Roskomnadzor (RKN), Russia’s telecoms and media regulator, imposed restrictions on the use of VyprVPN and Opera VPN services in the nation on Thursday.
The state agency said in a statement, “In accordance with the regulation on responding to threats to circumvent restrictions on access to child pornography, suicidal, pro-narcotic and other prohibited content, restrictions on the use of VPN services VyprVPN and Opera VPN will be introduced from June 17, 2021.”
The two VPN services were classed as threats under Russian Federation Government Decree No. 127, which was issued on February 12.
Further, the limitations will have no impact on Russian companies who use VPN services in their ongoing technological operations.
This restriction follows Roskomnadzor’s March 2019 notification to 10 VPN providers that they must connect their systems to the Russian State Information System (FGIS) in order to automatically block their users’ access to blocked websites.
Opera endeavors to provide its Russian users with the excellent experience in using browsers. We decided to suspend support for VPN services in our browsers on the Russian territory in the form it was provided earlier, Senior Public Relations Manager of the company Yulia Sindzelorts told TASS
To that end, ten VPN providers, including NordVPN, Hide My Ass (HMA), Hola VPN, OpenVPN, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, Kaspersky Secure Connection, and VPN Unlimited, were required to connect to the national blacklist.
The only company that complied with the request, according to Russian news outlet Interfax, was Kaspersky Lab.
Following the order, Avast, another cybersecurity company, left the VPN market.
VyprVPN responded to Roskomnadzor’s warning at the time by stating that it would not comply with the Russian government in their efforts to restrict VPN services.
Despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill prohibiting the use of VPNs, proxies, and Tor into law in July 2017, Russian authorities have showed no signs of enforcing it until 2019.
According to Roskomnadzor, cybercriminals exploited the ProtonVPN service and the end-to-end encrypted ProtonMail email service to convey bomb threats in January 2020.