Putin's press secretary uses a VPN to get around Russian censorship

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Aleksandra Gigowska)

Russian citizens aren’t the only ones using VPN services to bypass the country’s heavily restricted internet.

During a recent interview on the TV channel Belarus-1, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov admitted that he too uses a VPN when browsing the web since they aren’t “banned” in the country.

When asked by the host of the state-owned media outlet if he had installed a VPN, Peskov responded: “Yes of course, why not, it’s not banned”.

Theoretically Peskov is correct as VPNs aren’t yet illegal in Russia, however the country has cracked down on many foreign VPN providers over the past few years and even more since its invasion of Ukraine began back in February of this year.

Bypassing his own government’s censorship

Although Peskov has a VPN installed on his devices, he did not say which provider he uses nor the kind of content he needs a VPN to access in the first place.

In an effort to fight ‘fake news’ about its ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, the Russian government has blocked access to Western media outlets including BBC, Bloomberg, CNN and others. At the same time though, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also blocked in the country.

While Peskov could be using a VPN to access his social media accounts, it’s more likely that he uses one to read Western media coverage on the invasion and other goings-on outside of Russia.

As Western companies like Microsoft, Intel and others have pulled sales of their products in Russia, the country has been busy blocking VPN services with the Russian news agency Interfax reporting back in March that close to 20 such services had been blocked. However, the news outlet also said that more VPN services would be blocked soon.

Despite this, there is still growing demand for VPNs in Russia as the country’s citizens look to rejoin the rest of the global internet and access the online services they’ve come to depend on.

Via Business Insider

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.