How to unblock Instagram in Russia 2022 [Avoid the Russian Ban]

How to unblock Instagram in Russia 2022 [Avoid the Russian Ban]

If you are wondering how to unblock Instagram in Russia, read the right article. Since launching an all-out assault on Ukraine, Russia has kept a tight rein on social media and independent news sites in the country. By March 14, 2022, Instagram had been banned, causing over 80 million Russian Instagrammers to chatter and search for solutions.

Key takeaways:

  • The Russian government has blocked Instagram as part of its move to control the narrative about the Russian-Ukrainian war.
  • A VPN can help you bypass Russian internet censorship and geoblocks so you can enjoy all the features of Instagram.
  • ExpressVPN is the best VPN for unblocking Instagram in Russia, thanks to its speed and robust encryption features, but NordVPN and CyberGhost are cheaper but reliable options.

Fortunately, a virtual private network (VPN) can spoof your location and give you access to Instagram while avoiding detection by Roskomnadzor – the Russian media watchdog. With every VPN service claiming to be the silver bullet, it’s hard to know which one works best in Russia.

We’ve done the legwork for you. In this article, you will discover the three best VPNs for Instagram in Russia, based on our research and testing. However, we’ll start by showing you how to set up an Instagram VPN service from scratch. If you’re in a hurry, ExpressVPN is our top pick because of its speeds and excellent security features.

  • Instagram is currently banned in Russia, but you can bypass Russian censorship geoblocks and access all the features of Instagram with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). In our book, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for that purpose, but NordVPN and CyberGhost are cheaper options.

  • A VPN can spoof your location to help you bypass censorship and access Instagram. However, not all VPNs unblock Instagram effectively. The best Instagram VPNs have a large collection of servers, strong security features, and fast download speeds.

  • Using a VPN in Russia is legal, but the authorities frown on using VPNs to access blocked content; it has banned several VPNs for refusing to comply with their laws. Most of these VPNs have moved their servers out of Russia, but you can still access servers in other countries. However, double check to make sure you are not breaking any laws while using specific VPNs.

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How to unblock Instagram in Russia with a VPN

Although it may seem intimidating, installing and setting up a VPN is easy. Below are three easy steps to follow to get your VPN up and running. Note that you can follow similar steps with other VPN providers.

  1. Register and download the service

    Go to the VPN provider’s website and click on “get ExpressVPN” (or “Купить ExpressVPN” button in Russian). You will be prompted for it choose a plan and a payment method. Next, download and install VPN on the device of your choice.

    expressvpn website
  2. Choose a VPN server

    Once you have installed the app, go through the server list and select your preferred location; we recommend servers in countries near Russia that have no internet restrictions. Most VPNs offer one “quick connect” button to speed up the process.

    Choose an ExpressVPN server
  3. Log in to your Instagram account

    Log in to Instagram and you will notice that you can enjoy all the features of the app without any problems.

    The Instagram app

Why do you need to unblock Instagram in Russia?

Due to the Instagram ban in Russia, many bloggers, influencers and entrepreneurs have lost their following, links and income all at once. Some former Instagram users are moving to other platforms like Telegram and Clubhouse, but nothing can replace the photo-sharing platform. Also, it often takes months to build a following.

According to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, around 80% of Russian Instagram users follow an Instagram account outside their country, meaning the ban will effectively shut Russians out from the rest of the world. Even if Russia launches an Instagram clone known as Rossgram, there is no guarantee that it will be successful or free from Kremlin manipulation.

Instagram Russia Ban and Ukraine

The Instagram ban in Russia was a long time coming, as Russia had been at odds with Instagram’s parent company, Meta. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was Meta’s algorithmic changes to allow calls for violence against Russian soldiers in Ukraine. Meta explained that the change was made to allow people in Ukraine to speak out against the war.

Russian authorities responded by labeling Meta an extremist organization and banning both Instagram and Facebook under their extremism law, although WhatsApp still functions well. Other censored websites include Twitter, Google and TikTok.

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To learn about accessing social media in Russia, check out our guides on how to unblock social media, how to unblock Twitter and how to unblock Facebook in Russia.

What is the best VPN to unblock Instagram in Russia?

A good VPN to unblock Instagram in Russia must be fast, secure and have a collection of servers in countries close to Russia. All the VPNs on this list tick the boxes to varying degrees, and they also have apps for different platforms, whether you’re using a phone, laptop, tablet or router.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn website

ExpressVPN has excellent speeds and security features for accessing Instagram in Russia.

Fast, secure and easy to use, it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN tops our best VPN list. The X-factor is that it offers fast download and upload speeds, making it the perfect choice for browsing feeds or uploading photos and updating your Instagram stories. You can surf Instagram even faster with the Lightway protocol, as our ExpressVPN review shows.

ExpressVPN is also not lacking in security features. You get AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection and perfect forward secrecy, and you can connect up to five devices at once. No wonder it tops our best VPN for Russia guide. ExpressVPN’s biggest downside is that it’s expensive, but all things considered, it’s worth the investment.

ExpressVPN logo

ExpressVPN plans

2. NordVPN

NordVPN website

NordVPN’s long-term plans are cheaper than the monthly plan.

If ExpressVPN’s price tag is offensive to you, NordVPN is worth a try. While not as fast as ExpressVPN, you get excellent speeds along with a host of security features. The server collection (5,400 servers in 60 countries) is also not as extensive as ExpressVPN’s, but there are a handful of servers in countries near Russia, including Latvia, Poland, and Finland.

When it comes to security, NordVPN more than delivers. Apart from the standard AES-256 encryption and a kill switch, you get important features like double VPN servers, threat protection, Onion over VPN and obfuscated servers to hide your Instagram usage from prying Russian servers, so you can enjoy internet freedom . Learn more in our NordVPN review.

The NordVPN logo

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost website

Each of CyberGhost’s plans comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

If you love a bargain, you’ll find CyberGhost hard to resist. It offers some of the best long-term VPN prices we’ve seen, but you still get a host of security features, from a kill switch to leak protection. This VPN provider is a good choice for beginners as it is extremely easy to use and you can connect up to seven devices simultaneously.

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Remarkably, CyberGhost operates over 7,900 servers in 91 countries, and you’ll find servers in countries like Belarus, Estonia, and Kazakhstan, making it great for Russian geoblocking. There are also “NoSpy” servers in a privacy-friendly country to ensure that Russia cannot track your Instagram usage. Learn more in our CyberGhost review or use the 45-day money-back guarantee to test it out.

The CyberGhost logo

CyberGhost plans

Can I use a free VPN to unblock Instagram?

A free VPN can give you access to Instagram, but there are some concerns to note. First of all, free VPNs can log your data and sell it to advertisers. Due to the lack of strict no-logs policy, your Instagram data may be made available to Russian authorities. Also, you will likely be bombarded with ads and malware while using a free VPN to access Instagram.

Additionally, free VPNs come with data caps and bandwidth limits, meaning you may experience lag and buffering while using Instagram. That said, if you have no choice but to use a free VPN, consider either Windscribe or ProtonVPN. Windscribe gives you 10GB for free, while ProtonVPN is the only VPN in our best free VPN review with unlimited data, although it limits your speed.

Final thoughts

As you can see from our review, ExpressVPN is the best provider for using Instagram in Russia, thanks to its collection of servers close to Russia, fast internet connection speeds and an excellent suite of security features.

NordVPN is also a worthy contender, and has an impressive array of features and servers to help you enjoy internet freedom in Russia. Besides Instagram, NordVPN is our best VPN for Telegram and a great option for other social media platforms. There’s no telling when Russia will lift the ban, so a cheap, long-term option like CyberGhost could be a good investment.

Have you tried unblocking Instagram in Russia? Which VPNs did you try and how was the experience? Want to see other VPNs on this list? Share your thoughts with us below. As always, thanks for reading.

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