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Pimsleur Review Russian

Pimsleur Russian

Rating 4.0


Pimsleur Russian is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning the Russian language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills.

Quality 4.5

The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.

Thoroughness 4.0

Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.

Value 3.5

The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.

I Like
  • Very useful core vocabulary
  • Lots of active listening and speaking practice
  • Focus on pronunciation
I Don’t Like
  • No focus on writing Russian
  • Formal practice dialogue

Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.

Memorial Day Sale! Get the Annual All Access Plan for only $131.96/yr. That’s 47% cheaper than the monthly plan! See details on the website. Offer ends on 5/29/24.

The Pimsleur Russian app promises to use a special memory system to help you master the complexities of Russian. The Pimsleur method has remained popular with language learners for over 50 years because of its successful spaced repetition theory structure.

Older versions of Pimsleur’s Russian course operated through audio lessons. The app version continues to start each lesson with an active listening session, but the modern app version offers important interactive elements like a Voice Coach feature for speaking practice as well as visual quizzes and games, making it a far better choice than the more expensive older versions.

So, can you learn Russian from the app version of the Pimsleur Russian Course? Take a look at this review of the Pimsleur Russian app to find out!

Pros of Pimsleur Russian App:

  • Useful core vocabulary
  • Lots of active listening and speaking practice
  • Focus on pronunciation

Cons of Pimsleur Russian App:

  • No focus on writing Russian
  • Formal practice dialogue

Things to Consider Before Subscribing to Pimsleur Russian App

Two of the hardest things about learning Russian for most English speakers are grammar rules like noun cases and verb conjugations and pronouncing new sounds.

When you learn a language like Spanish, you quickly realize that the language has many similarities to English. This is not the case with Russian–it even uses a different alphabet! Russian grammar concepts like the six noun cases used to explain the function of a noun in a sentence can seem confusing for an English speaker.

Likewise, learning how to conjugate Russian verbs takes serious work. Different kinds of verbs follow different rules, and verb endings can also change based on the gender of the subject in the sentence to add extra confusion.

Russian also uses several tricky sounds not found in English, which makes practicing pronunciation essential.

So, if you want to learn Russian effectively, look for a program that focuses on grammar and offers lots of speaking practice with pronunciation training.

Features and Benefits of Pimsleur Russian App

Let’s find out if Pimsleur can provide the solid grammar instruction and speaking practice necessary to learn Russian as an English speaker.

75 Hours of Russian Lessons

The Pimsleur Russian app provides you with 150 30-minute audio lessons, or 75 hours of lessons. The lessons use dialogue spoken by native Russian speakers as well as explanations and guided active listening drills in English to help you understand Russian. 

The active listening component of the lesson helps you master both pronunciation and grammar, as you often repeat entire sentences.

The only downside to the dialogue is that it primarily uses a formal tone with the formal Russian version of the word you, rather than the informal version you would use in daily conversation.

You also get access to reading lessons, flashcard drills, the voice coach feature for pronunciation, and quizzes following each lesson.

Spaced Repetition

The foundational concept of the Pimsleur method for learning a language is that you learn efficiently by placing new concepts in your long-term memory by circling back to them in a carefully spaced manner

You will consistently see, use, and say important words and concepts to make sure they become a part of your brain’s active knowledge of Russian. The Spaced Repetition System is one of the most powerful parts of the app.

Core Vocabulary

Another feature that sets the Pimsleur Russian app apart from many language learning systems is that it does not flood you with tons of vocabulary. Instead, through the audio lessons and speaking practice, you will focus on what Pimsleur calls core vocabulary. 

The idea is that most native language speakers only consistently use a core vocabulary on a daily basis, even if they know thousands more words. This means that if you have your own core vocabulary in Russian, you can communicate easily.

Voice Coach

Another key feature of the Pimsleur Russian app is its Voice Coach feature. This is essential because it lets you practice Russian sounds like the vowel ы. In English, you often see this vowel described as similar to the letter Y, but it actually has a sound somewhere between an I and a U sound found at the back of your tongue.

Getting feedback on your pronunciation as you learn new sounds will help you master Russian pronunciation accurately.


You can subscribe to the Pimsleur Russian app for $19.95/month, or choose the “all access” option that allows you to see other languages for $20.95/month.

Pimsleur offers a seven-day free trial, too! 

Alternatives to Pimsleur Russian

Pimsleur’s Russian app has a lot to offer, but you may also want to consider some alternatives.

Storylearning: Russian Uncovered

Storylearn’s online Russian course uses an ongoing narrative to keep you engaged in daily Russian lessons.

  • Costs $297
  • Does not include voice software for speaking practice
  • Offers reading, writing, and cultural lessons

If you think engaging with a new language through a story sounds like fun, you can check out a free trial of Storylearning’s Russian course here!


RussianPod101 offers another unique approach to language learning with hundreds of podcast-style lessons to keep you entertained and engaged. The lessons cover both practical topics like introductory vocabulary, as well as more cultural, artistic, or geographic topics.

  • Cost depends on subscription level and ranges from free to $23/month.
  • Self-directed pacing
  • No voice software for speaking practice

RussianPod101 covers a broad swathe of topics in its podcast lessons. If this sounds appealing to you, check out RussianPod101 here!


Pimsleur’s Russian app-based course uses a great memory system called the Spaced Repetition System to help you master a key set of core vocabulary. The active listening structure in each audio lesson allows you to practice both sentence structure and pronunciation, and the voice coach feature helps you perfect new sounds in Russian.

The only issue you may find with this program is that it does focus on more formal language.

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