How to Learn Russian: 6 Easy Ways to Learn Russian Effectively

Kelsey Wetherbee Published on November 14, 2022

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Are you learning Russian and need to find high-quality resources?

In this article, I’ll show you the most effective ways to learn Russian and the best resources you can use. There’s everything from the best language-learning apps and courses to the best Russian books, YouTube channels, and podcasts. No matter your level or learning style, you’re sure to find something suitable for you.

The team at Langoly has over 5 decades of combined language learning experience, and we’ve tested and reviewed over 600 language products. We make sure to include high-quality resources that can make studying a new language easier, and we’ve helped millions of readers through the language learning process. This article will help you find the right resources to improve your Russian skills.

Best Russian App

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Best Russian Course

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Try Russian Uncovered

Best Russian Tutors

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There are over 258 million Russian speakers, making it one of the most spoken languages in the world. It’s the official language of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Apart from the sheer number of people that speak it, there are many other reasons to learn Russian. Some of the most famous literary works, such as War and Peace and Crime and Punishment, were originally written in Russian. It’s also one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations and is becoming an incredibly important language on the world stage. This guide can help you find some of the best ways to learn Russian so you’ll be able to converse with a larger number of people.

How to Learn Russian: Achieve Fluency with These 6 Proven Methods

The best way to learn Russian fast and effectively is to use a variety of study methods. One resource can’t cover every topic necessary to learn a language so using more will help to fill in any gaps. For example, you could use a book to study grammar and sentence structure, but taking a class with an online tutor will take your conversation skills to the next level.

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The methods and resources included in this list were selected because of their effectiveness in learning Russian. At Langoly, we use a strict testing methodology to make sure all the products we recommend are high quality and worth your time. Any of the products you see below will help you master the Russian language effectively.

Use the Best Russian Apps

Language apps have become more and more popular in the past few years. It’s a great way to start learning a language from the comfort of your home. Most apps are interactive and give you incentives to continue studying every day. This helps to stick with your learning routine. The apps below, Rocket Russian, Mondly, and Babbel are high-quality apps that will increase your Russian vocabulary and ability to speak in no time.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low-Medium
Convenience: High

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Rocket Russian

Rocket Russian is the most comprehensive app on this list because it covers all the essential language-learning skills, such as vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and listening. In every lesson, you’ll hear a conversation between two native Russian speakers. Then, it’s broken down to teach important language and grammar topics. I thought it was effective because I was speaking after the first lesson! You can try Rocket Russian free for 7 days, or read more about it in this Rocket Russian review.

Mondly

Mondly is the best app for Russian beginners. It teaches the basics of Russian grammar and vocabulary through a series of short and interactive lessons. It gives you the option to follow a set learning path or study the topics that interest you and also has unique features that track your learning progress. I liked the flexibility of being able to study the topics that interested me. You can try Mondly for free for 7 days, or read more about it in our Mondly review.

Babbel

Here at Langoly, Babbel is one of our favorite apps. You learn Russian through a series of interactive lessons that teach all language skills, such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The lessons are short so you can complete a few every day. And, each Babbel course is made by professional linguists, so the Russian course is unique to the language and isn’t just a copy-and-paste version of another language course. You can try a free lesson on Babbel, or read more about it in this Babbel review.

Take an Online Russian Course

If you prefer a more structured way to learn, an online course might be a better choice. They are laid out in a clear way that shows you exactly what to study next. And since it’s part of the same course, each lesson builds on what you already know, without wasting your time. The courses below, Russian Uncovered, Grammar Hero, and Sistema Kalinka are some of the best options out there. They’ll teach you the basics and get you to speak Russian fast.

Commitment: High
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

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StoryLearning: Russian Uncovered

If you like stories, Russian Uncovered is the right course for you! Each unit of the course covers one chapter of a story. You listen to the chapter, which is completely in Russian, and then take video lessons that teach the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation you heard. It was comprehensive enough that, by the end of the unit, I understood exactly what I heard at the beginning. You can try Russian Uncovered for free for 7 days.

Grammar Hero

Grammar Hero is meant for intermediate (B1) learners, and teaches “grammar in action.” The idea is that you’ll learn grammar in context and be able to use it when speaking or listening to Russian. Because the Grammar Hero course was made specifically for learning Russian, it tackles the most difficult areas that learners often struggle with, such as verbal prefixes and prepositions. There isn’t a free trial, but there is a money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the course.

Sistema Kalinka

Sistema Kalinka offers a complete course with videos, audio, worksheets, and even a personal tutor. It’s a self-guided course, so if you already know some Russian, you can begin at a more advanced level. There are over 150 videos with accompanying practice exercises and worksheets. If you have a question, you can email your personal Russian tutor, who can also guide you through the course. This feature alone adds great value to the course because you get the benefit of a tutor without having to pay for additional private lessons. You can try Sistema Kalinka for 7 days with a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.

Find an Online Russian Tutor

It’s undeniable that one of the most effective ways to learn a language is with a teacher. In the past, it was necessary to go to a school or other learning center and sit in a class with many other students. Thanks to online learning platforms, this process is way easier. You can now connect with a tutor that lives in Russia, or anywhere in the world, to take private lessons from your home. italki, Preply, and Russificate are 3 trustworthy platforms that can help you find a qualified Russian tutor.

Commitment: Medium
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

italki

italki is a massive online learning platform for all languages and currently has 900 Russian teachers. You can search for a teacher based on what country they live in, availability, and price. italki is a secure platform, so your money is safe. I appreciated that most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson so I could try them to see if I liked their teaching style. You can read more about the platform in this italki review.

Preply

Preply is a similar platform that has over 500 Russian teachers. You can easily see each teacher’s profile, including ratings, past student reviews, and availability. All lessons take place within the Preply online classroom on their site, so you don’t have to reveal any personal information. Preply also offers a satisfaction guarantee. You can take a discounted trial lesson, but if you aren’t happy with your teacher, you can try a lesson with a different teacher for free. Read more about it in this Preply review.

Russificate

Russificate is a platform exclusively for Russian learners to find a qualified teacher. It’s a good choice for any level because the curriculum is tailored to your needs. Beginners will learn the basics of Russian grammar and vocabulary, but intermediate and advanced speakers can take business Russian, conversation, Russian for travel, and more. All the teachers are highly-qualified with teaching experience which made me feel like I was in good hands. All classes are done on Skype, and you can try your first lesson for free.

Study with High-Quality Russian Books

Using books to learn a language has always been a popular choice. They’re easy to use, require no technology, and you can bring a book with you anywhere. If you ever took a language class in school, you almost certainly used a book. But now there are many choices out there designed for self-study. The three books on this list, Complete Russian, Beginner’s Russian, and Russian for Dummies are excellent choices if you have a tutor or are studying on your own. You can see even more options in this Russian book guide.

Commitment: Low
Price: Medium
Convenience: Medium

Complete Russian

Complete Russian guides you through the language from the beginner level (A1) to upper intermediate (B1/B2). It focuses on the 4 skills of language learning: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It’s a good choice for learners who have had some exposure to the language but are still at a beginner or low intermediate level. I liked the comprehensiveness of the book. In addition to the thorough explanations and vocabulary, there were also dialogues, cultural notes, and audio tracks to practice listening comprehension. You can learn more about the book here.

Beginner’s Russian With Interactive Online Workbook

Beginner’s Russian is designed to be a comprehensive self-study guide, even if you have no previous knowledge of the language. Each lesson teaches grammar and other important topics by using everyday situations, such as introductions, jobs, and dining out. My favorite part of the book is the inclusion of an interactive online workbook. This gives you access to audio from native Russian speakers as well as additional practice activities. You can learn more about the book here.

Russian for Dummies

Russian for Dummies is an introduction to the Russian language for beginners. It starts with the basics of the language and focuses on grammar, frequently used words, and how to handle common situations. The book includes an audio CD that lets you hear conversations in Russian and a mini-dictionary of frequently used words. While there is a small section that covers the Cyrillic alphabet, I recommend you thoroughly understand the alphabet before proceeding to the grammar and vocabulary topics. See what you think about the book here.

Watch Russian YouTube Videos

Watching YouTube videos might seem like an unconventional way to learn Russian, but it’s an effective method to practice listening and understanding. The YouTube channels below feature native Russian speakers and use colloquial Russian, so you can hear how people really talk, not just textbook Russian. The three YouTube channels below have hundreds of videos available to watch whenever you have time to study. You can find typical lessons on different language topics or entertaining videos about Russian culture.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

Easy Russian

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Easy Russian is part of the larger Easy Languages project. The video hosts interview people on the streets of Russia about common topics. It’s an excellent way to hear how people in Russia really speak and learn some modern speech. The videos are subtitled in Engligh and Russian so a learner of any level is able to watch them. Since I’m a beginner, I enjoyed the Super Easy videos that teach the basics of the Russian language in easy-to-understand speech. The Easy Russian channel posts 2 new videos every month.

Russian With Anastasia

Anastasia lives in St. Petersberg, Russia, and has different series of videos that cover the Russian language and culture. Some teach language basics like grammar, and others are vlogs that show life around Russia and other places she has traveled. I recommend her channel for intermediate learners because she speaks entirely in Russian, but there are English subtitles, as well. She has hundreds of videos for you to check out.

Be Fluent in Russian

In the Be Fluent in Russian videos, Fedor walks you through the basics of the Russian language. He has videos about common phrases, the alphabet, and grammar topics. There are also vlogs about his life, Russian traditions, and interviews with other Russian speakers. This channel is useful for beginners, even those with no prior knowledge since he explains the concepts in English. The Be Fluent in Russian YouTube channel has tons of videos for you to watch, so you’ll never get bored!

Listen to Russian Podcasts

Podcasts are another non-traditional, but effective, way to learn a language. They are great for practicing listening and understanding. And since they are audio-based, you can listen to a podcast wherever you can bring your phone or other devices. It’s a convenient way for busy people to practice. RussianPod101, Slow Russian, and Russian With Max are 3 options that have hundreds of episodes and will help you understand how Russian is spoken. For even more choices, check out our Russian YouTube guide.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

RussianPod101

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RussianPod101 isn’t just for podcasts, but that’s the best feature of this app and platform. There are hundreds of podcast-style lessons that teach everything from basic vocabulary to Russian literature. It’s good for all learners because there are 5 different levels that go from absolute beginner to advanced. I like the extensive additional practice material such as quizzes and vocabulary lists. You can try RussianPod101 for free, or read more about it in this review.

Slow Russian

As the name suggests, the episodes of the Slow Russian podcast are spoken slowly enough for upper-beginners and intermediate learners to understand without a problem. It’s an interesting way to practice listening and understanding Russian because the episodes are about unique culture and history-related topics such as the Russian ballet and Russian writers. You can listen to the episodes for free, or download the podcasts with accompanying PDF for a small fee.

Russian With Max

The Russian With Max podcast has over 200 lessons about interesting Russian cultural topics. It’s more advanced than the Slow Russian podcast because he talks in a conversational tone, and is best for intermediate and advanced learners. Max talks about life in Russia and his experiences as well as Russian history, literature, and culture. You can listen to the podcast for free on a variety of platforms, or purchase a subscription that includes transcripts and practice questions for each episode.

How to Learn Russian: Final Thoughts

Learning Russian can be a rewarding and fun endeavor. And it can be made easier if you have the right tools for the job. Whether you prefer to take a course, study with an app, or listen to podcasts, it’s important to stick with it and consistently practice. It won’t happen overnight, but with dedication and hard work, you’ll be speaking Russian before you know it!

Want to learn more? Check out our Russian resource page.

How to Learn Russian: FAQ

How long does it take to learn Russian?

The US Department of State says that it will take 1,100 class hours (or 44 weeks) to learn Russian to a proficient level. But these numbers vary depending on your natural ability to acquire language, or if you already speak a language that is similar to Russian.

To see how long it will take you to learn Russian check out this Fluency Calculator.

How can I learn Russian quickly?

The best way to learn Russian quickly is with constant practice and dedicating the time necessary to learning. Studying a little every day is one of the most effective ways to see continual improvement and remember what you have learned. And to learn very quickly, the more hours you can study, the faster you will learn.

How do I learn Russian at home on my own?

Thanks to the internet, there are so many ways you can learn Russian from home or on your own. One of the most effective ways for beginners is to use a language app. This will teach you large amounts of vocabulary and basic grammar. Once you have an intermediate level, it’s a good idea to start taking online classes with a Russian tutor, or listening to Russian podcasts or YouTube videos so you can hear how people actually speak the language.

How hard is it to learn Russian?

According to the US Department of State, Russian is considered a difficult language to learn for English speakers. This is because there are significant linguistic differences between the two languages. For example, Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but English uses the Latin alphabet, and nouns in Russian have different genders, but this concept doesn’t really exist in English.

How do I learn Russian fluently?

You can obtain a basic level of Russian in many different ways, such as using a language app or studying a textbook. But if you really want to become fluent in Russian, especially in speaking, you will need to practice with a native speaker. A teacher can help you correct your pronunciation or fill in any gaps you may have. If taking classes doesn’t fit your budget, you can use an app like Tandem or HelloTalk to find a Russian language exchange partner.

How do I learn Russian for free?

Learning Russian for free is definitely possible, but might take a little more effort than subscribing to an app or a class. This is because almost all language resources, such as RussianPod101 or Duolingo, offer some of their content for free but not all of it. You can also watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts in Russian to improve listening and understanding.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is the Content Manager and Editor of Langoly. She is a TEFL-certified English teacher with more than eight years of classroom experience in three different countries. She’s an avid language learner with an advanced level of Spanish and is currently studying French. Whenever possible, she loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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