RIA Novosti confirmed on June 2 that Roskomnadzor (RKN) restricts the operation of VPN services in Russia that violate federal law. "According to the law "On Communications", the means of bypassing the blocking of illegal content are recognized as a threat. The Center for Monitoring and Control of the Public Communications Network is taking measures to limit the operation of VPN services that violate Russian law," RIA Novosti quotes the response of the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor).
Currently, the public procurement portal zakupki.gov.ru has posted more than 130 tenders containing the malicious three-letter abbreviation VPN.
More often, the wording of purchases is as follows: “provision of services for the organization of a high-speed connection... using the IP VPN service”, “provision of services for the provision of an access channel to virtual private networks (VPN), “organization of services for the organization of a communication channel L2 (L3)VPN”.
There are many commercial structures among the customers of the auctions, but the majority of the auctions were announced by state structures.
For example, the price of the lot of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Republic of Tatarstan is 7.9 million rubles (plus the provision of access to the Internet for the needs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs). The Public Procurement Department of the Tyumen Region is ready to pay 21.8 million rubles. The administration of the Serov urban district in the Sverdlovsk region has announced a VPN auction worth 143,000 rubles.
Caught among customers and central district hospitals from different regions of the Russian Federation. For example, the Vilyuchinsky City Hospital (Kamchatka Territory) in the terms of reference specified the following requirements for VPN communication channels: 4 dedicated ports, data transfer rate up to 100 Mbps.
The approximate amount of current telecommunications lots, which also mention VPN, is about 100 million rubles.
State Duma deputy, member of the Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications Anton Tkachev (New People faction) told Novye Izvestiya that Roskomnadzor does not block all VPN services.
The parliamentarian admits that VPN purchases through tenders by state-owned companies have existed before. And if ordinary citizens use a virtual network to bypass blocking and access sites and applications banned in Russia, then state employees and business structures use this technology as needed.
“Its main purpose is the organization of secure access to corporate networks, the formation of its own closed network. A VPN allows you to connect trusted networks, hosts, or users through open, untrusted networks. To this end, state-owned companies place tenders for the purchase of VPN services. For example, there is a company, and it has 10 branches. You are afraid of hacking, penetration from the outside, for this you combine branches into a corporate network and protect it from intrusion. A VPN will do just that. The ability to bypass locks is one of the side functions, but not the goal of the technology at all”, - Tkachev believes.
To a clarifying question - why did the RKN declare war on VPN services - the State Duma deputy noted that not all VPNs are harmful. “Roskomnadzor just doesn’t block. The list includes "unreliable" VPNs that do not fulfill their intended purpose. Why do state corporations need a service that will not protect, but harm? A number of technical requirements and registration in the ILV registry should be mandatory when choosing a VPN,” the parliamentarian concluded.
As the head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications Alexander Khinshtein previously publicly stated, since the start of the special military operation in Russia, about 20 VPN services have been blocked, with the help of which Russians, among other things, continue to use social networks banned in the country. At the same time, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in April that he himself uses VPN services, because it is not prohibited.