The audience of Internet users, social networks, messengers and VPN services

Four out of five Russians access the Internet daily (in 2001, only 2%). Most of these are young respondents, but the number of older users is growing. Two thirds of the respondents regularly use social networks, and this proportion has tripled since 2011. The most popular social networks are VK and YouTube, and their audience continues to grow (for example, VK’s audience has tripled in 13 years). 80% of the respondents use messengers, and this number has doubled in 8 years. Whatsapp and Telegram are the most popular, and their audience is growing. A quarter of Russians use VNP services at least from time to time, over the past two years their share has hardly changed.

The share of regular Internet users (those who go online “every day” or “several times a week”) continues to increase and in March 2024 reached its maximum values – 81%. In 2001, there were only 2% of them.

To date, 81% of Russians visit the Internet daily, in 2001 there were 2% of such people. The share of daily Internet users is slowly growing in all age groups, so 98% of those surveyed under the age of 24 (95% in March 2023), 93% in the 25-39 group (91% in March 2023), 82% among respondents aged 40-54 (73% in March 2023), in the group of 55 years and older – 49% (48% in March 2023).

Social Media

In March of this year, the number of users of social networks reached its maximum values – 75% of respondents (59% of them visit daily or almost daily, another 8% of respondents visit social media pages several times a week or once a week or less). One in four respondents (25%) does not use social networks at all, over 11 years this share has decreased by almost 2 times (in 2013 there were 44% of such people). The audience of social networks actively increased from 2011 to 2021, after which the growth slowed down and almost stopped.

The proportion of those who visit social networks daily or almost daily is significantly higher among young respondents under the age of 24 (89%), more affluent (68% who can afford durable goods) and educated (65% of those with higher education) respondents.

Older age groups (31% of respondents aged 55 and older), respondents with secondary education and below (51%), and respondents who barely have enough money for food (40%) visit social networks much less often.

The most popular social networks in Russia are VKontakte and YouTube. The share of VKontakte users has increased from 17% to 50% of the total number of respondents since 2011. The YouTube audience has more than doubled since 2018, from 15% to 37%.

The Odnoklassniki audience, on the contrary, has been declining over the past 8 years – 25% (44% in March 2016).

The number of social media users blocked in Russia also continues to decrease. Thus the audience of TikTok (Tik-Tok) dropped to 20% (24% in March 2022), Instagram* to 14% (31% in 2021), Facebook* to 1% (9% in 2021), X (Twitter) to 1% (3% in March 2021).

The youngest respondents (under 24 years old) are more likely to visit YouTube (62%), TikTok (39%) and Instagram* (28%) than representatives of other age groups. Among the older age groups (55 years and older), the Odnoklassniki social network is more popular – 53%, and Zen (Yandex Zen) – 17%.


The majority of Russians (80%) use messengers (in 2016 it was 35%).  WhatsApp and Telegram remain the most popular messengers in Russia. WhatsApp is used by 72% of respondents (17% in February 2016), Telegram – 51% of respondents (21% in March 2021). However, if one in two respondents (51%) uses Telegram for calls and messaging, then half as many receive news from Telegram channels – one in four (24% of respondents). At the same time, there is a noticeable trend towards a decrease in the Viber audience (21%), the peak of popularity of which occurred in the spring of 2021, when almost one in three (31%) used it.

Young people use messengers noticeably more actively than older Russians. Among respondents aged 18-24, 85% use Telegram, 82% use WhatsApp, 37% use VKontakte. Among the respondents in the age group 55 and older, 41% do not use mobile phone applications at all to make calls and exchange messages .

VPN Services

In March of this year, only 3% of respondents regularly faced the inability to access familiar digital services, 11% several times, another 8% 1-2 times a month, 78% of respondents did not encounter such problems at all. Over the past two years, the number of Russians facing such problems has almost halved (37% in March 2022).

The largest proportion of those who have encountered such problems is represented in the 18-24 age group (34%), as well as among those who disapprove of the activities of V. Putin as president (30%). Respondents 55 years and older (13%), as well as those who approve of the activities of the current president (18%), were the least likely to face such problems.

The proportion of respondents who are aware of VPN services is gradually growing. However, the number of users of these services has not changed since 2022 – a quarter of Russians use VPNs for unhindered access to Internet resources (including 11% who use them regularly, and 14% sometimes). About a third (36%) know about such services, but do not use them, about the same number (37%) hear about VPNs for the first time and their number is gradually decreasing (in March 2022, there were 46% of them).

VPN services are most often used by respondents aged 18-24 (45%), respondents who can afford to buy durable goods (30%), who do not approve of the activities of V. Putin as president (32%), residents of medium and large cities, as well as Moscow (20% among residents of cities with a population of 100 to 500 thousand people, 26% – more than 500 thousand people, 26% – Moscow). The least frequent respondents are 55 years old and older (8%), rural residents (19%), respondents who barely have enough for food (10%), who approve of the current president’s activities (24%).


The survey by the Levada Center was conducted March 21 – 27 2024, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1628 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The distribution of responses is given as a percentage of the total number. The data set is weighted by gender, age, level of education for each type of settlement (large cities, medium cities, small towns, villages) within each Federal district independently, in accordance with Rosstat data.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

Learn more about the methodology 


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