18 Best Apps to Learn Russian & Bonus Tips [2021]

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Are you looking for the best apps to learn Russian? You’ve landed on the right page.

Learning Russian is like nibbling on caviar-sprinkled dry toast. It might be a unique experience that will make you fall in love with the passion and delicacy of the language. Otherwise, as with caviar, it can feel like a source of layered confusion and (mental) indigestion.

However, some of the best apps to learn Russian can make your learning journey feel more like a breeze and less like a typhoon.

Up ahead, we will give you an overview of the best apps for learning how to speak Russian through vocabulary and grammar acquisition. This includes the famous Babbel app and Pimsleur audio course. Next, for all you noobies out there, we will see how apps like Write It! can help you learn to read and write the Russian alphabet.

We will also talk about italki and HelloTalk for those who want to communicate actively in Russian. After taking a look at the coolest free apps to learn Russian, such as SemesterRus, we will give a shout-out to more niche applications for advanced learners.

Editor’s note: To reach fluency faster, combine these apps with other resources, such as books, podcasts, online courses, and YouTube channels. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 40+ Russian learning resources, including FREE ones. Read it, save it, and share it!

Best apps to learn how to speak Russian

Vocabulary and grammar are the building blocks to achieve fluency in any language. (Even if the fist blocks entail heavily accented war-cries of babushka and tovarishch when asked you if you can speak Russian).

With this in mind, here are some of the most effective apps to learn how to speak Russian by expanding your vocabulary and strengthening your grammar with fun and interactive activities.

1. Babbel

Showing features of Babbel, short lessons, real-life dialogues and opportunitiy to build a language learning habbit.
Image Credit: Babbel Google Play

If you would like to jump right into building your Russian vocabulary through writing and speaking, Babbel has proved to be one of the best language learning apps out there.

Its spaced-repetition method combines visual and learning skills, writing, and reading practice in Russian. More specifically, matching images to phrases as well as typing, filling in, and pronouncing new words through your microphone are common Babbel exercises.

As with the majority of apps listed below, Babbel allows you to determine when and how much time you are willing to devote to learning Russian. You can fix your sessions with custom-set notifications, with the app also encouraging you to set weekly activity goals.

This app is best for:

  • Visual learners who want to focus on accumulating vocabulary and working on sentence structuring
  • Students and professionals who are planning to visit Russia and are interested in a light, non-time-consuming learning program.
  • Students who haven’t decided yet on long-term learning objectives.

Price: Babbel offers subscriptions based on a monthly, three-month, six-month, or yearly basis, at $13.95/mo, $9.95/mo, $8.45/mo, and $6.95/mo respectively. 

2. Pimsleur

Vocabulary themes, speak easy section, practise exercises, audio exercise on Plimseur app
Image Credit: Plimseur Google Play

Ever heard of the Pimsleur method? By adopting this learning approach, the app focuses on developing your Russian speaking and listening skills without marshaling your visual learning synapses.

There are four techniques that Pimsleur employs to enhance language learning. One is “graduated interval recall”, which is similar to Babel’s spaced repetition method. Listening exercises rely on the “principle of anticipation”, with pauses in audio clips prompting the learner to figure out the answer before showing the correct response.

With this method, you are exposed to “core vocabulary” through “organic learning”. This means that the pool of Russian vocabulary taught is segmented and limited to the environment of relevant conversations. This helps you associate words with their phonetic and contextual format.

The Russian learning app gives you multiple opportunities to revise what you’ve learned and strengthen your weaker points. Practice exercises include word matches, flashcards, pronunciation checks, and reading tasks. 

Specifically for Russian, in the first sessions, you will be investing a bit more time in picking up and using comfortably the Cyrillic alphabet.

This app is best for:

  • Auditory learners who want to decipher the nuances of Russian digraphs and distinguish soft from harsher sounds. 
  • Learners who feel overwhelmed by bulky texts and endless lists of isolated vocabulary.

Price: The Pimsleur Premium subscription costs $19.95/mo. They also have a 7-day free trial where you get access to the full course.

3. LingQ

LingQs. matching vocab exercise and progress table features of LingQ app
Image Credit: LingQ Google Play

The methodology of Steve Kaufmann, the polyglot founder of this language learning app, stems from the idea that mastering a foreign language should not differ from the natural process of learning your native tongue. Thus, LingQ motivates you to learn Russian in an enjoyable manner by watching movies, reading books, or listening to your favorite Russian songs.

To begin with, LingQ’s Library section will act as your personal Russian treasure-hunt backdrop, where, based on your language level, you can browse material from various shelves. For instance, you can peruse your lesson or news feed, check out books, podcasts, professional lesson material at the lesson store, or go over your business, entertainment, and sports shelves.

By studying different elements you upload or select from the library, you are able to identify through the LingQ reader unfamiliar Russian words, highlighting them in yellow (LingQs) to indicate that you are in the course of reviewing them by checking their translation. In the opposite case, you can mark words as “known” if you can understand their meaning in various contexts. 

You can keep track of your progress by consulting your LingQ stats table. You can also write down notes from audio recordings, take on different challenges, and utilize the language exchange section.  

This app is best for:

  • Intermediate learners who have established a basic understanding of pronunciation and grammar.
  • Students who like learning by being culturally immersed in the language.
  • The planners, the self-driven, and the language master puppeteers. So, this might not be the app for you if you prefer highly guided courses.

Price: The Premium membership costs $12.99/mo on a monthly plan, $11.99/mo on a six-month plan, $8.99/mo on a yearly plan and $7.99/mo on a two-year plan. The Premium Plus membership, includes everything from premium alongside 3000 LingQ Points for live tutoring, writing correction, and premium lessons, costs $39.99/mo on a monthly plan, $38.99/mo on a six-month plan, $34.99/mo on a yearly plan, and $33.99/mo on a two-year plan.

4. Lingvist

Vocabulary exercise, custom content and progress feature on Lingvist to learn russian
Image Credit: Lingvist Google Play

Lingvist stands out as one of the best apps to learn Russian through diverse cloze tests. Its spaced-repetition method aims at expanding your vocabulary as well as giving you a taste of fundamental Russian grammar.

Its functionality is founded on machine learning technology utilizing your profile to optimize the quality of your learning journey..

Lingvist hones in on your native language intuition to associate new words with contextual examples. The more frequently you are able to complete sentences and fill in the blanks with the appropriate word or phrase, the less often that element will appear.

If you opt for the paid Unlimited version, the Course Wizard also allows you to create custom lessons. For example, you can shape their structure with your own lists, texts, and topics. With the “Challenges” feature you can try various quizzes on speaking, listening, grammar, and reading to test your knowledge through different formats.

Perhaps Lingvist’s progress charts epitomize the nature of this app. Data is collected on study time, the size of your vocabulary bank and the number of times you need to repeat a word before its status is upgraded.

This app is best for:

  • Upper beginners or more advanced learners, since reading Cyrillic is a prerequisite to carry on with the cloze activities.
  • Those who want to be in charge of their own learning pace and seek a good alternative to classroom teaching.
  • Achieving basic fluency in Russian. If you want to progress further, Lingvist can be ideally combined with a grammar primer and supplementary textbooks, since its exercises focus mainly on vocabulary acquisition.

Price: $19.99 per month, $39.99 per quarter, $79.9 per year, $199.99 for a lifetime plan. The unlimited plan provides access to key pillars of the app, like your performance charts, challenges, and the Course Wizard tool.  

5. LingoDeer

Learn Russian alphabet, grammar and speaking exercise, sentence building with Lingo Deer
Image Credit: LingoDeer Google Play

A language learning app that follows the gamification interface structure of Duolingo and Babbel, but does not neglect the importance of building a robust foundation in Russian grammar. If you want to follow a clearly-structured learning program and personalize the rate of your progress, LingoDeer is one of the most suitable apps for you to learn Russian.

Every new term you learn is contextualized by illustrations and their pronunciation. Ordering sentences, pronunciation practice, spelling tasks, matching pictures to their corresponding words are activities interweaved through LingoDeer’s interactive and intuitive interface.

Another convenient feature of the app are the detailed explanations you find in exercises to understand key points of the theory (e.g. First and Second Conjugation of Verbs and Russian Adverbs). You also enjoy free access to five-minute vocabulary drills and review sessions to test your knowledge.

This app is best for:

  • Learning how to read Cyrillic and testing the waters with the demands of the language.
  • Grammar and vocabulary revision for intermediate and advanced students.
  • Preparing for a visit to Russia by trying the app’s travel phrasebook version. Various topics are covered such as food, health, shopping and expressions “when you’re angry”.

Price: Most features available for free. Premium membership offered at $11.99 per month, $29.99$ per quarter, $55.99 per year, and at $99.99 for a lifetime plan. Features unlocked with premium membership include access to all 200+ lessons, offline as well as use the app on multiple devices. 

Best apps to learn Cyrillic for beginners

Unlike in English, everyone is taught to write in cursive in Russian, alongside reading standard Russian characters. Therefore, the process of creating, much less finding, a genuinely instructive online app can be a tricky situation.

But fret not! Below you can find some of the most methodical apps for learning to write and read Cyrillic.

Tip: While these apps teach you how to write Cyrillic on an electronic screen, it is useful to have a notebook by your side to apply the same instructions on paper. 

6. Learn Russian Alphabet Handwriting

If you are beginning to teach yourself Russian, you might feel unsure as to how you should get around to writing those beautiful, but mostly alien characters, especially if you come from a non-Slavic language background.

This app gets straight to the point, standing as one of the most practical apps to write Cyrillic. Without overloaded pictures and pesky in-app purchases, you will become quickly proficient in using the Russian alphabet through easy-to-follow animations and practice exercises.

More specifically, you learn how to construct each letter with its uppercase and lowercase character with step-by-step strokes. Each letter is accompanied by its phonetic pronunciation.

This app is best for:

  • Absolute self-taught beginners who are looking for a no-frills app to focus only on writing and pronouncing correctly the Russian alphabet.

Heads up: You are taught how to write lowercase characters in cursive, but uppercase characters are shown in a non-cursive, printed format.

Price: Free

7. Write It! Russian

Admittedly, one of the best apps to learn how to write the Russian alphabet quickly. Similar to “Learn Russian Alphabet Handwriting”, Write it! teaches you gradually how to compose each Russian character in cursive using writing recognition technology.

Organized in 13 lessons, you can spend a few minutes every day learning how to to write three to four characters in each lesson. Every lesson is divided into a practice and test session. Using guides and animations, you can repeat writing a letter multiple times in your practice sessions before checking your knowledge.

Apart from checking your writing skills, each test session also incorporates exercises with flashcards to help you relate the transcribed character with its phonetic form. A separate section also allows you to keep track of your progress.

This app is best for:

  • Absolute beginners who are looking to become proficient in writing Russian in cursive. Especially beneficient for tactile learners.
  • Learners who are looking to complement their Russian vocabulary or grammar app so as to understand the phonetic variations of combined letters.

Price: All lessons to learn Russian characters are free. A one-time purchase of $4.99 includes access to an ad-free version of the app and custom review sessions. 

8. Learn To Write Russian Alphabet

Looking to start learning Russian from scratch? This is one of the best apps to read Cyrillic by establishing a good basis in vocabulary and writing.

The app’s smooth animations and arrow-directions teach you how to form each letter in cursive within a couple of strokes. Flashcards, asking you to match a character’s pronunciation with its transcription, spelling quizzes, and mini-games are activities integrated into their language learning model.

You can unlock lessons for all difficulty levels and access several bonus perks with the premium version. This includes an extensive dictionary with numerous themes, ranging from numbers, family, art, travel, technology, and much more. 

This app is best for:

  • Novices who prefer gamified programs that allow you to keep track of your progress.
  • Students and professionals who want to begin building their Russian lexicon.
  • Visual and auditory learners. You learn to read and write Cyrillic through exposure to different words associated with images as well as interactive exercises.

PriceBeginner units are freely accessible. The premium version is offered at 10.99. A premium package providing access to every language of the app, is offered at 54.99. 

Best tutoring and language exchange apps to learn Russian

9. italki

Pay as you go tutoring language lessons for Russian, anytime, anywhere, learn at your own pace, language exchange wth italkie app
Image Credit: Italki Google Play

Which one fits better to the sentence you are thinking of, “обжить” or  “дожить”? Should you be worried with Russian idioms like “Заруби ceбe на носу” (literal translation: hack your nose)? While searching for apps to learn Russian, you should consider the best way to untangle such hurdles.

Enters italki, an app where over five hundred professional teachers and community tutors can meet with users that are looking for Russian lessons.

The app gives you access to an immense span of available teachers for Russian, with the possibility of customizing your search according to your learning pace and goals.

Prices are irresistibly competitive, with a minimum price of $4 per lesson. To give you an idea, a 60-minute lesson with a professional Russian teacher averages $10-12. You can contact tutors from any part of the world, at any time, through Skype or other platforms. The app supports a flexible pay-per lesson model.

Read our review of italki to learn more.

This app is best for:

  • Students with any level of Russian language proficiency.
  • Leaners who hesitate to embark on long-term courses and pay up-front for multiple lessons.
  • People who are adept at managing their time efficiently. For example, you often need to schedule your lesson hours in advance and keep up diligently with coursework if you are following regular lessons.

Price: Access to the italki Community is free. Lessons start from $4 per hour. Find a tutor on italki now.

10. HelloTalk

Chat with Russian native speakers, share moments with users, find language partners, live chat with teachers on HelloTalk app
Image Credit: HelloTalk Google Play

You can view HelloTalk as an instant messaging and language exchange app packed into one. With Russian as a target language, you will be able to find plenty of exchange partners from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Users can communicate via text and voice messages or video calls, while also availing of translation, transliteration, and voice recognition tools.

The “Language exchange mode” feature will save you from the awkwardness of switching from one tongue to another as users are notified to alternate between languages after certain time intervals. The “Correct sentences” feature also allows exchange partners to correct and archive easily each others’ messages.

Keep in mind that the demand for English speakers tends to outweigh the demand for Russian speakers. Therefore, try to balance the time spent practicing your own language and Russian.

This app is best for:

  • Any language learner, particularly those who have already studied and can easily use the Russian alphabet for instant messaging.
  • Fluency aspirants who want to jump into learning colloquialisms properly as well as improve their intonation, accent, and writing skills.
  • Social butterflies and learners who seek an opportunity to make new friends, engage in cultural exchange, and find regular conversation partners.

Price: 90% of the app’s functions are free. The HelloTalk VIP membership costs €9.99/mo on a monthly plan, €4.17/mo on a yearly plan, and €109.99/mo as a lifetime purchase. The VIP version allows more translations and initiations of new chats per day. It is ad-free, increases profile visibility, searches by gender, and unlocks a couple of other comunity functions.

11. Tandem

language dating app, instant messaging, practising real conversations with native speakers, social media app and language exchange with Tandem app
Image Credit: Tandem Google Play

Named one of Google Play’s “Best Apps of 2017” and with millions of users, Tandem carries one of the biggest names for language exchange apps in terms of the size of its community.

As far as how language exchange apps function, Tandem does not diverge significantly from HelloTalk’s configuration. However, it does follow a more social-media friendly narrative. For example, users are able to customize their profiles, follow people, and filter their visibility.

Here’s how your Tandem journey typically evolves. Before entering the Tandem community, users are asked to fill in their profile. This involves adding a selfie and answering a couple of questions to determine the best matches with other users’ profiles.

Before your account is activated, in some countries you will be notified that you are placed on a waiting list. This might last up to seven days if you don’t want to pay for a premium membership.

Three sections frame the app: the Community, Tutors, and Chat sections. While scrolling through the community section, you can view the mother tongue and the languages other users are learning. In the chat section, you can communicate through texts, voice messages, video, and voice calls.

If you want to broaden your reach, setting different goals that are made public can attract more language buddies compatible with your objectives. Like HelloTalk, the app has discrete language manipulation tools to correct or translate messages.

This app is best for:

  • Learners who want to implement their vocabulary and grammar knowledge.
  • Individuals who prefer the social-media make-up of the app.
  • Learners who want to take full advantage of the language exchange experience through extra preparation. For example, fixing a certain hour to be active on the app, with prepared talking points and questions, can render your conversations more productive and profound.

Price: All basic features are freely accessible. The Tandem pro membership is offered at $6.99/mo on a monthly basis, $3.99/mo on a three-month basis, and $2.92/mo on a yearly basis. The membership unlocks an ad-free version of the app, with unlimited translations, the option to appear at the top of the community feed, and a few other perks.

Best free apps to learn Russian

12. Duolingo

Gamified, fun, bite-size lessons, practise vocabulary listening and speaking and follow your progress with Duolingo app
Image Credit: Duolingo Google Play

Of course, when talking about apps to learn Russian, someone should address the elephant/terrifying bird-in-the-room. As with the other 35 courses offered, Duolingo’s smooth game-like interface maps out levels that put emphasis on Russian vocabulary, grammar, and sentence building exercises.

Always remember: a small step for Duolingo, a great leap for your streak. Even if you are super busy, you have the possibility to squeeze five-minute sessions to keep up your progress.

The app’s teaching model is similar to Babbel’s, with Duolingo incorporating a bit more grammar tasks. Apart from tasks where you order words in sentences, practice with flashcards new vocabulary, write phrases through listening, and vice versa, you can also work on your “weak words”, develop “bonus skills”, and earn lingots (the virtual currency of Duolingo).

This app is best for:

  • Substituting lengthy homework assignments and traditional teaching methods with fun, interactive learning.
  • Impatient folks who want to move on directly to structuring simple sentences.
  • Students who have already learned the Russian alphabet will transition into the program a lot more easily.

Tip: As with Babbel, committed learners might want to combine Duolingo with apps focused only on Russian grammar for in-depth practice.

Price: The Basic version of Duolingo is free. Duolingo Plus, which includes an ad-free version, allows unlimited mistakes and offline access, charges $6.99/mo after a 14-day trial.

13. SemesterRus

I cannot express how happy I am that I bumped into this hidden gem. SemesterRus, developed by the GRINT Center, promotes a comprehensive and free education program for learning Russian. Its teaching model focuses on techniques to adequately prepare students for TORFL (Test Of Russian as a Foreign Language) at the Elementary, Basic and First certification levels.

If you are searching for a complete app that can boost significantly your grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, and writing skills, this is your winner.

The app is comprised of three sections: Lessons, Exams, and a Dictionary section. If you are uncertain about your level, you can always orientate yourself by trying the feature “Check your level”.

There are 20 lessons for each level, each orbiting around themed vocabulary presented in a listed format but also as neat text messages between two people conversing. Different sections exist for you to memorize, listen, and practice new vocabulary, with or without the help of an English translation.

Good Russian grammar apps are a rarity, but SemesterRus definitely hits the nail on the head. Each lesson includes two to four grammar sections, with subjects ranging from the six Russian cases, adjective and adverb endings to verb conjugation, and various elements of sentence structuring.

Every lesson contains plenty of exercises and a “Check yourself” corner, to test your newly acquired knowledge. On top of that, the “Exams” component of the app offers a simulation of the three TORFL levels.

Last but not least, it’s free of in-app purchases.

This app is best for:

  • Anyone, from beginners to advanced learners who are serious about learning Russian. It is a perfect choice if you would like to build a strong foundation in grammar, prepare for one of the exams, or refresh easily certain concepts.
  • Those who are tired of learning grammar through sterile War-and-Peace-sized books. Unlike many Russian language learning apps, SemesterRus does not emphasize only isolated words, as new vocabulary is plugged in different conversational contexts.
  • Learners who can already read and write Cyrillic script, as the material of the Elementary level jumps right into the lessons.

Price: 100% free

14. Memrise

Showinf different features of Memrise like videos from Russian native speakers, practicing speaking like a local, learning everyday phrases and improving listening skills
Image Credit: Memrise Google Play

With over 50 million users, Memrise shares fun elements with other gamified apps. The app features a smooth interface and exercises utilizing flashcards, spelling, speaking, and listening questions.

An important detail is that Memrise’s teaching model, framing its 16-part Russian course, is based heavily on visual memorization and vocabulary teaching.

The app Introduces absolute beginners to the Cyrillic alphabet with visual means. Each new element is presented to you through a picture described by a native speaker. As opposed to Duolingo, Memrise allows you to upload your own vocab lists to practice questions. This way, you can focus on your weaknesses and customize your learning program.

One of Memrises’ trademarks are mnemonic images, called Mems, created by users. These are pictures that users associate with a new word, either obtained from a common database or uploaded by them directly.

This app is best for:

  • Visual learners, since countless videos by natives accompany you throughout your journey. This way you can catch facial movements that might help with your pronunciation.
  • Spicing up your language learning with a bit of humor. With Memes, you can create your own inside jokes as well as witness the weird conundrums of the human brain when learning new Russian vocabulary. For instance, I will never understand why I related the word “пустыня” (desert) with the donkey from Shrek.

Price: The majority of Memrise’s features are provided free of charge. Pro membership costs $9 per month, $59 per year, or $129.99 for a lifetime membership.

15. Drops

Shows the interface of Drops, indicates the 5-minute time limit, matching words with pictures, topics found on Drops app
Image Credit: Drops Google Play

Parading a total of over 25 million users, Drops might be one of the most creative apps to learn Russian at a speculoos-esque level of fun. Together with its game-like features, the app specializes in feeding you with new vocabulary and phrases under time pressure.

The app is highly illustrated, offering exercises where you can swipe the word you are learning towards its corresponding picture. Each topic also includes spelling exercises. Topics are diverse, starting from the Russian alphabet and common phrases and touching upon astronomy and shopping.

Your “Collection” section contains all the vocabulary you have learned with pictures. Thanks to this feature, you can revise or restart a topic at any time.

After learning 50 words you can unlock the Dojo. To clarify, this doesn’t mean that you can use the Force. The Dojo is an algorithm that optimizes your learning by targeting your “problematic” words.

The five-minute daily time limit heightens your focus and helps you absorb the information as quickly as possible to get the most out of your sessions.

This app is best for:

  • Learners whose learning capacity peaks under time pressure.
  • The undisciplined among us. The five-minute mark ensures that you can keep up with your sessions even on the busiest days.
  • Building a learning habit and expanding your vocabulary with access to over 2,000 words.

Price: Drops’ main functions are accessible for free. The premium version is available for $9.99 monthly, $69.99 yearly, or $159.99 for lifetime access, following a seven-day free trial. 

Alternative apps to learn Russian for intermediate and advanced learners

16. Learn Russian – Listening, And Speaking

You can find Learn Russian-Listening, and Speaking hidden among underrated apps for learning Russian, specifically for fortifying your vocabulary and sentence building skills.

The app is divided into sections to train your ear and read Russian through common phrases, conversations, short stories, and news articles. 

The “Conversations” section is composed of dialogue presented in the form of text messages for four different difficulty levels. You have the option to slow down the native speakers’ pace as well as hide the original or translated text.

The news snippets and the short stories provide you with phonetic transcriptions and line by line translations. This way you learn how to break down wordy texts and become familiar with some classic Russian fables. 

By upgrading to the ad-free PRO version of the app, you can access sentence-completion exercises, view the entire material in every section, and use a dictionary of over 6,000 basic words in Russian.

This app is best for:

  • Learning Russian for upper-beginners and more advanced learners by applying a shadowing technique.
  • Practicing before an oral exam through contextualized examples. 
  • Becoming familiar with Russian greetings before a trip to Russia. Equipping yourself with some classic knowledge on classic folktales or recent news can help strike up conversations with Russian colleagues and friends.

Price: The basic version is available for free. The PRO version can be accessed through a one-time purchase of €29,00. 

17. Правое полушарие Интроверта

Perhaps this one does not strictly fit the language learning app definition. Regardless, this is a great choice if you are an experienced learner looking for lecture material.

For a small price, this app gives you access to a multitude of audio and video lectures as well as podcasts on subjects spanning Ancient-Greek architecture to video essays on Degas’ and Malevich’s works or an exploration of Freudian psychoanalysis. 

This app is best for:

  • Advanced leaners who want to learn more on a topic, whether it is art, psychology, philosophy, cinema, or fashion.

Price: Basic membership, which provides access to podcasts, audio lectures, and courses, costs 99₽ ($1.32) per month or 999₽ ($13.35) per year. Pro Membership, which also includes access to video-lectures, costs 149₽ ($1.99) per month or 1490₽ ($19.91) per year.

18. BBC Russian

The Russian version of BBC might fit your news addiction like a glove. Reading news articles is the perfect balance for those who don’t want to delve too much into the Russian viva voce nor get lost in literary texts.

Fresh articles and subtitled videos are categorized into sections including Latest News, Art, Russia, Economics, Science, and Sports. Offers the possibility to customize your news feed and access the top three stories from each category offline.

With Russia being a powerhouse in international politics, BBC Russia is a great way to follow domestic current events and stay up-to-date with the country’s position on the world stage.

This app is best for:

  • Increasing exposure to formal speech and preparing for TORFL exams.
  • Reading and listening practise with real, unaltered speech.
  • Finding inspiration and amassing ideas to construct sentences in Russian while commenting on contemporary issues and current affairs.

Price: Free

The best way to learn Russian

Combine apps with extra audio resources and textbook

Having been trapped in the Russian learning Matrix for a couple of years, I realized one thing; A good Russian grammar book and textbook accompanied by a 15-minute daily break listening to some podcasts, reading the news, or watching some YouTube videos in Russian (or videos in your mother tongue with Russian subtitles), is a power combination on the long-term.

Concerning podcasts, Russian podcast, News in Slow Russian, and Russian Pod 101 are solid first choices to experiment with multiple every-day life topics. You can also check out on YouTube Klim Zhukov’s videos on Russian history, the channel Easy Russian with interviews from natives about life in Russia, and Antonia Romaker’s videos clarifying classic linguistic hurdles students come across when studying Russian.

Binge some Russian series or Soviet cartoons

If you are a thriller junkie, you will be able to find a few binge-worthy Russian crime and horror-laced series, like To The Lake (Эпидемия) and The Method (Метод) on Netflix and Gogol (Гoголь) on Amazon Prime. If you are into historical series and period dramas it is worth taking a look at Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great (Екатерина) and Fartsa (Фарца).

Alternatively, if you want to have a relaxing time with some tea and Soviet cartoons, two examples of classic animations Russians grew up with were Hedgehog in the Fog (Ежик в тумане), featuring the melancholic story of a hedgehog getting lost while searching for his friend, and Three from Prostokvashino (Трое из Простоквашино), following the unlikely situations little “Uncle Fyodor” and his animal entourage find themselves in.

Work hard on your pronunciation from the very beginning!

Last but not least, be mindful of fleeting letters, hard and soft consonants, the cases where г is pronounced as /v/, and the ways in which the placement of the accent changes the pronunciation of vowels. This is perhaps the reason why searching for a tutor on italki is the most efficient strategy in forming an understandable accent that doesn’t “уши режет” (=”cut ears”, meaning does not sound right).

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