Russian is an East Slavic language that belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. With over 144 million native speakers, Russian is the largest native language in Europe. Russian is an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and widely spoken in Ukraine and Latvia. Russian is the eighth most spoken language in the world by the number of native speakers and the seventh by total number of speakers. Russian is one of the official languages of the United Nations, World Health Organization, UNESCO, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Russian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet which consists of 33 letters. Byzantine missionary brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius developed the Cyrillic alphabet in the 9th century using the 24 letters of Greek alphabet as the basis and adding 19 characters to represent sounds unique to Slavic languages, although the modern Cyrillic alphabet is the result of many reforms over the centuries.
Russian is a very important language in the world today, partly because Russia is the largest country in the world (17 million km2), it borders more countries than other nation and is a strong economic force. Russia is a very unique country with twelve seas, forty national parks, 26 UNESCO world heritage sites and both the oldest mountains in the world and the deepest lake in the world. Russia, with its rich heritage, vibrant culture and vast expanse is a treasure waiting to be explored.
Free Resources to Learn Russian
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Memrise – iTunes – Google Play – Memrise is a really fast, fun and free language learning app/website that is sure to get you hooked. There is a visual flashcard component which also incorporates audio from a community of native speakers. Memrise uses spaced repetition and is really effective at drilling vocabulary and phrases into your memory.
Drops – Learn Russian – iTunes – Google Play – This simple but powerful app is entertaining, educational, and free. With a focus on visual learning and 5-minute lesson limits, this app is easy to integrate into your daily language learning regimen and is very effective.
Clozemaster – iTunes – Google Play – This popular app uses gamification and is a great addition to your language learning regimen, no matter what your level. It is very effective for vocabulary acquisition and billed as a great app to use after Duolingo.
Learn Russian – Phrases & Words for Travel – iTunes – Google Play – A handy little app to have on hand when traveling to Russian speaking countries, which helps you to easily access basic phrases and vocabulary.
Learn Russian by 50 Languages – iTunes – Google Play – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Beginner Russian – Google Play – This app is based on the “learn a word a day” concept and uses a simple and direct approach to teaching Russian to beginners.
Internet Polyglot – iTunes – Google Play – This free app uses lessons, games, and pictures to teach foreign languages to beginners. Although Internet Polyglot is far from a standalone language learning tool, it is a useful supplement to help you to learn and retain vocabulary.
Start From Zero Russian – Google Play – This app will boost your vocabulary skills by helping you learn thousands of the most commonly used Russian words and phrases. It also offers quiz and flashcard functionality to test your progress.
Russian Alphabet – iTunes – This app teaches the Russian alphabet and pronunciation and works offline.
Red Kalinka Learn Russian – iTunes – Google Play – This app was created by Red Kalinka, the largest Russian school in the world, and it introduces students to new Russian vocabulary through their “Word of the Day” and “Dialogue of the Week” system.
Cyrillic Alphabet by TenguGo – iTunes – Google Play – This app will teach you how to read and write using the Russian Cyrillic alphabet. It is organized into chapters with quizzes and flashcards for review.
Tandem Language Exchange – iTunes – Google Play – This app matches you with language exchange partners from all over the world, providing the opportunity to practice those essential conversation skills that are necessary to take your language skills to the next level.
Free Russian Dictionary/Translation Apps
Russian English Dictionary & Translator – iTunes – Google Play – This free app works offline and provides detailed definitions, example sentences and pronunciation guidance for Russian & English words, as well as flashcards for learning.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
Klays-Development Russian-English Translator – Google Play – This free app translates words and complete sentences instantly. It features a favorites list, history, voice input, and a user-friendly interface.
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
The Apps Castle Russian English Translator – Google Play – This Russian English translation and dictionary app can be used offline and has built-in audio.
The Free Dictionary By Farlex – iTunes – Google Play – This dictionary and thesaurus app provides millions of precise definitions, drawn from the most trusted industry publications and sources, including idioms, slang, and etymology of words. The Free Dictionary works offline and offers additional functionality like voice search, sharing, games, word of the day, and more.
Reverso Dictionary – iTunes – Google Play – This app serves as a dictionary and translator for millions of words and expressions, accompanied by contextual examples. Other features include a powerful linguistic search engine, natural pronunciation, phrasebook, flashcards and more.
Yandex Translate – iTunes – Google Play – This free translator app works offline, translates text from photos and features translations for 95 languages. It has become a favorite for Russian language learners.
Learn Russian with RussianPod101 – This is a fun and helpful set of videos to add to your regular Russian language learning regimen.
Easy Russian – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native Russian speakers on the street based on the theme. Each video contains subtitles in both Russian and English. Check out the Super Easy Russian playlist for a handful of introductory Russian lessons, as well.
Travel Linguist Russian Video Lessons – This series of 41 short videos covers basic introductory vocabulary.
Edupedia World – The Edupedia World YouTube channel offers a very comprehensive set of free Russian language videos.
Be Fluent in Russian with Fedor – On this YouTube channel, native Russian speaker Fedor Shririn offers a ton of great lessons, well organized into playlists like Russian Language Lessons, Intermediate Lessons, Advanced Lessons, Slow Russian, and more!
Rockin’ Russian – Rockin’ Russian is a website that is designed to give students exposure to Russian language and culture through the medium of Russian music videos. It was designed by Thomas Garza in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature at The University of Texas at Austin. The grammar program is based on Russian music videos from MTV Russia and includes supplemental exercises and materials that emphasize pronunciation, vocabulary acquisition, and cultural knowledge.
A Spoonful of Russian – Natalia Worthington, a native Russian speaker, and linguist, provides Russian language video lessons on this YouTube channel. Natalia also offers Russian cursive lessons and Russian poetry readings.
Learn Russian with Elen Sheff – Native Speaker, Elen Sheff, offers a great selection of Russian language lessons for all levels. Check out these playlists: Russian Grammar, Russian for Tourists, Beginner Russian Lessons, Intermediate Russian Lessons, and Advanced Russian Lessons.
The Russian Grammar Channel – This YouTube channel is brought to you by professor Dr. Curtis Ford who received his Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics from UNC Chapel Hill. Many of his video tutorials were funded by a grant from the University of South Carolina. His video lessons use the same great explanations that he provides to his university students.
Easy Russian by Maria Zdorovetskaya – This YouTube channel provides a lot of Russian lessons for intermediate level learners.
Weekly Russian – Natalia teaches beginner Russian on her Weekly Russian YouTube channel and she keeps it fun by sharing Russian music, poetry, and cartoons.
Russian From Scratch – This YouTube channel was created by Russian teacher Christina Kochneva whose goal is to teach you how to use Russian with confidence in conversations, to help you perfect your accent and to enrich your vocabulary
Fun Russian – The Fun Russian YouTube channel teaches slang and idioms, grammar and vocabulary lessons and more.
Amazing Russian – Utah Valley University professor Olga Jarrell initially created this YouTube channel as a study aid for her Russian language students but soon realized that they were appreciated by Russian language learners far and wide.
Russian With Passion – Antonia Romaker teaches beginner Russian and talks about the people and culture of Russia on her YouTube channel.
Ru-Land Club – This club features different teachers that offer a variety of Russian lessons that cater to absolute beginners and more experienced students, as well. Check out the Russian for Beginners, Russian for Intermediate Level Students, Russian Pronunciation, Russian Grammar, and Russian Vocabulary.
LangMedia – LangMedia provides language learning resources, including videos, audio, study guides, etc. LangMedia is run by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages and their mission is to share examples of linguistic and cultural diversity with language learners. The “CultureTalk” section of the LangMedia website features video interviews with people of different ages and backgrounds. The interviews are primarily conducted by students and translations and transcripts are provided. There are six Russian CultureTalk Units: CultureTalk Ahiska (Meskhetian) Turks, CultureTalk Azerbaijan, CultureTalk Kazakhstan, CultureTalk Kyrgyzstan, CultureTalk Tajikistan, CultureTalk Turkmenistan and CultureTalk Ukraine.
Russian Language Video Lessons for Beginners – This YouTube channel features 10 lessons that will provide a basic introduction to Russian.
Real Russian Club – Daria is a Russian teacher from Moscow and she offers thorough and high-quality lessons on her YouTube channel on topics like Speaking Russian, Russian Grammar, and for listening practice, Slow Russian.
Learn Russian with Anastasia Semini – Native speaker Anastasia provides great lessons, particularly for Russian Listening Skills, Russian Conversation Skills (A2 – B1), and Beginner and Elementary (A1-A2) Lessons.
Learn Russian with RussianPod101 – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular Russian language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
One Minute Russian – iTunes – In this free Russian language learning podcast from the Radio Lingua Network your teacher Ann will cover the basics and provide you with ten bite-sized lessons which are just a few minutes in length. These audio lessons clearly won’t make you fluent, but they can help you get by on a trip to a Russian speaking country.
Russian SurvivalPhrases – iTunes – These fun and innovative audio lessons teach basic Russian and are accompanied by PDF guides.
Learn Russian Slang Podcast – iTunes – This Russian language learning podcast will teach you what you will not find in most textbooks, Russian slang, as well as common expressions and idioms.
Speaking Russian Podcast – iTunes – Elvira Ivanova teaches basic Russian words and phrases in this weekly podcast.
Learn Russian by discovering Russia – iTunes – This podcast course, brought to you by Ruspod, offers lessons for different learning levels from Survival and Beginner to Elementary and Basic. Beginners might want to check out their Russian Alphabet Tutorial.
Taste of Russian – This Russian language podcast is for intermediate level learners who are looking to improve their conversation skills. The content focuses on informal and colloquial words and phrases, and slang. 36 episodes are available to download for free, along with full transcripts.
Slow Russian Language Podcast – iTunes – Russian teacher Daria Molchanova will help you to improve your Russian listening skills with this podcast which is spoken slowly and clearly. It is for intermediate level Russian learners because it is entirely in Russian.
Russian Podcast – Tatiana Klimova has been creating Russian podcasts for about a decade. She offers several hundred free Russian podcasts on her website.
Russian Made Easy – This Russian language primer includes 30 episodes that teach you about the common Russian language patterns and how to use about 250 vocabulary words.
Learn Russian with Spotify – Spotify – This is a nice, comprehensive and free playlist of lessons put together by Spotify.
Learn Russian by Complete Language Lessons – Spotify – 8 free Russian lessons on Spotify.
Learn Russian Fast by Language Superstar – Spotify – This podcast on Spotify has a few hours of Russian language instruction spread over 16 chapters.
Learn Russian in Your Car by Henry N. Raymond – This free Spotify podcast teaches fundamental Russian grammar and very practical vocabulary and phrases to beginners.
- Learn Russian in Your Car Level 1 on Spotify
- Learn Russian in Your Car Level 2 on Spotify
- Learn Russian in Your Car Level 3 on Spotify
Russian Course for Beginners – This free audio course on Spotify offers 154 lessons spread over 3 volumes which teach basic vocabulary for beginners.
- Russian for Beginners Volume 1 on Spotify – 44 Russian vocabulary lessons.
- Russian for Beginners Volume 2 on Spotify – 56 Russian vocabulary lessons.
- Russian for Beginners Volume 3 on Spotify – 54 Russian vocabulary lessons.
Learn How to Speak Russian – Spotify – Beginner Russian words and phrases.
Colloquial Russian: The Complete Course for Beginners – This collection of 102 audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear Russian language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial Russian: The Complete Course for Beginners textbook, which is a book aimed at teaching Russian to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations. Additionally, the collection of 59 audio files that accompany the follow-up book, Colloquial Russian 2, are available.
A Spoonful of Russian – iTunes – Natalia Worthington, a native Russian speaker, and linguist, teaches conversational Russian in this informative and lively podcast.
Speak Fluent Russian – iTunes – Russian linguist Alexey Yunoshev teaches students how to speak Russian with these comprehensive lessons. Check out his website for more lessons and resources.
UCLA Center for World Languages Business Russian Podcast – This podcast series is brought to you by Dr. Anna Kudyma, a Russian and Ukrainian professor at UCLA. It teaches Russian Business vocabulary as well as the cultural and nonverbal aspects of Russian Business communication and is aimed at intermediate and advanced level students.
UCLA Russian Literature Podcast – This podcast series is brought to you by UCLA and is aimed at intermediate and advanced level students. It helps students improve listening comprehension skills and expand their vocabulary through listening to excerpts from great Russian works of literature by famous writers like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Chekhov, and more.
In Russian Terms Podcast – iTunes – This podcast by Elena Bilbo is for high level intermediate and advanced Russian language learners. The weekly podcast features information about current events, politics, society and culture using authentic Russian and common idioms.
Learn Russian from RT – This comprehensive set of 100 Russian language lessons was created by RT, a government owned, global 24 hour Russian television network. In addition to the 100 lessons, the website offers Vocabulary Tests for each lesson, Alphabet and Phonetics tutorials, Grammar Tables and in-depth information on themes in the Topics section.
Russian Made Easy: Accelerated Learning for Russian on Udemy – This Russian language course consists of thirty episodes, each 20 minutes long, and teaches beginner Russian in a fun and effective way.
Learn Russian Language: Russian For Beginners on Udemy – This Russian course focuses on phonetics and pronunciation. The course consists of 10 lectures with 4 quizzes, 1 hour of video lectures, several downloadable reference materials with phonetics rules and more than 300 vocabulary words and phrases in Russian.
Russian Alphabet Mastery on Udemy – This course is for absolute beginners and makes learning how to read and pronounce the Russian Cyrillic alphabet fun and easy over the course of 14 lectures.
- How to Read Russian Course – This is a beginner level course consisting of 7 lessons with audio which can be completed in 2-4 days.
- Basic Russian Course – This is a beginner to intermediate level course consisting of 14 lessons with audio which can be completed in 28 days.
- Russian Cases – This is an intermediate to advanced level course consisting of 11 lessons with audio which can be completed in 22 days.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Russian FAST Course – The FSI Russian Fast Course (F.A.S.T. = Familiarization And Short Term) was created as an intensive and challenging course that would yield the best language learning results in the shortest period of time. It was originally designed to be an 8-week program to prepare someone to live and work abroad in Russia. It is accompanied by 3 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 499 pages, and 8 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 4 hours and 18 minutes.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Language Basic Course – This Russian language course was created in 1974 and is part of the language learning program developed by U.S. Department of Defense as a means of training employees for foreign assignments. As a result, some of the material focuses on military related content, however, on the whole, there is a lot of value for all. This course focuses heavily on listening comprehension skills. It is accompanied by 18 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 2243 pages, and 21 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 14 hours and 28 minutes.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Intermediate/Advanced Preparatory Course – This course is an advanced preparatory program which provides a comprehensive review of all grammar learned in the basic course and aims to reinforce all previously learned material. It is accompanied by 4 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 388 pages
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Language Intermediate Course – This Russian language course was created in 1977 and is part of the language learning program developed by U.S. Department of Defense as a means of training employees for foreign assignments. Since it is an intermediate level course, it requires knowledge of the fundamentals of Russian. It is accompanied by 6 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 981 pages.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Language Advanced Course – This advanced level Russian course is composed of 125 lessons and 21 units. It prepares students to reach a B1 level of proficiency in oral and written Russian. It is accompanied by 11 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 2071 pages.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Language Basic Course – This Russian language course was created in 1982 and is part of the language learning program developed by U.S. Department of Defense as a means of training employees for foreign assignments. This workbook contains practice exercises for Phases I, II and III.
- DLI Russian Basic Language Course Phase I – Contains 10 lessons and is designed to encompass a four-week instructional time period. The objective of this phase is to develop the ability to recognize and produce the sounds of the Russian language and write those Cyrillic sounds. It is accompanied by 1 e-textbook in PDF format with a total of 396 pages.
- DLI Russian Basic Language Course Phase II – Contains 6 lessons and is designed to encompass a three-week instructional time period. The objective of this phase is to develop reading and listening comprehension skills and to prepare students to use Russian in unstructured situations. It is accompanied by 14 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 4756 pages.
- DLI Russian Basic Language Course Phase III – Contains 22 lessons over four modules and is designed to reinforce the skills learned in Phase I and Phase II as well as cement the student’s ability to confidently use Russian in unstructured situations. It is accompanied by 6 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 1741 pages, and 19 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 5 hours and 42 minutes.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Refresher Course – This six-week course is designed for students who have already completed an intensive year of Russian language studies. The course contains twenty-four lessons over three modules. It is accompanied by 3 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 159 pages, and 12 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 9 hours and 5 minutes.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Proficiency Improvement Course – The Russian Proficiency Improvement Course (PIC) was designed for students who need to improve their current Russian language level. It is accompanied by 8 e-textbooks in PDF format with a total of 2180 pages, and 14 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 4 hours and 58 minutes.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Russian Language Practical Dictation Course – The Russian Practical Dictation Course was created to help students to improve their pronunciation. The course does not include any texts but is accompanied by 58 audios files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 21 hours and 14 minutes.
Peace Corps Russian Language Course – The Russian Language Course, which provides a lot of practical information surrounding culture, vocabulary, grammar and communication skills, was developed by the United States Peace Corps to train their volunteers prior to sending them around the world on their missions. Includes 1 e-textbook in PDF format with 593 pages.
Peace Corps Russian Language Competencies Course – This program is “competency-based or topic-oriented” and designed specifically to provide survival competencies for United States Peace Corps volunteers prior to sending them around the world on their missions. Three sections review phonetics, topics for the main discussion, and practical grammar exercises. Includes 1 e-textbook in PDF format with 142 pages. The Russian Competencies Workbook is a 323-page e-textbook in PDF format that contains supplemental exercises.
Peace Corps Russian Supplementary Dialogues Course – This book of Russian lessons was developed by the United States Peace Corps to train their volunteers prior to sending them to Turkmenistan. The program is divided into nine lessons, each one focusing on a core topic and accompanied by brief dialogues and exercises.
Peace Corps Russian Language Course for Kazakhstan – This course teaches basic Russian Expressions for Peace Corps Trainees in Kazakhstan. The content is appropriate for absolute beginners and it includes 1 e-textbook in PDF format with 15 pages and 15 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 27 minutes.
Peace Corps Russian Language Lessons for Kyrgyz – This course teaches basic Russian Expressions for Peace Corps Trainees in Kyrgyz. The content is appropriate for absolute beginners and it includes 1 e-textbook in PDF format with 115 pages and 10 audio files in MP3 format with a combined running time of 35 minutes.
Russian Lessons by Alexandra – This website features a nice collection of beginner and lower intermediate level lessons and tutorials.
Russian for Everyone – This beginner Russian course was developed by Dr. Julia Rochtchina, a professor of Russian language and culture at the University of Victoria in Canada. It consists of 8 units with 35 lessons, 16 quizzes, and 7 tests. The site also features some great Russian language games that make for fun practice and interactive vocabulary flashcards which will help you learn 625 words among other Russian language resources.
Russian Courses by the University of Cambridge Language Centre – These free Russian courses are web-applications developed by the University of Cambridge.
BBC Languages: Russian – The BBC Russian language website is a treasure trove of wonderful resources and information. It is high-quality, comprehensive and provides a lot of intelligently presented and produced materials. All BBC language learning pages were “archived” a few years back due to cost-cutting measures, which means they are no longer adding new information or updating the pages. However, you should have no problem accessing the existing information.
Mezhdu Nami Interactive Textbook – This website functions as an interactive, web-based textbook (Ме́жду на́ми) which can be used freely without registering or logging in. It is an award-winning and mobile-friendly “textbook” that is based on a storyline about four American students in Russia. Watch this video to learn how to use the website. Students will learn Russian vocabulary and grammar with cultural context and can reference the Dictionary of Vocabulary, as well. Four Student Workbooks in PDF format are available to download.
Lora’s Dialogs – Lora Paperno, a professor, and writer who taught in the Cornell University Russian language program for over 20 years, initially wrote this two-part series of situational dialogs as a learning tool for her beginner Russian language course at Cornell. The dialogs focus on the story of a group of American students studying Russian in the USA in Part 1 then in Russia in Part 2 and use standard, conversational Russian. All grammar explanations and dictionary entries are written with an intelligent and curious reader in mind. For vocabulary help, you can click any word in the Russian text and see its dictionary entry.
Mini Videos for Learners of Intermediate Russian – These 91 videos are excerpts from the Russian comedy series Shest’ Kadrov directed by Alexander Zhigalkin. Cornell University obtained permission to use the material as a resource for Russian language students. Each video is accompanied by links for transcripts and vocabulary help.
Beginning Russian Grammar – These grammar lessons were adapted from the second edition of the Beginning Russian Textbook by
Russian Verbs – This website tells you everything you ever wanted to know about Russian verbs, courtesy once again of Cornell University.
A Collocational Russian-English Dictionary of the Human Body – Cornell University created this interactive online dictionary where you will find thousands of phrases used for describing people, including appearance, movements, moods, injuries, etc.
Russificate – This free Russian language and culture blog was created by Yulia Amlinskaya, a professional Russian teacher, and native speaker. You will find Russian grammar exercises, vocabulary, cultural information, and podcasts.
Goethe Verlag – This website offers 100 Russian lessons for beginners, each with words, phrases and corresponding audio files.
Learn Russian Step by Step – This website has over one hundred free Russian language lessons for beginners, available in either English, Spanish or French.
LanguageGuide.org – Explore the world of Russian by learning an abundance of vocabulary in a sound integrated, animated guide. After learning the vocabulary you can take part in games to test your comprehension.
Babadum – A free language learning website that features fun flashcard games to help you brush up on your vocabulary.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning Russian, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text, and audio.
Polly Lingual – This website offers some fun games, exercises and beginner level instruction with lessons that include text and audio.
Verbix – Online Russian verb conjugator.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach Russian with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and flashcards while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Digital Dialects – This website makes learning vocabulary fun with interactive games.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini-course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to Russian with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations, and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high-frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
LangIntro – This introduction to Russian was created by J. David Eisenberg, a computer programmer, software developer and college teacher with a background in language learning. It offers an introduction to the alphabet, vocabulary, grammar and simple phrases.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Russian Tutorial – This Language Survival Kit Module for Russian contains basic vocabulary with audio. Both the audio files and the PDF text can be downloaded.
Russian Stories by BookBox – Cartoons have always been a wonderful asset to language learning, particularity for children. These animated children’s stories are great because the viewer can read along with the narration, which is shown on-screen as “Same Language Subtitles (SLS).” Each word is highlighted in time with the audio, which helps with comprehension and retention.
First Russian Words by Oxford University Press – The Oxford First Words book series is a language learning tool for children. This First Words book features over 400 words in Russian and the interactive online interface allows you to click on the pictures to hear the audio in Russian along with the English translations. Though this book is intended for children, the fact is that it is a very effective tool for adults to build vocabulary as well.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1,300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
CoolJugator – CoolJugator is a verb conjugator website that makes conjugation easy and straightforward.
Russian Vocabulary Test – This site offers basic Russian vocabulary lists and multiple-choice tests based on those lists, created by volunteers as a free language learning resource.
LingvoSoft Russian Phrasebook – This site offers a basic phrasebook format with text and audio to help you learn essential Russian vocabulary.
Gramota – This Russian web portal offers a wealth of information on Russian grammar and language.
RussianLearn.com – This is a good catch-all site to visit for Russian language learning resources. It covers vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation and provides flashcards, lessons and more.
Let’s Learn Russian Online – This website offers a few basic Russian courses in addition to grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation tutorials.
SimpLang Russian Lessons – This site features 25 basic lessons which include dialogues accompanied by translations and transliterations.
Cultural Interviews with Russian-Speaking Professionals by UT Austin – In addition to touching on various cultural issues and business topics, these interviews with Russian executives provide a variety of examples of natural spoken Russian, which is helpful to language learners. This free educational resource is brought to you by the University of Texas at Austin.
Russian Language Skills Lounge by The UCLA Russian Flagship Center – This program was created by the University of California at Los Angeles and offers Elementary, Intermediate, Intermediate+ and Advanced Grammar Lessons as well as Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Reading Lessons.
Readings for Advanced Russian Students by SEELRC – The Slavic and East European Language Resource Center of Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill created this reading program using samples of contemporary Russian literature. Students can reference the text annotations, exercises and answer keys, all in PDF format.
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8, and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process, you can in turn provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
BBC – The British Broadcasting Company provides news in Russian.
Google News – Read the world news in Russian with Google News.
United Nations – Live and On Demand news and media from the United Nations.
EuroNews – EuroNews is a news media company that features news from a European perspective and offers content in 12 different languages online.
Echo of Moscow – This is an independent and prominent Russian radio station.
Kommersant – This Russian news source focuses primarily on politics and business.
Vokrug Sveta – This Russian magazine focuses on geography and popular science, and is often compared to National Geographic, which was established 30 years after Vokrug Sveta.
Izvestia – This is a long-running and popular daily newspaper in Russia.
Deutsche Welle – German broadcasting company DW provides news in Russian.
VOA News – Voice of America is an American broadcasting company that creates radio and television news in Russian.
SBS Radio Russian Program – iTunes – SBS is an Australian broadcasting company that targets non-native English speakers and creates programming in many languages. This podcast allows you to listen to interviews, features and community stories from the SBS Radio Russian program, including Australian and world news.
The Russian Dictionary Tree – This reference and learning tool was created for Russian language learners by Slava Paperno and Richard L. Leed at Cornell University. It is called a “tree” because its entries have a “tree-like, branching structure”, and it continues to grow. In some ways, it functions like an English-Russian dictionary, but it is actually much different in that “all Russian entries are semantically complete. That is, if a Russian word is listed, the viewer will see all of its meanings defined, glossed, and often commented on.”
Russian Grammatical Dictionary – Brought to you by The Slavic and East European Language Resource Center at Duke University, the online dictionary is a “searchable database of full word paradigms with native-speaker examples for each inflection”. Featuring over 10,000 headwords, “each entry includes an English gloss and detailed annotation for semantics and pronunciation variants.”
Multitran – This online dictionary is a favorite of translators and provides detailed information. It is entirely in Russian so it is for upper-intermediate or advanced Russian language learners.
Ozhegov’s Dictionary – This is a classic Russian dictionary but it is entirely in Russian so it is for upper-intermediate or advanced Russian language learners.
WordReference – There is no need for a Russian-English dictionary if you have WordReference. Featuring good translations of words and solid definitions, this site also has helpful forums where Russian speakers from around the world contribute to explaining subtle nuances or more obscure words.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Bad.La – This “language portal” boasts 44 dictionaries for 28 languages, as well as a wealth of other language learning resources, such as helpful articles, games and quizzes, verb conjugations and phrase books.
Lexilogos – This is a unique concept: just type a Russian word into the search field and then choose from one of several dictionaries.
LearnWithOliver – In addition to a dictionary, this site offers games and flashcards to support your Russian Language learning.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowdsourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Cambridge Online Dictionary – Here you can access the online version of the popular Cambridge Dictionary.
Russian Grammar Reference by Edna Andrews – This Reference Grammar was created by the SEELRC (Slavic and East European Language Resource Center of Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill).
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Russian Active Introduction Student Text – The Active Introduction is part of the materials used within the FSI Russian language training program. The 167 page PDF book contains a catalog of sentences that are useful for everyday situations and its purpose is to improve the student’s ability to participate in these important dialogues. It requires a basic knowledge of Russian, and wouldn’t be considered a book for absolute beginners.
Teach Yourself Russian Grammar – This Russian grammar textbook by Daphne West starts with the basics and teaches lessons in a comprehensive and user-friendly way.
Schaum’s Russian Grammar – This Russian grammar textbook was written by James S. Levine and includes 239 exercises and answers, and excellent and thorough content.
A Living Russian Grammar – This Russian textbook by
Goethe Verlag – Free tests in 25 languages and 600 language combinations. You will find 100 easy and 100 advanced Russian vocabulary tests.
Moscow State University Russian Language Center – This free online test is provided by MSU and the results will be received by email.
Liden & Denz – This multiple-choice test consists of 65 questions increasing in difficulty from beginner level (A1) to lower advanced (B2+).
RT Russian Level Test – This Russian language test is based on the 100 lessons of the RT LearnRussian course and can be used as a final exam or as a general Russian level test. It has three parts designed for Elementary, Beginner, and Pre-Intermediate levels. The test is timed and 60 minutes are allotted to pass all three parts of the test.
Exlinguo – This Russian proficiency test consists of 35 questions and it takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Transparent Language – Free online language level testing is offered by this language learning software company.
Cactus Language – This UK based language study abroad organization offers free online language level testing.
Language Trainers – This language training company offers free online language level testing.
What Are Your Favorite Free Russian Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below!