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How To Bypass Blocking

Instructions in Russian here.

Russia has recently joined the ranks of other authoritarian countries in blocking RFE/RL local news sites. We encourage readers in Russia to subscribe to the Telegram channels of RFE/RL's Russian and Ukrainian services or this website's Telegram channel in English, as well as to our newsletter, The Week In Russia, for continued access to our reporting.

Here are some other ways to continue to access RFE/RL's reporting not only in English but also in Russian, Chechen, Tatar, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and other languages:


A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a tool that allows a person to mask their location and identity by linking up with a computer server in a different location. It also is an encrypted or secure tool, meaning once a user activates a VPN it’s very difficult (though not impossible) to intercept the data and information that goes back and forth.

VPNs have exploded in popularity around the world amid concerns about Internet security. The result is a plethora of options -- some sophisticated, some simple, some costly, some inexpensive or free -- that people can download and use. One thing to keep in mind: In some countries like Russia, VPNs are being increasingly outlawed as authorities try to crack down on the free flow of information.

Readers can use a VPN, such as nthLink or Psiphon, which are free solutions supported by the Open Technology Fund. VPNs will give readers access to blocked social media platforms. Here are some more detailed instructions in Russian that also include a few other free VPN alternatives.

The Open Technology Fund is a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization that was set up to “increase free expression, circumvent censorship, and obstruct repressive surveillance as a way to promote human rights and open societies." It was originally established by Radio Free Asia, a sister organization of RFE/RL. In 2019, the fund was spun off into its own nonprofit corporation. It receives funding from the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a federal agency that also provides funding to RFE/RL, which is also an independent nonprofit corporation.


The Onion Router is free and open-source software that allows people to use the Internet, send e-mail, or do just about anything online anonymously. The software directs Internet traffic through a so-called overlay network scattered around the world, making it difficult to trace Internet activity to the user.

The software was originally developed by U.S. government scientists in the 1990s to help protect intelligence communications. Its license was later released to the public and taken over by private sector Internet freedom advocates, with funding from the U.S. government, Human Rights Watch, and others. The nonprofit that maintains the TOR software is now headquartered in Seattle.

Readers should consider downloading the Tor browser to anonymously and securely access RFE/RL's onion sites.

English website: https://www.rferlo2zxgv23tct66v45s5mecftol5vod3hf4rqbipfp46fqu2q56ad.onion/

Current Time: https://www.currtv242aqatxhyqfyh3mtq2ubzxz7crvj7aon3zccrnwatc5gugvqd.onion/

RFE/RL's Russian Service: https://svobod7mjzb3hwxhgcnx7ui2ffd4p5zulftzkzdlmpaztuuoxnlpwhyd.onion/

RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service: https://www.radiosvcr452z5oklfrl5tgh7phn7vkekdppsxeit74veqff4pq4eoid.onion

RFE/RL's Belarusian Service: https://svabodmmmsdce3rmzoor5cw3byj6rqss4q6bh2yfhux2dbmobnpg5ead.onion/

How to download the Tor browser:

On Windows, MacOS, Android, Linux:

On iOS:

If the sites are blocked, you can send an empty e-mail to and you will be sent a browser bundle via e-mail.

Where Tor is blocked, bridges help readers access the Tor network. Readers need to request a bridge via one of the following ways:

-- Sending "/bridges" to the dedicated Telegram channel @GetBridgesBot and then adding the bridges lines received manually via copy and paste in the Tor browser [Settings > Tor > Bridges > Provide a bridge]

-- Requesting a bridge via e-mail at and then adding the bridges lines received manually via copy and paste in the Tor browser [Settings > Tor > Bridges > Provide a bridge]

-- Connecting through Snowflake from within the Tor browser [Settings > Tor > Bridges > Select a built-in bridge > Snowflake]

To input requested bridges on:

Desktop: Settings > Tor > Bridges > Provide a bridge

Android: Config Bridge > Provide a bridge I know

iOS: Bridge Configuration > Custom Bridges

The Tor Project maintains a Telegram channel for user support in English and Russian: @TorProjectSupportBot.

In case you've noticed any strange links on our Russian sites:

You might have noticed longer, unusual links on our Russian-language sites. We use so-called “mirrors” of our sites distributed across multiple locations to make it much harder for the authorities to block access.

A mirror site is pretty much what it sounds like: an exact replica of a website or a set of files on a computer server that is housed on another computer server. Mirror sites are used when governments or regulators order a site to be blocked or censored so that readers can still access the original content.

If you would like to share our content with colleagues or friends who do not use a VPN, we recommend using these longer mirror links.

Sometimes mirror links can stop working because the authorities have blocked them, too. Just in case, download this extension for Chrome and Firefox. It will provide you with a working mirror link.


Our apps have technology to circumvent censorship. You can find them in the Google and Apple app stores. If you have an Android phone and app stores are blocked in your country, you can download the app here.