All Language Resources is an independent review site. If you click a product link, we may earn money from a seller at no cost to you. Writing and analyses are author opinions. Learn More

Best Courses Russian

Some might ask themselves why they need to learn Russian unless they had to. It’s got a confusing writing system, and it isn’t that useful anyway, right? Not quite.

The Cyrillic alphabet may seem daunting in appearance, but it can be learned in just one or two days. The upside is that many of the letters resemble those in the Latin alphabet and the language is much more phonetic than English.

There are many advantages to knowing Russian. It’s the most widely spoken language in Europe, the official language of four countries, and a lingua franca in many more. By understanding Russian, you’ll be able to learn other Slavic languages like Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Polish a lot quicker.

Maybe you’d like the chance to read renowned Russian literature in its original form, take a Russian-language architecture tour in Moscow, cruise the Trans-Siberian Railway, or simply deepen your relationship with vodka.

Whatever your reason is for learning Russian, there are many courses that can get you speaking the language. Keep in mind, however, that no two courses are the same. To help you find the best courses for you, we’ve gone through the extensive list of resources that we’ve tried and have listed the best of the best according to quality, focus, and affordability.

There’s a little bit of everything in this list, and we hope you’ll find something that feels just right.

Table of Best Courses to Learn Russian

Links below will send you to the course websites, and the course details are down below:


OVERALL BEST

A Super-Thorough Course for Learners at Most Levels: Red Kalinka

Exceptional Audio Lessons With Plenty of Chances for Active Participation: Pimsleur Russian

Well-Structured Lessons and a Clear Curriculum: Babbel


BEGINNER’S COURSES

Best Beginner Course With Engaging Stories: StoryLearning Russian Uncovered

A Nice Course for Beginners: Bite Size Languages

Convenient, Quality Lessons With a Touch of Gamification: Lingodeer

A Beginner Course With an Attractive Design: Mango Languages


READING AND LISTENING

A Massive Lesson Library and Thorough Explanations: RussianPod101

Read Your Favorite Content: LingQ


SPEAKING AND WRITING

Best for Improving Oral Communication Skills: Pimsleur Russian

Good for Intermediate Students Wanting to Practice Speaking: Glossika

Best For Checking Your Russian Pronunciation: Speechling


VOCABULARY ACQUISITION

Learn Russian Grammar Through Stories: Grammar Hero

Most Enjoyable Vocabulary Practice: Memrise

Best for Learning Key Words & Phrases: uTalk

Official Russian Courses Make This More Than a Flashcard Platform: Memrise

Convenient, Quality Lessons With a Touch of Gamification: Lingodeer


TUTORS AND LANGUAGE EXCHANGES

Tutoring Help No Matter Your Ability Level: italki

Great Way to Find Tutors and Classes: Verbling

Best Way to Find Language Exchange Partners While Taking Its Audio Lessons: HelloTalk


Overall Best Russian Learning Courses

If you prefer courses that are more thorough and offer a detailed curriculum of the Russian language, then this category is for you. These are our overall best courses to learn Russian.

A Super-Thorough Course for Learners at Most Levels

Rating 4.7

EUR 23.00

A SUPER-THOROUGH COURSE FOR LEARNERS AT MOST LEVELS

Red Kalinka is known as the “Largest Russian School in the World” and produces several different Russian language products. Their online Russian course, Sistema Kalinka, is high-quality, in-depth, and suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to upper intermediates. There is a tremendous amount of content designed to help students read, write and understand Russian. It’s easily the most comprehensive Russian course we’ve tried.

After completing the course, they claim you’ll know over 3000 words, be able to communicate in most situations, and be able to enjoy watching Russian TV. You’ll also have email access to a personal tutor who can answer any questions you may have about the material. In terms of a course that does it all, Red Kalinka’s Sistema Kalinka is hard to beat.

Pros

  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • There are chances to practice all major language skills
  • The material is comprehensive

Cons

  • There is potential for lessons to feel monotonous after prolonged study
  • The exercises aren’t particularly exciting or unique

See our Super-Detailed Red Kalinka Review

Exceptional Audio Lessons With Plenty of Chances for Active Participation

Rating 4.0

Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

EXCEPTIONAL AUDIO LESSONS WITH PLENTY OF CHANCES FOR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • No focus on writing Russian
  • Formal practice dialogue

See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur Russian Review

Well-Structured Lessons and a Clear Curriculum

Rating 4.2

Starting from $7/month

WELL-STRUCTURED LESSONS AND A CLEAR CURRICULUM

Babbel is an online language-learning platform with over 1 million active users. Babbel Russian aims to get learners to a conversational level as quickly as possible through the use of a variety of exercises and spaced repetition for review. The courses are well put together and relatively inexpensive.

Pros

  • The content is practical for real-life use
  • It’s easy to use
  • The lessons are fairly short

Cons

  • The exercises can get repetitive
  • The review exercises don’t include grammar concepts
  • Speech recognition isn’t the best way to learn pronunciation

See our Super-Detailed Babbel Russian Review

Best Russian Beginner’s Courses

The courses in this category make excellent options for beginners looking to get a solid grasp on the basics.

Best Beginner Course With Engaging Stories

Rating 4.0

$ 297.00

BEST BEGINNER COURSE WITH ENGAGING STORIES

StoryLeaning Uncovered comes from Olly Richards, the creator of the super popular polyglot blog. It’s quite a bit different than most courses as it revolves around a story. It can be a bit more challenging than other courses, as you begin reading somewhat long texts right off the bat. Overall, I found it to be a more fun way to approach language learning that will be great for some but not ideal for others.

Pros

  • Immersive narrative approach
  • Professional tutors
  • Access to online student community

Cons

  • Offers speaking activities, but no interactive software
  • Costs more than many app-based subscription courses

See our Super-Detailed StoryLearning Russian Uncovered Review

A Nice Course for Beginners

Rating 3.8

$69 OR $99

A DECENT COURSE FOR BEGINNERS

Something that might stand out about this course is that, although it’s targeted toward beginners, the accompanying materials are written entirely in Russian. The course also doesn’t attempt to teach the Russian alphabet, instead emphasizing that understanding the dialogues at the heart of the course is what’s most important.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test the Bite Size Languages courses, but they utilize comprehensible inputin the form of dialogues with additional supportive materials such as transcripts, translations, and vocabulary and grammar sections. 

If you’re looking for a beginner course and aren’t interested in signing up for a recurring subscription, Bite Size Languages could be worth checking out.

Pros

  • Lessons utilize comprehensible input
  • There’s no recurring subscription
  • The course is designed specifically for beginners

Cons

  • The course doesn’t teach the Russian alphabet
  • The dialogues can become slightly boring

Convenient, Quality Lessons With a Touch of Gamification

Rating 4.3

$ 14.99

CONVENIENT, QUALITY LESSONS WITH A TOUCH OF GAMIFICATION

This app gets several things right. For one, its fun-to-use interface and activities make it one of the less intimidating, more engaging ways to get studying. Coupled with the app’s in-depth explanations, variety of exercises, and ample review opportunities, Lingodeer makes an appealing option for beginner learners.

While Lingodeer excels at helping beginners build a foundation in Russian, those that are seeking fluency will need to use other resources. It’s one of the better ones, but Lingodeer is still a gamified app and can only take you so far. Especially for practice speaking and coming up with your own sentences, Lingodeer isn’t your best option.

Pros

  • The variety in exercises keeps practice interesting
  • It’s easy and fun to use
  • Short exercises make for convenient practice

Cons

  • It isn’t useful for taking your skills beyond the intermediate level
  • There isn’t much speaking practice
  • You won’t have opportunities to come up with your own sentences

See our Super-Detailed Lingodeer Review

A Beginner Course With an Attractive Design

Rating 3.5

$ 14.99-179.99

A BEGINNER COURSE WITH AN ATTRACTIVE DESIGN

If you’re beyond the beginner level with Russian, Mango Languages won’t be what you’re after. There just aren’t a lot of advanced learning opportunities with this course. That said, beginners will certainly find material that’s appropriate for their level. This is because you’ll start learning usable words and phrases right away.

A slick and easy-to-use platform makes practice enjoyable, and the lessons build on each other in a practical order. Other features of the Mango Languages course are grammar and culture notes, along with drilling — lots of drilling. The frequent drilling of phrases can get you to a comfortable level with them quickly, but it can also become monotonous.

If this is a course you’re interested in, be sure to check whether you can get free access through your local library.

Pros

  • The app has a nice design and is easy to use
  • Beginners will be able to produce useful phrases quickly
  • Cultural notes are presented well

Cons

  • There isn’t much content for learners beyond the beginner level
  • Frequent drilling can become overly repetitive
  • Grammar explanations are sometimes lacking

See our Super-Detailed Mango Languages Review

Courses to Learn Russian Reading and Listening

The courses in this section provide ample Russian material to help you improve your reading and listening skills. You’ll be able to comprehend Russian material better with these courses.

A Massive Lesson Library and Thorough Explanations

Rating 4.3

$ 8.00

A MASSIVE LESSON LIBRARY AND THOROUGH EXPLANATIONS

A subscription to RussianPod101 unlocks a vast catalog of content. The lessons are fully capable of providing learners with an in-depth look at Russian vocabulary, grammar, and the cultural context in which words are used. There are lessons covering just about every imaginable situation, each full of important words and phrases.

Learners at all levels will be able to benefit from the lessons, but the bulk of the material is probably most useful for those at the beginner and intermediate stages.

It’s worth mentioning that we did find the website to be confusing to navigate and that lessons don’t always progress in the most logical manner. It’s also true that, while RussianPod101 is fantastic for improving listening comprehension, you’ll probably need to find other resources to improve your conversational skills.

Pros

  • The lesson library is huge
  • There is material for learners at all levels
  • You’ll get to listen to a variety of native speakers

Cons

  • There’s limited speaking and writing practice
  • The platform can be difficult to navigate
  • The practice opportunities aren’t very engaging

May Campaign Sale! Use code PRETTYBIGDEAL2024 and get forever 40% off on Premium or Premium Plus! See details on the website. Offer ends on 5/17/24.

See our Super-Detailed RussianPod101 Review

Read Your Favorite Content

Rating 4.0

$ 12.99

ENJOY READING RUSSIAN CONTENT

LingQ is a language-learning platform that focuses on extensive reading for over 30 different languages. You can import your own content or choose from the community library of books, articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, and more.

The app highlights unknown words across every lesson and makes them reviewable via different types of SRS flashcards. The more you read, the more accurately you will be able to identify content that is suitable for your level.

Although I did not find it beneficial for languages I had never studied before, I think LingQ can be helpful for upper-beginner to advanced language learners who enjoy reading. It is especially helpful if you struggle to find graded readers in your target language.

Pros

  • Easily import almost any material you want to study
  • Use SRS flashcards to quiz new words from a specific page
  • Each lesson in the library displays the percentage of known and unknown words based on reading history
  • There are many dictionaries to choose from for definitions

Cons

  • Reviewing words is chaotic
  • The extra features are overpriced and can be found other places for cheaper
  • Very little of the content is original. Much of it was uploaded by users from other places
  • The free version is extremely limited

See our Super-Detailed LingQ Review

Courses With Russian Speaking and Writing Emphasis

Speaking and writing in Russian may seem intimidating at first, but with the best material and enough practice, you’ll improve these skills immensely. Take a look at these courses and see which one you prefer.

Best for Improving Oral Communication Skills

Rating 4.0

Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

EXCEPTIONAL AUDIO LESSONS WITH PLENTY OF CHANCES FOR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • No focus on writing Russian
  • Formal practice dialogue

See our Super-Detailed Pimsleur Russian Review

Good for Intermediate Students Wanting to Practice Speaking

Rating 3.6

$16.99-$30.99

SOLID INSTRUCTION THAT’S PRICEY

Glossika has a ton of language options, which is the main highlight of the program. There are audio drills for listening and speaking plus comprehension. If you’re a beginner or intermediate speaker, you can pick up quite a bit of Swedish with the repetitive lessons.

The drawbacks, however, include the steep price—but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff if you’re working on multiple languages at a time.

Pros

  • One subscription delivers access to all Glossika languages.
  • Each language has a ton of audio resources.
  • Repetitive lessons help drill the point home no matter what aspect you’re studying.

Cons

  • The price is really high compared to just about every other decent resource.
  • Some courses seem to have errors.
  • You’ll need to be motivated—the repetitive nature of the program can get boring.

See our Super-Detailed Glossika Review

Best For Checking Your Russian Pronunciation

Rating 4.3

$ 0.00-$19.99

IMPROVE YOUR SPEAKING RHYTHM AND PRONUNCIATION

Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Pros

  • An excellent method to improve your speaking abilities and get feedback from a real teacher
  • Answer the Question, Describe the Image, and Freestyle mode are great for higher levels
  • You can switch languages at any time
  • Truly unlimited recordings with quick feedback

Cons

  • Absolute Beginners should learn the basics elsewhere first
  • You’ll need to learn how to make the sounds of your target language on your own
  • The amount of time given to record sentences can be too short

See our Super-Detailed Speechling Review

Learn Russian Vocabulary and Grammar

Without a vast vocabulary or proper grammar, communicating in Russian will be difficult. We recommend the following courses that are developed to help you work on your vocabulary and understand the structure of the Russian language.

Learn Russian Grammar Through Stories

Rating 4.2

$ 197.00

LEARN RUSSIAN GRAMMAR THROUGH STORIES

Grammar Hero is the brainchild of Olly Richards, the creator of “I Will Teach You a Language.” As the name suggests, the focus of this course is on helping students internalize challenging grammar points. This is done with a story-based method that gets learners to make meaningful connections with the material.

Practice happens by reading the story, learning the grammar rules, and then re-reading the story to understand why certain grammar points were used. Finally, Olly encourages students to actively produce the language by incorporating exercises such as writing practice, translation, and error correction.

Although Grammar Hero is on the more expensive end and is only suitable for intermediate students, it’s an exceptionally fun and engaging resource. Students wanting to improve their grammar will definitely get a lot of value out of this.

Pros

  • The story-learning method could appeal to many
  • Great for learners interested in understanding difficult grammar concepts

Cons

  • It’s only suitable for learners at the intermediate level
  • It’s fairly expensive

See our Super-Detailed Grammar Hero Review

Most Enjoyable Vocabulary Practice

Rating 4.0

$9-$120

OFFICIAL RUSSIAN COURSES MAKE THIS MORE THAN A FLASHCARD PLATFORM

There are two ways to study a language with Memrise. One is to use one of the many free, user-created vocabulary or phrase decks. These sometimes come with images or audio, and you’ll be able to practice them efficiently with a spaced repetition system. Beware that quality does vary from course to course.

The other way to use Memrise is to study one of the official Memrise courses. These are of a higher quality than the free courses and even include videos. Partial access to these official courses is available for free, but you’ll need to purchase a subscription to get full access to grammar lessons and extra features. Learners at lower levels will get the most out of these courses.

It’s worth noting that the full, official Memrise courses are only available through the app. The browser versions of these courses are limited.

While it does have decent official courses, Memrise is probably best used as a source of vocabulary review and for learning new words.

Pros

  • There are a lot of free courses available
  • Practice is efficient with spaced repetition
  • The official Russian course includes videos of native speakers

Cons

  • The free courses are of varying quality
  • You may need to supplement your study with other resources

See our Super-Detailed Memrise Review

Best for Learning Key Words & Phrases

Rating 3.7

$11.99/month

LEARN SET-PHRASES WITH MEMORY GAMES

This is another app with courses available in a staggering number of languages. It’s essentially a slick flashcard app with several built-in memorization games and some opportunities for recording yourself speaking to practice pronunciation. It won’t give you any grammar practice or teach you how to form your own sentences, but it can make an inexpensive way to memorize some useful set phrases.

Pros

  • Each phrase is recorded by a male and female native speaker
  • You frequently get to hear recordings of yourself producing the language
  • The price is very affordable

Cons

  • The Memory Game exercise felt like a waste of time. It’s difficult to get a perfect score even if you know the language well
  • Practice phrases are random

See our Super-Detailed uTalk Review

Official Russian Courses Make This More Than a Flashcard Platform

Rating 4.0

$9-$120

OFFICIAL RUSSIAN COURSES MAKE THIS MORE THAN A FLASHCARD PLATFORM

There are two ways to study a language with Memrise. One is to use one of the many free, user-created vocabulary or phrase decks. These sometimes come with images or audio, and you’ll be able to practice them efficiently with a spaced repetition system. Beware that quality does vary from course to course.

The other way to use Memrise is to study one of the official Memrise courses. These are of a higher quality than the free courses and even include videos. Partial access to these official courses is available for free, but you’ll need to purchase a subscription to get full access to grammar lessons and extra features. Learners at lower levels will get the most out of these courses.

It’s worth noting that the full, official Memrise courses are only available through the app. The browser versions of these courses are limited.

While it does have decent official courses, Memrise is probably best used as a source of vocabulary review and for learning new words.

Pros

  • There are a lot of free courses available
  • Practice is efficient with spaced repetition
  • The official Russian course includes videos of native speakers

Cons

  • The free courses are of varying quality
  • You may need to supplement your study with other resources

See our Super-Detailed Memrise Review

Convenient, Quality Lessons With a Touch of Gamification

Rating 4.3

$ 14.99

CONVENIENT, QUALITY LESSONS WITH A TOUCH OF GAMIFICATION

This app gets several things right. For one, its fun-to-use interface and activities make it one of the less intimidating, more engaging ways to get studying. Coupled with the app’s in-depth explanations, variety of exercises, and ample review opportunities, Lingodeer makes an appealing option for beginner learners.

While Lingodeer excels at helping beginners build a foundation in Russian, those that are seeking fluency will need to use other resources. It’s one of the better ones, but Lingodeer is still a gamified app and can only take you so far. Especially for practice speaking and coming up with your own sentences, Lingodeer isn’t your best option.

Pros

  • The variety in exercises keeps practice interesting
  • It’s easy and fun to use
  • Short exercises make for convenient practice

Cons

  • It isn’t useful for taking your skills beyond the intermediate level
  • There isn’t much speaking practice
  • You won’t have opportunities to come up with your own sentences

See our Super-Detailed Lingodeer Review

Tutors and Russian Language Exchange

Are you on the lookout for a Russian course that’ll help you connect with Russian speakers and work on your Russian language skills? We have a few options that we highly recommend. Whether you need a tutor or a language exchange partner, these are the courses for you.

Tutoring Help No Matter Your Ability Level

Rating 4.5

$ 5.00

RECEIVE FEEDBACK ON YOUR PROGRESS

italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.

Pros

  • There are large numbers of teachers available even for less common languages
  • You can find skilled teachers even at low prices
  • The flexibility to schedule lessons whenever convenient
  • The extra features in the italki Community make it easy to ask questions, get your writing checked, and find a free language exchange partner

Cons

  • Community features are only available through the app
  • You may need to try several tutors before finding one that fits your learning and personality style
  • It’s easy to not take classes as often as you should

See our Super-Detailed italki Review

Great Way to Find Tutors and Classes

Rating 4.6

$ 18.00

EASY TO USE PLATFORM

Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

Pros

  • You can find great teachers quickly
  • The platform’s extra features, such as teacher-made, personalized flashcards, help you review the material learned in each lesson
  • It seems focused on long-term progression as well as immediate student satisfaction
  • You don’t have to give out your contact details, thanks to the classroom technology

Cons

  • Some teachers don’t use the platform’s flashcards and materials system
  • There are fewer languages available than on italki
  • You can only pay in US dollars, plus there’s a hidden fee
  • The forums need more moderation

See our Super-Detailed Verbling Review

Best Way to Find Language Exchange Partners While Taking Its Audio Lessons

Rating 4.5

$ 6.99

FIND A LANGUAGE EXCHANGE PARTNER FOR FREE

HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Pros

  • It’s exciting to practice communicating with real people
  • The built-in language tools are helpful
  • It’s easy to pick up and put down whenever you like

Cons

  • It’s too easy to rely on google translate
  • It can be hard to find good partners
  • The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it

See our Super-Detailed HelloTalk Review

Maybe Try These Russian Learning Courses

Here are some additional courses that didn’t make our list of favorites for one reason or another, but they still have something to offer.

BeFluent in russian

We’ll say right away that we haven’t actually had a chance to test this course. We’ve checked out the BeFluent YouTube channel and were impressed with the videos, but this is our tentative rating.
The BeFluent course includes weekly group calls with the BeFluent team, a large lesson library, and a thorough curriculum. The premium course includes private coaching, for a more personalized and focused experience.
If you like the videos on the BeFluent YouTube channel and are interested in a course that comes with a community feeling, this one might be worth a closer look.

See our Super-Detailed BeFluent in russian Review

Mango Languages

If you’re beyond the beginner level with Russian, Mango Languages won’t be what you’re after. There just aren’t a lot of advanced learning opportunities with this course. That said, beginners will certainly find material that’s appropriate for their level. This is because you’ll start learning usable words and phrases right away.
A slick and easy-to-use platform makes practice enjoyable, and the lessons build on each other in a practical order. Other features of the Mango Languages course are grammar and culture notes, along with drilling — lots of drilling. The frequent drilling of phrases can get you to a comfortable level with them quickly, but it can also become monotonous.
If this is a course you’re interested in, be sure to check whether you can get free access through your local library.

See our Super-Detailed Mango Languages Review

Udemy

Udemy contains user-created courses on a variety of skills, including languages. There are over 40 different courses available in Russian that aims to teach students basic vocabulary, Russian culture, and even music. With so many choices available, students may have some luck finding a teaching style and content they’re looking for. Past students also like to leave reviews so you can see whether the course is worth investing in.
However, the content and quality can vary significantly between each one. The prices for courses are all different, however, Udemy has tons of sales. If you add a course to your cart and wait a day or two, you’ll almost certainly be given a coupon code lowering the price to around $10.

edX

edX offers language courses for beginner through to advanced students from various universities on edX. And if you’ve mastered all those, you can even study courses in Russian about other topics, such as Russia’s numerous dialects, Russian history, and marketing.
The content, quality, teaching style, and price will vary, so it can be hard to know whether a course is a good use of your time beforehand. However, they tend to be freemium, so it’s easy to sample them before committing.

Coursera

Coursera offers online courses from universities around the world, open for registration at any time, and self-paced. Advanced learners can take courses on many different subjects taught in Russian, and others will be able to find courses teaching the language. Courses are free and many for a fee. Most offer a certification upon completion if you’re willing to pay.

Rosetta Stone Russian

Rosetta Stone Russian is one of the most well-known resources for learning Russian languages. It takes an immersive approach to teaching and is widely used by corporations and individuals alike. High levels of repetition and an absence of translations or explanations are hallmarks of the course. Rosetta Stone course could be most suitable for learners who don’t mind repetitive exercises and prefer to learn from pictures and context rather than translations and explanations. It’s probably not a good option for anyone wanting to significantly improve their speaking or writing skills, or those looking for an engaging course.

ALR Readers Exclusive Holiday Deal!! Get the Lifetime Subscription for 25 languages for $179 (everywhere else it’s $199 right now!). See details on the website.

See our Super-Detailed Rosetta Stone Russian Review

Best Free(mium) Courses for Learning Russian

Are you on a budget? We have some great free and freemium courses to get you started. Have a look and see which budget friendly course best matches your preference.

Exceptionally Thorough and Free but Dated Courses

FSI

Rating 4.3

Free

EXCEPTIONALLY THOROUGH AND FREE BUT DATED COURSES

The courses created by the Foreign Services Institute (FSI) certainly aren’t the most exciting ways to learn a language, but they work — and they’re free. The Russian course comes with a complete Russian language textbook, audio clips of native speakers, and worksheets.

With this resource, you’ll have to put up with a type-written document that has been converted to PDF. This could be great if you’ve ever wanted to pretend you’re an intelligence agent from the ‘70s — otherwise, it’s a mild annoyance.

Pros

  • Courses are very thorough
  • These courses are completely free

Cons

  • The materials are dated and not the most exciting
  • Some of the language may not be entirely relevant for most people

Exceptionally Thorough and Free but Dated Courses

DLI

Rating 4.3

Free

EXCEPTIONALLY THOROUGH AND FREE BUT DATED COURSES

Courses created by the Defense Language Institute (DLI) are as thorough as they are dry. They have quite a bit in common with FSI courses but may place more of a focus on military terminology at higher levels.

DSI materials were created in the middle of the 20th century, which means you’ll be navigating some less-than-shiny PDFs —  the subject matter isn’t the most up-to-date you could find, either. That said, the lessons and accompanying audio are still fantastic sources for the self-directed learner.

Pros

  • Courses are very thorough
  • These courses are completely free

Cons

  • The materials are dated and not the most exciting
  • Some of the language may not be entirely relevant for most people

Great Spaced-Repetition Flashcards

Rating 4.1

Free

THE GO-TO SRS FLASHCARD APP

It is the go-to app for free (except on iOS) Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcards. It has a simple user interface with various features that more hard-core users can dive into if they choose. Your flashcards will appear according to your natural forgetting curve; the app will test you in increasingly spaced out intervals, with more difficult cards appearing more than once in a session, while easier cards spacing out over weeks — or even months and years.

An SRS system is the most effective way to drive information into your long-term memory. The cards can sync between the web, desktop app, and mobile versions to keep your flashcards updated and with you at all times. You can add images and audio clips to your cards and change the text formatting (if you use it on your computer).

One feature unique to Anki, as opposed to other SRS flashcard apps, is the “Cloze deletion” function, which allows you to block out parts of your card and create a “fill-in-the-blanks” type card format. If you want a resource for how to make effective flashcards, check out the book, FluentForever. The author leaves a whole section dedicated to understanding how to use your Anki deck to advance your skills quickly.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of features
  • Allows synching across multiple devices

Cons

  • Anki’s interface may be a bit intimidating for beginners
  • The aesthetic isn’t very appealing

See our Super-Detailed Anki Review

Fun, Convenient Practice in a Free App

Rating 4.0

$ 0.00

FUN, CONVENIENT PRACTICE IN A FREE APP

This is one of the most popular language-learning resources out there, and it’s no wonder why. Duolingo is completely free to use and offers courses in an impressive number of languages, including Russian. The activities don’t take more than a couple of minutes to complete, and they’re fun. This makes for practice that’s convenient and enjoyable. Hard to beat!

However, there are some limitations to studying with Duolingo. The audio isn’t the best you’ll find, and the lessons don’t go into great detail with explanations and examples. You also won’t have opportunities to practice creating your own sentences or many opportunities to practice speaking.

All things considered, Duolingo is a pretty great way to get some Russian exposure or casual practice with the language if you’re interested and at a low level. For much more than that, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • It’s easy and fun to use
  • It’s free
  • Practice is convenient to start or stop at a moment’s notice

Cons

  • There isn’t much in the way of in-depth instruction
  • The audio isn’t very good
  • You won’t get to create your own sentences

See our Super-Detailed Duolingo Review

So, What is the Best Course for YOU to Learn Russian?

This list may not cover all the available options for learning Russian, but they are the best courses out there. It is wise to have supplementary resources to use in conjunction with these courses if you seriously want to learn Russian.

Here are additional recommendations of the best Apps for Learning Russian, the best YouTube channels for learning Russian, and some of the best podcasts for learning Russian.

Take some time to look through these study tools for you, we know you’ll find four favorites!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *