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With RuTracker blocked, will Russia target VPNs next?

Christina Craig

Christina Craig

Feb 17, 2016 · 3 min read

With RuTracker blocked, will Russia target VPNs next?
At the end of January, one of the biggest file sharing sites in Russia – was blocked. The site which was regularly accessed by 70 million people on a monthly basis, joined a growing list of websites that are blacklisted in Russia.

History of RuTracker Ban

In the fall of 2015 Russian court ordered Russian ISPs to block access to RuTracker. decided not to back down when they learned about the imminent block. First they opened up the network to broad public access (was invite only earlier) – this increased the site popularity to 90 million visitors. Secondly, they began an educational campaign on their site’s forum – teaching users about Proxy services, VPNs, Tor Network, etc and even made their own proxy extension to access the site. So when the official blocking began, the site visitation kept growing, as everyone knew how to access the site using the planned anonymizing solutions.

Related: How to unblock RuTracker

But the geo – unblocking triumph seems to have been short lived. Last week, the Association for the Protection of Copyright ( АЗАПИ) announced the proposal of another law, which would prohibit the promotion of any block circumventing tools, including VPNs. The proposal will be relayed to Russia’s Federal Agency Roskomnadzor (The Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications) who will preset the draft bill to Russia’s governing body Duma. As АЗАПИ proposes to add the “information on how to bypass the locks on the internet” to the “Unified list of prohibited Internet resources”, one must wonder what will happen to access to sites like and security and privacy tools like VPNs in Russia.

Related: History of Blacklisted Websites and services in Russia

What happened next? RUTracker ran a forum discussion asking for proposal for alternative site domains. The result – an announcement that they are ready to hop across 100 domains. To counter, Roskomnadzor has made an announcement it plans to begin to block the “mirror” sites.

Has the ban of RuTracker been effective so far?

Clearly not – as illustrated by former president Medvedev downloading the latest bootleg copy of “the Reverant” on his iPad during the meeting with the Communication Minister Nikolai Nikiforov. It’s a pretty strong indication Russia would take a serious look at the proposed ‘ban of VPN & Proxy promotion bill’ which argues that the promotion of the use of technical knowhow and workarounds for blocked sites, prevents Roskomnadzor to effectively and fully restrict access to banned information. Several RUTracker fans are outraged they cannot see or read what they desire online and before the promotion of unblocking services is made illegal in Russia, here is what people are choosing to instal ahead of the ban:

Ban workaround Options:

1. Get a VPN

VPNs help you bypass geo-restrictions and change your virtual location by changing your true geographical location. They do this by masking your IP address with the IP address of a VPN server. So when the download site looks at your IP, it will see the IP of the VPN server you are using the internet through and not your true IP. Since VPNs, like NordVPN allow you to choose a from a number of servers from anywhere in the world, you can connect to a server in a region where Rutracer and other sites will be accessible and you’re good to go. VPNs also offer you security in that they encrypt all data shared between the internet and your system, so your data cannot be compromised, your ISP cannot see what you are browsing. Choose a P2P friendly VPN that does not place any bandwidth limits.

2. SmartPlay Technology

If you consider streaming as an alternative to downloading – a great solution which is built into native NordVPN apps awaits. Connect directly to sites like Netflix, Hulu and more. More info <<HERE>>

3. Proxy Servers

Proxy servers allow you to access a particular website through their remote server. They basically act as mediators, connecting you to the website through one of their servers. Proxy servers are usually free, but the free ones are full of ads and speeds are really low due to high traffic. Many a times proxy servers cannot work for a specific website, so if you want to use a proxy server, you can only wish that there is an unblocked proxy server for your desired website. Also, your proxy does not encrypt your online data, unlike a VPN.

4. Socks5 Proxy

A good option for downloading is SOCKS5 Proxy. More info << HERE>>