Figure of the Day: VPN
February 2017, the Ministry of Defense placed an order for VPN services on the state procurement website.
Procurement was held on a non-competitive basis ("from a single supplier"), which was determined by the agency itself. The name of the contractor is not specified, probably due secrecy.
In total, the Defense Ministry spent 919.7 million rubles ($15.5m) on VPN services.
VPN is a virtual private network which connects computers in different cities and countries via encrypted channels as if they are on the same local network. In Russia, VPN services are used to bypass blocking of websites.
In addition, there are three purchase orders for “providing VPN services and unification of five facilities in a single local area network with Internet access" for the Sanatorium and Resort Complex Anapsky, which is subordinated to the Defense Ministry for a total sum of 4.3 million rubles. In all three tenders, the winner was not established, since no applications were submitted.
July 20, the State Duma adopted a bill banning anonymizers and VPN. Since November 1 this year, services providing access to the sites banned by Roskomnadzor (Russian Communications Watchdog) will be blocked.
It is noted that companies with their own VPN, which are used by their employees only, do not fall under the law.