Russian (ру́сский язы́к, russkiy yazyk, pronounced [ˈruskʲɪj jɪˈzɨk]) is a Slavic language spoken primarily in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russian does not use the Latin alphabet, as you can see above, but it uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which is the first step you should take if planning to learn Russian. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR.[16][17] Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards.

It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 4th by total number of speakers.[18] The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Russian distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation and those without, the so-called soft and hard sounds. This distinction is found between pairs of almost all consonants and is one of the most distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed vowels, which is somewhat similar to that of English. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically[19] though an optional acute accent (знак ударения, znak udareniya) may be used to mark stress (such as to distinguish between homographic words, for example замо́к (meaning lock) and за́мок (meaning castle), or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names).



Rosetta StoneEdit

  • 5 levels available.
  • Recommended as a beginning tool
  • Strongly not recommended to be used as the only tool.
  • Covers pronunciation, reading, listening, vocabulary, writing.
  • Very poor for grammar.
  • Easy to use. Shouldn't take more than an hour to set up and begin using.
  • More expensive than it's worth. Thank you based internet!


  • 3 levels with 90 total lessons.
  • Recommended as a learning tool.
  • Strongly not recommended to be used as the only tool.
  • Covers mainly speaking and being able to hold a conversation.
  • Easy to use, just open the audio file and repeat.
  • Try a free lesson!


Duolingo now has a completed Russian course for English-speakers. You should learn the Cyrillic alphabet before starting; resorting to using it in the Latin alphabet will only hurt you in the long run.

  • Multiple levels and topics
  • Great for building vocabulary
  • Available on iOS and Android
  • Strongly not recommended to be used as the only tool.

Pushkin InstituteEdit

This institute is considered one of the best Russian schools in Russia, named after a famous Russian writer (А. С. Пушкин). It offers the most complete Russian course you'll find online, with a free online platform. Unfortunately, support isn't the best (and they don't let you see the correct answers or advance unless everything is right).

  • From A1 to C2 proficiency (they offer certificates for free after you finish each course)
  • Recommended as an all-around tool
  • Covers everything, pronunciation (letter by letter, even aggregates of letters that are read differently, such as ов - of), grammar, reading, listening, writing and vocab (they have a software to give you a score on your pronunciation)
  • Easy to use, albeit it could've been better translated (you'll probably need to use a translator/dictionary once in a while)

Books and PDF filesEdit

This Russian frequency dictionary covers about 95% of all spoken Russian, and 80% of all written Russian you encounter on a daily basis. In the book you will find

  • 2500 most used Russian words listed by frequency and alphabet, with stress-marks.
  • frequency rankings as part of speech (most used nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc..)
    • 2500 Russian to English example sentences showing word usage
    • phonetic spelling of Russian words with the International Phonetic Alphabet
    • Romanization of Russian words for beginner students
    • Recommended in conjunction with an audio method (Michel Thomas or Pimsleur)
    • #1 tool for building useful vocabulary fast.
    • Little grammar explanation, just simple references. Helps if you already have a grasp of basic grammar.

NewsEdit - popular Russian news site. - Russia Today (regarded as a pro-Kremlin news outlet, funded majorly by the gov) - Media outlet from Latvia, reporting about Russia in both English and Russian in a newsletter format. (regarded as a "liberal" news outlet) - Russian newspaper with an emphasis on politics and economics.

Movies and TVEdit



  • Stalker (1979)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Stalingrad (2013)
  • 9 Rota (2005)
  • Viy (2014)
  • Battle for Sevastopol (2015)
  • Ballad of a Soldier (1959)
  • Lilya-4-ever (2002)
  • Come and See (1985)
  • Leviathan (2014)
  • The Cranes are Flying (1957)
  • Brother (1997)
  • White Tiger (2012)
  • Ivan's Childhood (1962)
  • Officers (1971)

TV showsEdit




  • Кино - (Keyno), Russian for 'cinema' or 'film', Кино's lead singer Виктор Цой (Viktor Tsoi) is considered the Kurt Cobain of Russia. 
  • Ария (1985-2001) - (Ariya), Soviet Iron Maiden!
  • Ария (2001 - present), Kipelov, Mavrin - pale shadows of old Ariya, but still pretty good. Kipelov's track, "Я Свободен", is incredibly popular in Russia.
  • Гражданская Оборона (Civil Defence) - Егор Летов's soviet punk-rock band, commonly abbreviated as Грoб (coffin).
  • Наутилус Помпилиус - (Nautilus Pompilius) after Viktor Tsoi's death, the guitarist of Kino joined this band. Another Soviet rock legend.
  • Сектор Газа (Gaza Strip) - Band, whose music style could be defined as Russian punk, integrated with elements of different musical genres such as rock, rap, and Russian folk
  • Триагрутрика - (Triagrutrika, 'THC') is a Russian rap group from Chelyabinsk. Made popular by their hit "Big City Life".
  • Мельница - (Melnitsa) a Russian folk rock group. Female vocalist.
  • t.A.T.u - Russian female dance-pop duo
  • Аква́риум - (Akvarium), Russian for 'aquarium'. Extremely well known, Аква́риум's lead singer, Boris Grebenshchikov, is refered to as the "Grandfather of Russian Rock." The album 'Радио Африка' worth a listening to.
  • Король и Шут - (Korol' i Shut) - Russian horror-punk band, lyrics - horror stories and folk tales about piratestrollsghosts and vampires, as well as Slavic mythology.
  • ДДТ (DDT)- Alternative/Industrial Rock Band
  • Auktyon - Experimental Rock band. Interesting songs and use of instrumentation
  • Practically any patriotic Russian songs. Such as Катюша, Калинка and others.
  • Fresh and Ello are Russian music channels on youtube, good for new Russian pop music.
  • Утро - a Russian independant rock band. They have also recorded songs in English under the name "Motorama".
  • 5'nizza (pronounciation : piatnizza) - Ukrainian reggae band singing in russian.
  • Кукрыниксы (Kukriniksi) - Russian Alternative Rock band. Well known, was found by Alexei Gorshenev, brother of Korol' i Shut founder - Mihaila Gorsheneva, also known as Gorshok.



  • Uz-Translations (a very useful website that you should definitely check out)
  •  - technical and buisness blogs, popular IT resourse.
  • Открытое Образование (Open Education) - Russian cousin of edX with free MOOCs from major Russian universities, such as МГУ (Moscow State University) and ВШЭ (Higher School of Economics). Excellent way to learn new skills and learn the vocabulary used in your professional area of study.
  • - wiki-like project about modern Russian culture phenomena (mostly memes). If you don't understand some abbreviations or meme phrases, you'll most probably find them here.
Slavic languages
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