It is great to have a native speaker to practice Russian with you from the first day. If you don’t have someone already, you can find one – a tutor, teacher, or a language exchange partner – on Italki. Chatting with a conversation exchange partner won’t cost you money. Lessons from professional teachers will, but you’ll spend significantly less than you thought you would. You can search for the people from Russia and other countries, depending on your preferences. Also, if you are a native speaker of a language other than English, you can find someone who speaks your language too. Read the full review of italki.
The Pimsleur method is an older course which some people swear by and others feel is outdated and overpriced. You learn to speak the language by listening, imitating (syllable by syllable) and answering questions. The lessons are 30 minutes long, require full concentration, and you speak throughout. The addition of a subscription option makes it much more affordable and pretty great value. Read the full review.
Memrise courses are usually fun. Most of them are generated by users, and the quality varies, but when you pick one, learning the lessons is like playing a game. The concept of the app will make you memorize words, phrases, spelling, pronunciation, syntax, just name it. And you can choose from hundreds of courses or create your own. Any 5 minutes of your spare time is enough to study Russian, on any device. Best of all, these courses are entirely free. Read our full review of Memrise.
One of my favorite resources for improving speaking skills in Russian (and a few other languages). The free version makes it easy to record yourself speaking sentences in Russian and compare to a native speaker. There are also other types exercises available as well. The premium version allows you to submit an unlimited number of recordings each month and receive feedback on your pronunciation. Read the full review of Speechling.
One of the most popular free language sources, Duolingo offers fun, bite-sized lessons of Russian. 5 minutes a day is supposed to be enough to develop solid reading, writing, and speaking skills. It is easy to use and it feels like you’re playing a game. Unlocking new levels and earning virtual coins keeps you motivated and, if we are to believe to the authors, 34 hours of Duolingo are equally valuable as one semester in the university.
A comprehensive Russian language-learning pack, which includes everything a beginner (or intermediate-level learner) needs: audio and video lessons, flashcards, and downloadable PDF lessons. You’ll find tons of helpful content and while the platform isn’t perfect, they offer lots of useful materials at a reasonable price. Review.
Babbel is an interactive app that offers lessons of many languages, including Russian, aiming to be a decent substitution for real-life classroom lessons. It isn’t free, but you can take a free trial. The essentials – a way to introduce yourself and say where you’re from – are presented first. Each subsequent lesson is designed to enhance your ability to communicate in a practical situation. There are three modules available – the basic courses, the grammar courses, and additional ones, like Russian idioms and numbers. You can start as a beginner and advance to an intermediate level by using Babbel. Read our Babbel review.
Grammar Hero is a product from Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language. It follows the story-based method of teaching languages, but this time with a focus on the most difficult grammar points. You start out by reading a story and the grammar point is underlined, later you learn the rules, then you re-read the story with explanations, and finally you’ll practice using the grammar point to express your thoughts and opinions. It’s a comprehensive method that’s meant to help you internalize the grammar. Review.
This app is quite different from the “cannon” language learning resources. It is a compilation of videos in Russian (among other languages), supplemented by the interactive captions, so you can have a pleasant time watching interesting stuff and learning on the way as if you had someone to explain everything to you in real time. While there is a free trial available, you’ll need to subscribe to enjoy the benefits. Unfortunately, I was pretty underwhelmed when I tried FluentU. Read the full review.
FSI language courses were developed by Foreign Service Institute – U. S. Department of State using the FAST methodology (Familiarization & Short-Term Training). FSI Russian Fast Course covers the essentials comprehensively, and includes textbooks and audio recordings. These materials are considerably old and a bit old-fashioned, without any interactive solutions or flashcards – you might even need a teacher to guide through – but they are very thorough and entirely free.
Lingualift was designed by experts from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford. They offer courses in a few languages which are accessible for independent learners. Their lessons are quite similar to an online textbook, with more of a focus on reading and learning about Russian culture. However, there are better options for learning to speak. Read the full review.
The creators of LingQ promise you’ll never need a boring textbook again. The natural process of learning through context is more pleasant and surprisingly more effective than memorizing grammar rules. You can pick the content you find most interesting – and the choice is large – and read and listen to the subjects that interest you. They may try to do too much, from language exchanges to avatars and coins, but the reading section, which is LingQ’s main feature, can be a really useful tool. Read our in-depth review.
Rocket Russian’s emphasis is on the use of the language in practice. The packages contain audio content, and there is the option to record yourself and compare your speech to that of a native speaker. The dialogues cover the most common occasions you may find yourself in; the grammar is explained throughout, and the Survival Kit is designed to help you have a successful start. While that all sounds great on the surface, the course was pretty disappointing. Review.
Glossika is another course that promises to teach you Russian without memorizing the rules. The keyword here is internalization – you internalize grammar rules and adopt the patterns of speech, by repeating the most commonly used sentences in the Russian language. However, not everyone would be thrilled with the study material – it consists of isolated sentences, without any context or story – but many say it works for them. Read our review of Glossika.
Clozemaster is a great way to practice vocabulary, sentence structures, and reading by completing tons of fill in the blank exercises. You can fill in the blank by either typing the answer or choose from a multiple choice option. You’ll score points as you go. While there is a pro plan, the free version offers a ton of value.
Tandem is a language exchange app created to connect learners from around the world. You can teach someone the language you speak and they’ll help you learn the language you’d like to learn. It comes with lots of useful features to make connecting with other users easy and facilitate language practice. Read our full review of Tandem.
Real Russian Club
Blog, podcast, videos, stories – free and premium content and lessons – a complete package for any learner of the Russian language, created and delivered by a highly qualified native Russian teacher. The Slow Russian Podcast focuses on Russian culture, tradition, and lifestyle. The TPRS podcast is all about reading and storytelling. You can buy the audio with transcript and vocabulary section or listen to it on iTunes. Free video lessons are available on Youtube. Finally, the premium memberships gives you the access to all materials, plus you can buy individual lessons or books – and it is all very affordable.
The Mimic Method
A course that aims to help you master your Russian pronunciation regardless of your level of proficiency – although total beginners would benefit the most. The course is self paced and once you’ve paid the relatively high fee, you get lifetime access to the materials. It’s a very technical and thorough course. Read the full review.
Spotify is more than just a music-streaming service. It offers over 200 hours of free language lessons, including 18 hours of Russian. In addition to these audio lessons, there is other content available, such as language-learning playlists created by users, podcasts, audiobooks, Disney movies, and more.
At the moment, there are over sixty different Udemy courses of the Russian language available. The quality varies, the price not that much – most of these courses are offered at the discount price of $9,99. It is hard to tell whether all of them are worth paying, but there is something for everyone. All levels are covered, and some of the courses have quizzes included.
A language learning social network that enables you to talk to or have your writing corrected by a native Russian speaker for free on their website or the mobile app. There are also Premium Membership features like grammar lessons, vocabulary trainer, offline mode, and certification (from beginner level A1 up to upper intermediate level B2). Read our review of Busuu.
Lingvist is a newer app that is already becoming quite popular. Available in several languages, including Russian, it could be a good alternative to Duolingo. Learning is done through flashcard style fill in the blank sentences. There’s a limited free version and a premium version available. Read the full review.
The Mosalingua app is essentially a way to memorize basic vocabulary and phrases. It focuses on the most important, “the 20% that you’ll use 80% of the time,” and relies on advanced learning, association, and memorization techniques. There are additional features on the web version, and while a subscription does cost money, there’s a free 15-day trial available.
A fancy language learning software and app that nearly everyone has heard of. It may also be known as one of the most overpriced apps that offers considerably less than many free ones. You can start with a trial version and actually learn several nice phrases in Russian, but the lessons that follow – which you’d have to pay for – won’t help you move much. However, if you’re struggling with concentration issues and love to learn in tiny steps with lots of (often unnecessary) repetition, you may wish to try it. Read the full review of Rosetta Stone.
Assimil does it a bit differently and reminds you of the difference between US and European models of education. You might find the course too intensive (even the one for beginners). Instead of chunking everything down, it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a real-time conversation that requires your full attention – and you still can’t follow it completely, and it’s okay; you’ll repeat that lesson anyway. Assimil Russian With Ease Superpack (for English speakers) consists of 4 audio CDs, 1 mp3 CD, and a substantial course book. This material should make you feel comfortable with the language in three months of learning, and you’d gain a solid base in Russian within six months.
A popular program that enables you to learn many things using flashcards and spaced repetition, and is especially convenient for language learning. You can use an existing deck, created by some of the users – and there are dozens of shared decks for Russian – or create your own. Anki is an open-source app that works on most of the operating systems, and enables you to sync your decks across devices.
Readlang Web Reader is an extension for Google Chrome that enables you to read online content in Russian (and over 40 other languages). Just click any word or phrase and you’ll have it translated and saved in the flashcard library. The free version is limited to 10 phrases a day, while the number of individual words you can translate remains unrestricted.
Flowlingo helps you to immerse yourself in a language via tv shows, music, books, blogs, and more. You can highlight sections of text and get translations. It is still quite new and has a lot of potential for improvement. It’s available for free online or as an app.
This app aims to enable you to learn Russian from any of the 33 languages that they support. The learning starts with listening to a conversation, memorizing core words, and using them to generate other phrases and sentences. At the end of a lesson, you are supposed to be able to reconstruct the conversation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of Mondly. Read the full review.
Preply is a global platform that allows you to find a Russian tutor from the country of your liking. You can find a number of qualified teachers and pick one according to your needs (business/conversational/intensive Russian, lessons for beginners or children) and budget. They use Skype, which allows you do speak, write and share materials with your tutor, just like you would do in a classroom.
Another language exchange platform – a mobile app that allows you to connect with native speakers of the Russian language, chat with them, and help them acquire a command of your native language in return. It supports text, voice, and video; contains tools for pronunciation, translation, and corrections; is free and easy to use.
A weekly podcast with nearly 300 (at the moment) episodes, covering all that you’d ever need to hear or say in the Russian language. While some of the episodes and the transcripts are publicly available, you’d need to purchase monthly membership to access all material. If you’re not interested in joining the club, there is also an option to buy a 10 to 50-episodes pack on the topic that interests you. You can also buy some textbooks (with audio files) by the same author.
News in Slow Russian
A number of news videos created over a period of two years, narrated in slower pace, transcribed, and arranged by level – for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners of Russian. This resource is not associated with the creators of News in Slow French/Spanish/German, and the “news” are not super fresh, but the site is nevertheless very rich in content, entertaining, and useful.
The Michel Thomas Method
This highly acclaimed (and just as expensive) method comes through courses in 3 levels in Russian, called “Start,” “Total,” and “Perfect.” The “Start” course introduces the Russian language through 50 most common words and their use; “Total” is their standard course, which contains interactive exercises, and “Perfect” is supposed to help you achieve a flawless fluency. The course is advertised as an ultimate tool for effortless learning that enables you to speak confidently within a couple of hours. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. Review.
While most language learning apps focus on flashcards and memorization, this one utilizes a different approach. It lets you learn the language naturally by simultaneously reading and listening to various stories in Russian and your native language (as long as you speak one of the 13 languages they cover at the moment). This way, you learn words within a context and internalize grammar rules at the same time.
If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a certain word or phrase in Russian – from greetings, apologies and flirting (Do you have a boyfriend? – У тебя есть парень?) to whichever expression you may find in the book you’re reading – you can type it down in Forvo, and hear it pronounced by a native speaker.
A 5-minutes-a-day app that helps you memorize words (mostly nouns) with the help of simple visual illustrations. Includes games and exercises that cover vocabulary (matching word and image), spelling and translation. It feels effortless but it is efficient and you do learn those words, but without any context or grammatical construction. If you’d like to use the app for longer than five minutes per day, you’ll have to pay.
BBC Language Guides
BBC offers excellent resources for most languages of the world. Although Russian is not as thoroughly covered as other major European languages and Chinese, the Language Guides section offers a great starting point: 10 Russian language facts in Russian (mp3, transcripts, and the English translation), 20 essential phrases, “quick fix,” and learning tips.
RT Learn Russian
The “Learn Russian” section on the Russia Today website contains detailed explanations of phonetics and alphabet, a hundred of general Russian language lessons, grammar tables, and twenty tests. In addition to that, you can watch documentaries in Russian (and other languages) with English subtitles on a separate section on the RT website.
Modern Russian Grammar: A Practical Guide (Routledge Modern Grammars)
A comprehensive, innovative, and practical reference guide for intermediate and advanced learners of Russian. It covers both traditional grammatical categories and practical language functions including all those situations that are vital for communication. There is an accompanying workbook available too as a separate item on Amazon.
A Q&A app created by the Lang-8 team. You can ask questions to native speakers of Russian, and answer those made by the learners of your language. Available on iOS and Android.
Learn Russian 101
Don’t confuse this resource with RussianPod101. Learn Russian 101 is a network comprising five different Russian language resources. Everyday Russian contains audio lessons for all levels. Learn Russian Step by Step focuses on providing audio course for beginners. Very Much Russian (Очень по-русски) is a popular podcast featuring Russian slang and idioms. Learn Russian Daily is designed according to the “word of the day” concept. Finally, Russian Pen Pal enables you to find a Russian friend and communicate.
A free dictionary and, more importantly, a community forum where you can find and interact with people like you, doing the same as you do – studying Russian and pondering over the ways to express themselves using that language.
A Frequency Dictionary of Russian (Routledge)
The 5000 most frequently used Russian words in Russia and other countries; core vocabulary, with detailed explanations, translations, and sample sentences. There are two main listings – the frequency list and the alphabetical one – but you can also find the word you need using thematically organized lists.
501 Russian Verbs
This combined book and software package contains the 501 most commonly used verbs (and 1000 additional ones, which are conjugated similarly as the 501 in the title) presented in tables. One page contains a single verb in all its forms in Russian, which helps you notice the patterns behind grammatical structures, and the English translation.
This online Russian language school offers three different modules. The “Learn” consists of basic course, general A1 to C2 level lessons, a fast and intensive course, and exam preparation for all levels. The “Improve” module focuses on drilling and helps you practice Russian cases and verbs of motion, improve your grammar, and practice by taking quizzes. The third module “Immerse” is exactly that – immersing in conversational Russian, learning through movies and media, and daily practice. Lots of fantastic free material on the “Practice Area” on their website.
Essential Russian Grammar (Dover Language Guides Essential Grammar)
A handy reference book for those who’d like to comprehend the logic behind the rules they have noticed while learning Russian using flashcards or any other method for instant learning, but have no time and patience to read some long, detailed grammar books. This book aims to clarify the vital points of the Russian grammar and enable simple, everyday communication.
Project Gutenberg (Russian)
A small collection of public domain books in Russian, both fiction and non-fiction, including the works of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
The Living Language Russian comes as the Complete Edition and contains three Books (beginners, intermediate, and advanced level), nine CDs, and free online learning resources: games, flashcards, and interactive quizzes. The Platinum Edition also includes live e-tutoring.
Conversation Countdown (Fluent in 3 months)
For those who are not very self-disciplined and are only efficient under pressure, “Fluent in 3 months” offers a crash-course that aims to help you develop a ‘mission-mentality’ and strategize your learning. The 7 lessons consist of bare essentials and shortcuts, but the fact that you have a scheduled conversation with a native Russian speaker in a week creates a sense of emergency and keeps you super-motivated.
Audible is Amazon’s audiobook service and also an excellent resource for learning Russian. There are several resources from popular language learning resources such as Pimsleur, RussianPod101, several books of short stories, and many more. This is in addition to the thousands of regular books narrated in Russian. Best of all, you can get a 30-day free trial which includes two free audiobooks!
A conjugation tool that aims to be the coolest one around. It is free and works in over 40 languages, including Russian. Type a verb (it doesn’t have to be in infinitive or even in Russian – any, tense, mood, or form in Russian or English would do) and you’ll get conjugated forms, English translations, examples, transcriptions, pronunciation hints, and more. At the commercial section of the site you’ll find ‘Interlinear’ bilingual ebooks that might be worth checking.
Linguaphone offers two courses of Russian. The Russian PDQ course is aimed at beginners, and it consists of 4 hours of audio material and a small course book. The complete course has materials for all three levels – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The importance of speaking is highlighted, and the practice involves both imitating the way native speakers talk and taking part in conversations. The course creators say that the content is not just useful, but also enjoyable, and helps build confidence while you speak Russian.
A convenient phrasebook app that contains over 1700 essential phrases for travelers, followed by English translations, phonetic translations, and audio recordings. Available on iOS and Android.
Another free app from the Duolingo team, for those who love bite-sized lessons, spaced repetition and gamification. You can pick from the endless list of Russian flashcard decks, or create your own. The app is fun, easy to use, and available on all platforms.
Bravolol / Learn Russian Phrases
A phrasebook app for iOS and Android that helps you to pronounce and memorize the most common words and phrases in Russian. Includes clear audio and you don’t need internet connection to practice the language.
Free courses created by the Defense Language Institute (U.S. Department of Defense). The courses are thorough and intensive. The materials consist of heavy books (the basic course has over 1000 pages), corresponding textbooks and audio files. As long as you ignore the military-related content and you’re not afraid of large books, you’ll find those courses immensely useful.
A Youtube channel specializing in clear and succinct grammar explanations, created and presented by Dr. Curtis Ford from the University of South Carolina.
OptiLingo uses a process called Guided Immersion to teach the most common words and phrases in the language you’re learning and place them in the context of everyday activities. It also incorporates Spaced Repetition Systems so that you can retain information more efficiently. They focus a lot on listening and speaking to help you develop an ear for the language.
This free resource is designed to help you learn the essential vocabulary, phrases, and grammar. The emphasis is on most frequently used words and phrases in everyday communication. The website contains text, audio, and flashcards, and you can take quizzes when you’re done learning.
The language learning software and online course used by many public institutions in the US. The creators have developed the so-called “Declarative Method” (focus on long-term memory) and “Declarative Acceleration” technique to make the newly acquired knowledge stick. We didn’t find it to be worth using though. Review.
TED Talks Russian
TED talks include hundreds of informative, inspiring, sometimes beautiful and often humorous stories that you can listen in Russian. Some of them have transcripts, which you can use for reference while mastering your listening skills.
Book2 (50 Languages / Goethe Verlag)
100 free lessons for beginners and intermediate learners of Russian. The course includes text (free on the website, but if you’d prefer a physical book, you can buy it on Amazon), and audio files spoken by native speakers. The free mobile app contains 30 lessons, tests and games. The paid version contains the same volume of content, but it is add-free. The goal of the course is to learn the basics quickly, and use them in typical situations. You don’t need to know English (as long as you speak one of the 50 world’s most popular languages); it is possible to learn Russian using your native language.
These lessons are only available for the learners in the USA, Canada, UK & Ireland, Australia & NZ, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. The approach is highly personalized. After you’ve taken their free language proficiency test and completed a trial skype lesson, you’d get a qualified native teacher develop a curriculum based on your needs and work with you in one-on-one sessions. There are also some specialized courses available, such as Russian for business, healthcare, family relationships, real estate, relocation, and more.
Tatoeba is a different kind of dictionary – an impressive database of translated sentences, created and maintained by the user community (which you can join). Enter the word, and you’ll get in translated in numerous contexts and sentences.
RhinoSpike helps you get Russian language audio on demand. It is a language-learning exchange network and great tool for listening/speaking practice. If there is any piece of text that you’d like to have read aloud and recorded, just submit a request, and a native Russian speaker will provide an MP3 file. In return, you’d be expected to help those who are learning your native language. You can also listen to some of the 4351 existing recordings in Russian to get a feel of how it works.
A collection of linguistic tools that facilitate translation, conjugation, and pronunciation, and include a dictionary and free spell checker. Translation tools use translation memory feature, and dictionaries combine several sources. You can also learn about latest changes in the Russian spelling, the feminization of the professional titles, and hottest neologisms.
One of the most popular translation apps, available for iOS and Android. The free version allows you to translate text from and into more than 100 languages, including Russian. Other features include transliteration, sharing, and audio in male and female voices. Pro features include offline mode, verb conjugations, voice-to-voice conversations, website translation, and lens – you can use your camera to translate signs, menus, and more. The last two functionalities are available only on iOS.
GreenLife Apps – Russian English Translator
This translator app offers sentence correction and voice recognition. You can use it to translate emails and sms messages as you receive them (the free version lets you do this 50 times). Your translation history is saved for your reference.
A vulgar phrasebook of Russian, more fun than useful, that will present you the common slang of the Russians, from casual street-talk, funny ways to ask someone to go to bed with you, to serious insults. Use it with caution, especially because it seems that this book contains phrases and idioms that are not in use anymore.
Easy Russian (Easy Languages)
This YouTube channel takes you to the streets of Russian cities, big and small, and other awesome places throughout the world (such as Almaty, Kazakhstan) where Russian is spoken, enabling you to listen to a variety of native Russian voices. The episodes have a form of street interviews with random passers-by, yet the questions are not random. Each episode has a topic, which makes it easier for you to find what you’re interested in on their channel. There are no grammar lessons in these videos, and the speech you’ll hear is not always grammatically perfect, but you’ll get a feel of the language as it is spoken in everyday life. The videos contain subtitles in both Russian and English.
Russian-English Translator (Klays-Development)
Another free translator app that enables instant translations of words and entire sentences. It includes a list of favorite words and phrases, and supports voice input. Available on Android.
Learn Russian Offline (ufostudio)
This is a free phrasebook app that works completely offline. It contains over 1000 most frequently used phrases, organized in 18 categories, which include general conversation, time and date, directions & places, eating out, family, and more. All entries are followed by native pronunciation.
Bab.la is a dictionary – and a lot more than a dictionary. It translates words within the context rather than isolated. Bab.la is a powerful tool which you can use to, for example, write an impressive cover letter in the language of your liking (in this case, Russian) and prepare for the interview by finding the right sentences in your native language and defining the language pair (e.g., English-Russian). It is free to use, and you can download thematic mini-phrasebooks from any page.
Colloquial Russian (Routledge Colloquial Languages)
Routledge’s Colloquial Russian is a complete course for beginners and it contains the up-to-date textbook, accompanied by audio files which you can download for free. Colloquial Russian helps you learn the language as it is written and spoken today. The explanations are both meticulous and easy to understand. The goal is to grow your skills and speak Russian confidently in various situations.
Earworms’ Rapid Russian is meant to help you learn useful phrases (and get a feel of the grammar constructions on the way) by exposing yourself to catchy tunes. You get the Russian language essentials the way you memorize lyrics, refrains, and jingles. While some may really like this method, most will probably find it more annoying than helpful. Read the full review.
Lingro’s tagline “The coolest dictionary known to hombre” is well deserved. It makes reading in Russian (among other languages) way more accessible. Just enter the URL of the page in Russian, and Lingro will make each word on it clickable. It’s like there’s a built-in dictionary on every page you’d like to read. Furthermore, all the words that you look up while reading are saved for your future reference.
These free online lessons are designed as a basic introduction to Russian. They cover the Russian alphabet, vocabulary (adjectives, nouns, numbers, verbs, phrases), grammar (plural, gender), and 500 most widely used words with audio.
Polly Lingual offers online courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners, and several specialized courses, such as Russian for Travel, Medical, Business, and the Russian Grammar. The lessons cover all aspects of the language, include cultural references, and contain audio recordings. You can also hire a teacher (a “Polly Ambassador”) to help you with the lessons, or ask a relevant question and get a video answer for free.
The news site in Russian. Not just for the advanced learners; the intermediate ones can also take advantage of it because all video materials are followed by transcripts.
This resource offers free lessons for beginners (integrative Russian lessons, vocabulary, phrases, and grammar) that consist of text and audio recordings, and a chance to contact the course creator and book some one-on-one lessons.
The Oxford New Russian Dictionary
This concise (but not too small) bilingual dictionary contains over 100000 words and phrases, chosen to help all groups of the Russian language learners, including students, business people, and occasional travelers. It is enhanced by 60,000 translations, pronunciation of all entries, and Russian verb tables.
Free multilingual text to speech solution that works on PC, Android, iOS, and online as the Chrome extension. Talkify instantly recognizes supported languages (including Russian), and reads any webpage or PDF (beta). You can even save audio as MP3.
The Language Centre / The University of Cambridge
A couple of free web applications developed by the University of Cambridge, covering Russian essentials and basic Russian vocabulary.
Short Stories in Russian for Beginners
These eight entertaining stories cover the A1-B1 (beginner and intermediate) material, and they are written for the purpose of helping you learn the vocabulary and practice your comprehension skills. The publisher promises a fun and fairly effortless reading experience, free of complex wording and scary grammar structures, during which you’ll learn the basic Russian naturally.
Get Started in Russian (Teach Yourself)
The Teach Yourself Language edition contains several books on Russian. This Absolute Beginner Course of Russian contains a book that covers the basic grammar and vocabulary and help develop listening, reading, writing, speaking and pronunciation skills. The two CDs are included, containing 120 minutes of audio material. Teach Yourself offers other courses too, such as Complete Russian, Get Talking and Keep Talking Russian (the last two are audio courses).
The New Penguin Russian Course
This Russian coursebook is designed for beginners who want to learn basic (A1-A2) Russian vocabulary and grammar, and use them with confidence in a range of everyday situations. It includes thirty lessons followed by exercises.
Another platform that enables you to speak Russian with native speakers on Skype. There are teachers from Russian, Ukraine, and other countries available. They use a standardized framework of references to describe your progress – the European one. As for the learning process, you choose a tutor according to their profile, feedback from other learners, price, location, and availability; book a lesson (a part of the fee should be paid in advance) and there you go.
The Everything Learning Russian Book
A book and CD that teach you basic Russian vocabulary, grammar, correct pronunciation, as well as the Cyrillic script. The audio material consists of pronunciation guides, vocabulary lists, dialogue examples, exercises, self-tests, and a dictionary. The book serves as a step-by-step guide and is supposed to enable you to communicate confidently in no time.
Beginner’s Russian with Interactive Online Workbook is a user-friendly textbook that covers the essential grammar and vocabulary related to family, eating and drinking, jobs, the Internet, and more. The chapters include photos, games, cartoons, and exercises to make the content more accessible. When you purchase this book, you also get access to online audio and video content, and many self-correcting exercises.
A community-driven Q&A site for teachers and learners of many languages, including Russian. Anybody can join and discuss the delicacies of the language and individual expressions. You can ask questions, offer the solutions for someone else’s dilemmas, and vote for the responses that you find the best. The most helpful entries are voted up and appear close to the top of the thread. It is free, but it is not for beginners; you’ll need some command of Russian to participate in the conversation.
Russian for Everyone / Sputnik Textbook
Another resource presenting Russian grammar and vocabulary, letters and sound system, enriched with quizzes and games after each unit. The creator of those lessons, Dr. Julia Rochtchina (currently a lecturer on the University of Victoria, Canada), has also prepared a substantial textbook and workbook called Sputnik; some of the book lessons are available on separate site.
Russian Stories: A Dual-Language Book
This dual-language book includes 12 classic stories by Chekhov, Gogol, Pushkin, Dostoevsky, and other world-famous Russian authors. The Russian text has stress accents – a feature that helps you read aloud accurately once you’ve learned the rules – and it is followed by quality literary translations. Excellent resource for intermediate level learners of the language who are interested in the Russian literature as well.
If you’re a language student struggling with the Russian verb conjugation, this little tool can save your precious time. You just need to enter a verb in the infinitive, and you’ll get the complete inflection of that verb. Verbix works on Windows and online, and is entirely free.
A free resource for beginners in Russian, which allows you to practice basic vocabulary, spelling, and grammar through online (flash) games.
Russian For Dummies
If you’ve read some of the books from “For Dummies” series, you already know what to expect – an easy-to-follow guide through the basics and some interesting phrases and idioms that will help you have a small talk and won’t leave you helpless on the street. There is also the popular top-tens section, which includes ten quick ways to pick up Russian swiftly, ten popular slang expressions, and ten expressions that can make you sound fluent.
Lingvopedia is an encyclopedia of languages. You’ll find a wide range of interesting facts about the Russian language, history, and more, including basic grammar and vocabulary. This is not a basic course or just another boring encyclopedia entry – it contains curiosities like the longest words in Russian, unusual words and sentences, and funny idiomatic expressions in Russian.
RU-LAND is an online Russian language school. You can take Skype lessons with one of their qualified teachers, or try some unique courses. The Russian Speaking Patterns course is meant to help you internalize the most common sentence models. Their other course is called Flirt and Love in Russian and it consists of three podcasts and four videos containing some love&dating related expressions. Furthermore, you can join one of the “Speaking Clubs” and practice talking with a group of same-level Russian language learners.
This online Russian language school provides both one-on-one and group Skype classes with native speakers from Russia. They use different innovative online materials to make the classes more pleasant and interesting and to help you remember what you have learned. You can choose between Russian conversation course, business Russian, Russian for tourists, Russian exam preparation, or pick something else to focus on — they offer nineteen specialized and non-specialized courses at the moment. You can also choose your teacher, and the time when you want to take the lessons. Overall, everything is arranged to meet your individual learning needs and goals.
A fun, free app for iOS that enables you to practice your Russian (among others) vocabulary and spelling by solving crosswords puzzles. The game is addictive and lets you learn hundreds of words, but it requires at least basic knowledge and it is not suitable for absolute beginners.
Spotify is more than just a music-streaming service. It offers over 200 hours of free language lessons, including 18 hours of Russian. In addition to these audio lessons, there is other content available, such as language-learning playlists created by users, podcasts, audiobooks, Disney movies, and more.
Dallas ISD – Secondary Russian
The Youtube channel of the Dallas Schools Television presents a number of meticulously prepared Russian language video lessons for beginners and intermediate level (as taught in secondary education) students. The videos are created in the early nineties and may seem awkward today, but they are nevertheless useful. The lessons follow the textbook and workbook called “Russian Face to Face: A Communicative Program in Contemporary Russian,” which you can find on Amazon.
Russian with Anastasia
Anastasia Semina has been creating a wide range of interesting content about the Russian language and culture for years. In addition to language lessons, her videos include attractive travel vlogs in Russian, short story and poetry readings, interviews with other Russian teachers, various conversations containing English subtitles, and more.
Imperfect as it is, Google Translate is a powerful and immensely useful tool – as long as we use it properly and don’t expect to get 100% correct and complete translations from it. The outcome is always a work in progress. A considerable portion of actual work is finished instantly, but you still need to do your part. You can use it to translate words, documents, and entire websites. The translation is editable with a lot of ready-made alternatives for any word or phrase. The extension for Google Chrome enables you to translate and navigate through the interface of sites that are entirely in Russian, which has been used more than once during the creation of this list.
Natasha Speaks Russian
A blog and Youtube channel featuring useful material for learning Russian, including the 6-episode beginners kit, accessible explanations of common expressions, verbs of motion, and grammar constructions. In addition to that, you’ll find readings and explanations of Russian fairy tales, as well as several playlists containing Russian films and series with English subtitles.
A ton of video lessons that cover basic and intermediate Russian vocabulary and grammar, Russian slang and idioms, and more. The author offers two free ebooks on the website, as well as a free masterclass on “How to Start Speaking Fluent Russian Fast.”
Despite its name, this is not a translation tool. It’s a site offering over 2000 free lessons and mini-resources for the Russian language learners of all levels and age groups. You’ll find most of their videos on their very popular Youtube channel, and more materials, including transcripts, on WikiTranslate. You can also join any of the conversation groups on Facebook and practice your Russian for free.
This Russian language school based in Moscow has some great free online material for beginners (some of the lessons actually fall under intermediate level). Each of the eight units contains grammar and vocabulary lessons, as well as “listen an and read” section and lots of exercises. This resource might be especially useful for those who learned Russian long ago and want to go to the basics again.
Lots of free lessons on their website and Youtube channel, for all levels. Audio and video content is narrated by different native speakers – one from Moscow and one from Kiev, Ukraine. The website is a bit older and not visually appealing, but contains lots of material that would help you learn and improve your Russian.
Russian from Russia
A Youtube channel of a Russian language teacher. The content includes stories about Russian history, customs and traditions; grammar videos, and pronunciation guides. The videos are entirely in Russian, followed by Russian subtitles, yet suitable for students. This teacher is on Italki too.
Learn Russian with a native speaker
Hundreds of video lessons in Russian, featuring the most frequently used words, idioms, expressions, and proverbs. New content is added weekly and you can ask questions and have them answered for free.
The basic vocabulary of the Russian language in images and sound. When you touch an object, word, or phrase, it is pronounced aloud. It contains the entries on numbers, body parts, clothing, food, animals, and family.
Probably the most concise, yet surprisingly comprehensive reference you’ll ever find regarding Russian grammar. This three-panel (six pages) chart covers basic grammar, conversation models, verbs, and verb conjugations and contains everything you’d put into a cheat-sheet.
The Freelang dictionary is a free online dictionary and a platform which enables you to have some (short, non-commercial) content translated for free by a volunteer, or to find a professional to translate whatever material you may have.
My Language Exchange
A platform that hosts language exchange practice. You can find exchange partners and practice online in voice chat rooms, using tools such as an online dictionary, pre-made lesson plans, and a notepad. Voice chat rooms are designed and work best for intermediate and advanced level learners, while the beginners can engage in text chat (using a tool called Chat Companion) or find a penpal.
Another convenient compilation of essentials in Russians. Helpful if you’re visiting Russia or any of the countries where Russian is widely spoken, but insufficient for those who wish to gain comprehensive knowledge of the Russian language and grammar. Popular phrases are accompanied with variations, as there is always more than one way to say something. This site can help you practice pronunciation, but it is not interactive and requires you to go back and forth until you lose your patience and go to another site.