Resources for Learning Russian

Friend and fellow language blogger Donovan of The Mezzofanti Guild is in yet another new country learning a new language: Russian. Donovan is a great blogger who writes really great posts about not-so-common languages (he seems to be the go-to expert for anything Arabic).

Anyway, since Donovan is in Russia and is in need of resources for learning Russian, I thought I’d write this post. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you know of a source that I don’t mention.

Audio and Video

For me, listening was the hardest thing to get the hang of and if you want to learn conversational Russian, it’s by definition pretty essential.

  • Голос России [Voice of Russia]. Kremlin-backed radio station that has very high-quality streaming service.
  • Эхо Москвы [Echo of Moscow]. Oppositionist radio station that has excellent podcasts and transcripts for all their programs.
  • Коммерсантъ [Kommersant, it roughly means “merchant” or “businessman”]. Basically the Wall Street Journal of Russia. It has a decent streaming service that focuses on economics and business.
  • Первый канал [Channel One]. This site has a ton of video programs, some with transcripts (I think?).


The two books I used when learning Russian were textbooks (Live from Russia and V Puti) and I’m not sure how helpful they’d be on their own, without a language class. In my opinion, every Russian learner should own a copy of Using Russian. It’s expensive but worth it. A good grammar reference is essential, too—only I don’t know any! Maybe I’ll have to write one myself.

Other stuff

The website Bliu Bliu has some really great material. It doesn’t always work because it’s still in beta, but has a lot of potential. Master Russian also is a good site for beginners (it unfortunately lacks a lot of advanced material I’d like to see).

Oh, and Multitran is the only dictionary you’ll ever need. Start using it right now. It is amazing.

What say you, readers? Any essential resources I’m missing?


6 thoughts on “Resources for Learning Russian

  1. The Поехали series of textbooks is pretty popular among adult learners at the moment. We used this in our lessons at the local language centre. Unfortunately, it they don’t really have anything for advanced learners–after we finished the books in the series we didn’t really have a go-to textbook anymore.


    1. I’ve never heard of Поехали. I’ll have to take a look at it and see if it meets my approval. 😉 В пути is actually a decent intermediate/advanced textbook if you guys haven’t found anything else for the advanced learners yet.


      1. The authorities didn’t like this textbook because it’s so politically incorrect–that’s why it’s fun!
        If you want a parody of Soviet political correctness–try to find this book by Alexander Lipson. It’s out of print but probably floating around online somewhere. Worth a look because it’s hilarious.


  2. I don’t think we ever used a textbook for Russian at uni 😀 My suggestion is to find interesting texts and go on translating them. The grammar reference I have been using is Modern Russian: An Advanced Grammar Course by Derek Offord. It’s Ok.


    1. Interesting texts helped me a lot. I still do that to learn Russian: go find something interesting, read it, translate it if I’m not too lazy. 🙂


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