How many ways are there to learn Russian? That question may be unanswerable, but what’s certain is that there are enough to appeal to learners of all types.
Visual learners may appreciate educational YouTube channels, those that appreciate a highly organized approach may prefer online courses, and on-the-go learners could opt for language-learning apps.
This post will explore an oft-overlooked learning strategy — podcasts. Podcasts offer many benefits as language-learning tools: they’re often free or inexpensive, they can provide extensive listening practice on just about every topic imaginable, and they’re extremely portable.
We’ve combed the internet in search of the best podcasts for learners of Russian and have organized them by level. No matter where you are on your Russian-language journey, there’s likely a podcast that’s perfect for you — find yours in the list below!
Table of Contents
Russian Podcasts for Beginners
This is a relatively short audio course with 17 podcast-style lessons for absolute beginners. If you’re just starting out with the language and would like some guided practice in audio form, this resource is worth checking out.
A fair amount of English is used, but each episode builds on the previous ones and comes with lesson notes that translate key phrases. Total beginners looking for a gentle, free introduction to Russian may find what they’re looking for here.
RussianPod101 is among the most comprehensive resources for beginners learning Russian. While a subscription isn’t free, it is less expensive than many other paid resources. The Russian Survival Phrases series is available for free on major podcast streaming platforms.
Subscribers to the RussianPod101 course are granted access to thousands of podcast-style lessons. The majority of these are at the beginner level, but
you’ll find some intermediate and advanced lessons as well. Typically, the hosts will listen to a dialogue and then take some time explaining important words, grammar, and cultural information.
In addition to the lessons, you’ll also find line-by-line transcripts, grammar notes, flashcards, and other useful tools.
The lessons don’t necessarily progress in a clear, logical order — instead, the platform lends itself to jumping between lessons. If you’re looking for some more structure with your study, you could use the resource alongside a textbook to guide your practice. Here’s our in-depth review.
Slow Russian Podcast.
The Slow Russian Podcast provides fantastic listening practice by producing slow, natural dialogues on a variety of topics related to Russian history and culture. Host Daria Molchanova leads the episodes and maintains a slow enough pace for beginner and intermediate students to follow along.
Each episode comes with a transcript in Russian and in English, so you’ll be able to interact with the material even if it’s slightly above your level of listening comprehension. The podcast is free to listen to, and a $20 purchase allows you to download the MP3 files as well as accompanying PDFs.
A Spoonful of Russian.
This podcast hasn’t been updated for a few years, but the free collection of about 30 episodes could prove seriously effective for learners looking for short audio lessons. You’ll start learning Russian greetings before proceeding to learn how to pronounce different vowel sounds. There are also bonus episodes covering Russian poetry, music, and other cultural content.
Host Natalia is a native speaker of Russian and has a confident, laid-back teaching style that could appeal to many.
Russian Made Easy
Russian Made Easy is a series of 30 audio lessons that introduce the basics of the Russian language. Host Mark uses modern techniques such as pattern recognition and contextual learning to get you up to speed quickly and easily.
You can follow along with the lessons with complete PDF transcripts, and you’ll also be prompted to repeat phrases aloud to get practice pronouncing the language. This is a great podcast series for new learners, and those who are still getting familiar with the Russian alphabet can make use of this mini Russian reading course.
One Minute Russian
One Minute Russian is a series produced by the Coffee Break Academy team. There are only 10 lessons, but they cover need-to-know topics such as counting to ten, basic greetings, and useful words and phrases.
These lessons aren’t designed to get you fluent in Russian, but they will teach you the basics without requiring a large time commitment. The course costs $10 USD.
The Speaking Russian podcast is a long-running series with episodes that are best suited for beginner or intermediate level students. You’ll learn about different dialects and pronunciations, along with foundational vocabulary like numbers, days of the week, and more.
This podcast is available on most major streaming platforms. There’s also a spin-off podcast in which host Elvira Ivanova reads Anna Karenina in Russian, and then summarizes it and explains any unfamiliar expressions in English..
The Word’s Worth
This podcast is brought to you by Michele Berdy, author of the book The Russian Word’s Worth. The podcast is largely in English, but Berdy touches on plenty of aspects of the Russian language as well as current events and culture.
For those interested in learning about the Russian language and how to speak it, this podcast has a high production value and could become a favorite.
Russian Podcasts for Intermediate Learners
Russian with Max
This podcast caters to learners at the lower-intermediate level and above. The creator, Max, aims to give learners a way to listen to interesting content that they can understand through comprehensible input. He does this through clear enunciation, speaking slowly, and giving lots of examples and synonyms.
There are also transcripts available to those interested in supporting Max with a subscription. The episodes cover a lot of interesting topics — minimalism, traveling in Russia without money, and the dark side of Russian literature, to name a few. In addition to the podcast, the website boasts other materials, such as stories in Russian, videos, and more. Read our mini-review.
The host of this site is Tatiana Klimova, a teacher of Russian and French. She started Russian Podcast in 2009, and it has since bloomed into much more than audio files. Joining the Russian Dacha club on her website grants access to hundreds of podcast episodes with transcripts, videos, a private Facebook discussion group, and regular online meetings.
The audio lessons are available for free listening, and paying members are able to access transcripts and additional features. New podcast episodes and videos are released every five days.
Paкeтa: Simple Russia
This podcast could be a good way for intermediate learners to test themselves with material that’s entirely in Russian. In the short episodes, the host narrates a monologue on specific topics like fashion, pets, cars, and climate. The vocabulary isn’t complex, and there are full transcripts of each episode you can use to check your listening skills.
News in Slow Russian
News in Slow Russian is a great option if you want to immerse yourself in the Russian language at a pace that’s not quite native speed. The 500+ episodes come in three different levels and are categorized by topic; you can focus on stories about people, animals, nature, science, technology, and more.
There are only three episodes available for free — one at each level — and a paid subscription grants access to the entire catalog, including transcripts and translations.
Very Much Russian.
This podcast stands apart because it sets out to teach Russian as it’s actually spoken – with slang, jokes, idiomatic expressions, and other things you may not learn in a traditional classroom setting. You’ll also learn about food and drink, politics, and phrases that you won’t find in standard textbooks.
Intended for learners at an intermediate level and above, you can enjoy free transcripts and translations for each episode on their website. You can also donate via PayPal to download the audio files and accompanying materials..
Russian Verbs from Russia
This all-Russian podcast has a clear focus — verbs. Each episode focuses on one or more verbs and provides information on how to use them appropriately. This is for intermediate learners that are ready for content 100% in Russian.
Episodes come with lists of key words, and transcripts are available to Patreon contributors. The Russian from Russia website also includes reading and grammar practice materials along with videos and discussion topics.
A Beginner Course of Spoken Russian
A Beginner Course of Spoken Russian is a podcast series made by LingQ, a language-learning platform with a variety of course material. Although there are only 14 episodes — and despite the course name — the series serves as a quality source of intermediate practice since it’s spoken entirely in Russian.
In each episode, you’ll hear a dialogue spoken by two different speakers as well as a mini-story that includes several listening comprehension questions. The hosts recommend you speak the answer aloud in order to practice your pronunciation.
Business Russian Podcast
The Business Russian Podcast is produced by UCLA and is intended for students who plan to work in a Russian-language business or industry. These podcasts are primarily in Russian and will be too advanced for learners at lower levels, but they do come with PDF transcripts to help you follow along.
The audio episodes cover cultural elements of business in Russia as well as company structures, corporate finance, and taxes. It probably won’t make much sense to use this podcast if you plan to visit Russia as a tourist, but if you’re planning to conduct business meetings or consult a Russian tax professional, this is an invaluable resource.
A Taste of Russian
With hundreds of Russian-language episodes, A Taste of Russian is an ideal podcast for intermediate learners. These episodes focus on displaying Russian as it’s actually spoken, meaning plenty of slang and casual discussion.
A paying subscription is required for access to all of the audio content, but an entire free episode is released each month, and there are more than 50 free episodes to choose from.
The Green Lamp is a literary podcast created for children. Led by literature teacher Vladimir Natanovich Shatsev and his team of sound engineers and voice actors, the podcast features high-quality narrations of literature in Russian.
After a short introduction from Vladimir, each episode follows with actor-led narration and finishes with some follow-up questions. Though the podcast was created with children in mind, it could prove a suitable practice method for upper-intermediate learners.
Russian Podcasts for Advanced Learners.
SBS is an Australian public service broadcaster that operates a number of multilingual radio programs. The Russian iteration of this service includes frequently posted audio news stories with a focus on events related to Australia and Russia.
New episodes are uploaded daily, and there’s a massive catalog of previously released episodes to choose from.
In Russian Terms
In Russian Terms is a podcast meant for advanced learners that deals primarily with socio-political and cultural issues related to current events. You’ll learn about Americans in Russia, Russians in America, and topics related to the other post-Soviet states.
Host Elena Bilbo explores Russian attitudes toward work, money, popular movie characters, and other interesting subjects. You’ll get to hear authentic Russian as intended for upper-intermediate and advanced learners. There are 54 episodes, the last of which was uploaded at the end of 2017.
Radio Arzamas is a Russian-language podcast that employs experts to explore history and culture, and it’s available directly on the website or on major streaming platforms.
Each episode features a Russian expert reading a 15-25 minute lecture on themes like theater during the Renaissance and sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome. This wide-ranging podcast will prepare you to debate in Russian on matters of culture and philosophy.
This is a popular science podcast that explores a variety of topics.Are you interested in neurotransmitters or nuclear energy? How about color blindness or dreams? For the ever-curious learner of Russian, this podcast delivers.
Some of the episodes include videos that you can watch on the site, and episodes are also available for download from iTunes.
History buffs, this one’s for you. Episodes of the TACC podcast explore a wide range of topics, many of which are related to world history. Advanced learners will get opportunities to practice the pronunciation of names of places in Russian, learn about geopolitics from a Russian perspective, and get exposure to specialized vocabulary related to the arts, science, and culture, among other topics.
100 Most Popular Russian Podcasts
This list of Russian-language podcasts is curated by podcast site podtail. It uses its own data in combination with that from Apple to maintain an up-to-date list of the most popular Russian podcasts. If you’re at an advanced level and looking for more native-level material, this list has you covered.
This list of podcasts isn’t exhaustive — there are plenty more out there, but to include every one of them wouldn’t be much help. Instead, we’ve focused on those we believe are of high quality and could provide some effective study time. Happy listening.