Roskomnadzor Cracks Down on VPN Service Advertising in Russia

Starting March 1, 2024, Roskomnadzor has initiated a campaign to block advertisements for VPN services across the internet, imposing fines up to 4 million rubles for violations, while clarifying that this does not extend to the personal and work use of VPNs.

In a significant move to tighten internet regulations, Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal executive body responsible for overseeing the media, began enforcing restrictions on the advertising of VPN (Virtual Private Network) services across the internet starting March 1, 2024.

This crackdown aims to curb access to and promotion of tools that allow users to bypass internet censorship and access prohibited content.

According to statements from RKN TASS, Roskomnadzor’s strategy for implementing these restrictions will focus on two main criteria: targeting publications that describe methods for accessing illegal resources and information that promotes the advantages of using VPN services or solicits the purchase of such services.

The mandate for this clampdown is broad, applying to all internet materials irrespective of their publication date or the platforms on which they appear. Entities found in violation of these guidelines face hefty fines, with penalties reaching up to 4 million rubles.

Legal experts have been quick to clarify that while the advertising of VPN services faces stringent restrictions, the use of VPNs for personal and professional purposes remains unaffected by the new regulations.

However, there is growing concern regarding potential fines for individuals and legal entities that encourage subscriptions to accounts on banned social networks, with penalties ranging up to 500 thousand rubles for individuals and 800 thousand rubles for legal entities.

Anton Gorelkin, a deputy of the State Duma, weighed in on the matter, emphasizing that promoting subscriptions to prohibited social networks could be construed as advocating for means to circumvent blocking.

Nevertheless, Gorelkin noted that any decisions in this regard would be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances of each instance.

This development follows closely on the heels of the State Duma’s adoption of a bill that imposes a total ban on Russian citizens and companies from placing advertisements on information platforms designated as foreign agents.

This legislation also prohibits the advertising of such platforms, including websites, blogs, and social networks, holding both advertisers and distributors accountable for any infractions.

Roskomnadzor’s latest move to restrict VPN advertising underscores the Russian government’s ongoing efforts to control the digital landscape within its borders, balancing national security concerns with the rights of its citizens to access information and utilize the internet for personal and professional needs.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of