The new law also requires online messaging services to link users with their phone numbers and to block users who disseminate “illegal information.” Critics deride the VPN ban and the increasing online government regulations as clampdowns on Internet freedom.

Roskomnador is currently testing the ban’s implementation with search engines, VPNs, and the cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab. Norway’s Opera Software, Mail.ru, Sputnik, and three anonymizers with some 10 million users in Russia are also participating in the test.

The Nov. 1 VPN ban follows an Oct. 1 amendment that bans search engines from displaying results for blocked websites.

Before signing the VPN regulation into law last summer, President Vladimir Putin issued an executive order creating a strategy through 2030 to establish greater government regulation over the internet.