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List of Untranslatable Russian Words: Top 10 Idioms 2019

What’s Russia well-known for? Right, drinking. The rich history of Russian alcohol gave birth to a lot of related words that can’t be translated directly into other languages and require explanation. The same goes for words that appeared during the First and Second World Wars and throughout Russia’s history.

In order to understand the Russian language fully and to know more about Russian culture, it’s essential to learn the most-used untranslatable Russian words. That’s why we here at RussianPod101.com have prepared for you a list of the top-ten modern untranslatable Russian idioms that you can easily study and start using. Please, go ahead!

Table of Contents

  1. Опохмелиться (Opokhmelit’sya)
  2. Запой (Zapoy)
  3. Сушняк (Sushnyak)
  4. Халява (Khalyava)
  5. Хамить (Khamit’)
  6. Брезговать (Brezgovat’)
  7. Подвиг (Podvig)
  8. Однолюб (Odnolyub)
  9. Воля (Volya)
  10. Тоска (Toska)
  11. Conclusion

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1. Опохмелиться (Opokhmelit’sya)

Man Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Literal Translation: “Drink some more alcohol.”

Meaning: To drink more alcohol in order to remove the negative effects of a hangover.

Example Situation: It’s possible that after a wild night with Russian friends in a cottage outside of the city, that in the morning someone will recommend that you drink some more alcohol to overcome a hangover.

Usage in a Sentence:

Пора опохмелиться.
Pora opokhmelit’sya.
“It’s time to drink some more alcohol for hangover.”

Interesting Fact:

This is one of the more fascinating untranslatable words in the Russian language. In Russia, it’s considered a folk remedy for a hangover. However, modern medicine has proved that it works only for alcoholics who experience addiction to the ethanol.


2. Запой (Zapoy)

Literal Translation: “Several days drinking.”

Meaning: This word means drinking alcohol for several days or even weeks in a row, not letting the body remove the alcohol from your blood.

Example Situation: If you’ve ever gone out for a weekend vacation and drank alcohol for two or more days in a row, congrats! You’ve experienced one of the most common Russian untranslatable words, запой (zapoy).

Usage in a Sentence:

Уйти в запой.
Uyti v zapoy.
“To start the several-days drinking session.”

Паша сдал проект и ушел в запой.
Pasha sdal proekt i ushol v zapoy.
“Pasha has finished the project and started zapoy.”

Interesting Fact:

It’s fun to know that several centuries ago, Russian merchants were allowed to take a vacation for a zapoy period. It was stated in the statute of the merchant guild, signed by the emperor Alexander I in 1807. Every Russian merchant could have the annual vacation for болезнь души (bolezn’ dushi)—“the sickness of the soul.” That was what zapoy was called back then. Merchants could go for a small zapoy—for two weeks—or for a big one lasting a month.


3. Сушняк (Sushnyak)

Someone Pouring a Glass of Water

Literal Translation: “Dry mouth.”

Meaning: The feeling of a dry mouth during a hangover.

Example Situation: You may hear this word in an explanation when somebody asks you to bring him some water in the morning. Or if you’re experiencing a hangover and drink a lot of water, your Russian colleague or a friend will ask empathetically if you’re having sushnyak.

If that’s the case, he’ll probably recommend folk treatments against it. No, this won’t be as radical as опохмелиться (opokhmelit’sya)—”to drink more alcohol.” But rather something like кефир (kefir)—“kefir, cultured buttermilk” or рассол (rassol)—“pickle brine.”

Usage in a Sentence:

У меня сушняк, принеси, пожалуйста, водички.
U menya sushnyak, prinesi, pozhaluysta, vodichki.
“I’m having sushnyak, please, bring me some water.”

Что, сушняк замучил?
Chto, sushnyak zamuchil?
“Well, torturing from sushnyak?”


4. Халява (Khalyava)

Literal Translation: “Freebie.”

Meaning: The word applies to different kinds of situations when you get something so easy that it’s unfair.

Example Situation: If you get some valuable things from the company you work for as a present—and you didn’t do anything to deserve it—then you получил это на халяву (poluchil eto na khalyavu) or got it as khalyava. Or, if you suddenly got really good grades at school but didn’t do anything to deserve them, then that’s khalyava as well.

Usage in a Sentence:

Начальник получил повышение и сегодня проставляется. Сходим, выпьем на халяву?
Nachal’nik poluchil povysheniye i segodnya prostavlyayetsya. Skhodim, vyp’yem na khalyavu?
“The boss got promoted and will buy everyone a drink today. Let’s go for a free drink.”

Interesting Fact:

This is actually one of the really funny untranslatable Russian words. There’s a university tradition for students at midnight before an exam to open a gradebook on the page for a future exam, hold it out the window, and shout three times Халява, приди! (Khalyava, pridi!)—”Khalyava, come!” By doing that, students believe that they’ll get lucky on the exam.


5. Хамить (Khamit’)

Literal Translation: “To behave in a rude way.”

Meaning: Rude, impudent, and insolent way of behavior with impunity.

Example Situation: Usually, this word characterizes the way Russians can act to unknown people on the street when someone wants to show their superiority and higher social status by being confident of impunity. Usually, people use this word to point out this bad behavior and stop it.

Related Words:

Хам (kham)—“The male who is behaving in a rude way.”
Хамка (khamka)—“The female who is behaving in a rude way.”

Usage in a Sentence:

Прекратите хамить.
Prekratite khamit’.
“Stop being rude.”

Interesting Fact:

In a very popular Russian novel “The Twelve Chairs” written by Ilf and Petrov, there’s a famous character named Ellochka whose spoken vocabulary consisted of only 30 words. One of these words was Хамите (Khamite)—“You are being rude.”


6. Брезговать (Brezgovat’)

Literal Translation: “To feel disgusted by something.”

Meaning: The word “disgusted” doesn’t show the full meaning of the word брезговать (brezgovat’). It also means that the person treats something or someone with disdain, or feels a bit superior.

Example Situation: The word isn’t used in spoken language that much. But you can hear it in context of talking about someone. For example, when one person achieved a success and feels ashamed to talk to his less successful friends, you can say that he брезгует (brezguyet’).

Related Words:

Брезгливо (brezglivo)—“with disgust”
Брезгливый (brezglivyy)—“fastidious/disgust”

Usage in a Sentence:

Маша выбилась в люди и теперь брезгует общаться с нами.
Masha vybilas’ v lyudi i teper’ brezguyet obshchat’sya s nami.
“Masha became successful and now feels ashamed to talk to us.”


7. Подвиг (Podvig)

One Person Carrying Another

Literal Translation: “Brave and heroic feat.”

Meaning: A really significant and meaningful heroic act. This act is usually made in very difficult and dangerous circumstances. The person who’s doing this act usually does it selflessly.

Example Situation: All brave and heroic acts that were selflessly made during the wars are called подвиг (podvig). But of course, now this word can be applied even to civilian matters; for example, when a person does an impossible amount of valuable work in the office in a short time, people can say that he made трудовой подвиг (trudovoy podvig)—“labor podvig.”

Usage in a Sentence:

Совершить подвиг.
Sovershit’ podvig.
“To make podvig.”

За героические подвиги во Второй мировой войне звания Героя Советского Союза были удостоены более 11 000 человек, из которых многие - посмертно.
Za geroicheskiye podvigi vo Vtoroy mirovoy voyne zvaniya Geroya Sovetskogo soyuza byli udostoyeny boleye odinnadtsati tysyach chelovek, iz kotorykh mnogiye - posmertno.
“For heroic acts during the Second World War more than 11,000 people were given honorary distinction as The Hero of the Soviet Union. Some of them were given it posthumously.”

Additional Notes:
If you want to understand Russian подвиг (podvig) better, check out the military film В бой идут одни старики (V boy idut odni stariki) that we recommend in our article “Top 10 Russian Movies: With Links and Famous Quotes (2018 Update).”


8. Однолюб (Odnolyub)

Couple Hugging Each Other

Literal Translation: “A person who loves only one person.”

Meaning: This is one of the most beautiful untranslatable Russian words. It means a person who can love only one person in a lifetime. The word comes from combining two parts. The first one is одно- (odno-)—the form of the word один (odin)—”one.” The second one is -люб (-lyub)—the abbreviation of the word любить (lyubit’)—”to love.”

Example Situation: This word sounds a bit old-school, so it doesn’t come up in conversations often. Though, if the topic allows, using it regarding a really devoted person will be great. For example, if a guy marries and lives with his first love till his death he can be called однолюб (odnolyub).

Usage in a Sentence:

Её мужчина - однолюб, ей с ним очень повезло.
Yeyo muzhchina - odnolyub, yey s nim ochen’ povezlo.
“Her man is odnolyub, she is so lucky.”


9. Воля (Volya)

Literal Translation: “Freedom.”

Meaning: This word has plenty of meanings. The most used meanings are 1.) self-control, 2.) desire, and 3.) freedom. The most controversial is the third one as it doesn’t mean something positive, but means the absence of неволя (nevolya)—“captivity.” It has the global meaning of freedom, meaning no authority or obligations.

As the famous Russian poet Bulat Okudzhava said about the Russian: “What usual Russian person tends to do in his spare time? Who knows. To think, to talk, to drink alcohol. Alcohol not as the goal itself, but as the mean of communication, fun, forgetfulness. To volya - the Russian doesn’t care about freedom, he loves volya. It means - to be without restrictions. And when he is told that here is your freedom, he doesn’t understand that.”

Example Situation: This word isn’t used in spoken language often—of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t hear it during philosophical conversations at night in the kitchen with alcohol that Russians love so much. But you’ll meet a lot of this word in books, newspapers, news, films, series, etc. For example, when a person goes out of prison, you can hear in the news Он вышел на волю. (On vyshel na volyu.) meaning, “He came out of prison.”

Related Words:

Вольный (vol’nyy)—“Free.”

Usage in a Sentence:

Сила воли.
Sila voli.
“Willpower.”

Вадим начал развивать силу воли, принимая контрастный душ каждое утро.
Vadim nachal razvivat’ silu voli, prinimaya kontrastnyy dush kazhdoye utro.
“Vadim has started to develop his willpower by taking contrast showers every morning.”


10. Тоска (Toska)

Literal Translation: “Feeling of boredom and depression.”

Meaning: Strong soul languor; soul anxiety combined with sadness and boredom; painful gloom.

Example Situation: You’re studying abroad. It’s raining. You’re sitting all alone in your room near the window and watching the gray and depressing scenery. You miss your home a little bit, sad from the weather and loneliness, and feel a little bit of self-pity and boredom. Here we are. You’re feeling Russian тоска (toska).

Another example is when your colleague visits a conference and you ask him how it went. He can say Тоска (Toska), meaning that it was really boring and depressing.

Related words:

Тосковать (toskovat`)—“to feel toska.”
Тоскливо (tosklivo)—“with toska.”

Usage in a Sentence:

- Ты что такая унылая сидишь? (Ty chto takaya unylaya sidish’?)
- Да тоскливо как-то. (Da tosklivo kak-to).

- “Why are you looking so gloomy (while sitting)?”
- “Well, I feel soul anxiety.”

Эта книга - полная тоска.
(Eta kniga - polnaya toska).
“This book is super boring and depressing.”


11. Conclusion

Now you know the top ten untranslatable words Russian people use really often. Write them down and try to use them while talking with your Russian friends or colleagues. It’ll be a great conversation opener, but remember that Russian people really enjoy getting philosophical.

So, you’ll probably hear a lot more explanations to the Russian words with no English equivalent than we studied above. And some of these explanations will be true only to that one person you’re talking to. :) That’s fine. Try asking what love is to several different people and you’ll get different answers.

So, don’t be afraid. Go. Communicate. Improve your language skills and get to know the mysterious Russian soul.

Of course, knowing just ten Russian words with no English translation might be less than enough to speak Russian freely. There are plenty of Russian words with no translation; some words appear only in the spoken language and some idioms get old and remain only in books. This makes it especially important to understand untranslatable words to learn Russian.

Consider taking some lessons in our MyTeacher program for Russian-learners to learn the untranslatable terms in Russian that will help you to reach your language goal. Our professional teachers will not only expand your active vocabulary, but will help you sound like a real Russian pretty soon. RussianPod101.com is here to guide you through every step of your language-learning journey!

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Holiday for John the Baptist: Ivan Kupala Day in Russia

One of the most ancient and important Slavic holidays in Russia is the holiday of Ivan Kupala, celebrated since the twelfth century. Essentially, this day is held in commemoration of St. John the Baptist, though Russians also celebrate through more pagan events.

In learning about the Ivan Kupala Day holiday in Russia, you’re opening yourself up to some unique facets of Russian culture. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, knowing a country’s culture is vital in mastering its language.

At RussianPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative! So let’s get started and delve into Ivan Kupala Night, and the following Ivan Kupala Day, in Russia!

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1. What is Ivan Kupala’s Day?

In ancient times, people observed the holiday of Ivan Kupala on the day of the summer solstice (June 20-22). Once Russia adopted Christianity, people linked the celebration to John the Baptist’s birthday on June 24 (old style) or July 7 (new style).

Nobody really knows where the holiday got its name. Some connect it to the Pagan god Kupala, while others say it comes from the Slavic version of St. John the Baptist’s name.

2. When is Ivan Kupala Day?

Ivan Kupala's Day is in July

Each year, Ivan Kupala’s Day is celebrated on July 7 in Russia, beginning on the evening of July 6.

3. Reading Practice: How is Ivan Kupala Day Celebrated?

How do the Russians celebrate Kupala Night and Ivan Kupala Day? Read the Russian text below to learn about Ivan Kupala festival traditions, old and current. You can find the English translation directly below it.

Русский народ ассоциирует три главных символа с Днем Ивана Купалы- - огонь, вода и трава. Таким образом, многие традиции и верования относительно этого праздника имеют отношение к этим трем вещам.

Одной из таких традиций является традиция костра. Русский народ будет строить большой костер и прыгать через него, так как это, как полагают, лечебные силы в эту ночь. Кроме того, в старые времена люди сжигали одежду больных людей в надежде, что они выздоровеют быстрее. Для того, чтобы это сработало, люди думали, что огонь должен быть сделан путем потирания вместе сухих палочек.

В День Ивана Купалы девицы плели венки из цветов с поля и отпускали их вечером, чтобы поплавать на озере или поверхности реки. Затем они наблюдали венок. Если венок застрял вдоль берега, его владелец не женится в этом году; если он скорее затонул, это считалось плохим предзнаменованием. Чем дальше венок плыл с берега, и чем дольше он фактически оставался на плаву, тем счастливее судьба девицы в конечном итоге.

Еще одно интересное убеждение, связанное с этим праздником в древние времена? Люди верили, что накануне Ивана Купалы оживают деревья и растения, разговариваются друг с другом и даже перемещаются по лесу.

The Russian people associate three main symbols with Ivan Kupala Day: fire, water, and grass. Thus, many traditions and beliefs regarding this holiday have to do with these three things.

One such tradition is that of the bonfire. The Russian people will build a large bonfire and jump over it, as this is thought to have curative powers on this night. Further, in the old times, people burned the clothing of sick people in hopes that they would recover faster. In order for this to work, people thought that the fire must be made by rubbing together dry sticks.

On Ivan Kupala Day, maidens wove wreaths made of flowers from a field, and let them go in the evening to float on a lake or river’s surface. They then observed the wreath. If the wreath got stuck along the shore, its owner would not get married that year; if it rather sunk, this was considered a bad omen. The further the wreath floated from the shore, and the longer it actually stayed afloat, the happier the maiden girl’s fate would end up being.

Another interesting belief associated with this holiday in ancient times? People believed that on the eve of Ivan Kupala, trees and plants came to life, talked with each other, and even moved around the forest.

4. The Symbolic Plant of Ivan Kupala’s Day

Jumping Over a Bonfire

Do you know which plant is the symbol of Ivan Kupala Day?

Since ancient times, the symbol of Ivan Kupala Day is the fern. There’s a legend associated with fern flower, which blooms only one time during the year: Ivan Kupala Night. Whoever finds this fern flower will be gifted with many useful and interesting abilities:

  • Understanding bird and animal language
  • Seeing into the future
  • Becoming invisible
  • Finding buried treasure easily

Who wouldn’t want at least one of these abilities?!

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ivan Kupala Day

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Ivan Kupala’s Day in Russia!

  • Вода (voda) — “water”
  • Июль (iyul‘) — “July”
  • Плавание (plavaniye) — “swimming”
  • Растение (rasteniye) — “plant”
  • Огонь (agon`) — “fire”
  • Папоротник (paporotnik) — “fern”
  • День Ивана Купалы (Den’ Ivana Kupaly) — “Ivan Kupala’s Day”
  • Гадание (gadaniye) — “divination”
  • плетение венков (pleteniye venkof) — “weave wreaths
  • командная игра (kamandnaya igra) — “team game”
  • прыгать через костёр (prygat’ cheres kastyor) — “jump over the bonfire”
  • 7 июля (7 iyulya) — “July 7th”
  • Иоан Креститель (Ioan Krestitel’) — “John the Baptist”
  • Костер (kastyor) — “bonfire”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Ivan Kupala’s Day vocabulary list.

Conclusion

What do you think of the Kupala Night Russia observes each year? Which of the beliefs associated with it do you find most interesting? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Russian culture and the language, keep exploring RussianPod101.com! We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Russian vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! We also have an online forum where you can talk with fellow Russian learners or reach out for help!

To take even more control over your Russian learning, upgrade to Premium Plus! With a Premium Plus account, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn Russian one-on-one with your own teacher!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Russian like a native before you know it! And RussianPod101.com will be here with you on each step of your journey to language mastery.

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How to Introduce Yourself in Russian: Words and Expressions

Ready to face real Russians? Then you need to be fully prepared to answer all sorts of questions about your name, age, hobbies, nationality, job. All of that—in Russian. That may sound challenging, but you’ll find everything you need in this article to successfully defeat the beast of the first conversation (and the next ones for sure) and learn how to introduce yourself in the Russian language.

So… Ready, steady, go! Let’s learn some phrases to introduce yourself here at RussianPod101.com.

Table of Contents

  1. How to Start
  2. Identifying Yourself
  3. Placing Yourself in Society
  4. Sharing Personal Details
  5. Exercise: An Essay about Myself in Russian
  6. Conclusion

Log


1. How to Start

Start the introduction by saying “Hello” in Russian. In an informal situation, use Привет (Privet) meaning “Hi.” In a more formal situation, use Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte) meaning “Hello.” You can learn other Russian greetings from this article.

Further, it’s important that you start to recognize the request for self-introduction. For example, let’s learn the phrase “Tell me about yourself” in Russian. This is Расскажите о себе (Rasskazhite o sebe) in formal style and Расскажи о себе (Raskazhi o sebe) in less-formal style.


2. Identifying Yourself

1- Name

There’s really no way to get around talking about your name in Russian. This is the most common phrase to introduce yourself in Russian and it’ll fit any situation. Instead of dots, you can put your full name, short name, nickname, it’s up to you:

  • Меня зовут… (Menya zovut…)—“My name is…”

If you want people to call you by your short name, follow the previous phrase with this one:

  • Можно просто… (Mozhno prosto…)—“You can just call me…”

If you wanna ask “What’s your name?” in Russian, then use this question:

  • Как тебя зовут? (Kak tebya zovut?)—“What is your name?” (informal).
  • Как вас зовут? (Kak vas zovut?)—“What is your name?” (formal).

If you don’t know how to write your name in Russian, ask our teachers on this page. You can also learn more about Russian names and surnames there!

2- Age

Talking about your age in Russian is another common topic at first introduction. But it’s not as important in Russia as it is in, say, Korean culture. For instance, in Russia, it’s often considered rude to ask a girl about her age. Usually, Russian girls joke around this tricky question. Russian women love to seem younger than they really are and don’t want to reveal their real age. Though they’re more likely to not talk about their age, they’ll definitely be super curious about yours. So, go ahead!

  • Мне… лет (Mne… let)—“I am…years old.”

3- Nationality

People will definitely wonder what country you’re from.

  • Я из… (Ya iz…)—“I am from…”
  • Я … (Ya…)—“I am…”
    • Я американец (Ya amerikanets)—“I am American.”
    • Я китаец (Ya kitayets)—“I am Chinese.”
    • Я японец (Ya yaponets)—“I am Japanese.”
    • Я кореец (Ya koreyets)—“I am Korean.”
    • Я немец (Ya nemets)—“I am German.”
    • Я француз (Ya frantsuz)—“I am French.”
    • Я испанец (Ya ispanets)—“I am Spanish.”

4- Hometown

If you meet someone who’s visited your homeland, they’ll definitely wonder which city you’re from. So, let’s learn how to talk about that.

  • Я родился в… (Ya rodilsya v…)—“I was born in…” for a male.
  • Я родилась в… (Ya rodilas’ v…)—“I was born in…” for a female.
  • Мой родной город - … (Moy rodnoy gorod…)—“My hometown is…”

But what if you spent a significant part of your life in another city? Let’s learn how to tell them about that.

  • Но потом я переехал в… и жил там… лет (No potom ya pereyekhal v… i zhil tam… let)—“But later I moved to…and lived there for…years,” for a male.
  • Но потом я переехала в… и жила там… лет (No potom ya pereyekhala v… i zhila tam… let)—“But later I moved to…and lived there for…years,” for a female.

Many people in Russia move to another city in order to study. Here’s what you can say to explain this about yourself.

  • Потом я поступил в университет и переехал в… (Potom ya postupil v universitet i pereyekhal v…)—“Later I entered the university and moved to…” for a male.
  • Потом я поступила в университет и переехала в… (Potom ya postupila v universitet i pereyekhala v…)—“Later I entered the university and moved to…” for a male.

Lived in another city before?

  • Также я жил в… …лет (Takzhe ya zhil v… … let)—“Also I lived in…for…years,” for a male.
  • Также я жила в… …лет (Takzhe ya zhila v… … let)—“Also I lived in…for…years,” for a male.

5- Reasons to Learn Russian

Russian people will definitely be curious why you’re learning the Russian language. Here are some examples of how you can answer:

  • Я хочу поступить в университет в России (Ya khochu postupit’ v universitet v Rossii)—“I want to enter the university in Russia.”
  • Я хочу учиться в России (Ya khochu uchit’sya v Rossii)—“I want to study in Russia.”
  • Я хочу работать в России (Ya khochu rabotat’ v Rossii)—“I want to work in Russia.” By the way: If that’s the case, read our useful article about How to Get a Job in Russia.
  • Я хочу жить в России (Ya khochu zhit’ v Rossii)—“I wanna live in Russia.”
  • Я хочу путешествовать по России (Ya khochu puteshestvovat` po Rossii)—“I wanna travel around Russia.”
  • Мне нравится русская культура (Mne nravitsya russkaya kul’tura)—“I like Russian culture.”
  • Я люблю русские сериалы (Ya lyublyu russkiye serialy)—“I love Russian series.”
  • Я хочу жениться на русской девушке (Ya khochu zhenit’sya na russkoy devushke)—“I want to marry a Russian girl.”
  • Мне нравятся русские девушки (Mne nravyatsya russkie devushki)—“I like Russian girls.”
  • Мне нравятся русские мужчины (Mne nravyatsya russkie muzhchiny)—“I like Russian guys.”


3. Placing Yourself in Society

1- Major and/or Profession

This piece of information is really important. When people get to know about what you’re doing or what you are going to do for a living, they also start to understand you better.

  • Я студент (Ya student)—“I am a student.”
  • Я учусь на… (Ya uchus’ na…)—“I am studying to be a…”
    • Я учусь на переводчика (Ya uchus’ na perevodchika )—“I am studying to be a translator.”
    • Я учусь на юриста (Ya uchus’ na yurista)—“I am studying to be a lawyer.”
    • Я учусь на переводчика (Ya uchus’ na pirivotchika)—“I am studying to be a translator.”
  • По специальности я…, но работаю… (Po spetsial’nosti ya…, no rabotayu… )—“According to my major I am…, but I work as a…”
    • По специальности я экономист, но работаю фотографом (Po spetsial’nosti ya ekonomist, no rabotayu fotografom)—“According to my major I am an economist, but I work as a photographer.”
    • По специальности я бизнес-аналитик, но работаю архитектором (Po spetsial’nosti ya biznes-analitik, no rabotayu arkhitektorom)—“According to my major I am a business-analytic, but I work as an architect.”
    • По специальности я учитель, но работаю журналистом (Po spetsial’nosti ya uchitel’, no rabotayu zhurnalistom)—“According to my major I am a teacher, but I work as a journalist.”
  • Я работаю… (Ya rabotayu…)—“I work as a…”
    • Я работаю программистом (Ya rabotayu programmistom)—“I work as a programmer.”
    • Я работаю инженером (Ya rabotayu inzhenerom)—“I work as an engineer.”
    • Я работаю актёром (Ya rabotayu aktyorom)—“I work as an actor.”
  • Я… (Ya…)—“I am a…”
    • Я музыкант (Ya muzykant)—“I am a musician.”
    • Я повар (Ya povar)—“I am a chief.”
    • Я менеджер (Ya menedzher)—“I am a manager.”

2- Family

In Russia, family isn’t something you can judge a person by—of course, if your father isn’t a president. :) Usually people don’t mention what their parents do for a living because it’s private family information. But you can tell about your family—if you really want. That said, here are some phrases for talking about your family in Russian.

  • У меня есть сестра (U menya yest’ sestra)—“I have a sister.”
  • У меня есть брат (U menya yest’ brat)—“I have a brother.”
  • Ему… лет (Yemu… let)—“He is…years old.”
  • Ей… лет (Yey… let)—“She is…years old.”
  • Мой отец… (Moy otets…)—“My father is a…”. Instead of dots, put your father’s job title.
  • Моя мама… (Moya mama…)—“My mom is a…”. Instead of dots, put your mother’s job title.
  • Я их всех очень люблю (Ya ikh vsekh ochen’ lyublyu)—“I love all of them very much.”
  • Я по ним очень скучаю (Ya po nim ochen’ skuchayu)—“I miss them a lot.”


4. Sharing Personal Details

1- Hobbies

Talking about your hobbies in Russian allows you to better express who you are and what you’re interested in. When you’re talking about hobbies, remember to use these basic phrases:

  • Мне нравится… (Mne nravitsa…)—“I like…”. Put singular noun or verb after that.
  • Мне нравятся… (Mne nravyatsa…)—“I like…”. Put plural noun after that.
  • Я люблю… (Ya lyublyu…)—“I love… ”.
  • Я обожаю… (Ya obozhayu…)—“I LOOOVE…”. Expresses the strongest emotion.

After these phrases, you can add either the noun or the verb regarding your hobby. Here are some examples:

  • …читать книги (…chitat’ knigi)—“to read books”
  • …смотреть фильмы (…smotret’ fil’my)—“to watch films”
  • …смотреть сериалы (…smotret’ serialy)—“to watch series/drama”
  • …ходить по магазинам (…khodit’ po magazinam)—“to go shopping”
  • …гулять с друзьями (…gulyat’ s druz’yami)—“to have fun with friends”
  • … путешествовать (…puteshestvovat’)—“to travel”
  • …слушать музыку (…slushat’ musyku)—“to listen to music”
  • …заниматься спортом (…zanimat’sya sportom)—“to do sports”
  • …рисовать (…risovat’)—“to draw”
  • …играть в компьютерные игры (…igrat’ v komp’yuternyye igry)—“to play computer games”

2- Pets

Talking about your pets in Russian can be a great way to add some flair and personality to your self-introduction. You should know that pets in Russia are divided into male and female categories. If the animal is genderless—e.g. Snake—check to see if the noun itself is feminine, masculine, or neutral. Based on that, use она (ona) meaning “she,” он (on) meaning “he,” or оно (ono) meaning “it.”

Now, let’s learn some words and phrases to help you talk about your little friend.

  • Кот (kot)—“cat” for a male cat.
  • Кошка (koshka)—“cat” for a female cat.
  • Собака (sobaka)—“dog” both for male and female dogs, though the noun is feminine.
  • Пёс (pyos)—“dog” for a male dog.
  • Змея (zmeya)—“snake”
  • Хомяк (khomyak)—“hamster”
  • Морская свинка (morskaya svinka)—“guinea pig”
  • Рыбка (rybka)—“fish”
  • Черепаха (cherepakha)—“tortoise”
  • Крыса (krysa)—“rat”
  • Мышь (mysh)—“mouse”
  • Попугай (popugay)—“parrot”

And use the words above with the sentences below.

  • У меня есть… (U menya yest’…)—“I have a…”
  • Его зовут… (Yego zovut…)—“His name is…”
  • Ее зовут… (Yeyo zovut…)—“Her name is…”
  • Он очень красивый (On ochen’ krasivyy)—“He is very beautiful.”
  • Она очень красивая (Ona ochen’ krasivaya)—“She is very beautiful.”


5. Exercise: An Essay about Myself in Russian

So you can better see how to introduce yourself in the Russian language, here’s an example of a self-introduction made by a native Russian:

Меня зовут Дарья Дмитриевна Иванова. Мне 21 год. Я родилась в России. Мой родной город - Тверь. Он находится между Москвой и Санкт-Петербургом. В 17 лет я поступила в московский университет и переехала в Москву. Сейчас я студентка. Учусь на менеджера. Хочу поступать в магистратуру в Лондоне. В свободное от учёбы время я люблю гулять, читать книги и смотреть сериалы.

Menya zovut Dar’ya Dmitriyevna Ivanova. Mne dvadsat’ odin god. Ya rodilas’ v Rossii. Moy rodnoy gorod - Tver’. On nakhoditsya mezhdu Moskvoy i Sankt-Peterburgom. V semnadsat’ let ya postupila v moskovskiy universitet i pereyekhala v Moskvu. Seychas ya studentka. Uchus’ na menedzhera. Khochu postupat’ v magistraturu v Londone. V svobodnoye ot ucheby vremya lyublyu gulyat’, chitat’ knigi i smotryet’ serialy.

“My name is Daria Dmitrievna Ivanova. I am 21 years old. I was born in Russia. My native town is Tver. It is between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. When I was 17 I entered Moscow university and moved to Moscow. Now I am a student. I am studying to become a manager. I want to get a master degree in London. In my free time, I enjoy walking, reading books, and watching the series.”

Now write a short self-introduction about yourself based on the above example.


6. Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned how to introduce yourself in Russian. Of course, you can dig deeper and prepare a more colorful and brilliant self-introduction. Don’t hesitate to contact us here at RussianPod101.com and apply for our MyTeacher program. Our teachers can help you improve your Russian language skills and prepare a great introduction!

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How to Celebrate the Day of the Russian Language

UN Russian Language Day

Russian Language Day, established in 2010, is a holiday in United Nations dedicated to honoring Russian literature. In particular, people commemorate the work and life of the famous (and often controversial) writer Alexander Pushkin. In fact, this day used to be named after Pushkin!

In learning about UN Russian Language Day, you’re allowing yourself a glimpse into Russian culture, particularly that which revolves around the famous Russian writers and Russian literature. Any successful language-learner will tell you that comprehension of a country’s culture is a vital tool in mastering the language.

And at RussianPod101.com, we hope to make your Russian-learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Day of the Russian Language?

A relatively new holiday, established in 2010, the Day of the Russian Language is a holiday in the United Nations to celebrate the evolution of literature in Russia. Moreover, this holiday commemorates the work and life of Alexander Pushkin, who’s birthday coincides with Russian Language Day.

To learn more about Alexander Pushkin, read the Russian text below and find the English translation directly below it.

Александр Сергеевич Пушкин – великий русский поэт и писатель, признанный гений эпохи романтизма. Пушкин считается создателем новой русской литературы и основателем норм современного русского языка. Его творчество оказало большое влияние на развитие языка и культуры в России.

Пушкин родился 6 июня 1799 года в Москве в аристократической семье. Своей экзотической внешностью он обязан прадеду по материнской линии – Абраму Ганнибалу, уроженцу Эфиопии.

Воспитывался Пушкин частными учителями, обладал прекрасным знанием французского языка и литературы XVIII века. В 12 лет он поступил в лицей, где серьёзно занялся поэзией, и уже в 15 лет опубликовал своё первое стихотворение. Уже в лицее, а также впоследствии, Пушкин был членом различных литературных обществ, был связан тесными узами с “бунтарями” – декабристами, а в 1824 году был отправлен в двухлетнюю ссылку за атеистические идеи.

В 1831 году Пушкин обвенчался с восемнадцатилетней московской красавицей Натальей Гончаровой и переселился в Петербург.

Творческое наследие Пушкина огромно и состоит из произведений различных жанров, форм, стилей и тематик. В основном – это поэзия. Именно в стихах Пушкин отразил свои настроения, мысли, переживания, творческие порывы и поиски. Смелые вольнодумные стихи сменялись разочарованиями и потерей идеалов, вплоть до депрессивности.

В 1837 году, защищая честь своей жены, Пушкин вызвал на дуэль её предполагаемого любовника, поручика Дантеса. Пушкин получил смертельное ранение в живот

и десятого февраля скончался. Жизнь поэта трагически оборвалась, а творчество его осталось. Благодаря Пушкину, русская литература была признана одной из величайших литератур мира. Язык Пушкина прост и понятен, но в этой простоте и ясности заключается удивительная глубина мысли и великой мудрости.

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin was a great Russian poet and writer, and a recognized genius of the Romantic era. Pushkin is considered to be the creator of a new Russian literature and founder of the norms of the modern Russian language. His works had big influence on the development of the language and culture in Russia.

Pushkin was born on June 6, 1799, in Moscow to an aristocratic family. He owed his exotic looks to his great-grandfather on his mother’s side—Ethiopian-born Abram Gannibal.

Pushkin was educated by private teachers, receiving excellent knowledge of the French language and eighteenth-century literature. At twelve years old, he entered a lyceum (or academy) where he seriously dedicated himself to poetry, and at age fifteen, he had already published his first poem. While in lyceum and after it, Pushkin was a member of different literature societies and was tightly tied with “the rebels”—Decemberists, and was sentenced to a two-year exile for his atheist ideas in 1824.

In 1831, Pushkin married an eighteen-year-old Moscow beauty, Natalia Goncharova, and relocated to St. Petersburg.

Pushkin’s literary legacy is huge and consists of works of different genres, forms, styles, and themes. Mostly it’s poetry. It’s poetry where Pushkin reflected his moods, thoughts, worries, creative urges, and searches. Bold, freethinking poems alternated with disappointments and the loss of ideals up to depressiveness in his writings.

In 1937, defending the honor of his wife, Pushkin challenged for a duel with her alleged lover, Lieutenant Dantes. On February 10, Pushkin died of a lethal wound into his stomach.

The poet’s life ended tragically, but his works remain alive. Owing to Pushkin, Russian literature was recognized as one of the greatest in the world. Pushkin’s language is simple and easy to understand, but this simplicity and clarity contains amazing depth of thought and great wisdom.

2. When is Russian Language Day?

Russian Books of Literature

Russians celebrate Day of the Russian Language each year on June 6, the date of Alexander Pushkin’s birth.

3. How to Celebrate Russian Language Day

Woman Reading Poetry

There are no concrete celebrations or traditions for Day of the Russian Language, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find any ways to celebrate. Why not start by reading some of Pushkin’s work to discover for yourself his style and great mind? Not only can you discover the inner world of one of the great Russian writers, but you can increase your knowledge of Russian culture and improve your reading skills.

While you’re at it, there’s plenty of impressive and meaningful Russian literature out there for you to check out! In reading Russian literature classics, you may just discover something that intrigues you by famous Russian writers!

4. Pushkin’s Greatest Works

I don’t know about you, but I find great joy in literary language, and this is something Alexander Pushkin was known for.

One of the most loved masterpieces is his novel in verse “Eugene Onegin.” Other big Alexander Pushkin poems, such as “Prisoner of the Caucasus,” “The Gypsies,” “The Misery Knight,” “Boris Godunov,” and “Ruslan and Lyudmila” take special places in literature.

Pushkin’s prose is represented by such remarkable works as “Peter the Great’s Negro,” “The Tales of the Late Iven Petrovich Belkin,” “Dubrovsky,” “The Queen of Spades,” and “The Captain’s Daughter.”

5. Useful Vocabulary for Day of the Russian Language

Handwritten Page

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Day of the Russian language!

  • Концерт (kantsert) — “concert
  • Александр Пушкин (Aleksandr Pushkin) — “Alexander Pushkin”
  • Организация Объединённых Наций (Organizatsiya Ob”edinyonnykh Natsiy) — “United Nations”
  • Генеральная Ассамблея ООН (General’naya Assambleya OON) — “United Nations General Assembly”
  • Писатель (pisatel’) — “writer”
  • русская литература (russkaya literatura) — “Russian literature”
  • литературный язык (literaturnyi yazyk) — “literary language”
  • читать стихи (chitat’ stihi) — “read poetry”
  • постсоветское пространство (postsavetskaye prastranstvo) — “post-Soviet states”
  • славянская народная музыка (slavyanskaya narodnaya muzyka) — “slavic folk music”
  • русская культура (russkaya kul’tura) — “Russian culture”
  • Выставка (vystavka) — “exhibition”
  • Мероприятиe (merapriyatiye) — “activity”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Day of the Russian Language vocabulary list. Here, each word is accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on Russia’s Language Day and Alexander Pushkin? Does your country observe a special language day, too? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the culture in Russia and the Russian language, visit us at RussianPod101.com! We aim to make the Russian learning experience both fun and informative, and we offer an array of practical learning tools for every student. This includes free Russian vocabulary lists, more insightful blog posts like this one, and an online community forum. By upgrading to Premium Plus, you can also begin taking advantage of our MyTeacher service, which allows you to learn Russian one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

We hope that you enjoyed learning about Day of the Russian Language with us, and that you’ll keep coming back for more information on everything Russian! Know that your hard work will pay off, and RussianPod101.com will be here for every step of your language-learning journey!

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Top 10 Russian Movies: With Links and Quotes

Without knowing and recognizing quotes from the best Russian movies, you’ll probably get lost because Russians do use a lot of them. Like A LOT OF THEM. Especially the ones from Soviet movies. As you probably know, the USSR was a really closed country, so the only movies that Russian people got were basically Russian. And they were really good and kind, and contained strong ideas about love, friendship, courage, truth, and loyalty. So, Soviet people rewatched them millions of times and learned all the lines by heart.

Of course, nowadays Soviet movies aren’t that well-known, but quotes organically grew into the Russian language, so it’ll be really useful for language learners to watch them. Of course, not only useful but exciting too. You’ll find that watching movies in Russian will really bring your language skills to the next level! Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Russian.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. How to Learn Russian Using Movies
  2. The Best USSR Movies
  3. The Best Russian Movies
  4. Where to Watch
  5. Conclusion

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1. How to Learn Russian Using Movies

Movie genres

Learning Russian might become a bit challenging and exhausting, considering how complicated the language is. To get some rest from digging into new grammar and memorizing new words, watch Russian movies—that’s a great solution. They’ll keep you entertained while you practice your listening skills and try to catch familiar words as they’re said. Here are some tips to boost your learning process.

  1. Write down unknown words with their translations, especially if you understand that the word is used often in the Russian film. The first 3-4 times, you’ll Google the translation every time—and write it down, we hope. The next 2-3 times, you’ll think that the word sounds familiar, and still Google it. Don’t hesitate to write it down again. Only after that, this word will get into your memory and stay there long-term.
  2. Practice speaking skills by pausing the movie and repeating the sentence. Try to follow the accent, gestures, and speed. Replay it to check yourself.
  3. Don’t get too scrupulous and try to translate everything one-hundred percent; try to get the main idea. Though you should translate any jokes with details, as this will help you feel the language better.
  4. If you’re a beginner, start with English subtitles but switch to Russian ones as soon as you feel confident enough. If you’re an intermediate learner or higher, start with Russian subtitles right away. Yes, it will be hard, but much more effective.

Here are the most common Russian vocabulary that you may find in the movies.

Top verbs


2. The Best USSR Movies

The best films to learn Russian would be USSR movies. We have chosen the most popular ones that got a lot of international awards and are well-known by every Russian.

1- Иван Васильевич меняет профессию (Ivan Vasil`evich menyaet professiyu) — “Ivan Vasil`yevich Changes Professions”

Ivan changes professions poster

What about: Engineer-inventor Timofeev creates a time-machine that leads to the XVI century right from his flat. Moreover, the door between times is in the palace of a real Russian tsar Ivan Groznyy. Everything goes wrong when the tsar gets into the modern world and Timofeev`s neighbor Ivan Bunsha walks into the palace. Due to a weird coincidence, the tsar and Ivan look almost the same…

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Замуровали… замуровали, демоны. (Zamurovali… zamurovali, demony.)

Vocabulary:

  • Замуровать (zamurovat`)—“immure”
  • Демон (demon)—“demon”

Where to use: When you suddenly get stuck in some closed space and wanna lighten the mood of other people who may be with you.

Answer:

“Immured… Immured. Demons!”

2- Операция “Ы” и другие приключения Шурика (Operatsyya “Y” i drugie priklyucheniya Shurika) — “Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures”

Operation Y poster

What about: The film covers three stories about a young guy Shurik who gets into incredible situations—fights with hooligan Verzila, preparation for the university exam, and preventing a real robbery.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Ну, граждане алкоголики, хулиганы, тунеядцы… Кто хочет сегодня поработать? А?! (Nu, grazhdane alkogoliki, khuligany, tuneyadtsy… Kto khochet segodnya porabotat`? A?!)

Vocabulary:

  • Гражданин (grazhdanin)—“citizen”
  • Алкоголик (alkogolik)—“alcoholic”
  • Хулиган (khuligan)—“hooligan”
  • Тунеядец (tuneyadets)—“useless mouth; lazy fellow; parasite”
  • Кто (kto)—“who”
  • Хотеть (khotet`)—“to want”
  • Сегодня (segodnya)—“today”
  • Поработать (porabotat`)—“to work a bit”

Where to use: A bossy and fun way to start a working day with your team.

Answer:

“Well, dear alcoholics, hooligans, parasites… Who wants to work today?”

3- Бриллиантовая рука (Brilliantovaya ruka) — “The Diamond Arm”

Diamond Arm poster

What about: A band of criminals plans to transfer the diamonds in a hand cast. Everything goes wrong when instead of the “right” man, Semen Semenych—a usual traveler—falls in a stipulated place and the cast with valuable cargo is put on him.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Я не трус… но я боюсь. (Ya ne trus… no ya boyus`.)

Vocabulary:

  • Трус (trus)—“coward”
  • Бояться (boyat`sya)—“to be afraid”

Where to use: A smart way to let other people know that something you need or expected to do is scary. With this phrase, you motivate people to look into the situation and see the dangers that they might not have taken seriously.

Answer:

“I am not a coward… But I am scared.”

4- В бой идут одни старики (V boy idut odni stariki) — “Only Old Men are Going to Battle”

Only old men poster

What about: The film tells us about the life of pilot fighters in World War II. The veteran soldiers teach new recruits about life and death, courage and love. The movie became an iconic film about the war, and it got a lot of rewards in international festivals.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Хочешь жить—умей вертеться! (Khochesh zhit`—umey vertet’sya.)

Vocabulary:

  • Хотеть (khotet`)—“to want”
  • Жить (zhit`)—“to live”
  • Уметь (umet`)—“to be able to”
  • Вертеться (vertet’sya)—“to spin; to move”

Where to use: When commenting on someone’s laziness or lack of action that leads to an undesirable result.

Answer:

“If you want to live learn how to spin.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

5- Ирония судьбы, или С легким паром (Ironiya sud`by, ili s l`okhkim parom) — “The Irony of Fate or Enjoy Your Bath”

The irony of fate poster

What about: This is a traditional movie for all Russians to watch on New Year’s Eve while making salads for a holiday dinner. The story follows the adventures of a Moscow doctor who goes to the Russian banya (sauna) with his friends before the New Year, drinks a lot, and by mistake ends up on a plane to Saint Petersburg instead of his friend. He wakes up when he lands. Still drunk, he orders the taxi by his Moscow address, arrives there, and opens the flat with his Moscow key that suddenly fits perfectly. Then, still unaware that this isn’t his home, he falls asleep…

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Какая гадость эта ваша заливная рыба… (Kakaya gadost’ eta vasha zalivnaya ryba.)

Vocabulary:

  • Гадость (gadost`)—“disgusting thing”
  • Заливная рыба (zalivnaya ryba)—“fish in aspic”

Where to use: When somebody is eating something that you never eat due to personal preferences. Or you can use it when somebody’s asking you how the dish was—you can pretend to not like it and say the quote while putting some more on your plate—obviously enjoying it a lot.

Answer:

“How disgusting is your fish in aspic…”


3. The Best Russian Movies

If you want to practice slang words or to watch movies with modern plots, then this list will help you. Choose by genre and topic to broaden your vocabulary and learn some slang words and expressions.

1- Книга мастеров (Kniga masterov) — “The Book of Masters”

What about: This is the first and the only—so far—Russian Disney movie. You’ll get to explore the world of Russian fairy tales about Baba Yaga, The Mermaid, Koschei the Immortal, and more. The main hero Ivan will have to start a journey to rescue his beloved Katya and save the world from evil Kamennaya Knyazhna.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • Отвечай… Любишь ли ты Катерину? (Otvechay… Lyubish’ li ty Katerinu?)
  • Люблю… Больше жизни люблю. (Lyublyu… Bol`she zhizni lyublyu.)
  • Не надо преувеличивать. Достаточно просто «Люблю»! (Ne nado preuvelichivat`. Dostatochno prosto “Lyublyu”!)

Vocabulary:

  • Отвечать (otvechat`)—“to answer”
  • Любить (lyubit`)—“to love”
  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Преувеличивать (preuvelichivat`)—“exaggerate”
  • Достаточно (dostatochno)—“enough”
  • Просто (prosto)—“just”

Answer:

  • “Answer me… Do you love Katerina?”
  • “I do… More than my life.”
  • “Don’t exaggerate. Just ‘I love her’ is enough.”

2- Брат (Brat) — “Brother”

Brother poster

What about: This Russian action movie tells us the story of Danila Bagrov who returns from the army and moves to Saint Petersburg and his brother. This is when he finds out that his brother works as a hired killer.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • А в чём сила, брат? (A v chyom sila, brat?)
  • А вот в чём! В деньгах вся сила, брат! Деньги правят миром, и тот сильней, у кого их больше.
  • (A vot v chyom! V den`gakh vsya sila, brat! Den`gi pravyat mirom, i tot sil`ney, u kogo ikh bol`she.)

Vocabulary:

  • Сила (sila)—“strength”
  • Брат (brat)—“brother; bro”
  • Деньги (den`gi)—“money”
  • Править (pravit`)—“to rule”
  • Мир (mir)—“world”
  • Сильный (sil`nyy)—“strong; powerful”
  • Больше (bol`she)—“more”

Answer:

  • “And what brings the strength, bro?”
  • “That’s what! The money is the source, bro. The money rules the world. And the more you have the stronger you are.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

3- Стиляги (Stilyagi) — “Hipsters”

Hipsters poster

What about: Moscow in the 1950s is a suffocating place—prohibited sex, identical clothes with faded colors, a predefined life course. A group of young people starts to fight for their right to be different, listen to different music, wear different clothes, and love with passion.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • Я не хочу быть другой. Я не считаю, что я лучше остальных. (Ya ne khochu byt` drugoy. Ya ne shchitayu, chto ya luchshe ostal`nykh.)
  • Ты не лучше и не хуже, ты просто другая. (Ty ne luchshe i ne khuzhe, ty prosto drugaya.)

Vocabulary:

  • Хотеть (khotet`)—“to want”
  • Другой (drugoy)—“different”
  • Считать (shchitat`)—“to think; to consider; to find”
  • Лучше (pravit`)—“better”
  • Остальные (ostal`nye)—“others”
  • Хуже (khuzhe)—“worse”
  • Просто (prosto)—“just”

Answer:

  • “I don’t want to be different. I don’t think that I am better than the others.”
  • “You are not better or worse, you are just different.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

4- Остров (Ostrov) — “The Island”

The island poster

What about: “The Island” is a Russian movie which won the Golden Eagle Award and the Nika Award, becoming the best Russian film of 2006. It follows the story of a man who avoids inevitable death during the Second World War and becomes a monk with the gifts of healing and prophecy.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

Я вижу, когда ты врешь, в такие моменты ты улыбаешься, а глаза грустные. (Ya vizhu, kogda ty vryosh’, v takie momenty ty ulybaesh’sya, a glaza grustnye.)

Vocabulary:

  • Видеть (videt`)—“to see”
  • Врать (vrat`)—“to lie”
  • Момент (moment)—“moment”
  • Улыбаться (ulybat`sya)—“smile”
  • Глаз (glaz)—“eye”
  • Грустный (grustnyy)—“sad”

Answer:

“I see when you are lying. Then when you smile, your eyes are sad.”

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

5- Питер FM (Piter FM) — “Saint-Petersburg FM”

Saint petersburg FM poster

What about: The second biggest city in Russia is Saint-Petersburg. You can also call it Peterburg, Pit`er, Spb. Russians consider it the cultural capital of Russia as the city still keeps its historical spirit. The romantic story of this film happens right here. Masha is a DJ on a local radio station and Maxim is a young architect. Both of them have plans for the future, but experience serious doubts about them. The course of their lives changes when Masha loses her phone and Maxim finds it…

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

1. Все будет хорошо, я узнавала… (Vsyo budet khorosho, ya uznavala…)
2. Жизнь вообще штука непредсказуемая. Это только в кино всё по сценарию. (Zhizn` voobshche shtuka nepredskazuemaya. Eto tol`ko v kino vsyo po stsenariyu.)

Vocabulary:

  • Хорошо (khorosho)—“good”
  • Узнавать (uznavat`)—“to find out; to learn; to inquire”
  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Вообще (voobshche)—“generally”
  • Штука (shtuka)—“thing; piece”
  • Непредсказуемый (nepredskazuemyy)—“unpredictable”
  • Только (tol`ko)—“only”
  • Кино (kino)—“movie”
  • Сценарий (stsenariy)—“script”

Answer:

1. “Everything will be okay, I’ve inquired.”
2. “A life is an unpredictable thing. Only movies follow the script.”


4. Where to Watch

Here’s a list of the best sources to find Russian movies:

  • You can find Russian movies on Amazon Prime.
  • A lot of films—even with subtitles—are on YouTube. Search for Russian movies on YouTube by their English-spelled name plus “with English subtitles” if you’re a beginner. If you don’t see the subtitles right away, don’t worry—they are usually hidden under the button “Subtitles” on the bottom-right corner of the video. If you click on “Settings” to the right of this button, you can find subtitles in other languages (if they were created for this video).
  • Vkontakte—a Russian social network—is a great source for all kinds of shows. You’ll find a huge list of Russian TV shows here.
  • Also, you can find some of the most popular Russian movies on Netflix. The list of Russian films on Netflix is pretty lengthy, so you’ll definitely find something great to watch.


5. Conclusion

Russian films are full of deep philosophy and humor. They’ll help you to deepen your language knowledge and have some fun during the process. If you get hungry for Russian movies, use the special website to see the ratings. Russian people usually use Kinopoisk. Here you’ll find the list of USSR movies and here, a list of Russian movies. Enjoy!

Keep reading RussianPod101.com and learn interesting Russian words and expressions that you can start using right away.

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Top 20 Russian TV Shows: Study Russian the Fun Way

Did you know that comedy is the most watched TV show genre in modern Russia? On the one hand, Russians enjoy hilarious series, entertaining games, and funny reality shows. On the other hand, they value their military past and refresh their memories about the Second World War by watching truthful and heartbreaking military series.

It’s essential for Russian language learners to watch these TV shows in order to understand the complicated Russian brain and pick up some great phrases. We’ve meticulously selected the most interesting and useful Russian TV shows that will boost your language learning process.

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Learn Russian Using TV Shows
  2. Russian TV Series
  3. Where to Watch
  4. Conclusion

1. How to Learn Russian Using TV Shows

Switching on a Russian TV series is an effective way to broaden your vocabulary, work on pronunciation and accent, have a closer look at Russian culture, and practice your listening skills. And besides that, you can have some fun watching Russians fighting, falling in love, joking, studying, traveling, and the list goes on. Some of these things you’ll find surprisingly common within your culture, but others will come as a surprise.

In order to use this language learning instrument more effectively, we recommend preparing a spare notebook in which to write down new exciting words, phrases, or even whole sentences and dialogues to better memorize new vocabulary. Then practice it while chatting with your Russian-speaking friends.

Further, don’t hesitate to stop the show and repeat the sentences or phrases after the actors. This is excellent practice for your pronunciation skills and for improving your accent.

Also, watching the best Russian TV shows to learn Russian is the perfect way to stay motivated in your study process.

2. Russian TV Series

We’ve chosen top Russian TV shows for learners. Some of them are old ones that nearly every Russian has seen, and others are brand-new and beating all the charts. Read the descriptions and choose the one that best resonates with your state of mind.

We’ve taken the liberty to put each show we’ve chosen into a category: those for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners, based on language difficulty and the range of vocabulary. But don’t worry if you’re a beginner and start watching the advanced-tagged Russian television shows. You can still get the full language learning effect, though you’ll have to work harder at writing down the new words.

So, let’s get started! Here’s the list of Russian TV shows that we’ve prepared for you.

1- Comedy

1. Кухня (Kukhnya) — “Kitchen”

Kitchen

What about: Maxim gets a dream job as a chef in one of the most expensive restaurants in Moscow. But it turns out to be not as great as he expected. His boss—a star-chef in the restaurant industry—drinks too much alcohol, gambles, and has an unbearable character. The art director is an ice queen of business. Maxim spends a night with her before his first day at work and has to face the consequences. And on top of that, all the other chefs are waiting for him to make every newbie mistake so they can have a laugh at him.

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

  • Ты что, уксус тыришь? (Ty chto, uksus tyrish?)
  • Может, у меня дети дома голодают! (Mozhet, u menya deti doma golodayut!)
  • Ага, уксуса просят. (Aga, uksusa prosyat.)

Vocabulary:

  • Уксус (uksus)—“vinegar”
  • Тырить (tyrit`)—“to steal” (in spoken language)
  • Может (mozhet)—“may be”
  • Дети (deti)—“children”
  • Дом (dom)—“house”
  • Голодать (golodat`) —“to be hungry”
  • Просить (prosit`)—“to ask for”

Answer:

  • “What are you doing? Stealing vinegar?”
  • “Maybe my children are hungry at home!”
  • “Yeah, and they are asking for vinegar.”

Start now: Start with the first episode by following this link:

2. Интерны (Interny) — “Interns”

Interns

What about: This show follows the career of interns at the hospital who always get into funny situations. To make this series more endearing, their boss doctor Bykov enjoys watching that and teasing them. This series will be useful in learning Russian sarcasm and the game of words, so you can learn to create sarcastic jokes yourself.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

1. У нас выходной, и мы не будем отмечать этот день чаем.
(U nas vykhodnoy, I my ne budem otmechat` etot den` chaem.)
“It’s a day off and we will not celebrate it with tea.”

Vocabulary:

  • Выходной (vykhodnoy)—“weekend day” or “day off”
  • Отмечать день (otmechat` den`)—“celebrate the day”
  • Чай (chay)—“tea”

2. Быстро эволюционируем до прямоходящих, и за мной!
(Bystro evolyutsioniruem do pryamokhodyashchikh, i za mnoy.)
“Quickly evolve into orthograde and follow me.”

Vocabulary:

  • Быстро (bystro)—“quickly”
  • Эволюционировать (evolyutsionirovat`)—“evolve”
  • Прямоходящий (pryamokhodyashchiy)—“orthograde”
  • За мной (za mnoy)—“(go) after me; follow me”

Start now: Here’s the first episode of the first season. Give it a try!

2- Classical

1. Мастер и Маргарита (Master I Margarita) — “The Master and Margarita”

The Master and Margarita

What about: This mystery mini-series is based on the famous novel, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, which stays first place on the “must-read” list for Russians. It has several crossing storylines, with the first storyline taking place in Moscow under the regime of Stalin where the Master lives. He works on a manuscript about the biblical Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem—and that is the second storyline. The antagonist—Woland and his retinue—are manipulating events and people all over Moscow using people’s sins. The Master’s muse, Margarita, gets into Woland’s hands when she tries to save the Master.

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

Аннушка уже купила подсолнечное масло, и не только купила, но даже и разлила. Так что заседание не состоится.
(Annushka uzhe kupila podsolnechnoe maslo, I ne tol`ko kupila, no dazhe I razlila. Tak chto zasedanie ne sostoitsya.)
“Annushka already bought sunflower oil, and not only bought but already spilled. So there will be no meeting.”

Explanation: Because of the spilled oil, one of the characters dies, so the phrase Аннушка уже разлила масло (Annushka uzhe razlila maslo) means that the course of actions that one cannot change has started.

Vocabulary:

  • Уже (uzhe)—“already”
  • Купить (kupit`)—“to buy”
  • Подсолнечное масло (podsolnechnoe maslo)—“sunflower oil” (the most commonly used Russian oil)
  • Только (tol`ko)—“only”
  • Разлить (razlit`)—“to spill”
  • Заседание (zasedanie)—“an official meeting with a lot of people” (e.g. the committee meeting)
  • Состояться (sostoyat`sya)—“to take place” (e.g. Мероприятие состоялось [meropriyatie sostoyalos`]—“the event has happened”)

Start now: Here is the first part of the first episode with English subtitles for you to view:

2. Идиот (Idiot) — “Idiot”

Idiot

What about: This series is based on the famous Russian novel of the same name, written by Dostoevsky (yes, the one who wrote The Crime and Punishment). The show follows the life of Russian Prince Myshkin (XIX century) who returns to St. Petersburg after treatment in a psycho-clinic. As Prince holds an enormous fortune, he gets into the middle of the intrigues which rule the city.

Russian level: Advanced

Phrases and quotes:

1. Главная, самая сильная боль, может, не в ранах…
(Glavnaya, samaya sil`naya bol`, mozhet, ne v ranakh.)
“The main, the most violent pain is probably not because of the wounds…”

Vocabulary:

  • Главный (glavnyy)—(adj.) “main”
  • Сильная боль (sil’naya bol`)—“violent pain”
  • Рана (rana)—“wound”

2. И в тюрьме можно огромную жизнь найти…
(I v tyur`me mozhno ogromnuyu zhizn` nayti.)
“And in prison one can find a life…”

Vocabulary:

  • Тюрьма (tyur`ma)—“prison”
  • Огромный (ogromnyy)—“huge”
  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Найти (nayti)—“to find”

Start now: Find the first episode with English subtitles here:

3- Historical

1. Бедная Настя (Bednaya Nastya)—“Poor Nastya”

Poor Nastya

What about: This series has been translated and shown in more than twenty countries, with a huge budget of $11.8 million. The story follows the life of a poor, parentless girl who has been raised by a kind baron as his own daughter. Everybody loves Nastya and are sure that she’ll have a great future. She is studying to become an actress and play in the Emperor Theater, as the baron wants. Prince Repnin falls in love with Nastya at first sight. But what will happen if everybody finds out that Nastya was born a poor serf?

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Совсем недавно я понял, что страсть и любовь – это разные вещи. Страсть изматывает, превращает душу в пепел… а любовь дает умиротворение и покой.
(Sovsem nedavno ya ponyal, chto strast` I lyubov` - eto raznye veshchi. Strast` izmatyvaet, prevrashchaet dushu v pepel… a lyubov` dayot umirotvorenie i pokoy.)
“Just recently I realized that desire and love are different. Desire exhausts, turns the soul into ashes… And love brings peace and rest.”

Vocabulary:

  • Страсть (strast`)—“desire”
  • Любовь (lyubov`)—“love”
  • Разный (raznyy)—“different”
  • Вещь (veshch)—“thing”
  • Изматывать (izmatyvat`)—“to exhaust”
  • Превратить (в) (prevratit`)—“to turn (into)”
  • Душа (dusha)—“soul”
  • Пепел (pepel)—“ashes”
  • Давать (davat`)—“to give”
  • Умиротворение (umirotvorenie)—“peacefulness”
  • Покой (pokoy)—“rest; peace”

Start now: This is the first episode, which can be watched with English or Russian subtitles. Check it out!

2. Екатерина (Ekaterina)—“Ekaterina”

Ekaterina

What about: The Empress Elizaveta Petrovna is infertile. The only heir of the throne is her slow-witted nephew Petr III. Elizaveta can’t let Petr become an emperor, so she decides to wed him, wait for the birth of his son, and raise him to be a true Russian emperor herself. To do that she invites potential brides from all over the world.

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

- А ты что думала, милая, я долго терпеть буду?
(A ty chto dumala, milaya? Ya dolgo terpet` budu?)

- Но я же терплю. Вы отняли у меня сына, а я улыбаюсь вам, кланяюсь, слова говорю вежливые. Вы отняли у меня все. Моя жизнь не имеет смысла. И в этом виноваты только вы…

(No ya zhe terplyu. Vy otnyali u menya syna, a ya ulybayus` vam, klanyayus`, slova govoryu vezhlivye. Vy otnyali u menya vsyo. Moya zhizn` ne imeet smysla. I v etom vinovaty tol`ko vy.)

Translation:

- “And what did you think dear? That I will tolerate that?”
- “But I bear everything. You took away my son, and I smile, bow to you, say polite words. You took everything from me. My life is senseless. And that is your fault.”

Vocabulary:

  • Милый (milyy)—“dear”
  • Терпеть (terpet`)—“to tolerate; bear”
  • Отнять (otnyat`)—“to take away”
  • Сын (syn)—“son”
  • Улыбаться (ulybat`sya)—“to smile”
  • Кланяться (klanyat`sya)—“to bow”
  • Слово (slovo)—“word”
  • Вежливый (vezhlivyy)—“polite”
  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Смысл (smysl)—“meaning”
  • Виновен (vinoven)—“guilty”

Start now: Here’s a link to the first episode (without subtitles):

4- Criminal

1. Бригада (Brigada)—“Brigade”

Brigade

What about: This one is about criminal Moscow at the end of XX centuries, and tells the story of four friends who grew up in one block courtyard. They decide to make some money, but an unexpected murder makes them fight for their future. With high stakes, they make their way into the criminal world and become a strong criminal group.

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

Пуля-дура. И я дурак…
(Pulya - dura. I ya durak…)
“Bullet can’t think. I am the same…”

Vocabulary:

  • Пуля (pulya)—“bullet”
  • Дура (dura)—“fool” (about female)
  • Дурак (durak)—“fool” (about male)
  • Пуля-дура (pulya-dura)—This is a phrase which is used when the bullet behaved unexpectedly.

Start now. Here is a link to the first episode for your viewing pleasure:

2. Метод (Metod)—“Method”

Method

What about: Rodion Meglin is a brilliant investigator who solves the most mysterious crimes. Young graduate Esenya becomes his intern and has to cope with everything that this job brings. Yet in spite of this, she has a hidden motive not to leave this job: she is investigating the murder of her mother.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Чем всю жизнь таскать ребенка на спине через реку, лучше один раз научить его плавать.
(Chem vsyu zhizn` taskat` rebyonka na spine cherez reku, luchshe odin raz nauchit` ego plavat`.)
“Rather than carry a kid on your back across the river the whole life, better teach him how to swim.”

Vocabulary:

  • Жизнь (zhizn`)—“life”
  • Таскать (taskat`)—“carry; drag”
  • Ребенок (rebyonok)—“kid; child”
  • Спина (spina)—“back”
  • Река (reka)—“river”
  • Научить (nauchit`)—“teach”
  • Плавать (plavat`)—“swim”

Start now: Here is the first episode:

3. Мажор (Mazhor)—“The Boy Born with a Silver Spoon in His Mouth”

Mazhor

What about: Igor Sokolovskiy is the son of rich, high-ranking parents. Kids like these are called mazhor (мажор [mazhor]) in Russia. He doesn’t have an education, has never accomplished even a day’s work. He enjoys living it up and wasting his life on meaningless pleasures. One day, he stands up for his friend and disarms a police officer. His father punishes him and sends him to work in a police division—but everyone there despises him. This is when he starts to become a man, finds his love, and discovers who killed his mother.

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

- Соколовский, будешь делать все, что Жека говорит.
(Sokolovskiy, budesh delat` vsyo, chto Zheka govorit.)
- А если он извращенец? Я на такое не подписывался.
(A chto esli on izvrashchenets? Ya na takoe ne podpisyvalsya.)

Translation:

- “Sokolovskiy, you will do everything that Zheka tells you.”
- “What if he is a pervert? I didn’t sign up for that.”

Vocabulary:

  • Делать (delat`)—“to do”
  • Говорить (govorit`)—“to talk”
  • Жека (Zheka)—This is one of the ways to call a person named Евгений (Yevgeniy) when speaking.
  • Извращенец (izvrashchenets)—“pervert”
  • Подписаться (podpisat`sya)—“to sign up” (here the phrasal meaning is “to agree”)

Start now: Here is the first episode of season 2:

5- Military

1. Диверсант (Diversant)—“Diversionist”

Diversionist

What about: This show shares the story of two young boys who finish the military scout academy and work as scout saboteurs during the Second World War. They plan and carry out risky plans in the enemy rear.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Русское упрямство — из-за него немцы проиграют войну.
(Russkoe upryamstvo — iz-za nego nemtsy proigrayut voynu.)
“Russian stubbornness, this is the reason why Germans will lose in this war.”

Vocabulary:

  • Упрямство (upryamstvo)—“stubbornness”
  • Немец (nemets)—“German person”
  • Проиграть (proigrat`)—“to lose”
  • Война (voyna)—“war”

Start now: Check out the first episode below:

2. Грозовые ворота (Grozovye Vorota)—“Storm Gates”

Storm Gates

What about: Senior lieutenant’s company is relocated to the pass in North Caucasus. They will need to be heroes to defend this pass when huge enemy forces try to storm through it.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

- Они что, обкуренные, раз так прут?
(Oni chto, obkurennye, raz tak prut?)
- А мы тогда кто, раз так стоим?
(A my togda kto, raz tak stoim?)
- А мы – русские, нам так положено!
(A my russkie, nam tak polozheno!)

Translation:

- “Are they what… high? To assail like that?”
- “And who are we then when we defend like that?”
- “We are Russians, we are supposed to do that.”

Vocabulary:

  • Обкуренный (obkurennyy)—“high” (smoked too much)
  • Переть (peret`)—“to assail; go forward” (used when you don’t like when someone moves forward, push)
  • Стоять (stoyat`)—“to stand” (means here “to defend”)
  • Так положено (tak polozheno)—This is a phrase that means that this is the way things should be.

Start now: Here is the first episode:

6- Fantastic

1. Чернобыль: Зона отчуждения (Chernobyl: Zona otchuzhdeniya) – Chernobyl: exclusion zone

exclusion zone

What about: Five young people jump in an old car and start searching for a thief who stole eight million rubles (= $127,000) from one of them. The thief — usual Moscow IT specialist — instead of staying low, shoots a video where he states that his destination point is Chernobyl AES and Pripyat town.

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

- Пойдём, задрот, может, там жратва в холодильнике осталась.
(Poydyom, zadrot, mozhet, tam zhratva v kholodil`nike ostalas`.)
- Радиоактивная жратва 25-летней давности.
(Radioaktivnaya zhratva dvadtsatipyatiletney davnosti.)

Translation:

- “Let’s go, geek, maybe there is some food left in the fridge.”
- “Radioactive food twenty-five years old.”

Vocabulary:

  • Пойти (poyti)—“to go; move out”
  • Задрот (zadrot)—“geek”
  • Жратва (zhratva)—“food” (slang word, a bit rude)
  • Холодильник (kholodil`nik)—“refrigerator”
  • Остаться (ostat`sya)—“to stay; to be left”
  • Радиоактивный (radioaktivnyy)—“radioactive”
  • Давность (davnost`)—“age” (Usually used in one of the phrases NN-летней/-месячной/-дневной давности [NN-letney/-mesyachnoy/-dnevnoy davnosti]. Instead of NN, put the number of years/months/days.)

Start now: Here’s the trailer for the show:

2. Маргоша (Margosha)—“Margosha”

Margosha

What about: Though we’ve included this one in the “fantastic” genre, Margosha is actually a Russian romantic TV series. The show starts when the editor-in-chief of the glossy magazine—a successful guy named Gosha—wakes up and finds out that he became… a woman! Why did it happen? How does he deal with the job? And how does he become a man again? While trying to figure all of that out, he has to learn how to be a woman.

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

- Борис Наумыч у себя?
(Boris Naumych u sebya?)
- Борис Наумыч вне себя.
(Boris Naumych vne sebya.)

Translation:

- “Boris Naumych is at his place?”
- “Boris Numych is angry.”

Explanation: The above quote is based on the game of words. У себя (u sebya) means “to be at one’s place” (for example, the boss will be at the boss’s office). Вне себя (vne sebya) means “to be angry.” The only difference between the phrases is in the proposition.

Start now: Check out the first part of the first episode with English subtitles:

7- Romantic

1. Сердца трех (Serdtsa Tryokh)—“Hearts of Three”

Hearts of Three

What about: Young millionaire Francis Morgan and his bankrupted distant relative Henry Morgan start a journey to find a treasure that was hidden by their pirate ancestor. The journey becomes even more exciting when a young lady—that both men have feelings for—decides to join them.

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

- Ты боишься смерти.
(Ty boishsya smerti.)
- О, великий святой человек, очень боюсь.
(O, velikiy svyatoy chelovek, ochen’ boyus`.)
- Не бойся. Лучше в любой момент умереть человеком, чем вечно жить скотом.
(Ne boysya. Luchshe v lyuboy moment umeret` chelovekom, chem vechno zhit` skotom.)

Translation:

- “You are afraid of death.”
- “Oh, great saint man, I am really afraid.”
- “Don`t be. It’s better to die as a man at any moment, than live forever as cattle.”

Vocabulary:

  • Бояться (boyat`sya)—“to be afraid”
  • Смерть (smert`)—“death”
  • Великий (velikiy)—“great”
  • Святой (svyatoy)—“saint”
  • Человек (chelovek)—“person; man; human”
  • Любой момент (lyuboy moment)—“any moment”
  • Умереть (umeret`)—“to die”
  • Вечно (vechno)—“forever; for eternity”
  • Жить (zhit`)—“to live”
  • Скот (skot)—“cattle; animal”

Start now: Here’s the first episode, without subtitles:

2. Не родись красивой (Ne Rodis` Krasivoy)—“Don`t Be Born Beautiful”

Don`t Be Born Beautiful

What about: Katya is a smart girl who gets into a huge corporation. She perfectly handles her responsibilities and job with success, but nonetheless she becomes a victim of a cruel joke that hurts her feelings.

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

Я справилась со своими чувствами, а у него их никогда не было.
(Ya spravilas` so svoimi chuvstvami, a u nego ikh nikogda ne bylo.)
“I have handled my feelings, and he has never had them.”

Vocabulary:

  • Справиться (spravit`sya)—“to handle; overcome”
  • Чувства (chuvstva)—“feelings”
  • Никогда (nikogda)—“never”

Start now: Here’s the first episode:

8- Russian Reality TV Shows

1. Вечерний Ургант (Vecherniy Urgant)—“Evening Urgant”

Evening Urgant

What about: This is one of the most popular Russian TV programs. The onscreen moderator Ivan Urgant discusses the world news about films, sports, new gadgets, and art with incomparable wit and humor. In each program, he interviews guests from all over the world.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

- Скажите, почему ваша машина самая крутая?
(Skazhite, pochemu vasha mashina samaya krutaya?)
- О… Спасибо!
(O… Spasibo!)
- Нет, я так не сказала, я спросила.
(Net, ya tak ne skazala, ya sprosila.)

Translation:

- “Tell me, why your car is the coolest car?”
- “Oh… Thanks!”
- “No, I didn’t say that. I asked.”

Vocabulary:

  • Сказать (skazat`)—“to tell”
  • Машина (mashina)—“car”
  • Крутой (krutoy)—“cool”
  • Спросить (sprosit`)—“to ask”

Start now: Here’s the episode with Chris Pratt—the star of the Jurassic World movies and The Guardians of the Galaxy:

2. КВН (KVN)—“Club of Fun and Resourceful”

Club of Fun and Resourceful

What about: This is a popular and humorous game where teams from different universities, companies, etc. compete in improvisations. They typically act in fun scenes, give witty answers, and so on.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

Во время проезда президентского кортежа гаишник так сильно втянул живот, что повредил позвоночник.
(Vo vremya proezda prezidentskogo kortezha gaishnik tak sil`no vtyanul zhivot, chto povredil pozvonochnik.)
“While the president cortege was passing a traffic cop, he held his stomach muscles in so hard that it damaged his spine.”

Vocabulary:

  • Проезд (proezd)—“a drive”
  • Президент (prezident)—“president”
  • Кортеж (kortezh)—“cortege”
  • Гаишник (gaishnik)—“traffic cop” (the worker of GAI, spoken word)
  • Сильно (sil`no)—“hard; tough”
  • Втянуть (vtyanut`)—“to hold in”
  • Живот (zhivot)—“stomach”
  • Повредить (povredit`)—“damage; harm”
  • Позвоночник (pozvonochnik)—“spine”

Start now: Here’s of the scenes from this show with English subtitles:

3. Comedy Club

Comedy Club

What about: This is one of the most popular Russian television shows. The comedians show various witty scenes on relevant topics and news.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

- Мистер Трамп, я… Я к Вам не с пустыми руками… Я вам принес в подарок большую матрёшку Трампа. Здесь в Трампе – Меркель. В Меркель – Олланд, а в Олланде – маленький Порошенко.
(Mister Tramp, ya… Ya k vam ne s pustymi rukami… Ya vam prinyos v podarok bol`shuyu matryoshku Trampa. Zdes` v Trampe – Merkel`. V Merkel` - Olland, a v Ollande – malen`kiy Poroshenko.)
- О-о, а в Порошенко ничего нет.
(O-o, a v Poroshenko nichego net.)
- Согласен.
(Soglasen.)

Translation:

- “Mister Trump, I came not empty-handed… As a present, I brought you a big Trump matryoshka. Here in Trump – Merkel. In Merkel – Olland, and in Olland is tiny Poroshenko.”
- “Oh, and nothing in Poroshenko.”
- “I agree.”

Vocabulary:

  • С пустыми руками (s pustymi rukami) – “with empty hands” (phrase is usually used when the one visits someone and brings or doesn’t bring a guest present)
  • Принести (prinesti) — “to bring” (somewhere or to someone)
  • Подарок (podarok) — “present”
  • Большой (bol`shoy) — “big”
  • Матрёшка (matryoshka) —“traditional Russian doll”
  • Здесь (zdes`)—“here”
  • Маленький (malen`kiy)—“small; tiny”
  • Согласиться (soglasit`sya)—“to agree”

Start now: Here’s one of the scenes about Donald Trump’s second month on a president post:

4. Орел и решка (Oryol I Reshka)—“Obverse and Reverse”

Obverse and Reverse

What about: Every weekend, two moderators go to different cities all over the world. According to the rules, once they arrive in the country, they throw a coin. The loser will have only $100 for the whole weekend and the winner can spend unlimited money from his gold card. With a lacing of humor, the show tells about traditions in different countries, places to visit, souvenirs to buy, food to eat, and much more.

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

Дом на воде. Представляете, живёшь и плывёшь, живёшь и плывёшь. (ГОА, Индия.)
(Dom na vode. Predstavlyaete, zhivyosh I plyvyosh, zhivyosh I plyvyosh. [GOA, Indiya.])
“House on water. Just imagine, living and swimming, living and swimming. (GOA, India.)”

Vocabulary:

  • Дом (dom)—“house”
  • Вода (voda)—“water”
  • Представлять (predstavlyat`)—“to imagine”
  • Жить (zhit`)—“to live”
  • Плыть (plyt`)—“to swim”

You can find the list of the words essential for traveling here.

Start now: Check out the episode when moderators visit Tokyo:

5. Уральские пельмени (Uralskie Pelmeni)—“Ural Dumplings”

Ural Dumplings

What about: This is a comedy show created by one of the KVN teams; it has seen great success among Russians.

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

- Сама ищи!
(Sama ishchi!)
- Я не могу, я грязью лицо чищу.
(Ya ne mogu, ya gryaz`yu litso chishchu.)
- Аккуратней там, об мыло не испачкайся.
(Akkuratney tam, ob mylo ne ispachkaysya.)

Translation:

- “Search it yourself!”
- “I can`t, I am cleaning my face with a mud.”
- “Be careful, don’t get dabbled with soap.”

Vocabulary:

  • Искать (iskat`)—“search”
  • Грязь (gryaz`)—“mud”
  • Лицо (litso)—“face”
  • Чистить (chistit`)—“to clean”
  • Аккуратный (akkuratnyy)—“accurate; careful”
  • Мыло (mylo)—“soap”
  • Испачкаться (ispachkat`sya)—“to get dabbled”

Start now: Check out one of the most humorous pieces from this show (with English subtitles) that tells about a typical Russian supermarket:

Find the vocabulary list for a supermarket visit here.

3. Where to Watch

Here’s the list of the best sources to find Russian TV shows:

  1. You can find Russian TV shows on Amazon Prime.
  2. A lot of series — even with subtitles — are on YouTube. Search for Russian TV shows on YouTube by their English-spelled name plus “with English subtitles” if you’re a beginner. If you don’t see the subtitles right away, don’t worry — they are usually hidden under the button “Subtitles” in the bottom-right corner of the video. If you click on “Settings” to the right of this button, you can find subtitles in other languages (if they were created for this video).
  3. Vkontakte — a Russian social network — is a great source for all kinds of shows. You’ll find a huge list of Russian TV shows if you input Русский сериал (russkiy serial) or “Russian series” in a video search.
  4. Also, you can find some of the most popular Russian TV shows on Netflix. The list of Russian TV series on Netflix is pretty lengthy, so you’ll definitely find something great to watch.

4. Conclusion

So, as you can see, there are a lot of interesting Russian TV shows online to benefit your learning process with. There are great Russian TV shows for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. We’ve told you about the best Russian TV shows, but you can find more using the most popular Russian review website: Kinopoisk. Learn Russian TV show words in order to enrich your vocabulary and your Russian skill level.

Keep reading RussianPod101 and learn interesting Russian words and expressions that you can start using right away.

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How to Find a Job in Russia: The Best Tips

Are you wondering what kind of job you could get in Russia and how easily you could get it? Your timing couldn’t be more perfect. The Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup had a big impact on the job field in Russia. The number of foreigners-friendly jobs in Russia started to grow, giving these foreigners a chance to enjoy Russian life and to earn some money.

Russia’s growing economy also provides a lot of opportunities for starting or expanding a business, especially in the biggest Russian cities—Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.

So, let’s explore the Russian job market for foreigners and help you find the best job. Before you know it, you’ll be working and living in Russia with ease.

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Without further ado, here’s our guide on how to find a job in Russia.

Table of Contents

  1. Russian Job Market for Foreigners
  2. How to Search for a Job
  3. Jobs in Russia for English Speakers
  4. Tips on CVs and Interviews
  5. How to Say “Get a Job” in Russian
  6. Conclusion

1. Russian Job Market for Foreigners

1- The Best Cities to Work in Russia

There are a lot of beautiful places to see if you travel around Russia. But for a job, you need to come to the most crowded cities, such as Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.

Moscow

This is the capital of Russia and the biggest job market for foreigners. There’s a huge amount of big foreign companies that placed their Russian headquarters here, along with many foreign startups. When trying to find employment in Russia, Moscow should definitely be your go-to city.

Pros:

  • A huge international community
  • The biggest job market in Russia for foreigners
  • A lot of expat-oriented restaurants and bars
  • Most of the people know English
  • Impressive modern architecture and huge Soviet buildings

Cons:

  • A very crowded city with traffic jams and crowds in the underground in the rush-hour
  • Huge city territory; you’re most likely to live far from your work and spend from two to four hours for transportation per day

Saint-Petersburg

Russians call this the cultural capital of Russia as it has preserved the historical look from the XIX century. It also has a big job market for foreigners, but comparatively smaller than in Moscow.

Pros:

  • Beautiful and inspiring atmosphere
  • Lower living cost compared to Moscow

Cons:

  • Comparatively smaller salaries for the same position (than in Moscow)
  • Windy and rainy weather most of the time
  • Fewer people know English (compared to Moscow)

Other Cities (Sochi, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Rostov-na-Donu)

Of course, every city has its own beauty and provides specific opportunities. For example, Vladivostok is well-known among Asian countries, as it’s located next to the Eastern Russian border. So, Asian people are more likely to find a good job here. But basically, all the cities besides Moscow and Saint-Petersburg have several things in common.

Pros:

  • Clean air and lots of wild nature around
  • Low living cost

Cons:

  • Small salaries
  • Most people don’t know English
  • Small international community

2- Why Work in Russia?

No matter what city you choose to work in, you should know the main advantages of Russia for expanding your business or finding a working place. Here are some of the great benefits of working and living in Russia.

  1. Russia is the biggest consumer market in Europe. So, opening an office right here will bring you a lot of new customers.
  2. Highly educated but cheap manpower. This will also be great for your business expenses.
  3. Great ecology. As Russia is mostly covered with forests, the air is really fresh. You can enjoy all four seasons—relatively hot summer, gold autumn, white winter, and fresh spring.
  4. Cultural experience. There are a lot of perky cultural experiences that you’ll certainly enjoy while working in Russia—Russian saunas, fishing, hunting, and the list goes on.
  5. Cheap extreme experiences. You’ll find a lot of opportunities for extreme sport experiences—parachuting, paragliding, horse riding, skiing, snowboarding, etc.
  6. Spacy. You’ll be surprised by Russia’s extremely wide streets and high buildings, especially in Moscow. Several expats even say that everything in Russia is huge—well, the territory is big, so Russians aren’t shy in using it.

Documents

3- What Documents do Foreigners Need for a Russian Job?

In order to legally work in Russia, you need to have a working visa. To help you out, we’ve provided a rundown of the visa requirements to work in Russia.

Usually, the hiring company sends an official job offer to your native country. If you’re already in Russia, you’ll need to go back to your country in order to re-do the process of visa preparation. Remember that this visa gives you the right to work only at the company that initially sent you the offer.

You won’t need a work permit if you already hold a temporal Russian residence, for example if you officially study there or are acknowledged as a reporter or teacher.

Also, once you’ve found a job in Russia, make sure that you sign two contracts—one in Russian and one in your native language. This is a legal requirement in Russia in case you have any problems later and get sent to the court.

Researching

2. How to Search for a Job

1- How do Russians Search for a Job?

In the biggest Russian cities, people usually find jobs through Russian job search websites.

HeadHunter
This is the most popular Russian job hunting website, with more than eighteen-million visitors per month. There are a lot of vacancies for English speakers which you can check out right now. Some of the vacancies require other language speakers (e.g. French, German, etc.).

SuperJob
This is a less-popular website with no English interface or next to none English-speaking jobs. However, if you know Russian, you can find a good job here.

VK
This is the main Russian social network. Like Facebook, it has theme groups and communities. If you show a bit of creativity in your search, you can find some really good jobs or part-time jobs related to your native language. Search for groups with people who learn your native language. In almost every group there are public discussions which may have a job thread. If you’d like to teach a language, you can write to the owner of the group to put your ad post on the wall.

For example, if you’re an English native speaker you can search for английский язык (angliyskiy yazyk)—“English language.” The search will suggest a lot of groups for you. This would be the first one. Then open the list with discussions and search for a thread for private tutors. In Russian they’re called репетиторы (repetitory). In that group, this is the right thread. Leave your ad there and wait for students to contact you. Don’t forget to mention that you’re native speaker!

job hunting

2- Popular Russian Job Hunting Sites for Foreigners

LinkedIn
As Russia is getting more international, the use of this website is growing. Though the website’s blocked on the Russian territory, you can still use it by switching on any proxy app (e.g. friGate). Both employees and employers continue to use this job searching website.

Craigslist
This isn’t a very popular resource in Russia, as most of the Russian people don’t know about it and therefore don’t publish vacancies here. However, foreigners that already live in Russia sometimes publish part-time jobs here.

XpatJobs
This Russian job seeking website offers a lot of jobs for educated professionals.

Facebook
Don’t forget to search for a job in FB communities.

3. Jobs in Russia for English Speakers

Russia is a huge country with several job fields that are ready to get a hand from foreign specialists. Let’s see where else—besides the websites mentioned above—you can find a job in Russia, in the most popular sectors:

  • Russia Oil and Gas Jobs
    • As Russia is a big exporter of oil and gas, there are a lot of opportunities to find a job in this sector. Check the current vacancies.
  • Civil Engineering Jobs in Russia
  • Farm Manager Jobs in Russia
    • This isn’t a very popular job field for foreign specialists as it requires strong Russian language skills and provides poor salary. You can search for vacancies in this field on HeadHunter.
  • Nanny Jobs in Russia
    • As this kind of job isn’t well-paid and native Russian speakers are preferred over foreigners, there aren’t a lot of vacancies. You can still check them out on Expat.
  • Russia Hotel Jobs
    • As all hotels are both for Russians and for foreigners, you’ll need to have strong Russian-speaking skills. You can find vacancies on HeadHunter.
  • Restaurant Job in Russia
    • Similar to the hotel jobs, you’ll need good Russian language skills that you can master with RussianPod101. After that, find a fitting job on HeadHunter.
  • Teaching and Academics
    • This is probably the most popular field when finding employment in Russia, especially in Moscow. Find vacancies on HeadHunter, Gooverseas, or Learn4good.

4. Tips on CVs and Interviews

1- Russian Resume Tips

The resume doesn’t differ from the American and European ones. But here’s a lifehack. If you create a profile on HeadHunter, you can save the profile CV as a document and send it to potential employers. This will save you a lot of time!

Interview

2- Common Interview Questions in Russia and Other Tips

Be prepared to have several interviews for one position. First, you’ll talk with HR probably by phone and then in person. Only after that, HR will approve you for an interview with your future supervisor.

Be prepared to talk about your professional and personal goals, your strengths and weaknesses, and your plans for the next five years. Find the general information about the company and remember it. Feel free to use any English interview preparation material as Russian HRs usually use European and American experience. Here’s a nice video to get prepared.

3- Cultural Tips for an Interview

  1. Don’t be late. In Russia, it will portray you as a bad worker. Better to arrive earlier and wait for an arranged time.
  2. Wear professional clothes. For men it’s a suit and tie; for women it can be a professional skirt and blouse.
  3. When they offer you coffee or tea, feel free to refuse or accept it. In Russian culture, it’s just a welcome gesture that’s not really important.
  4. Be polite and calm.

5. How to Say “Get a Job” in Russian

Here’s a vocabulary list with the most useful job seeking terms in Russian.

  • Работа (rabota)—“work”
  • Вакансия (vakansiya)—“vacancy”
  • Подработка (podrabotka)—“part-time job”
  • Зарплата (zarplata)—“monthly salary” (please note that salaries in Russia are usually shown for one month)
  • ЗП (ZP)—“salary”; the abbreviation from Зарплата (zarplata)
  • Белая зарплата (belaya zarplata)—literally translated as “white salary” and means a legal salary. The thing is that a lot of the companies pay “black salary” (without notifying the authorities) or “gray salary” (half white, half black). So, white salary is a big “pro” in a job.
  • График работы (grafik raboty)—“work schedule”
  • Найти работу в Москве (nayti rabotu v Moskve)—“to find a job in Moscow”
  • Найти работу в Санкт-Петербурге (nayti rabotu v Sankt-Peterburge)—“to find a job in Saint-Petersburg”
  • Два через два (dva cherez dva)—a work schedule when you work two days in a row and then rest two days in a row, without any regard to the official weekends
  • Обязанности (obyazannosti)—“responsibilities”
  • Требования (trebovaniya)—“requirements”
  • Опыт (opyt)—“experience”
  • Стажёр (stazher)—“intern”

6. Conclusion

As you see, there are a lot of job possibilities for a foreigner in Russia. But you’ll definitely multiply your chances of getting a good position if you study Russian. We have the MyTeacher program for Russian-learners, which is sure to help you out here. Our teachers can help you to improve your Russian language skills to find a job in Russia and prepare you for the interview. With both Russian and your native language, you’ll have a huge advantage and get a great job offer. Keep reading RussianPod101 to improve your language skills.

We hope this article on finding a job in Russia was helpful to you, and that you found our suggested ways to find jobs in Russia practical. Thanks for reading, and best luck in your future Russian endeavors!

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International Women’s Day in Russia: Happy Women’s Day!

Do you know what is the favorite holiday of all members of the fairer sex in Russia is? Naturally, it is March 8, the International Women’s Day, when men lavish care and attention on all women and give them presents to get them in a good mood. (Though this is also the day of the International Women’s Day protest in Russia!) In this lesson, we’ll tell you exactly how this spring holiday is celebrated in Russia here at RussianPod101.com!

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1. What is International Women’s Day in Russia?

International Women’s Day in Russia was celebrated for the first time on March 3, 1913. On March 8, 1917, striking workers and ordinary women took to the streets of Petrograd, marking in this way the actual start of the February revolution. In memory of that day, in 1921, the Soviet Union established the holiday of March 8 as an International Women’s Day. Since 1965, March 8 has been a non-working day as well.

2. When is International Women’s Day?

March 8 is International Women's Day

On March 8th, Women’s Day is celebrated throughout Russia as it is around the world.

3. Reading Practice: Women’s Day Celebrations

Read the Russian text below to find out about Women’s Day Russian traditions. You can find the English translation directly below it.

—–

В этот день все мужчины поздравляют женщин и дарят им подарки и цветы. При чем поздравлять можно не только своих любимых, но так же друзей, коллег, да и просто незнакомых женщин. 8 марта проходят различные мероприятия и концерты, а по телевидению традиционно показывают фильм “Служебный роман”. В качестве подарков дарят цветы, шоколад, ювелирные украшения и даже романтические поездки.

Так как 8 марта является выходным днём, то поздравлять и праздновать его начинают уже с 7 марта. На работе мужчины-коллеги поздравляют и дарят женщинам цветы, и, как правило, после работы накрывают небольшой праздничный стол. В некоторых компаниях даже устраивают корпоратив.

В России количество цветов в букете всегда должно быть нечетным. Четное количество цветов приносят только на похороны. Поэтому мужчинам следует быть очень внимательными, если они самостоятельно составляют букет.

—–

On this day, all men congratulate women and give them presents and flowers. Notably, congratulations can be given not only to your beloveds but also to friends, coworkers, and to unknown women as well. Many events and concerts take place on March 8, and the movie Office Romance (“Sluzhebny Roman”) is traditionally shown on TV. The presents can be flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and even romantic trips.

As March 8 is a non-working day, congratulations and celebrations begin as early as March 7. At the office, men congratulate their female coworkers and give them flowers; as a rule, after work, they lay a small festive table. Some companies even arrange a company party.

Bouquets in Russia should always be composed of an odd number of flowers. Even numbers of flowers are brought only to funerals. For that reason, men need to be very careful if they arrange a bouquet themselves.

4. Additional Information: Flowers

Breakfast Tray and Flower

What kind of flowers do you think women are given most often on March 8?

The undisputed leaders among the flowers most commonly given on March 8 are tulips or roses. It has recently become popular to give live flowers in pots.

5. Must-know Vocab

Male and Female Colleagues

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for International Women’s Day in Russia!

  • Завтрак (zaftrak) — “Breakfast
  • Женщина (zhenschina) — “Woman”
  • Мужчина (muschina) — “Man”
  • Девушка (devushka) — “Girlfriend”
  • Цветок (tsvetok) — “Flower”
  • Конфета (konfeta) — “Candy
  • Коллега (kollega) — “Colleague”
  • Подарок (podarok) — “Present”
  • Девочка (devochka) — “Girl”
  • Международный женский день (Mezhdunarodnyy zhenskiy den’) — “International Women’s Day”
  • Восьмое марта (Vas’moye marta) — “March 8th”
  • Букет (buket) — “Bouquet”
  • Внимание (vnimaniye) — “Attention”

If you want to hear each vocabulary word pronounced, visit our Russian International Women’s Day vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio with its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know more about International Women’s Day in Russia. Does your country celebrate International Women’s Day as well, or a similar holiday that honors and celebrates women? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Russian culture and the language, visit us at RussianPod101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Russian learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Russian teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about International Women’s Day in Russia with us! Know that all of your hard work and practice will pay off, and you’ll be speaking Russian like a pro before you know it! Until next time, we wish you much success!

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Russian Men’s Day: Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia

Defender of the Fatherland Day (or День защитника Отечества) is a significant celebration to the Russian people. Formerly known as Red Army Day, Defender of the Fatherland Day is set aside to honor and celebrate those who serve (or have served) in the Russian army.

Learn the Russian language in context by exploring the country’s various holidays. By learning about Defender’s Day in Russia, you’re also allowing yourself to better understand the Russian culture and showing respect for its defenders as well.

Let RussianPod101.com guide you through the various aspects of Russian Army Day, including Defender of the Fatherland Day traditions.

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1. What is Russian Defender of the Fatherland Day?

Defender of the Fatherland Day, or in Russian, День защитника Отечества (Den’ zashchitnika atechestva), is the day reserved to celebrate those who defend the peace of Russia.

This holiday emerged after the 1918 Revolution and was initially called “Red Army Day” or in Russian День красной армии (Den’ krasnay armii). In the 1940s it was renamed “the Day of the Soviet Army,” or День советской армии (Den’ savetskay armii), then the holiday received its present name in 1995.

Nowadays most Russians consider this holiday a “men’s day.” This is related to the existence of a conscription law in Russia. Consequently, every young man who has served in the army, or в армии (v armii) in Russian, is already considered “a defender of his Fatherland.” “Fatherland” in Russian is Отечество (Atechestva).

2. When is Defender’s Day in Russia?

Defender of Fatherland Day on February 23

Russia celebrates Defender of the Fatherland Day each year on February 23. The 23 of February was chosen as this holiday’s date simply because it’s the Sunday just after the two events it commemorates:

  • Red Army drafts on February 17, 1918
  • Red Army establishment on February 18, 1918

3. Defender of the Fatherland Day Traditions

Celebrating with Fireworks

The holiday is celebrated at home or at a gathering at someone’s house. On that day, men not only receive presents, but there may also be parties at their places of work. While there’s not really a special Defender of the Fatherland Day food, we’re sure that men enjoy receiving a good home-cooked meal or tasty snack on this day.

On February 23, in many Russian cities, mass public events such as military parades, stunt performances, fairs, and car races take place. In Moskva, or Moscow in English, Sankt-Peterburg, or Saint Petersburg in English, Murmansk, and Smolensk, you can see festive fireworks.

Further, Defender of the Fatherland congratulations take place. This is a way of showing great appreciation and gratitude to those who are serving in the Russian army (or those who have served in the past).

There’s an interesting tradition in Moscow—the President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which in Russian is called Могила неизвестного солдата (Magila neizvesnava saldata), and this is followed by a minute of silence and the National Anthem.

4. Additional Information

This is considered a masculine holiday in Russia (and is even known as “Men’s Day”), but what about the women who serve in the army? Are they also recognized and celebrated on Defender of the Fatherland Day? Read the Russian text below to find out (you can find the English translation below it).

—–

Оказывается, мужчины ждут своих подарков и внимания на 23 февраля не меньше, чем женщины на 8 марта. По этому поводу в России даже говорят:
“Как встретишь 23 февраля, так 8 марта и проведешь.”
В России женщин, которые служат в вооруженных силах, тоже поздравляют с праздником 23 февраля. Ну а как? Они же тоже, получается, защитницы нашей Родины - России.

—–
As it turns out, men look forward to receiving presents and attention on February 23 no less than women do on March 8, which is International Women’s Day, or in Russian, Международный женский день (Mezhdunarodnyy zhenskiy den’). In Russia there’s even a saying:

“How you celebrate February 23 shows how you’ll celebrate March 8.”

In Russia, the women who serve in the armed forces also receive congratulations on February 23. How else should it be? They are defenders of the Fatherland as well.

5. Must-know Vocab

Russian Army

Now that we’ve gone over holiday information, here’ some vocabulary you should know to better understand the day and celebrate it to the fullest.

  • Мужчина (muschina) — “man”
  • Солдат (soldat) — “soldier”
  • Подарок (podarok) — “present”
  • почтовая открытка (pachtovaya atkrytka) — “postcard”
  • Ветеран (veteran) — “veteran”
  • Салют (salyut) — “firework”
  • Патриотизм (patriatizm) — “patriotism”
  • Армия (armiya) — “army”
  • военный парад (voyennyy parad) — “military parade”
  • Родина (Rodina) — “motherland”
  • воинская служба (voinskaya sluzhba) — “military service”
  • 23 февраля (23 fevralya) — “February 23”
  • Защитник (zashchitnik) — “defender”
  • Поздравление (pazdravleniye) — “congratulation”
  • красная гвоздика (krasnaya gvazdika) — “red carnation”
  • День защитника Отечества (Den’ zashchitnika Otechestva) — “Defender of the Fatherland Day”

If you want to hear each vocabulary word’s pronunciation, check out our Russian Defender of the Fatherland Day vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about Defender’s Day in Russia. What do you think of День защитника Отечества or Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

For more information on Russian culture and the Russian language, visit us at RussianPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Russian students! You can even download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Russian teacher.

Until next time, keep studying hard and practicing your vocabulary. And stay tuned for more Russian holiday articles. You’ll be a master of the Russian language and the country’s culture before you know it!

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How to Say I Love You in Russian - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Russian could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Russian partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At RussianPod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Russian lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Russian dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Russian Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Russian Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Russian Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Russian love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Russian word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Russian date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Russian Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • Не хочешь сходить со мной куда-нибудь поужинать?
  • Ne khochesh skhadit’ sa mnoy kuda-nibut’ pauzhinat’?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Russian is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • Ты свободна в эти выходные?
  • Ty svabodna v eti vykhadnyye?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • Сходим куда-нибудь?
  • Skhodim kuda-nibut’?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • Во сколько встретимся завтра?
  • Va skol’ka fstretimsya zavtra?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • Где встретимся?
  • Gde fstretimsya?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • Отлично выглядишь.
  • Atlichna vyglyadish.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • Ты такой милый.
  • Ty takoy milyy.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • Как тебе это место?
  • Kak tebe eta mesta?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Russian language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • Мы можем увидеться снова?
  • My mozhem uvidetsa snova?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • Пойдём куда-нибудь еще?
  • Paydyom kuda-nibut’ eshcho?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • Я знаю хорошее место.
  • Ya znayu kharosheye mesta.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • Я отвезу тебя домой.
  • Ya atvezu tebya damoy.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • Это был чудесный вечер.
  • Eta byl chudesnyy vecher.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • Когда мы увидимся снова?
  • Kagda my uvidimsya snova?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • Я тебе позвоню.
  • Ya tebe pazvanyu.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Russian phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Russian below!

Date Ideas in Russian

museum

  • музей
  • muzey

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • ужин при свечах
  • uzhin pri svechakh

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • сходить в зоопарк
  • skhadit’ v zaapark

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • устроить долгую прогулку
  • ustroit’ dolguyu pragulku

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • сходить в оперу
  • skhadit’ v operu

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • сходить в океанариум
  • skhadit’ v akeanarium

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • гулять по пляжу
  • gulyat’ pa plyazhu

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • устроить пикник
  • ustroit’ piknik

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • готовить еду вместе
  • gatovit’ edu vmeste

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • поужинать и посмотреть фильм
  • pauzhinat’ i pasmatret’ fil’m

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Russian

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Russian - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Russian Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Russian yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Russian? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Russian love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Russian

You mean so much to me.

  • Ты так много значишь для меня.
  • Ty tak mnoga znachish` dlya menya

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • Будешь ли ты моим Валентином?
  • Budesh` li ty maim Valentinom?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • Ты такая красивая.
  • Ty takaya krasivaya.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Russian, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • Ты для меня больше чем друг
  • Ty dlya menya bol`she chem drug

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Russian dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • Даже 100 сердец будет слишком мало чтобы выразить всю мою любовь к тебя.
  • Dazhe 100 serdets budet slishkam malo chtoby vyrazit` vsyu mayu lyubov` k tebe.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • Любовь, это просто любовь. Её никогда нельзя объяснить.
  • Lyubov’, eto prosto lyubov’. Yeyo nikagda nel`zya ob`yasnit`

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • Ты так красив.
  • Ty tak krasiv.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Russian love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • Ты мне нравишься.
  • Ty mne nravish`say.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • Ты заставляешь меня быть лучшим мужчиной.
  • ty zastavlyaesh` menya byt` luchshim muzhchinai.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Russian girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • Пусть всё что ты делаешь, будет сделано в любви.
  • Pust` vsyo chto ty delaesh`, budet sdelana v lyubvi.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • Ты моё солнце, моя любовь.
  • Ty mayo solntse, maya lubov`.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • Слова не могут описать мою любовь к тебе.
  • Slava ne mogut apisat’ mayu lyubov’ k tebe.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • Мы встретились чтобы быть вместе.
  • My vstretilis` chtoby byt` vmeste.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • Если вы думаете о ком-то, читая это, Вы определённо влюблены.
  • Yesli vy dumaete a kom-to chitaya eta, vy apredelyona vlyubleny.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

I love you.

  • Я люблю тебя.
  • Ya lyublyu tebya.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Russian carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

5. Russian Quotes about Love

Russian Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Russian lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Russian that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Russian Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Russian lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Russian custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Russian Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • Нам нужно поговорить.
    • Nam nuzhna pagavarit’.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • Дело не в тебе, а во мне
    • Delo ne v tebe, a va mne

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Russian lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • Я просто не готов к такого рода отношениям.
    • Ya prosta ne gatov k takova roda atnasheniyam.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • Давай останемся друзьями
    • Davay astanemsya druz`yami

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Russian, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • Я думаю, нам стоит сделать перерыв.
    • Ya dumayu, nam stoit sdelat’ pereryv.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • Ты заслуживаешь лучшего.
    • Ty zasluzhivayesh’ luchshego.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • Мы должны начать встречаться с другими людьми.
    • My dolzhny nachat’ vstrechatsyas s drugimi lyud`mi.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • Мне нужно больше свободы.
    • Mne nuzhno bol`she svabody

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • Я думаю, что мы слишком спешим.
    • Ya dumayu, chto my slishkam speshim

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • Мне нужно сосредоточиться на своей карьере.
    • Mne nuzhno sasredatochit’sya na svoyey kar’yere.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • Я не достаточно хорош для тебя.
    • Ya ne dastatachno khorosh dlya tebya.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • Я больше не люблю тебя.
    • Ya bol`she ne lyublyu tebya.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • Мы просто не подходим друг другу.
    • My prosta ne padkhodim drug drugu.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • Так будет лучше
    • Tak budet luch`she

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • Мы отдалились друг от друга.
    • My atdalilis’ drug ot druga.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Russian faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. RussianPod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Russian language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Russian Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your Russian speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    RussianPod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Russian, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Russian even faster.

    2- Having your Russian romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Russian language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Russian lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Russian partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why RussianPod101 helps you learn Russian Even Faster when you’re In Love

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Russian is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at RussianPod101 is translated into both English and Russian. So, while your partner can help you learn Russian faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Russian Culture
    At RussianPod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Russia. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Russian partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Russian Phrases
    You now have access to RussianPod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Russian soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!