Today, as it turns out, there are two ways:
Payment from a mobile phone account
This is the method that I personally use. Payment with the amount from your phone account works only in MTS and Beeline. Megafon and Tele2 (by unfortunate coincidence, the very mobile operators I use) do not work.
The advantage of this method: payment without commission – as much as you put on your phone, you can spend as much on paying for services. If you take some free tariff (they suggested it to me at a communication store), you can end up topping up your phone with exactly the amount of the charge and not a penny more.
Disadvantage: you need to use a specific operator. There is always a risk of additional charges – for example, on my free tariff there are some outrageous Internet prices, so using the number for anything other than payment is, in fact, ruinous. This means that you have to live with a separate SIM card purely in order to monthly give part of your honestly earned money to Western services.
Payment with gift cards
This method disappeared for a short time immediately after the introduction of sanctions in 2022: as I remember now, paper App Store & iTunes cards soared in price everywhere – and then simply disappeared, both officially and unofficially. So where do App Store and iTunes cards come from in Russia now? App Store maps for the Russian Federation now exist only in electronic form.
You can top up your Apple ID with gift cards, and then debit funds from it for what you need: subscriptions, iCloud, YouTube, games, etc.
The downside of this method is that replenishing Apple cards is quite expensive. On applekarta.ru the denomination of 5000₽ for example costs 6380₽.
But this method also has advantages:
If you don’t have Beeline or MTS, you don’t need to get a special SIM card for payments. And, unlike a SIM card, a gift code can be purchased instantly online.
Possibility to top up your Apple ID for future use. There are no guarantees that Apple will not block the ability to pay from MTS and Beeline accounts. In this case, the balance on your mobile phone account, even if it is at least 10 thousand, will no longer be able to be used in the App Store. You will have to rely only on the remaining funds in your Apple ID account. Therefore, many iPhone owners try to top up their iPhone balance several months in advance, or even a year. And that’s what a gift card is for.
Create your own gift card
The main life hack that I discovered for myself: you can create your own digital gift cards. The first step for this is to reconnect the Beeline or MTS SIM card as a means of payment. Further:
In the “App Store” application, click on your profile at the top right (with your avatar), in the window that opens, follow the link “Send a gift card by e-mail”
Fill in the recipient’s e-mail
We choose a sum in the range from 500₽ to 9000₽
If you successfully purchase an App Store and iTunes code, the iPhone display will display the message “You have successfully completed the future sending of an iTunes gift.” [сумма]” All that remains is to send the code by email to the recipient of the code – or, for example, to your email, and then simply transfer the code to the recipient in the messenger or in some other way.