Russia Forces Apple to Remove at Least 25 VPN Services From the App Store

apple removes vpn from russia

Apple has complied with the demands of the Russian government and removed VPN apps from the Russian App Store. VPN developers have been receiving emails from Apple’s App Store team informing them that their apps are being removed “per demand from Roskomnadzor,” the Russian state media watchdog that has been ramping up its attack on VPN services.

According to Reuters and The Moscow Times, at least 25 VPN developers have had their apps removed from the Russian App Store, and more could follow. Roskomnadzor has demanded that Apple remove VPN apps for “contain[ing] information that is illegal in Russia” — a potential reference to VPNs that have been targeted by the media regulator for not complying with new requirements that they block access to online platforms blacklisted by the country’s attorney general.

In a statement, VPN provider Le VPN, one of the companies affected, said it’s appealing the decision and working with other VPNs and human rights advocates to weigh its options.

“This recent development underscores a significant escalation in Roskomnadzor’s capabilities, demonstrating its increasing influence over major technology companies like Apple,” Le VPN said. “The outcome of this incident could have far-reaching effects on how global tech companies operate in jurisdictions with stringent regulatory environments, influencing both business operations and user access to digital resources.”

Apple’s removal of VPN apps from the Russian App Store is the latest example of the company bowing to pressure from the Russian government. In the past, Russia has forced Apple to remove opposition-leaning apps and apps that don’t comply with a 2019 law requiring that pre-installed apps be Russian-made.

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