Putin’s Russia seeks to scare people off VPNs

VPN on a phone on top of a Russian flag

Since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago, the tyrannical regime of dictator Vladimir Putin has actually had to fight two wars.

As well as the war in Ukraine, which has taken significantly longer than the 5 days he had initially expected and which he is no closer to winning, he has also been forced into an information war at home to try and keep an increasingly disillusioned Russia population onside.

This conflict is going about as well as the one in Ukraine for the pint-sized megalomaniac and as a result, his acolytes are now turning on the technology that many Russians are using to find out the truth about Putin and his war, VPNs.

Scaring people off VPNs

According to the Moscow Times, an independent English language publication of Russian news and events, Russian authorities are now resorting to scare tactics to try and stop Russian people using VPNs to get around their overbearing restrictions.

The paper reports that Russia’s internet watchdog, which is called the Roskomnadzor, has started warning people that VPNs increase the risk of having personal information stolen by hackers.

They quoted the Russian Interfax news agency [in Russian] which in turn quotes the Roskomnadzor as saying “VPN services can give users an erroneous idea of ​​their own anonymity on the Internet. However, foreign owners of such services have access to all information that Russian users transmit through them.”

The ludicrous claims continued, with Putin’s agency going on to say that “voluntarily transferred personal data, financial information and passwords from accounts may be the subject of study for subsequent use for fraudulent purposes, blackmail and other illegal actions directed against the users.”

There were then some recommendations.

The Roskomnadzor, which is one of the worst international bodies for surveilling the internet traffic of its citizens, suggested that Russians should check any downloaded application with antivirus programs before installation, avoid using a VPN when logging into their accounts, and not give VPN applications access to service information or many functions on your devices.

Anti-VPN Viral Video Campaign

They are not just resorting to scaremongering from the Kremlin either.

Russian social media and other sites have also been awash with viral videos warning about VPNs. These look like adverts but are in fact connected to a tech firm known as ROCIT, which is linked to the Putin regime.

In one video which has been put up on Russian social network VKontakte [in Russian], a waiter at a restaurant is seen blackmailing a customer who uses a VPN after discovering that he is cheating on his wife.

The voiceover tells us, “You have to pay for data security. Sometimes the price is too high… In pursuit of viewing content on banned social networks, think about whether it’s worth it.”

The absurd suggestion that using a VPN to access sites like Twitter and Facebook could lead to you being caught having an affair shows just how desperate Moscow is to control the narrative in an increasingly fractious Russia.

The truth behind Russia’s VPN scare campaign

It doesn’t take a detective to work out why the Putin regime is trying to scare people off using VPNs.

As we reported a couple of months back, VPN usage is going through the roof in Russia as people seek to learn the truth about the hated illegal invasion of Russia and the regime that has led Russia down this cul-de-sac.

Russian VPN usage is up 167% and growing all the time. The regime has no technological way to stop people using VPNs, despite some claims to the contrary, so instead they are resorting to these pitifully desperate measures.

The truth is that it is the Roskomnadzor that poses a threat to the privacy and security of the Russian people. All Russian internet users should be using a VPN to ensure that the Roskomnadzor cannot harvest their data and punish them for doing the wrong thing online.

Equally, to get away from the ludicrous propaganda that equate to current affairs in Russia and learn the truth about the catastrophic invasion of Ukraine and the vast number of Russian lives that Putin has sent needlessly to the slaughter, they should also use a VPN to access news and learn the truth about what is happening there.

The Russians are a proud people being betrayed by the regime that controls them.

Most will be too smart to be taken in by this absurd campaign to scare them off using VPNs. Most will continue to read the truth about Ukraine and it is this that ultimately is likely to bring down Putin and spell an end to his devastating illegal war.

Author: David Spencer

Cyber-security & Technology Reporter, David, monitors everything going on in the privacy world. Fighting for a less restricted internet as a member of the VPNCompare team for over 7 years.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.

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