with censorship. Russia will not hesitate to block websites it feels are not appropriate, especially if they are politically sensitive. By connecting to a server in another country, you would be able to circumvent these restrictions because those websites would not be blocked outside of Russia. The opposite side to that is if you wanted to stream content from another country while there. We will use an example of the BBC. If you were to access the BBC website and try to watch any programming, you would receive the message that only viewers inside the UK are allowed to stream the content. Connecting to a server in the UK would remedy that problem. The same could be said if you wanted to watch Netflix. Even after Russia gets Netflix, the library they will have access to will not be anywhere near the size of other regions, including the largest region of the US. Servers in the US would allow you to see that region, or you could take advantage of other content streaming like Hulu or Pandora.
Lastly, if you are heading to Russia on business, you may need access to documents stored only on the business’ network. That is a much safer solution than taking those documents with you. You can bet your company would not want those documents to get out. What many business people do is use a VPN to access their company’s network without the worry that we just spoke of. Though your company may provide you with one, it is essential to use a VPN for business and pleasure in Russia, or any other country.
So there you have it. There are several very good reasons to use a VPN, and hopefully you can see why it is necessary to use one. The options we list here are our favorites overall. These decisions were based on a few different criteria like security, price, server locations, and speed. We think you will be happy with any of the choices we list here. In our top 5 list, these companies are all very well known in the privacy space. If you are traveling to, living in, or moving to Russia, don’t go unprotected, use a VPN.