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Archive for the 'Russian Phrases' Category

Mind the Gap: 15 Russian Filler Words

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Filler words. They come to the rescue when you run out of words. Sometimes, literally. They’re there when you hesitate with your answer, stutter trying to cover a lie, or…um just need a second to think. 

Today, we’ll be talking about Russian filler words and how to use them. But first, let’s set the stage… Let’s say I asked you to name out loud five movies with Matt Damon. Yes, right now. For real. 

Done? 

What was the sound you made when you were (painfully) trying to remember the fifth one? That’s a filler. 

I’m sure you could come up with at least a couple more filler words yourself if I told you they pop up whenever you stammer. And I bet “like” or “um” would be the first ones to cross your mind! And you’d be right. That’s the type of word we’ll be talking about today.

Contrary to common belief, filler words are not useless. They express hesitation, impatience, and surprise. They give you some time to gather your thoughts. And today, you’ll learn the top 15 Russian filler words and get a step closer to fluency. 

Filler words are extremely common, and knowing them is key to understanding native Russian speakers. Not to mention that it’s very common for even intermediate and advanced learners of Russian to just thoughtlessly insert a filler from their native language here and there. Voilà. Love it!

In this article, you’ll learnabout the functions of fillers, take an in-depth look into our list of Russian filler words, and find out some ways you can substitute—or even completely omit—fillers when speaking. Well, get ready to take notes!

A Woman Standing in Front of a Chalkboard and Thinking

Um… Yes! The Martian as well!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words?
  2. The 15 Most Common Russian Fillers
  3. Are Filler Words Our Friends?
  4. What’s Next?

1. What are filler words?

Filler words (or fillers) are words and sounds that we use to fill pauses while speaking. They send a signal to our partner that we haven’t finished our thought yet and just need more time to find the right words. 

Some filler words serve as a link between two ideas. But they’re more decorative than they are meaningful. In this regard, they’re similar to transition words. (Basically, the first word in this sentence is a transition word, just to give you an example.)

In some cases, fillers provide clues about the speaker’s emotions and attitude: uncertainty, hesitation, impatience, you name it. And no, it’s not only about negative emotions. Fillers can also help you gently approach delicate topics, for example, or let your partner know that you’re about to say something.

Types of Russian Filler Words

We can divide Russian fillers into two groups: linking words and “parasite words.”

Linking words are the transition words we mentioned earlier. They serve as a “bridge” that facilitates the transition from one idea to another. Even though, technically, you won’t lose much by removing them from a sentence, they’re still common in speech as well as writing. If you wrote essays in school, I bet you’re quite familiar with the concept of connecting two ideas.

Parasite words are junk words and sounds that serve no purpose other than filling the gaps in your speech. They’re harmless if not overused, but an excess of parasite words in your speech makes it interrupted and hard to follow. For this reason, most public speaking coaches recommend keeping them in check. I mean, no need to be a psycholinguist to notice the attitude we have toward parasite words. Just look at the name.

A Woman Trying to Understand What a Man Is Saying

“He’s really hard to follow…”
What “parasite words” do you know in your language?

2. The 15 Most Common Russian Fillers

Below, you’ll find both linking words and parasite words. Try your linguistic hunch at deciding which word belongs to which group. A tiny hint: If the word can be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence at all, it’s a junk word. 

Also, pay attention to the punctuation. Russian fillers are often separated from the rest of the sentence with commas. 

#1

Ну (nu)“Well”
[often used before giving an answer to a question or to summarize]
Russian– Почему опоздал?
– Ну, я проспал.
Ну, я пошёл.
Romanization(Pochemu opozdal?)
(Nu, ya prospal.)
(Nu, ya poshyol.)
English“Why are you late?”
“Well, I overslept.”
“Well, I’m off.” [leaving]

#2

Слушай (slushay) “Listen”[used to attract attention before a question or an offer; informal]
Слушай, ты сейчас дома? Я к тебе заеду.
(Slushay, ty seychas doma? Ya k tebe zayedu.)
“Listen, are you home now? I’ll drop by.”

Слушайте (slushayte) is the formal version of it. It can also be used when addressing several people.

Слушайте, а давайте сходим в кино?
(Slushayte, a davayte skhodim v kino?)
“Listen, why don’t we go to the movies?” [formal or plural]

Слышь (slysh’) is a vulgar version of the first two. If you want to put on the face of a bad guy, go ahead with this one; otherwise, you’d sound blatantly rude. It is, however, a common slang term among not-the-most-polite guys who you might encounter in certain suburbs of large Russian cities. Anyway, if anybody’s addressing you this way, I’d refrain from interacting with them. Let me tell you, the communication is not going to be friendly.

#3

В общем (v obshchem) – “Bottom line” / “In short”[used to summarize; emotionally neutral]
Мы расстались. В общем, упустил я свой шанс.
(My rasstalis’. V obshchem, upustil ya svoy shans.)
“We broke up. Bottom line, I missed my chance.”
Надоело с ним ругаться. В общем, хватит с меня.
(Nadoyelo s nim rugat’sya. V obshchem, khvatit s menya.)
“I’m tired of arguing with him all the time. In short, I’ve had enough.”

#4

Короче (koroche) – “So” / “Long story short”
or Короче говоря (koroche govorya)
[used to summarize; can sometimes imply impatience]
Короче, был у меня друг…
(Koroche, byl u menya drug…)
“So, I had this friend once…”

Мне позвонили из той компании. Короче, меня не взяли на работу. 
(Mne pozvonili iz toy kompanii. Koroche, menya ne vzyali na rabotu.)
“I got a call from that company. Long story short, I didn’t get the job.”

#5

Так вот (tak vot) – “So”
[used to refer to a previous piece of information]
Помнишь его сына? Так вот, он поступил в Оксфорд. 
(Pomnish’ ego syna? Tak vot, on postupil v Oksford.)
“Do you remember his son? So he got into Oxford.”
Помнишь дом, который я тебе показывал? Так вот, мы его купили.
(Pomnish’ dom, kotoryy ya tebe pokazyval? Tak vot, my yego kupili.)
“Do you remember the house I showed you the other day? So we bought it after all.”

#6

Так сказать (tak skazat’) – “So to speak”
[used when one cannot come up with a better word]
Она выиграла в лотерею. Повезло, так сказать.
(Ona vyigrala v lotereyu. Povezlo, tak skazat’.)
“She won the lottery. Lucky, so to speak.”
Я решил искать другую работу. Хочу сменить обстановку, так сказать.
(Ya reshil iskat’ druguyu rabotu. Khochu smenit’ obstanovku, tak skazat’.)
“I’ve decided to look for another job. I need a change of scenery, so to speak.”

#7

В принципе (v printsipe) – “Basically” / “Technically” / “As far as it goes”
[used to skip over some details or look at the bigger picture]
Мне, в принципе, больше нечего сказать. 
(Mne, v printsipe, bol’she nechego skazat’.)
“Technically, I have nothing more to say.”
В принципе, мне здесь нравится.
(V printsipe, mne zdes’ nravitsya.)
“As far as it goes, I like it here.”

#8

И всё такое (i vsyo takoye) – “And that sort of thing” / “And so on”
[used to imply more things of the same kind]
Он жалуется, что ему некогда и всё такое.
(On zhaluyetsya, chto yemu nekogda i vsyo takoye.)
“He’s complaining that he doesn’t have time and that sort of thing.”
Хочу на Мальдивы: пляж, море, солнце и всё такое.
(Khochu na Mal’divy: plyazh, more, solntse i vsyo takoye.)
“I want to go to the Maldives because of the beach, the sea, the sun, and so on.”

A Guy Playing a Game on His Computer

«Он жалуется, что ему некогда и всё такое…»
What’s been keeping him busy?
Try to answer in Russian!

#9

Как-то так. (Kak-to tak.) – “That’s about it.”
or Вот как-то так. (Vot kak-to tak.)
[used as an independent sentence; concludes an explanation; means “That’s the end of my thought.”]
Как ты нашёл эту работу?
– Как обычно. Увидел объявление, отправил резюме, прошёл собеседование. Как-то так.
– (Kak ty nashyol etu rabotu?)
– (Kak obychno. Uvidel ob’yavleniye, otpravil rezyume, proshyol sobesedovaniye. Kak-to tak.)
– “How did you find this job?”
– “As usual. I saw the posting, sent my CV, and passed the interview. That’s about it.”

#10

Просто (prosto) – “Just”
[used when looking for an excuse; the speaker might feel guilty]
Я просто подумал, что так будет лучше.
(Ya prosto podumal, chto tak budet luchshe.)
“I just thought it would be better this way.”
Я просто проходил мимо.
(Ya prosto prokhodil mimo.)
“I was just passing by.”

#11

Это… (eto) “Um” / “You know” / “Well”
or Это самое… (eto samoye)
[used when the speaker is really struggling to find the right words or delaying their reply as long as they can]
Я это… передумал.
(Ya eto… peredumal.)
“You know, I…um…changed my mind.”
Я его это самое… Выкинул.
(Ya yego eto samoye… Vykinul.)
“I…well…I threw it away.”

#12

Типа (tipa) – “Like” / “Sort of”
[used when the speaker is being slightly sarcastic about their own words; sometimes just a junk word]
Мы с ним типа «друзья».
(My s nim tipa druz’ya.)
“We are, like, ‘friends’.”
Типа того. (Tipa togo.) – “Something like that.” / “Sort of.”
– Так вы с ним друзья?
– Типа того.
– (Tak vy s nim druz’ya?)
– (Tipa togo.)
– “So you’re friends?”
– “Sort of.”

#13

Как бы (kak by) – “Kinda” / “Sort of”
[similar to “типа” and pretty often used as simply a junk word]
Не мешайте! Мы тут как бы работаем.
(Ne meshayte! My tut kak by rabotayem.)
“Don’t disturb us! We’re kinda working here.”
Я как бы его помощник.
(Ya kak by ego pomoshchnik.)
“I’m kinda his assistant.”

#14

Блин (blin) – “D*mn” [lit. “pancake”]
[mild expletive]
[might get out of hand as it can be inserted anywhere in the sentence; breaks the flow completely]
Я, блин, никак не могу до него дозвониться.
(Ya, blin, nikak ne mogu do nego dozvonit’sya.)
“D*mn, I still can’t get through to him.”
Я, блин, везде, блин, поискал уже, блин.
(Ya, blin, vezde, blin, poiskal uzhe, blin.)
“D*mn, I’ve already d*mn looked in every single d*mn place!”

#15

Э-э-э… (e-e-e) – “Er”
[sound of perplexity or active thinking]
– Ты дом закрыл?
– Э-э-э… Вроде да.
– Столица Аргентины?
– Э-э-э… Сантьяго? Нет, Буэнос-Айрес!
– (Ty dom zakryl?)
– (E-e-e… vrode da.)
– (Stolitsa Argentiny?)
– (E-e-e… Sant’yago? Net, Buenos-Ayres!)
– “Did you lock the house?”
– “Er… Yes, I guess.”
– “What’s the capital of Argentina?”
– “Erm… Santiago? No, Buenos Aires!”

A Businessman Looking at His Wristwatch and Talking on the Phone with a Concerned Look on His Face

Which of the previous examples describes this situation well?

3. Are Filler Words Our Friends?

Short answer—yes and no. Sorry for the ambiguity. 

If you check again the functions of filler words, you’ll see that sometimes they can help you out. Using Russian fillers in your conversations with native speakers can signal to your partner that you’re about to say something or need some time to let your brain catch up with your tongue. 

Some fillers are like good red wine: a bit bitter, but probably harmless if used in moderation. (Excessive use, on the other hand, will have some consequences.) And yeah, it might also help your speech flow. We all become eloquent under the spell of wine.

The parasite words though… You should probably wave them goodbye. They bring nothing to the table and litter your speech if overused. And in many formal situations, such as interviews and public speeches, they can make you sound more hesitant and less confident. 

Should you study Russian filler words anyway? 

That’s a yes. Even if you’re not going to use them yourself, you’ll hear them a lot. 

RussianPod101 has some tips for you on how to Improve Your Listening Skills. Make sure to read through them if you feel like listening isn’t your strongest suit (yet).

But if you do decide to cut some filler words from your speech…

Here are some ideas to help you “purify” your speech. These tips actually helped me limit the use of “ну” back in the day. It was my personal favorite. These tips might be useful for your native language as well!

  • First of all, you need to learn how to spot your junk words. For this, you can read a short text (a news article, for instance) and then summarize it out loud while recording yourself. When listening to your recording, mark all the fillers you hear. Focus on the one that pops up the most. You’ll work at reducing its use in your speech from now on. 
  • Record yourself one more time now, paying attention to limit that one word you’ve chosen. Listen again. Is it already getting better? Repeat as many times as you need.

Don’t try to get rid of all the small imperfections in your speech at once. It’d make you too self-conscious, and you might start stuttering. That’s not our goal. Pick one word and stick to it.


  • Also, you can ask a friend or relative to poke you every time you use the “forbidden” word. 
  • Don’t be scared of pauses. “Awkward” is not the only adjective for “silence” in a conversation. Make it meaningful, resting, calming. You choose.
  • Try to use shorter sentences. Even simple ideas, when stacked, will need some linking eventually. Your convo partner will also benefit from having the info split into digestible chunks.
  • Calm down. You might overuse junk words when you’re anxious, hesitant, or preoccupied. Slow down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Think about speaking slower. It’ll give your brain more time to process the information before you put it into words.
  • Use more meaningful synonyms. When you do need some time to think, instead of “это…” or “э-э-э…” (which don’t make you sound very smart), you can use:

Дай(те) подумать… (Day-te podumat’…) – “Let me think…” [informal / formal]
Минутку. (Minutku.) – “Just a moment.”
Я думаю… (Ya dumayu…) – “I think…”
Мне кажется… (Mne kazhetsya…) – “It seems to me…”

And, again, no need to aim at 100% purity. Even if you decide to say goodbye to some junk words, don’t turn them into your foes. They’ll keep popping up here and there anyway, it’s only natural. Remember: perfectionism and eloquence rarely go hand in hand.

➤ Feel free to also check out RussianPod101’s advice on How to Improve Your Speaking Skills.

Someone Holding a Pair of Scissors and Getting Ready to Cut a Red Ribbon

Cut your junk words one at a time.

4. What’s Next?

To sum it all up, we use fillers when we hesitate, look for the right words, or want to connect two ideas. Native speakers mostly use filler words spontaneously and unconsciously. If you want to insert them in your speech as well, be prepared to make some deliberate efforts at first. Just don’t get carried away and drop an occasional filler from your native language. Keep it Russian till the end!

Also, remember to not overuse the fillers. Yes, most of them do serve as linking words, but an overabundance of them will make your message difficult to follow. If you feel like you need some help getting rid of the fillers in your speech, here’s some advice:

1) Start cutting them one by one by being more conscious of what you say.
2) Try altering the speed of your speech.

And don’t become desperate in your pursuit of perfection! 

So, how many Russian filler words out of our top 15 can you recall from memory? Don’t peek into your notes just yet! To practice, start using two or three fillers in your Russian sentences or at least try to notice them in the speech of Russian speakers.

By the way, if you happen to have more questions about Russian filler words, our teachers will help you dispel any doubts. With MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service from RussianPod101, you get personal 1-on-1 coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—our teachers are there to help you! You can also opt to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and even voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. Too many benefits to fit in one paragraph. Just give it a try!

Eager to learn more? RussianPod101 has lots to offer! 

  • Our vocabulary lists will equip you with more meaningful words to use between (or in place of) fillers. 
  • You should also check out our list of 20 essential Russian idioms that will make you sound like a native speaker. Some of them are really funny!
  • Our article of essential Russian Business Phrases will help you hesitate less during important meetings!

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

Russian Love Phrases: “I Love You,” in Russian & More

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Love is one of the best feelings ever, and it’s one that frequently cuts across international borders and cultural backgrounds. 

If a Russian has caught your eye or completely stolen your heart, learning even a few basic phrases in his or her language might just win them over. 

In this article, we’ll talk about everything from flirting to marriage and introduce you to the many ways you can say “I love you,” in Russian. You’ll learn the most common pick-up lines, how to express your abiding love in Russian, how to propose to that special someone, and more. 

Save these popular Russian love phrases for the person of your heart, and get ready for a whirlwind of romance! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More
  2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Endearment Terms
  5. Must-Know Love Quotes
  6. Conclusion

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More

Before you learn how to say “I love you,” in Russian, you need to know how to start communicating with the person you like. The phrases below will help you make the right first impression. Keep in mind that girls almost never make the first move in Russia, so these expressions are appropriate for use by men only.

  • Девушка, можно с Вами познакомиться?
    Devushka, mozhno s Vami poznakomit’sya?
    “Can I get to know you better, girl?”

In English, it’s not common to start a conversation with this type of phrase, but it works well in Russian (despite being kind of a cliche). 

  • Вы очень красивая.
    Vy ochen’ krasivaya.
    “You’re very beautiful.”

This is one of the most popular compliments to offer a woman. You can use it in any informal situation, even as a conversation starter.

  • Ты мне нравишься.
    Ty mne nravish’sya.
    “I like you.”

Keep in mind that this phrase is much less serious than “I love you,” in Russian. It’s used more like a compliment. Before saying it, make sure you know the girl quite well as it may sound weird coming from a stranger.

  • Я хочу пригласить тебя на свидание.
    Ya hochu priglasit’ tebya na svidaniye.
    “I’d like to ask you out.”

After you’ve gotten to know each other a bit more, it’s time to take bigger steps. For example, you might want to ask the girl out on a date using this phrase.

  • Давай поужинаем вместе?
    Davay pouzhinayem vmeste?
    “Let’s have dinner together.”

Here’s another good phrase to show your interest and make a date.

  • Потанцуешь со мной?
    Potantsuyesh’ so mnoy?
    “Would you like to dance with me?”

This question is suitable if you want to ask a girl to dance when at a club or a restaurant.

  • Я могу тебе позвонить?
    Ya mogu tebe pozvonit’?
    “May I call you?”

If you want to continue your acquaintance with the girl, then don’t hesitate to ask this question.

A Man Flirting with a Woman and Getting Her Number

Russian flirting rules are almost the same as anywhere else, so don’t be shy!

2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More

Sooner or later, you’ll fall in love deeply and will want to start talking about your feelings. There are many ways of saying “I love you,” in Russian, and we’ve picked out the very best for you. All of these phrases are appropriate for use by both men and women, so we’ve prepared both male and female versions where needed.

  • Я люблю тебя.
    Ya lyublyu tebya.
    “I love you.”

This is a classic, go-to phrase for expressing your love in Russian.

  • Я влюбился / влюбилась в тебя с первого взгляда.
    Ya vlyubilsya / vlyubilas’ v tebya s pervogo vzglyada.
    “I fell in love with you at first sight.”

You can use this romantic Russian phrase to really woo your partner. Remember: A man says “влюбился,” and a woman says “влюбилась.”

  • Я постоянно думаю о тебе.
    Ya postoyanno dumayu o tebe.
    “I’m thinking about you all the time.”

This is a sweet yet more casual way of declaring your love in Russian. You may use this expression even at the very beginning of your relationship.

  • Я схожу по тебе с ума.
    Ya skhozhu po tebe s uma.
    “I’m crazy about you.”

This one isn’t as common among Russians, and it sounds less trivial than the other love declarations we’ve covered so far. 

  • Я не могу без тебя жить.
    Ya ne mogu bez tebya zhit’.
    “I can’t live without you.”

We recommend only using this phrase when you’re in a serious relationship.

  • Ты – лучше всех на свете!
    Ty – luchshe vsekh na svete!
    “You are the best!” (literally, “You’re better than anyone else in the world!”)

This romantic Russian phrase shows that you really appreciate your partner as a person.

  • Я тебя обожаю.
    Ya tebya obozhayu.
    “I adore you.”

This is a very informal way of saying “I love you,” in Russian. You may say it at any stage of your relationship.

  • Ты мне очень нужна / нужен.
    Ty mne ochen’ nuzhna / nuzhen.
    “I need you very much.”

Saying this phrase is not as thrilling as saying “I love you,” in Russian, though they connote the same meaning. If you’re saying it to a girl, you should say “нужна,” and if your partner is a man, say “нужен.”

  • Я всегда рядом.
    Ya vsegda ryadom.
    “I’m always near.”

Saying this phrase shows that you care about your sweetheart, and that he or she can rely on you.

A Man Surprising a Woman with a Bouquet of Flowers

Never forget that actions are more important than words!

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

Is your relationship getting serious? Are you thinking about taking steps toward a solid commitment with the man or woman of your dreams? Then there are a few more love phrases in Russian you should learn! The following expressions are universal, unless otherwise noted.

  • Я хочу познакомить тебя со своими друзьями.
    Ya khochu poznakomit’ tebya so svoimi druz’yami.
    “I want to introduce you to my friends.”

This is one of the first indicators for your sweetheart that your intention is really serious.

  • Я хочу познакомить тебя с моими родителями.
    Ya hochu poznakomit’ tebya s moimi roditelyami.
    “I want to introduce you to my parents.”

This phrase is much more serious than the previous one. It’s appropriate to say this to your partner after at least a few months of being in a relationship.

  • Давай жить вместе.
    Davay zhit’ vmeste.
    “Let’s live together.”

This is another phrase you should put off using until a bit later in your relationship, not at the very beginning. 

  • Ты выйдешь за меня?
    Ty vyydesh’ za menya?
    “Will you marry me?”

This expression is for use by men only! If you want to spend the rest of your life with your girlfriend, you can make a beautiful proposal with this phrase. Most women dream of hearing this phrase! 

  • Давай заведём ребёнка.
    Davay zavedyom rebyonka.
    “Let’s have a baby.”

This offer usually comes some time after the marriage proposal, and it’s really cute!

A Man Is Proposing to a Woman

Going to make a proposal? Don’t forget to turn your imagination on!

4. Endearment Terms

Couples from all over the world tend to address each other using cute nicknames, and Russians are no exception. Below, you’ll find some adorable pet names you can use with your lover. 

  • Дорогой / Дорогая
    Dorogoy / Dorogaya
    “My dear,” “Honey”

This term is popular among married couples. The first form is used to address a man, and the second to address a woman.

  • Родной / Pодная
    Rodnoy / Rodnaya
    “Honey”

This is an endearment term only used between people who are really close. Like in the previous example, the first form is for men, while the second is for women.

  • Моя любовь&
    Moya lyubov’
    “My love”

When they have been together for quite a long time, Russian couples like to address one another with the term “my love.”

  • Моя радость
    Moya radost’
    “My joy”

This term perfectly objectifies the happiness that another person brings into your life. 

  • Мой ангел
    Moy angel
    “My angel”

This sounds not only sweet, but also somewhat more significant than the previous phrases. 

  • Душа моя
    Dusha moya
    “My soul”

This is a term of deep affection. When you call somebody “my soul,” it means that this person is of great importance to you.

  • Солнышко
    Solnyshko
    “My sun,” “Sunny”

This is one of the most common words used to express affection in the Russian language.

  • Зайка
    Zayka
    “Bunny”

In most cases, this word is used toward girls. 

  • Котёнок
    Kotyonok
    “Kitten”

This word is also more appropriate when used toward girls, but some guys don’t mind being called a “kitten” either!

A Cat Hiding under a Bed

Before calling somebody “котёнок”… make sure your real cat is not very jealous!

5. Must-Know Love Quotes

Want some extra romance in your life? Watch the movie From Russia with Love, listen to some mood music, or…simply read these love quotes in Russian

  • Моё любимое место – рядом с тобой.
    Moyo lyubimoye mesto – ryadom s toboy.
    “Together with you is my favorite place to be.”
  • Если бы мне пришлось прожить эту жизнь снова, я бы нашел тебя раньше.
    Esli by mne prishlos’ prozhit’ etu zhizn’ snova, ya by nashyol tebya ran’she.
    “If I were to live my life again, I’d find you sooner.”
  • Если я знаю, что такое любовь, то только благодаря тебе.
    Esli ya znayu, chto takoye lyubov’, to tol’ko blagodarya tebe.
    “If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
  • Лучше любить и потерять, чем не любить вовсе.
    Luchshe lyubit’ i poteryat’, chem ne lyubit’ vovse.
    “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
  • Если любовь не безумна, то это не любовь.
    Yesli lyubov’ ne bezumna, to eto ne lyubov’.
    “When love is not madness, it is not love.”

6. Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned how to say “I love you,” in Russian, as well as the most common and useful Russian love phrases. But as beautiful as these phrases are, there’s still a lot more to learn about Russian if you want to master the language of your lover’s heart. 

On RussianPod101.com, you’ll find tons of materials to help you communicate with your loved one. With a free lifetime account, you’ll gain access to tons of video and audio lessons, our themed vocabulary lists, and a variety of tools for effective learning and studying. 

Also, don’t forget to check out our Premium PLUS service MyTeacher. This service provides you with a tutor with whom you can work 1-on-1 to really achieve mastery over the language. He or she can teach you more romance phrases, for instance, and help you learn their pronunciation. 

Before you go: What pick-up line in Russian are you most likely to try? And which of the Russian endearment terms do you like the most? Please, let us know in the comments section below!

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Negation in Russian: Don’t Be a “Yes-man”

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the new experiences and discoveries that the magic “yes”-word can draw us toward. But sometimes we have to say no. Be it an invitation to a boring party, your kid begging for a 57th toy at the store, or a fast-food clerk offering you extra double mustard for your burger. 

“No.”

With me, you’ll learn about the subtleties of negation in Russian. Together we’ll unearth the simple ways of negating words and statements, discuss the infamous double negation, and go over the most common negative words and expressions. I’ve also saved negation in questions and imperative sentences for last. You’ll be well-prepared, on all fronts!

A German Black Forest Cake

Can you say no to this?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. 3 Simple Ways to Say “No”
  2. Double Negation: Negative Pronouns and Adverbs
  3. Negation in Questions & Using the Negative Imperative
  4. More Typical Negative Phrases for the Road
  5. What’s Next?

1. 3 Simple Ways to Say “No”

Yes, you have some variety here. But don’t hold your breath: they’re not interchangeable, and each has its own function in the sentence.

1. НЕ (versatile simple negation)

We use не for simple negation. In other words, to make the opposite of a word. Just placing it in front of the word you want to negate will do the trick.

Verbs

  • Не думаю. – “I don’t think so.”
    (Ne dumayu)
  • Я его не вижу. – “I don’t see him.”
    (Ya yego ne vizhu)

Nouns

  • Это не кот, а собака. – “It’s not a cat, it’s a dog.”
    (Eto ne kot, a sobaka)
  • Это самолёт, а не птица. – “It’s a plane, not a bird.”
    (Eto samolyot, a ne ptitsa)

Pronouns

  • Это не я. – “It wasn’t me.”
    (Eto ne ya)
  • Это не его дом. – “That isn’t his house.”
    (Eto ne yego dom)

Numbers

  • Я тут не первый раз. – “It’s not my first time here.”
    (Ya tut ne pervyy raz)
  • Их не двое, а трое. – “There are three of them, not two.”
    (Ikh ne dvoye, a troye)

Adjectives

  • неинтересный фильм – “not an interesting movie”
    (neinteresnyy fil’m)
  • несмешная шутка – “not a funny joke”
    (nesmeshnaya shutka)

Adverbs

  • Это не всегда хорошо. – “That’s not always good.”
    (Eto ne vsegda khorosho)
  • Пушкин известен не только в России. – “Pushkin is famous not only in Russia.”
    (Pushkin izvesten ne tol’ko v Rossii)

You might’ve noticed that sometimes we separate the particle не from the other word, and sometimes we merge them. At this moment, just remember that we write не separately with most verbs, nouns, pronouns, and numbers. Adverbs and adjectives are much more capricious in this regard. It’s difficult to even sum it up in one paragraph, so let’s get back to it once you’ve leveled up to the advanced stage. That’s ‘simple’ negation, right?

2. НИ (strong negation)

This particle for strong Russian negation is mostly used for emphasis.

Rejecting both options

  • Мне не нравится ни то, ни другое. – “I don’t like either of them.”
    (Mne ne nravitsya ni to, ni drugoye)
  • Не хочу ни торт, ни печенье. – “I want neither cake, nor cookies.”
    (Ne khochu ni tort, ni pechen’ye)

“Not a single…”

  • Он ни разу не позвонил. – “He didn’t call even once.”
    (On ni razu ne pozvonil)
  • Она ни слова не сказала. – “She didn’t say (a single) word.”
    (Ona ni slova ne skazala)

“No matter…”

  • Как бы мы ни старались, ничего не получалось. – “No matter how hard we tried, nothing worked.”
    (Kak by my ni staralis’, nichego ne poluchalos’)
  • Я буду с тобой, что бы ни случилось. – “I’ll be with you no matter what.”
    (Ya budu s toboy, chto by ni sluchilos’)

НИ usually triggers a double negation. You can try to guess what this means by looking at the examples above, and then check the next chapter to see if you were right.

3. НЕТ (negation of the whole sentence)

Used as a negative reply.

  • – Ты дома? (Ty doma?) – “Are you home?”
    – Нет. (Net) – “No.”
  • – Кушать хочешь? (Kushat’ khochesh’?) – “Are you hungry?”
    – Нет. (Net) – “No.”

Нет is pretty neutral overall, but if you want to sound more polite in a formal setting, you can use: 

Нет, извините. (Net, izvinite) – “No, sorry.” 

Or:

Нет, спасибо. (Net, spasibo) – “No, thank you.”

A Black and White Cat with Green Eyes

That’s a dog. Am I right?
You can try to convince me otherwise in Russian.

2. Double Negation: Negative Pronouns and Adverbs

When the strong negation particle ни (or negative words starting with ни) is used together with the simple negation particle (не), this creates double negation in Russian. Negations stack up instead of canceling each other out. In a sense, it’s like a cumulative effect.

Let’s say you’re in a dark room and can only move by touch. In English, you’d say “I see nothing.” In Russian, it would be:

  • Я ничего не вижу. (Ya nichego ne vizhu) [lit. “I don’t see nothing.”] 

That’s how it works.

Double simple не, however, might have the opposite effect: they can be mutually destructive.

  • Я не мог не засмеяться. – “I couldn’t help but laugh.” [lit. “I couldn’t not laugh.”]
    (Ya ne mog ne zasmeyat’sya)
  • Не могу об этом не думать. – “I can’t stop thinking about it.” [lit. “I can’t not think about it.”]
    (Ne mogu ob etom ne dumat’)

Now, what are these negative words starting with ни? Grammatically speaking, some of them belong to pronouns and some—to adverbs. The biggest difference is that pronouns usually decline (change their form depending on the grammatical case) while adverbs don’t. But for your convenience, I’ve put them all in one place, and left a note as well.

Wiktionary can help you with the declensions. Just copy/paste or type the Russian word in the search box, then find “Declensions.” Try it out with the word “никто,” for instance.

Also, some negative pronouns and adverbs have a ‘sibling word’ with one letter that is different. The stréss shifts, changing the pronunciation of the word together with its meaning. Some of these words ‘take the wrong path’ and lose their negative attribute to become a completely new word.

Никтó (nikto) – “nobody” [declines]

Никто не пришёл. 
(Nikto ne prishyol)
“Nobody came.”
Нéкто (nekto) – “somebody unfamiliar / little-known”

Некто постучал в дверь. 
(Nekto postuchal v dver’)
“Somebody knocked.”
Никогó (nikogo) – “nobody” [“никто” in Genitive]

Дома никого нет. 
(Doma nikogo net) 
“There is nobody home.”
Нéкого (nekogo) – “there is nobody to…” [declines]

Ей некого позвать на день рождения. 
(Yey nekogo pozvat’ na den’ rozhdeniya)
“She has nobody to invite to her birthday.”

❗️no double negation with “некого”
Ничтó (nichto) – “nothing” [declines]

Ничто его не беспокоит. 
(Nichto yego ne bespokoit)
“Nothing worries him.”
Нéчто (nechto) – “something”

У меня уже есть нечто подобное.
(U menya uzhe yest’ nechto podobnoye)
“I already have something similar.”
Ничегó (nichego) – “nothing” [“ничто” in Genitive]

Ничего не осталось. 
(Nichego ne ostalos’)
“There’s nothing left.”
Нéчего (nechego) – “to have nothing to…” [declines]

Мне нечего надеть. 
(Mne nechego nadet’)
“I have nothing to wear.”

❗️no double negation with “нечего”
Нигдé (nigde) – “nowhere”

Его нигде нет. 
(Yego nigde net)
“He’s nowhere to be found.”
Нéгде (negde) – “there is no place to…”

Ему негде жить. 
(Yemu negde zhit’) 
“He has no place to live.”
Никудá (nikuda) – “(to) nowhere”

Никуда не пойдёшь, ты наказан. 
(Nikuda ne poydyosh’, ty nakazan) 
“You aren’t going anywhere, you’re grounded.”
Нéкуда (nekuda) – “there is nowhere to…”

В этом городе некуда пойти вечером. 
(V etom gorode nekuda poyti vecherom) 
“In this town, there is no place to go out at night.”
Никогда (nikogda) – “never”

Я никогда не был в России. 
(Ya nikogda ne byl v Rossii) 
“I’ve never been to Russia.”
Нéкогда (nekogda) – “no time to…”

Мне некогда этим заниматься. 
(Mne nekogda etim zanimat’sya) 
“I have no time for this.”
Никак (nikak) – “by no means,” “impossible”

Никак не могу найти свои ключи. 
(Nikak ne mogu nayti svoi klyuchi)
“It’s impossible to find my keys.”
Нискóлько (niskol’ko) – “not a bit”

Мне нисколько не страшно. 
(Mne niskol’ko ne strashno) 
“I’m not scared a bit.”
Нéсколько (neskol’ko) – “some,” “a couple” [declines]

Тут есть несколько интересных мест. 
(Tut yest’ neskol’ko interesnykh mest)
“There are a couple of interesting places here.”
Никакой (nikakoy) – “none,” “not one” [declines like an adjective, combines with a noun]

У меня нет никаких идей. 
(U menya net nikakikh idey)
“I don’t have any ideas.”
Ничей (nichey) – “nobody’s” [declines, has a gender and number, used with a noun or separately]

Ему не нужны ничьи советы. 
(Yemu ne nuzhny nich’i sovety) 
“He doesn’t need anybody’s advice.”

A: Это чей карандаш? (Eto chey karandash?) – “Whose pencil is it?”
B: Ничей. (Nichey) – “Nobody’s.”
Нéзачем (nezachem) – “there is no need to…”

Незачем об этом беспокоиться. 
(Nezachem ob etom bespokoit’sya) 
“There is no need to worry about that.”
Ниотку́да (niotkuda) – “out of nowhere”

Он появился как будто из ниоткуда. 
(On poyavilsya kak budto iz niotkuda) 
“It’s like he appeared out of nowhere.”
Нéоткуда (neotkuda) – “from nowhere”

Помощи ждать неоткуда. 
(Pomoshchi zhdat’ neotkuda) 
“There won’t be any help coming (from anywhere).”

A Guy Looking into a Mostly Empty Fridge at Night

How would you complain in Russian about the absence of food in the fridge?
One of the phrases mentioned above might come in handy.

3. Negation in Questions & Using the Negative Imperative

Russian word order is a blessing. It’s relatively flexible, yet it doesn’t change according to the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence; it can be subtle, but is overall easy to get along with. So why this ode to the word order all of a sudden? 

Right, the questions. When you ask a negative question, nothing changes in terms of word order. Just place the negation where it belongs: simple negation in front of the word you wish to negate, other negative words depending on the context.

  • Почему ты не ешь? – “Why aren’t you eating?”
    (Pochemu ty ne yesh’?)
  • Тебе не с кем пойти? – “Don’t you have anybody to go with?”
    (Tebe ne s kem poyti?)

An interesting thing about negative Russian questions is that sometimes negation can actually mean affirmation. Gently drawing your attention to the examples before you get confused:

  • Не хочешь чего-нибудь выпить? = Хочешь чего-нибудь выпить? 
    ([Ne] khochesh’ chego-nibud’ vypit’?)
    “Would you like to drink something?”
  • Ты не работал вчера? = Ты работал вчера?
    (Ty [ne] rabotal vchera?)
    “Did you work yesterday?”
  • Не хочешь куда-нибудь сходить? = Хочешь куда-нибудь сходить?
    ([Ne] khochesh’ kuda-nibud’ skhodit’?)
    “Would you like to go out?”

That might be a hard pill to swallow. But seriously, when in doubt, stick to the ‘affirmative’ questions. 

➤ By the way, we have an article about Russian questions if the topic has piqued your interest.

The same formula works for the imperative sentences. When you don’t want somebody to do something, simply put не in front of the ‘prohibited’ action.

  • Не смотри! (Ne smotri!) – “Don’t look!” [informal]
  • Не ходи туда! (Ne khodi tuda!) – “Don’t go there!” [informal]
  • Не смейтесь! (Ne smeytes’!) – “Don’t laugh!” [formal]

➤ If you struggle to understand how the Russian imperative works, you can figure it out with one of our lessons in the Upper Beginner series.

A Guy Flirting with a Female Colleague

Ask your Russian colleague out. Give it a shot; you have a hint in this chapter.

4. More Typical Negative Phrases for the Road

(That are not always negative)

To wrap up our article on negation in the Russian language, let’s go over a few negative phrases that will come in handy on a daily basis. 

  • Ничего! (Nichego) – “It’s okay.”

– Прости, я не смогу прийти.
(Prosti, ya ne smogu priyti)
“Sorry, I won’t be able to come.”

– Ничего!
(Nichego)
“It’s okay.”

  • Очень даже ничего. (Ochen’ dazhe nichego) – “Not half bad.”

А эта машина очень даже ничего. – “Well, this car isn’t half bad.”
(A eta mashina ochen’ dazhe nichego)

  • У меня нет… (U menya net) – “I don’t have…”

У меня нет телевизора.
(U menya net televizora)
“I don’t have a TV.”

У меня нет девушки.
(U menya net devushki)
“I don’t have a girlfriend.”

  • больше не… (bol’she ne) – “not… anymore”

Я больше не могу есть.
(Ya bol’she ne mogu yest’)
“I can’t eat anymore.”

Она больше не может ждать.
(Ona bol’she ne mozhet zhdat’)
“She can’t wait anymore.”

  • ещё не… (yeshchyo ne) – “not yet”

Я ещё не готов.
(Ya yeshchyo ne gotov)
“I’m not ready yet.”

Они ещё не пообедали.
(Oni yeshchyo ne poobedali)
“They haven’t had lunch yet.”

  • почти не… (pochti ne) – “hardly,” “barely”

Я почти не спал прошлой ночью.
(Ya pochti ne spal proshloy noch’yu)
“I barely slept last night.”

Я почти не говорю по-русски.
(Ya pochti ne govoryu po-russki)
“I barely speak any Russian.”

  • совсем не… (sovsem ne) – “not at all”

Я совсем об этом не подумал. 
(Ya sovsem ob etom ne podumal)
“I haven’t thought about it at all.”

Я совсем не устал. 
(Ya sovsem ne ustal)
“I’m not tired at all.”

  • чуть не… (chut’ ne) – “nearly”

Я чуть не упал.
(Ya chut’ ne upal)
“I nearly fell.”

Я чуть не проспал. 
(Ya chut’ ne prospal)
“I nearly overslept.”

  • не-а (ne-a) – “nope”

– У тебя есть ручка?
(U tebya yest’ ruchka?)
“Do you have a pen?”

– Не-а.
(Ne-a)
“Nope.”

A Guy Slipping on the Wet Floor with a Wet Floor Sign Beside Him

Я чуть не упал!

5. What’s Next?

Have you learned a lot about Russian negation today? I hope for this one, the answer will be affirmative! 

Let’s do a quick recap. 

  • For a simple negation, you put НЕ in front of the word.
  • For a strong negation, you use НЕ plus НИ.
  • For a negative reply, you say НЕТ.

There are also a bunch of Russian negative pronouns and adverbs that can be used in a sentence. How many can you recall right away, without peeking into the notes? Some have a ‘sibling’ word that might seem similar, but they’re pronounced differently, so pay attention to the stress! The very meaning of the word depends on it, after all. No pressure.

Negation doesn’t cause much trouble in questions and imperative sentences. Just a small two-letter particle is placed in front of the word. 

By the way, if you still have more questions about Russian negation, our teachers will help you dispel any doubts. With RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal 1-on-1 coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—our teachers are there to help you! You can also opt to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. There are too many benefits to fit in one paragraph, just give it a try!

Eager to learn more? RussianPod101 has more to offer! 

  • A video on word order, negative sentences, and questions. Three-in-one.

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Russian?

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Russian is not an easy language to learn. It often takes much longer to master than one might imagine when first starting out. 

If you’re like most of us, your time is quite limited and you might be wondering this all-too-common question among aspiring learners: How long does it take to learn Russian? 

Even though this question has no definite answer, we’ll try to discuss it as thoroughly as possible in the article below. We’ll talk about the different factors that can affect the speed of your learning progress, how long it takes on average to achieve each level of Russian, and how to learn Russian fast and effectively

Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. How Long Will it Take to Learn Russian? 3 Defining Factors.
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Elementary Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?
  5. Conclusion

How Long Will it Take to Learn Russian? 3 Defining Factors.

First of all, let’s look at three of the biggest factors that impact how long it takes to learn Russian. Ask yourself how each of these points applies to you or your situation; this will give you a better idea of what to expect for the road ahead. 

Language Experience

Since you’re reading this article, you must know a good bit of English. If English is the only language you speak, then you might not like what we’re going to say next. Unfortunately, learning Russian can be a real challenge for native English speakers

This is because the two languages are not at all similar. As a Slavic language, Russian has very specific pronunciation, grammar, and syntax rules that you’ll need time to get used to. The good news is that you’re not alone. Just think of all the other people reading this article who are thinking about learning Russian (or who have already taken the plunge). 

    → Any time you have a question to ask or a frustration to vent, you can head over to the RussianPod101 forum to chat with other learners and native speakers.

Now, how long would it take to learn Russian if you know a second (or even a third) non-Slavic language in addition to English? In this case, you’ll face many of the same problems but will also have one big advantage. Because you know more than one language, your brain is already accustomed to the process of studying foreign lexicology, grammar, etc., so it will take you less time to pick up Russian.

What if you belong to the minority of people reading this who know Belarussian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, or any other Slavic language? Let us tell you that you’re lucky. Your path to learning Russian will be really easy, because you’ll understand many of the concepts straight away.

A Boy with a Book

If you already know one Slavic language, it won’t be difficult for you to guess the meanings of some Russian words.

Motivation

How can you expect to learn the Russian language effectively without being motivated? It’s simply impossible, so you’d better come up with some kind of motivation before you start. Just think of why you need to accomplish this.

You’ll be most motivated to continue your Russian studies if you know you’ll get certain benefits from it later. Maybe Russian-language skills will help you get accepted to the university of your dreams, get promoted at work, or win the heart of someone you love? Such motivation will push you forward really quickly!

Passion for linguistics is another great source of motivation. Some people are so hungry for new languages that they study them one after another. 

There are also foreigners who simply love Russia and want to learn more about it, including the language that the Russians speak. Their main motivation is interest.

Self-Discipline and Schedule

It’s no surprise that mastering any language requires not only motivation, but also discipline. If you only studied Russian when you felt like it, for fun, it would take much longer to learn than if you studied with a specific goal in mind and on a regular basis. 

If you’re wondering how to learn Russian quickly without sacrificing quality, remember one simple thing: The more you speak Russian, write in Russian, and listen to Russian speech, the better your results will be. To study systematically, most people attend language courses. People with a high degree of willpower study on their own. In either case, the learners in question study according to a set schedule.

That said, there’s one other way to learn Russian well: immerse yourself in a Russian-speaking environment. In this case, you wouldn’t need to be very disciplined or bound to a schedule. If you ever have the opportunity to spend at least several months in Russia, don’t miss it!

A Timer in the Shape of a Tomato

If you have troubles with self-discipline, you can try the Pomodoro Technique.

How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Elementary Level?

Taking the first steps into the world of the Russian language is incredible! You’re enthusiastic and full of energy at this stage. However, the very beginning is also when you’re most likely to lose interest just as quickly as you gained it, so be careful.

How long should it take to learn Russian if you want to achieve the elementary level, or A1? If you’re an absolute beginner, 6 weeks of intensive study will be enough. By intensive, we mean about 120 hours of studying. This figure may sound scary, but in fact it’s only 20 hours per week for 1.5 months (or 2 hours per day for about 2 months).

At this stage, your main goal is to memorize the Russian alphabet, a few useful words, and the most important everyday phrases. Start by learning the necessary vocabulary, and then a bit later you should practice making full sentences. Don’t forget that memorizing words in context is much easier than doing so without context.

After 120 hours of practice, your vocabulary will be wide enough to help you get by in a limited number of everyday situations. You’ll be able to:

  • make an order in a Russian cafe or restaurant;
  • buy something in a Russian shop;
  • ask a native speaker for directions.

In other words, an elementary knowledge will help you survive while traveling in Russia, but no more. If you want to communicate with Russians confidently, you need to achieve at least the intermediate level.

A Man Making an Order at a Restaurant

Going to visit Russia? Basic knowledge of the Russian language will be extremely helpful!

How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?

If you’ve succeeded in achieving the elementary Russian level, then you’re probably really excited to level up again! But you should be aware that reaching this level will require much more time and effort than the previous one. 

Most students achieve the intermediate level (B1) in approximately 1.5 years. During this time, they spend around 500 hours actively learning. This equates to no more than 1 hour daily. 

Of course, you can go on learning Russian for 2 hours per day as you’ve been doing. Doing so, you’ll break new ground in 9 months. But keep in mind that your motivation will probably be a bit lower than it was at the very beginning. 

At this stage, you must pay attention to:

  • understanding grammar rules and implementing them; 
  • learning more complicated vocabulary, patterns, and structures;
  • mastering pronunciation.

The main sign that you’ve reached the intermediate level will be your ability to:

  • understand the most important parts of podcasts, YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies (with the use of English subtitles);
  • read adapted texts or books (with the frequent use of a dictionary);
  • participate in everyday conversations with native speakers (though you still won’t have enough knowledge to hold spontaneous, complex conversations). 

At the intermediate level, you’ll sometimes be unsure about how to compose sentences, pronounce words, and the like. This is absolutely okay! All these doubts will go away once you reach the advanced level.

A Group of People Taking a Selfie

Wanna make Russian friends? If you know Russian at the intermediate level, it will be easy!

How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?

Most students are satisfied with the intermediate level, and there’s only a small number of foreigners who decide to achieve the advanced one. If you want to be one of them, prepare to double your time and effort.

The advanced level is also called C1. The process of achieving it usually takes 900 hours. This is about 3 years of everyday practice. At this level, you’ll be able to:

  • understand texts related to various themes and read Russian literature;
  • write letters, issues, and essays on problematic topics;
  • understand audio information as a whole;
  • maintain conversations with the help of different linguistic tools.

Keep in mind that this is not the end of your studies. After a few more years of regular practice, you can approach C2 and become a real expert in the Russian language—in other words, you’ll be able to speak like a native. But the only possible way to reach this level of fluency is to live in Russia for some time. This will allow you to become familiar with various Russian accents and learn slang words most widely used by locals.

A Woman Holding an Open Book Above Her Head

Even though reading Russian books seems too difficult for you right now, it’s not impossible—believe us!

Conclusion

Now you know that mastering a language is a complex process that takes constant learning and practicing. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. You’ll find tons of free materials on RussianPod101.com that will satisfy your language learning cravings. 

Don’t forget that we also offer our Premium PLUS students one-on-one coaching with a private tutor through MyTeacher. This will certainly speed up your progress and ensure you gain a more thorough knowledge of the language and culture.

Before you go: What’s your Russian-language proficiency level? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Russian Proverbs: A Glimpse of Russian Wisdom

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“Better late than never.”
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

You’re constantly surrounded by proverbs, and you probably don’t pay much attention to them until you start learning a new language. This is where the fun begins: The meanings of foreign proverbs can be difficult to guess, you can’t usually translate them literally, and some of them don’t even have an equivalent. Yes, you’ll find a few Russian proverbs like this. But what if you look at them from another angle?

Have you ever wondered where proverbs come from? Many of them haven’t changed in centuries! They’ve been carrying wisdom from one generation to another, up until modern times. We use proverbs to console a beloved one, to give advice, or to cheer somebody up. Proverbs can be controversial, and some of them tackle the same issue from different (sometimes opposite!) angles. All in all, they reflect who we are and the values we stand for, and these values are different from one country to another.

Today, you have the chance to get a glimpse of Russian wisdom through Russian proverbs. These wise words will provide you with insight into the Russian attitude toward money and friendship, work and discipline, consolation and disapproval. You might not become enlightened right away, but I hope these proverbs get you curious to learn more about Russian people and culture.

A Woman Giving the Thumbs-up Sign

Хорошее начало — половина дела.
“Good beginning is half the battle.”

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  1. Worldly Wisdom
  2. Studies and Work
  3. Taking Risks
  4. Discipline
  5. Money
  6. Friends & Family
  7. Sarcasm
  8. What’s Next?

1. Worldly Wisdom

♦︎ Before you jump at the opportunity to broaden your cultural horizons, my advice is to get familiar with the proverb, read the literal translation, then think about the meaning it might convey. Simply connecting the English proverb with its Russian equivalent won’t leave any trace in your memory. Give it a good guess first. Remember: “Easy come, easy go.”

RussianНет худа без добра.
(Net khuda bez dobra)
LiterallyThere’s no bad without the good.
Keep your chin up! Whatever trouble comes your way, don’t let it spoil your mood. Even the most difficult situation might have an advantage.

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

RussianПервый блин всегда комом. 
(Pervyy blin vsegda komom)
LiterallyThe first pancake is always lumpy.
Don’t get frustrated if you fail when trying something for the first time. It’s uncommon for one to succeed right away.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

RussianУтро вечера мудренее.
(Utro vechera mudreneye)
LiterallyThe morning is wiser than the evening.
When you’re struggling to come up with a solution, you should give your mind some rest. It might reward you with bright ideas afterward!

“Sleep on it!”

RussianСлово не воробей: вылетит — не поймаешь.
(Slovo ne vorobey: vyletit — ne poymayesh’)
LiterallyA word is not a sparrow: once it flies out, you won’t catch it.
You should be careful with what you say. Words can hurt.

“What’s said can’t be unsaid.”

RussianПоспешишь — людей насмешишь.
(Pospeshish’ — lyudey nasmeshish’)
LiterallyIf you rush things, you’ll just make others laugh.
It’s fine to take your time, one step at a time. Don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of saving time.

“Haste makes waste.”

RussianВ каждой шутке есть доля правды.
(V kazhdoy shutke est’ dolya pravdy)
LiterallyThere is a grain of truth in every joke.
It’s believed that we joke about what actually matters to us. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but sometimes people read too much into it.

“Many true words are spoken in jest.”

2. Studies and Work

Students and working professionals alike can gain something of value from these Russian proverbs about work and learning! 

RussianПовторение — мать учения.
(Povtoreniye — mat’ ucheniya)
LiterallyRepetition is the mother of learning.
When it comes to learning, one would have to be quite talented (or using mnemonics) to remember something on the first try. Don’t shy away from reviewing key vocabulary lists and grammar rules once in a while to brush up on them.

“Practice makes perfect.”

RussianКто не работает, тот не ест.
(Kto ne rabotayet, tot ne yest)
LiterallyHe who does not work, neither should he eat.
Diligence and hard work are encouraged—strongly enough to threaten you with starvation.

“One has to sing for his supper.”

RussianБез труда не вытащишь и рыбку из пруда.
(Bez truda ne vytashchish’ i rybku iz pruda)
LiterallyWithout effort, you can’t even pull a fish out of the pond.
Again, the message here is that you need to put in some effort to get a positive result.

“No pain, no gain.”

RussianРабота не волк, в лес не убежит. 
(Rabota ne volk, v les ne ubezhit)
LiterallyWork isn’t a wolf, it won’t run into the forest.
However, sometimes you can relax and not rush into action right away. Use this saying as an excuse. 

“Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

Now wait a minute… Isn’t that the opposite of what all those “go-achieve-it-all” books advise?

Habits for Highly Effective Language Learners


Russian Pancakes with Red Caviar

Russian pancakes with red caviar
Even if the first one was lumpy, practice makes perfect.

3. Taking Risks

Risk-taking is really two sides of the same coin. Here are some Russian proverbs and sayings on the topic that cover both sides of the story! 

If you feel adventurous

RussianКто не рискует, тот не пьет шампанского.
(Kto ne riskuyet, tot ne p’yot shampanskogo)
LiterallyThose who don’t take risks don’t drink champagne.
Some believe that this expression originated from car racing, where the rally winners were showered with champagne. Others claim the proverb dates back to the early champagne-making days when bottles would accidentally explode, so going down to pick one up in the cellar was a risky adventure. Anyway, whatever side you take, remember:

“Who dares wins.”

RussianНе попробуешь — не узнаешь.
(Ne poprobuyesh’ — ne uznayesh’)
LiterallyIf you don’t try, you’ll never find out.
This one is self-explanatory. You need to give it a chance to see if it’s going to work out.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

RussianПоживём – увидим. 
(Pozhivyom – uvidim)
LiterallyWe will live and then we will see.
No need to pretend to be Nostradamus and try to predict the future. Sometimes it’s better to patiently wait and see what happens next.

“Time will tell.”

Russian– Ни пуха ни пера. 
– К чёрту!


Ni pukha ni pera. 
K chertu!
Literally “Neither fluff, nor feather.”–
“(Go) to the devil!”
Use the first phrase to wish somebody luck. And to receive it, don’t forget to send the person to the devil. (That’s not really nice, if you think about it.)

The expression arose among hunters. “Fluff” and “feather” implied game and game birds respectively. Hence the superstition: If you wish somebody luck directly, the evil spirits would show up to deprive you of your hard-earned spoils. So, after bad-mouthing each other, the hunters could head to the forest with peace of mind. Nowadays, it’s used whenever you want to wish somebody luck, similar to “Break a leg.”

♦︎ It’s often truncated to just “Ни пуха.” But you should still respond with “К чёрту!”

If you are on the cautious side

RussianЛучше синица в руках, чем журавль в небе.
(Luchshe sinitsa v rukakh, chem zhuravl’ v nebe)
LiterallyA tomtit in your hands is better than a crane in the sky.
It’s preferable to have something small but certain than to risk losing everything by trying to get something better.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

RussianТише едешь — дальше будешь.
(Tishe yedesh’ — dal’she budesh’)
LiterallyDrive slower, and you will get further.
Slow down. Take a breath. Those who don’t rush will succeed. 

The proverb works well both figuratively and literally. Drive safely!

“Little by little, one travels far.”

RussianСемь раз отмерь, один отрежь.
(Sem’ raz otmer’, odin otrezh’)
LiterallyMeasure seven times before cutting once.
In Russian, we encourage you to think not twice, but seven times, before you take action. 

“Look before you leap.”

RussianЗа двумя зайцами погонишься — ни одного не поймаешь.
(Za dvumya zaytsami pogonish’sya — ni odnogo ne poymayesh’)
LiterallyIf you chase after two hares, you’ll end up not catching even one.
It’s better to focus on one thing instead of spreading yourself too thin.

“Grasp all, lose all.”

A Student Studying and Highlighting Something in a Textbook

Your friend is having an exam tomorrow. How would you wish him luck in Russian?

4. Discipline

Most of these are used by parents trying to adjust their kids’ behavior to “expected” standards. 

RussianЛюбопытной Варваре на базаре нос оторвали.
(Lyubopytnoy Varvare na bazare nos otorvali)
LiterallyNosy Barbara got her nose torn off at the market.
Don’t ask awkward questions. Don’t touch this. Don’t do that.

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

RussianМечтать не вредно.
(Mechtat’ ne vredno)
LiterallyDreaming won’t hurt.
Feel free to dream big, but—just so you know—you won’t get anything.

Parents typically use this phrase when their child acts up begging for a toy in the shop. It can also be used to sober up a friend and discourage them from fantasizing too much.

“Yeah, dream on!”

RussianХорошего понемножку.
(Khoroshego ponemnozhku)
LiterallyJust a bit is enough.
Know your limits and don’t expect much. 

“Enough is enough.”

RussianВ большой семье клювом не щёлкают.
(V bol’shoy sem’ye kyuvom ne shchelkayut)

also

Кто не успел, тот опоздал.
(Kto ne uspel, tot opozdal)
LiterallyYou don’t snap your beak in a big family.

also

Who’s late is late.
So basically, the “first come, first served” rule in action.

“You snooze, you lose.”

Phrases Your Parents Always Say


5. Money

Could you use a little advice in the financial department? Then study these Russian proverbs about money and gain some useful Russian insight on the matter. 

RussianСкупой платит дважды.
(Skupoy platit dvazhdy)
LiterallyThe stingy one pays twice.
Those who only chase low prices might end up buying something else instead. You usually get what you pay for. 

“Buy nice or buy twice.”

RussianКопейка рубль бережёт.
(Kopeyka rubl’ berezhet)
LiterallyA kopeck saves a ruble.
In order to save much, you shouldn’t neglect little.

“Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

RussianКрасиво жить не запретишь.
(Krasivo zhit’ ne zapretish’)
LiterallyYou can’t forbid living well.
This one can be used ironically, in reference to people who live beyond their means—or with envy (and a glimmer of hope) when gossiping about the rich.

“Living well isn’t against the law.”

RussianСобака на сене лежит; сама не ест и другим не даёт.
(Sobaka na sene lezhit; sama ne yest i drugim ne dayot)
LiterallyA dog is lying on the hay: won’t eat it itself and won’t let others eat either.
This proverb expresses disapproval of people who only hold onto something so that the others can’t use it. Greedy and selfish rolled into one.

“Dog in the manger.”

Money-Related Expressions for Everyday Life


An Older Man on Vacation Holding a Fan of Money and a Cigar

Красиво жить не запретишь.

6. Friends & Family

Wherever you are in the world, relationships are an essential aspect of everyday life. That in mind, here are a few Russian proverbs about friendship and family.

RussianДруг познаётся в беде.
(Drug poznayotsya v bede)
LiterallyYou get to really know your friend when trouble comes.
A person who helps you during a difficult time is the person you can trust. 

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

RussianНе имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.
(Ne imey sto rubley, a imey sto druzey)
LiterallyDon’t have a hundred rubles, rather have a hundred friends.
Friendship is more valuable than money. (Nobody said one excludes the other, though.)

“A friend at court is better than a penny in a purse.”

RussianВ гостях хорошо, а дома лучше.
(V gostyakh khorosho, a doma luchshe)
LiterallyIt’s good to be visiting, but it’s better at home.
If you feel relief coming back home and share the idea of “My house is my castle,” you know very well where this proverb comes from.

“There is no place like home.”

RussianС милым рай и в шалаше.
(S milym ray i v shalashe)
LiterallyIf you’re with your loved one, it’s a paradise even in a hut.
You can endure any trouble if you’re with your beloved one—even living in poor conditions.

“Love in the cottage.”

RussianМуж и жена — одна сатана.
(Muzh i zhena — odna satana)
LiterallyThe husband and the wife are the same demon.
This proverb refers to a couple with the same interests, aspirations, and ways of thinking and acting. I’d say you were lucky to find a person like that, but the proverb has a rather pejorative connotation.

“They are, indeed, of the same breed.”

Top 10 Quotes About Family

Top 10 Quotes About Friendship


7. Sarcasm

We’ve all said sarcastic things from time to time, no? Let’s conclude our list of Russian proverbs with some sarcastic sayings and phrases. 

RussianКогда рак на горе свистнет.
(Kogda rak na gore svistnet)
LiterallyWhen the crawfish whistles on the mountain.
When you hear this, rest assured: whatever you’ve been talking about is not going to happen. No crawfish have been detected whistling yet.

“When pigs fly.”

RussianЛюбовь зла, полюбишь и козла.
(Lyubov’ zla, polyubish’ i kozla)
LiterallyLove’s evil, you might even fall for a goat.
Interestingly, in Russian, we use the same word for both “male goat” and “jerk” (козёл). Anyway, falling for either of them is a dubious pleasure.

“Love is blind.”

RussianСила есть — ума не надо.
(Sila yest’ — uma ne nado)
LiterallyThe strong don’t need to be smart.
This phrase can be used to express your disapproval of people who prefer to solve problems with force, or those who thoughtlessly show their strength off.

“All brawn and no brains.”

RussianДо свадьбы заживёт.
(Do svad’by zazhivyot)
LiterallyIt will heal before your wedding.
You’ll often hear this said when you hurt yourself. It works best with kids; you might need to come up with something else if the person you’re trying to comfort is already married, though…

“You’ll be alright.”

RussianПлохому танцору яйца мешают.
(Plokhomu tantsoru yaytsa meshayut)
LiterallyPoor dancer is impeded by his own balls.
It’s always easier to blame circumstances or other people than to accept your failure. Well, when there’s nobody else to accuse, blame your body parts… (That’s dud advice, by the way.)

“A poor workman blames his tools.”

A Little Girl Who Skinned Her Knee

Kids being kids. How would you console her in Russian?

8. What’s Next?

Today you’ve discovered more than thirty Russian proverbs! There’s a saying for every possible situation in life, and what we’ve seen today was just the tip of the iceberg. Did you learn anything new about the way Russians treat friendship, family, and work? Which proverb caught your attention most of all? Let us know in the comments below!

Was it easy to guess the meaning of the proverbs without reading the translation right away? Many proverbs aren’t self-explanatory, and you might need some help interpreting them, especially when it comes to connotations. Our teachers on RussianPod101.com will help you dispel any doubts. With our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask about a confusing proverb you’ve seen recently or any other language-related question. Tutors will be there for you if you decide to work on your Russian, as well: you’ll receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. Just give it a try!

Eager to learn more? This material will help you learn more about Russian culture:

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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Moscow Travel Guide: The Top 10 Places to Visit in Moscow

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Moscow is a magnificent city, serving as both the Russian capital and the nation’s historical and cultural center. So, if you want to learn more about the biggest country in the world—and experience its grandeur yourself—then visiting Moscow is the logical next step forward. 

But is Moscow a nice place to visit? 

Believe us: This lively city has dozens of entertainment options for all tastes. If you’re ready, let’s start planning your trip right now in our Moscow travel guide!

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Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go: The Most Important Things to Know
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Survival Russian Phrases for Foreigners
  5. Conclusion

Before You Go: The Most Important Things to Know

Planning a visit to Moscow involves more than getting your itinerary in order: it’s also essential to know the area and what to expect. Here’s some useful and interesting information about Moscow for you! 

People

Moscow is the most-populated city in all of Europe, with about twelve million people currently living there. It may surprise you, but only two percent of them are indigenous residents. The rest came to this city of big opportunities from other parts of Russia and even other post-Soviet countries. So, if you’re going to travel to Moscow, be prepared to enter a busy atmosphere.

Weather

Another thing you should prepare for is the weather. Moscow is known for its long, severe winters and short, mild summers. While it’s wonderful here at any time of the year, you should keep in mind that you won’t be able to walk around as much during the winter. 

By the way, the best time to visit Moscow is during summer and the beginning of autumn. Before traveling, remember to check the weather forecast, because boiling summer days are not unheard of here.

Currency

In Russia, we pay in rubles; dollars and euros are only accepted in duty-free shops. Although Moscow is a modern city where you can easily pay by card, there are still some places that only accept cash. So, it would be wise to make sure that you always have some cash on you.

Accomodation

The average cost of a hotel room for two people in Moscow is around 2800 rubles (40 dollars) per day. Since Moscow is a really enormous and diverse city, you can find both luxury hotels like Radisson and really cheap variants like hostels.

Transport

The public transportation network in Moscow is well-developed. The best way to get around the city is to use the metro. The Moscow Metro system is well-known for its stunning interior, full of art and mosaics. Even if you prefer taxis, you should take the metro at least one time for the aesthetic experience.

A Moscow Metro Station

Where else in the world can you find something similar to this?

Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

If your time in Moscow is limited, it’s not a big problem. You can visit the most famous sights during your first trip and then come back for more in the future. Let’s discover the must-see places for your one- to three-day visit.

Red Square

Red Square, or Красная Площадь (Krasnaya Ploshchad’), is the symbol of Moscow and of Russia in general. It’s considered to be the center of Moscow, and there are always hundreds of people (mostly tourists) walking around here. 

While in Red Square, you can check out the most significant sights of Moscow. They are:

1.   St Basil’s Cathedral. This unique cathedral attracts attention with its bright colors, crazy patterns, and strange shapes. It’s open every day, but if you come on Sunday, you can also attend a church service.

2.   The Kremlin. The Kremlin is a long-fortified complex where the Russian government is based. There’s also a museum inside.

3.   GUM. This is a huge mall with dozens of boutiques from world-famous brands. If you go inside, make sure to buy the famous GUM ice-cream at one of the ice-cream stalls.

4.   The State History Museum. This museum holds the largest collection of Russian history. There are about five million exhibits and many Russian-style interiors inside of it.

5.   Lenin’s Mausoleum. Lenin was the Russian revolutionist who formed the Russian Soviet Republic. His body is still kept in a transparent sarcophagus inside the mausoleum, and everybody can see it.

It’s worth noting that the amount of time you’ll spend in Red Square fully depends on how deep you want to dig. Five or six hours is enough for most tourists, but some people come here for several days at a time to visit all of the museums.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

St Basil’s Cathedral is the first thing that comes to any foreigner’s mind when thinking of Russia.

The Bolshoi Theatre

Visiting the Bolshoi Theatre, or Большой театр (Bol’shoy teatr) as Russians call it, is an essential part of any trip to Moscow. For many years, it’s been a place for holding masquerades and balls. Nowadays, many wonderful ballet and opera performances take place in the Bolshoi Theatre.

If you travel to Moscow, you’d better buy tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre ahead of time, because this place is really popular among Moscow residents and tourists alike. But even if you’re not able to get tickets, you can still walk around this magnificent building and enjoy its Neoclassical architecture.

Arbat

Arbat, or Арбат (Arbat), is the second-most-famous walking street in Moscow after Red Square. Arbat is divided into two parts: the old one and the new one. The old one is a fully pedestrian area, while the new one also contains a carriageway.

Among all the good places to visit in Moscow, Arbat is the best one for getting to know Russian architecture. It’s also nice to eat some traditional food in one of the local restaurants here, listen to street musicians, and buy souvenirs. Several museums are located on Arbat, and the Viktor Tsoi Memorial Wall is also situated here.

Viktor Tsoi Wall in Moscow, Russia

Viktor Tsoi was a legendary Russian musician, and his sudden death at the age of 28 came as a shock for millions of fans.

Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

If you have four to seven days to stay in Russia, then you’re lucky! There are plenty more places you can visit in Moscow with the extra time. 

Moscow-City

In Russian, this is called Москва-Сити (Moskva-Siti) or just (Siti). It’s a modern architectural complex that consists of glass and concrete skyscrapers. The architecture of the buildings combines high tech and Neoconstructivism.

Moscow-City is a budget-friendly place where you can walk between skyscrapers and take wonderful pictures from an observation deck. If your budget isn’t too limited, you can go shopping in a mall or dine in a restaurant in one of the towers.

Moscow-City

Moscow is the city of contrasts, and this photo is proof.

The Moskva River

The Moskva River, or Москва-река (Moskva-reka), flows through the entire city. Many famous buildings are located near this river, so there’s a high probability that you’ll notice it while walking around the city.

If your trip is planned for summer and you would like to visit Moscow by night, we highly recommend that you roam the Moskva River on a tourist boat. The perfect way to do this is to book a late cruise and enjoy the night views of the city.

The State Tretyakov Gallery

In Russian, it’s called Третьяковская Галерея (Tret’yakovskaya Galereya). As the foremost depository of fine Russian art, this is one of the best places to visit in Moscow if you like art and want to further explore Russian culture.

The State Tretyakov Gallery is composed of two buildings: the main one presents masterpieces from the early eleventh century up to the twentieth century, and the second building mainly contains works of Russian avant-garde artists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In total, the gallery contains around 130,000 exhibits. It may take an entire day to see all of them.

Gorky Park

Among Russians, Gorky Park is known as Парк Горького (Park Gor’kogo). This historic park is located in the heart of the city and covers 275 acres. Several festivals and concerts take place in Gorky Park throughout the year.

Gorky Park is one of the greatest places to visit in Moscow in any season. During a summer trip, you’ll be able to rent a bicycle or roller skates here; in winter, you can do ice skating.

Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia

The government takes care of Gorky Park, so every year it becomes more and more beautiful.

Sparrow Hills

Sparrow Hills is one of Moscow’s highest points, where you can enjoy an outstanding panoramic view of the city. It’s located near Gorky Park, so you can visit them one after the other.

In addition to the viewing place, there’s also a beautiful park here in Sparrow Hills. In this park, you can get a closer look at one of the famous Stalinist skyscrapers, which is now the Moscow State University. Tours inside the building are also available.

Tsaritsyno

Tsaritsyno is a palace museum with a large park reserve located in the southern part of the city. Many years ago, Tsaritsyno served as the residence of Empress Catherine, but now the palace and other decorated buildings are open for tourists.

Tsaritsyno’s enormous territory is filled with blooming gardens, greenhouses, ponds, bridges, and even mounds, so you can spend the whole day just walking around and exploring it. If you’re traveling with your partner, then you should definitely arrange a romantic date here!

VDNH

VDNH is an enormous city area with various exhibition pavilions, alleys, and fountains. The abbreviation VDNH stands for the “Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy.” In Russian, it’s called: Выставка достижений народного хозяйства (Vystavka dostizheniy narodnogo khozyaystva), or simply ВДНХ (VDNH).

Besides walking around and discovering pavilions, you may also visit the oceanarium, check out one of the innovative exhibitions, or treat yourself to some food from the farmers’ markets. In summer, there are many cyclists and roller-skaters here—and you can also be one of them!

Survival Russian Phrases for Foreigners

Unfortunately, not all Russian people can speak and understand English, so before traveling to Moscow, you should learn some basic Russian phrases. These ten expressions will suffice:

  • Здравствуйте. (Zdravstvuyte.) – “Hello.”
  • Спасибо. (Spasibo.) – “Thank you.”
  • До свидания. (Do svidaniya.) – “Goodbye.”
  • Извините. (Izvinite.) – “Sorry.”
  • Здорово. (Zdorovo.) – “Very good.”
  • Я вас не понимаю. (Ya vas ne ponimayu.) – “I don’t understand you.”
  • Где здесь туалет? (Gde zdes’ tualet?) – “Where is the restroom?”
  • Сколько это стоит? (Skol’ko eto stoit?) – “How much is it?”
  • Мне вот это. (Mne vot eto.) – “I want this.”
  • Помогите! (Pomogite!) – “Help me!”

Conclusion

So, is Moscow worth visiting? We hope that this article gave you a positive answer to this question, and introduced you to plenty of great reasons to visit Moscow in the near future! 

Have you gotten your tickets to Moscow already, or would you still like to improve your Russian before your trip? You can sign up for our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to have one-on-one tutoring with a native  Russian speaker. This will help you pick up the language much faster and gain additional insight into Russian culture. 

Before you go, are there any other Russian cities you would like to visit? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Cool English Words in Russian You Should Know!

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The Russian language is rich not only with its own words, but also with words borrowed from other languages. For English speakers looking to learn the language, studying English loanwords in Russian is a great way to quickly expand your vocabulary and make Russian seem less daunting. 

We’ve prepared a list of English words in Russian that you can start using right away. We’ve also included a section about Russian words in the English language to further broaden your horizons. 

Let’s get to it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Runglish
  2. Runglish Examples
  3. Loanwords vs. Runglish
  4. How to Say These Names in Russian
  5. English Words Derived From the Russian Language
  6. English-Russian Paronyms
  7. Conclusion

Introduction to Runglish

Runglish, also known as Ruglish or Russlish, is a special form of pidgin language which combines both Russian and English elements. This term became popular in the early 2000s, when Runglish was widely used aboard the International Space Station. The thing was that all the crew members spoke English and Russian, so when somebody was short of words in one language, he or she would find equivalents in the other language. Finally, Runglish obtained its status as one of the onboard languages.

Runglish words are mostly used by two categories of people. The first category is Russian emigrants, particularly those who currently live in the U.S.A. The second are Russian teenagers who study English at school, listen to English and American music, watch movies in English, and so on. It’s worth noting that old people don’t understand Runglish and have a highly negative attitude toward it.

An American Astronaut and a Russian Cosmonaut

Judging by this photo, the need for Runglish aboard still exists.

Runglish Examples

So what exactly would speaking Runglish sound like? Here are a few examples to give you an idea. 

Ивент (ivent) – “event”

This is the Runglish version of the word “event,” which originally refers to any occasion, such as a birthday party or meeting. In Runglish, it has a slightly different meaning. It’s mostly applied to big and resonant public occasions. For example:

Ивент месяца: Дэвид и Виктория Бэкхем отмечают годовщину свадьбы.
Ivent mesyatsa: Devid i Viktoriya Bekkhem otmechayut godovshchinu svad’by.
“Event of the month: David and Victoria Beckham are celebrating their twenty-year wedding anniversary.”

Боди (bodi) – “bodysuit”

While the English word “body” is not associated with wardrobe at all, the Russian word боди (bodi) is used for this female clothing item because it fits the body snugly. Let’s look at an example:

Вчера я купила себе очень классное боди.
Vchera ya kupila sebe ochen’ klassnoye bodi.
“Yesterday, I bought a very cool bodysuit for myself.”

Фейс-контроль (feys-kontrol’) – “doorman”

The Runglish word фейс-контроль (feys-kontrol’) has two meanings: 

1. A man who works at public places like nightclubs or bars to provide security

2. The process of providing security itself

In both cases, you can see that Russian ‘doormen’ differ from American and English ‘doormen.’

In Russia and other post-Soviet countries, фейс-контроль (feys-kontrol’) may prohibit you from visiting a public place without any explanation, just because he or she doesn’t like your appearance. It’s not like in the U.S.A. or England, where a doorman can only stop you at the entrance if you’re under the age of 21, intoxicated, aggressive, or if your clothing doesn’t match the dress code.

Now that we’ve explained this a bit, let’s look at an example of how this word is used in Runglish:

На входе в ресторан меня встретил серьёзный фейс-контроль.
Na vkhode v restoran menya vstretil ser’yoznyy feys-kontrol’.
“A serious doorman met me at the restaurant entrance.”

Loanwords vs. Runglish

An Open Bag of Potato Chips

Unlike Runglish, loanwords are borrowed English words in the Russian language that are used without significant changes in their meaning. As a result, native English speakers can understand them easily. Most English loanwords in Russian appear in the spheres of social networking, computer technologies, finances, politics, sports, food, and clothing. 

Here is a brief list of basic English words in Russian:

  • блогер (bloger) – “blogger”
  • файл (fayl) – “file”
  • брокер (broker) – “broker”
  • президент (prezident) – “president”
  • теннис (tennis) – “tennis”
  • спикер (spiker) – “speaker”
  • ток-шоу (tok-shou) – “talk show”
  • ростбиф (rostbif) – “roast beef”
  • чипсы (chipsy) – “chips”
  • свитер (sviter) – “sweater”

How to Say These Names in Russian

Many Russian people are curious about Western culture and lifestyle. It comes as no surprise that famous English names and brand names are well-known not only in their respective countries of origin, but also in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries. And of course, these names have Russian equivalents. Let’s have a look at some examples:

  • МакДоналдс (MakDonalds) – “McDonald’s”
  • Волмарт (Volmart) – “Walmart” 
  • Найк (Nayk) – “Nike”
  • Конверс (Konvers) – “Converse”
  • Форрест Гамп (Forrest Gamp) – “Forrest Gump”
  • Джек Лондон (Dzhek London) – “Jack London”
  • Брэд Питт (Bred Pitt) – “Brad Pitt”
  • Бейонсе (Beyonse) – “Beyonce”
  • Мэрилин Монро (Merilin Monro) – “Marilyn Monroe”
  • Дональд Трамп (Donal’d Tramp) – “Donald Trump”

McDonald’s Restaurant

Russian people may not be as passionate about fast food as Americans, but they love it anyway!

English Words Derived From the Russian Language

English speakers don’t even realize how many of the words they regularly use were borrowed from other languages. There aren’t very many Russian words in the English language, but we’ve found some of them for you. 

“Intelligentsia”

When this word first appeared in English, it was only applied to Russians. “Intelligentsia” was borrowed from the Russian word интеллигенция (intelligentsiya). In both languages, it refers to a class of highly educated people. 

В Москве я познакомился с русской интеллигенцией.
V Moskve ya poznakomilsya s russkoy intelligentsiyey.
“In Moscow, I got to know the Russian intelligentsia.”

“Babushka”

Unlike many other Russian words in the English language, this word is polysemantic in its host language but not its original language. In English, its first meaning is a scarf tied under the chin and the second meaning is an old woman. “Babushka” came from the word бабушка (babushka), which is an affectionate term Russians use to call their grandmothers. By the way, in Russian this word has nothing to do with scarves, so its first English meaning seems a bit funny to many Russian speakers. 

Моя бабушка печёт вкусные пирожки.
Moya babushka pechyot vkusnyye pirozhki.
“My grandmother bakes delicious pies.”

A Grandson and His Grandma

We all love our babushkas!

“Mammoth”

Another English word derived from Russian, “mammoth” comes from the word мамонт (mamont) which, in turn, came from the Yakut language. The word mamma means “earth,” from the notion that this huge animal was found in the ground. Besides this, the English word “mammoth” is also used to refer to something of enormous size. 

Мамонты вымерли из-за глобальных изменений климата.
Mamonty vymerli iz-za global’nykh izmeneniy klimata.
“Mammoths died out due to the global climatic changes.”

English-Russian Paronyms

Some words exist in both English and Russian, but have absolutely different meanings in these two languages. However, they’re not related to Runglish or English loanwords in Russian. Language learners call them “false friends of the translator.” Let’s look at some of these insidious words together!

“Artist” – артист (artist)

While the English word refers to painters, its Russian version артист (artist) has nothing to do with brushes and paints. In the Russian language, it refers to an actor, singer, or anyone who is performing onstage. Its English equivalent is “performer.” For example:

Элтон Джон – хороший артист.
Elton Dzhon – khoroshiy artist.
“Elton John is a good performer.”

“Killer” – киллер (killer)

In English, the word “killer” is applicable to any person who has comitted a murder. In Russian, the word киллер (killer) is used to describe someone who gets paid for killing other people. It has the same meaning as the English word “hitman.” For instance:

Главный герой в фильме “Леон” киллер.
Glavnyy geroyl v fil’me “Leon” – killer.
“The main character in ‘Leon: The Professional’ is a hitman.”


 A Screenshot from the Famous Movie

This iconic frame needs no introduction.

“Smoking” – смокинг (smoking)

While English speakers associate the word “smoking” with cigarettes, Russian speakers use the word смокинг (smoking) to refer to a man’s evening suit. Many years ago, there was a type of jacket for men to wear when smoking cigars, which was aptly called a smoking jacket. In English, this word has been replaced with “tuxedo” or “tux.” Let’s see how the Russian version would be used:

Этот смокинг ему идёт.
Etot smoking emu idyot.
“This tuxedo suits him.”

Conclusion

In this article, you learned several English loanwords in Russian, how the language phenomenon of Runglish works, and much more. How attentive were you? List some of the words you remember in the comments section, or let us know if there are any others you know about. 

Now it’s time for you to move forward and learn even more! RussianPod101.com provides a variety of learning materials for students at every level: themed vocabulary lists, free resources, engaging audio and video lessons, and the list goes on. 

If you don’t have much time to dive into the finer points of Russian vocabulary or grammar on your own, you can use our Premium PLUS service MyTeacher and take private lessons with a native speaker. We can assure you that it’ll save you countless hours you would otherwise spend struggling to memorize words or understand grammar points.

Happy Russian learning!

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The Top 20 Russian Quotes for Language Learners

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Although quotes don’t play a very important part in our everyday lives, there are some situations where knowing them can be really helpful. With quotes, we can express our thoughts in a more vivid and concise way. 

If you’ve been studying Russian for a long period of time, you’re definitely ready to step up your game and learn some Russian quotes. We’ve prepared a list of twenty famous Russian quotes that you can use to enrich your speech, impress native Russian speakers during a conversation, and make yourself look more intelligent in their eyes. Some of these quotes are of Russian origin, while others are quotes from other languages that have gained popularity in Russia. 

Pick your favorites and learn them by heart. We’re sure that these quotes will come in handy someday!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Success
  2. Quotes About Life
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Love
  5. Quotes About Family
  6. Quotes About Friendship
  7. Quotes About Food
  8. Quotes About Health
  9. Quotes About Animals
  10. Quotes About Language Learning
  11. Conclusion

Quotes About Success

Whether you have big plans for the future or an upcoming project you’re concerned about, reading through these Russian quotes about success is sure to give you the inspiration you need to succeed!

1. Не важно, как медленно ты продвигаешься, главное, что ты не останавливаешься 

Romanization: Ne vazhno, kak medlenno ty prodvigayesh’sya, glavnoye, chto ty ne ostanavlivayesh’sya
Meaning: “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.”

This is a very old quote from Chinese philosopher Confucius. With these words, he meant that if you don’t give up, then you’ll reach your goal sooner or later. It may take a long time, but it will happen one day.

2. 100% непредпринятых попыток заканчиваются неудачей

Romanization: Sto protsentov nepredprinyatykh popytok zakanchivayutsya neudachey
Meaning: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

This inspirational thought was expressed by the Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky. It motivates us to have no fear in trying, since it’s impossible to succeed in something if we don’t even attempt to do so.

A Hockey Player Sitting on Ice

Wayne Gretzky is considered the greatest hockey player of all time. This man can tell us much about success!

Quotes About Life

Are you feeling stuck in life or unsatisfied with how things are going? Here are two insightful Russian quotes on life from a couple of massively popular figures.

3. Жизнь – это то, что случается с нами, пока мы строим планы на будущее

Romanization: Zhizn’ – eto to, chto sluchayetsya s nami, poka my stroim plany na budushcheye
Meaning: “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.”

The author of this quote is John Lennon from The Beatles. His words perfectly ascertain the fact that people can become so concerned about their future that they totally forget about their present.

4. Если хочешь изменить мир, начни с себя!

Romanization: Esli khochesh’ izmenit’ mir, nachni s sebya!
Meaning: “If you want to change the world, start with yourself.”

This is one of the most famous quotes from Mahatma Gandhi. By saying it, he meant that everyone should start with his or her own personal development. If everybody did this, many of the world’s problems would disappear and no longer affect us.

Quotes About Time

Managing one’s time is one of the most crucial aspects of living a satisfactory life. Read these Russian language quotes on time to view this concept from a Russian angle. You may be surprised how familiar they are to you!

5. Делу – время, потехе – час

Romanization: Delu – vremya, potekhe – chas
Meaning: “Time for business, an hour for fun.”

This Russian quote belongs to the Tsar Alexis of Russia. He wrote it in his falcon hunting manual in the seventeenth century. The main idea is that it’s important to both work and rest. After spending some time as one of the most famous Russian quotes, it finally became a proverb.

6. Счастливые часов не наблюдают

Romanization: Schastlivyye chasov ne nablyudayut
Meaning: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This phrase is from Alexander Griboyedov’s book Woe from Wit. It expresses the fact that when you’re enjoying something, the time seems to pass unnoticeably.

A Man Reading a Book

Woe from Wit is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about Russian culture.

Quotes About Love

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll enjoy these Russian quotes about love!

7. Любовь – апофеоз жизни

Romanization: Lyubov’ – apofeoz zhizni
Meaning: “Love is the apotheosis of life.”

This Russian love quote came to us from Aleksandr Herzen, a writer and thinker known as the “father of Russian socialism.” Herzen thought that love is the main thing in life, filling it with sense and joy.

The word “apotheosis” has two meanings. On the one hand, it’s “the highest point in the development,” and on the other hand, it’s “the elevation to divine status.” Both of these meanings are applicable in the context of this Russian love quote.

8. Люди должны влюбляться с закрытыми глазами

Romanization: Lyudi dolzhny vlyublyat’sya s zakrytymi glazami
Meaning: “People should fall in love with their eyes closed.”

This beautiful quote by Andy Warhol, known as “the king of pop art,” persuades us to pay more attention to the human soul and heart rather than the outward appearance. Warhol’s statement has become a really well-known Russian love quote.

Quotes About Family

Family is perhaps the most important social construct, no matter where you are in the world. Here are a couple of Russian quotes on family that express the intricacies of familial relationships.

9. Семья – это один из шедевров природы

Romanization: Sem’ya – eto odin iz shedevrov prirody
Meaning: “Family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”

The author of this quote is the American philosopher and essayist George Santayana. Santayana regarded family as one of the things created by nature, just as things like trees and lakes were. For him, family was an outstanding phenomenon. This wonderful quote reminds us that we should cherish our families.

10. Все счастливые семьи похожи; каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему

Romanization: Vse schastlivyye sem’i pokhozhi; kazhdaya neschastlivaya sem’ya neschastliva po-svoyemu
Meaning: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This is how Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina begins. Here, Tolstoy meant that there are several factors involved in making a happy family; if even just one is absent, the family will be unhappy.

Quotes About Friendship

Friendship is one of life’s greatest joys and necessities. Here are two poignant Russian quotes on friendship that express this truth.

11. Старый друг лучше новых двух

Romanization: Staryy drug luchshe novykh dvukh
Meaning: “An old friend is better than two new ones.”

This phrase was so popular that it eventually became a proverb. It teaches us not to forget our old friends, because they’re much more reliable and precious than our new acquaintances. This Russian quote is similar in meaning to the Chinese proverb: “Everything is good when new, but friends when old.”

12. Друг познаётся в беде

Romanization: Drug poznayotsya v bede
Meaning: “A friend is known in trouble.”

This quote is from the Greek storyteller Aesop. His words advise us not to rely on superficial friends, because they always leave us in our bad times. This phrase became a well-known proverb and is similar to the English proverb: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

Friends Playing on the Beach

Aesop is right, but…don’t forget to enjoy good times with old friends!

Quotes About Food

Who doesn’t enjoy sitting down to a nice meal now and then? Well, even something as simple as food has parallels in life. Here are some Russian sayings that have to do with food!

13. Хлеб — всему голова

Romanization: Hleb — vsemu golova
Meaning: “Bread is the staff of life.”

Unfortunately, the author of this saying is unknown. Russian people consider this to be more of a proverb, rather than a quote. Since it’s one of the oldest Russian sayings, let’s take a look at it from a historical perspective. 

There were many battles and wars in the past, as people went in search of fertile lands where wheat and rye could be easily grown. Therefore, bread was a symbol of welfare and a good life all those years ago. Bread is still an essential part of our daily ration; there are many products we can live without, but bread is not one of them.

14. Аппетит приходит во время еды

Romanization: Appetit prikhodit vo vremya yedy
Meaning: “Appetite comes during the meal.”

This phrase first appeared in a novel by François Rabelais. We use it to say that the more we have, the more we’d like to have. By the way, this can also be applied to other areas of life.

Quotes About Health

One should always make good health a priority, because only when one is healthy can they achieve other important goals. Here are a couple of insightful Russian quotes concerning health. 

    → Sometimes, even our best efforts aren’t enough to keep us healthy. See our list of Common Health Problems so you can discuss your concerns with a professional while in Russia.

15. В здоровом теле – здоровый дух

Romanization: V zdorovom tele – zdorovyy dukh
Meaning: “There is a healthy mind in a healthy body.”

This quote first appeared in the ancient Roman era, but became widely spread in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through the efforts of European educators Locke and Russo. As we now know, the body and the mind are closely connected. For this reason, people who are physically healthy also tend to have healthy minds; those who are healthy of mind are less likely to suffer from any physical disease.

16. Здоровье дороже золота

Romanization: Zdorovy’e dorozhe zolota
Meaning: “Health is above wealth.”

This quote is by William Shakespeare, and its meaning is pretty obvious.

The Droeshout Portrait of William Shakespeare

Even though Shakespeare’s works were written in the sixteenth century, they are still relevant!

Quotes About Animals

In Russian culture, quotes and sayings about animals are fairly popular. Here are two quotes we think you’ll enjoy!

17. Доброму человеку бывает стыдно даже перед собакой

Romanization: Dobromu cheloveku byvayet stydno dazhe pered sobakoy
Meaning: “A good person sometimes feels ashamed of himself even in front of a dog.”

This idea was expressed by one of the greatest Russian writers, Anton Chekhov. In his opinion, kind-hearted people care about all living creatures, including animals, birds, and insects. A good person is ready to help anyone who needs it. If he doesn’t help, he feels bad—not because of others’ disapproval, but because of his own conscience.

18. О величии нации и её моральном прогрессе можно судить по тому, как она обращается с животными

Romanization: O velichii natsii i yeyo moral’nom progresse mozhno sudit’ po tomu, kak ona obrashchayetsya s zhivotnymi
Meaning: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

This popular statement is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. It expresses the same idea as the previous quote.

Mahatma Gandhi

To seek to reduce the suffering of those who are completely under one’s domination, and unable to fight back, is truly a mark of a civilized society.

Quotes About Language Learning

To close, let’s look at a couple of quotes in Russian about language learning. 

19. Пределы моего языка есть пределы моего мира

Romanization: Predely moyego yazyka yest’ predely moyego mira
Meaning: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

This quote is from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophical work The Tractatus. Wittgenstein meant that a language constrains the limits of human expression, and therefore limits human understanding.

20. Чем больше языков вы знаете, тем меньше шансов, что вы станете террористом

Romanization: Chem bol’she yazykov vy znayete, tem men’she shansov, chto vy stanete terroristom
Meaning: “The more languages you know, the less likely you are to become a terrorist.”

This heavy idea was offered by Indian litterateur Suniti Chatterji. He supposed that knowing a foreign language makes you more intelligent, open-minded and, as a consequence, more tolerant toward other people.

Conclusion

You’ve just read some of the most famous Russian quotes. Some of them are truly Russian, while others entered the Russian language from other cultures. Each of them conveys a meaningful idea and can be easily implemented into a conversation. 

We’re sure that you’d like to learn more Russian phrases, their meanings, and their correct pronunciations. We’re ready to provide you with all of these on RussianPod101.com. You can study by going through our free lessons or with the help of our MyTeacher option. The latter gives you your own personalized learning program based on your needs, as well as a personal tutor. 

Before you go, which of the quotes did you like the most? Leave your answer in the comments section below! You can also ask us if there’s an equivalent to any quote that we didn’t mention in this article. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Get Back to Business: Essential Russian Business Phrases

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In many cultures, the sphere of business is associated not only with money, but also with a specific language style. If you plan to do business with Russian speaking partners or move to Russia for work, knowing some Russian business phrases would be useful, as there are situations when everyday language is just not enough. Well, turning to business, I won’t teach you how to earn millions, but I can help you spare a lot of embarrassment by teaching you some fundamental Russian courtesy rules.

In this guide, you’ll learn some basic Russian business phrases for various occasions, from job interviews and your first days of work to giving presentations, writing business letters, and making phone calls. Also—the icing on the cake—you’ll find out why Russians don’t use “Mr.” and “Mrs.” in business environments, and what you should use instead. Let’s get down to business!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Learning Basic Courtesy
  2. Nailing a Job Interview
  3. Interacting with Coworkers
  4. Speaking in a Meeting
  5. Business Emails and Phone Calls
  6. What’s Next?

1. Learning Basic Courtesy

The first thing you need to know is how to talk and act to leave a great impression. This includes using appropriate business Russian greetings and knowing the difference between formal and informal “you.” Let’s take a look. 

Greetings

  • Здравствуйте. (Zdravstvuyte.) — “Hello.”
  • Доброе утро. (Dobroye utro.) — “Good morning.”
  • Добрый день. (Dobryy den’.) — “Good afternoon.”
  • Привет. (Privet.) — “Hi.” [casual]

To greet your boss, business partners, or colleagues that you don’t know well, use any of the first three options. That said, you can never go wrong with здравствуйте. It’s not locked to a specific time of day (unlike “Good morning”) and it can be used as a respectful greeting toward anyone. Leave привет for your work buddies and friends.

There’s a joke about the Russian language being really unwelcoming to beginners. The first word you learn—здравствуйте—salutes you with an unholy mixture of consonants, so you might need some time to practice this one. 

    ➢ You can check the pronunciation of this word in our dictionary.

❗️Pay attention to the silent в, which is not pronounced (здравствуйте).

Business Partners Shaking Hands

How would you greet your new partner in Russian?

It’s not common in Russia to ask how someone is doing unless you really care about their actual state of things. Here’s a list of phrases you might find useful for these occasions:

[Formal]

  • Как ваши дела? (Kak vashi dela?) — “How are you doing?”
  • Хорошо. А у вас? (Khorosho. A u vas?) — “Fine. And you?”

[Casual]

  • Как дела? (Kak dela?) — “How are you doing?”
  • Хорошо. А у тебя? (Khorosho. A u tebya?) — “Fine. And you?”
  • В последнее время не очень. (V posledneye vremya ne ochen’.) — “Not so good recently.”

Please keep in mind that nobody expects you to complain in a business environment. Asking “How are you?” is just a matter of courtesy.

In Russia, it’s notably uncommon to address people using “Mr.” or “Mrs.” If we want to show respect, we use the person’s first name + patronymic name. A patronymic is a special name derived from a person’s father’s name:

Здравствуйте, Василий Иванович. (Zdravstvuyte, Vasiliy Ivanovich.) — “Hello, Vasiliy Ivanovich.” 

Ivanovich is the patronymic name. It means that Vasiliy’s father’s name is Ivan.

Goodbye

  • До свидания. (Do svidaniya.) — “Goodbye.”
  • Всего доброго. (Vsego dobrogo.) — “Take care.”
  • Пока! (Poka!) — “Bye!” [casual]

Formal and Casual “You”

As you might have already noticed, there are distinct ways of addressing people depending on whether the situation is formal or informal. Thus, you should be careful with how you approach a person, as many people are sensitive to this.

There are two ways to address your work partner: вы (vy) [formal] or ты (ty) [casual]. If you’re not sure how to address someone, just remember this table:

ВыТы
  • strangers
  • older people
  • anybody you want to treat with special respect
  • family members
  • close friends
  • children
  • fellow colleagues that you know well

A safe bet is to follow your partner’s lead. If they’re addressing you politely, you might want to avoid talking to them informally.

    ➢ It’s not just the pronoun that changes when you switch between the styles. The formality affects the verb endings as well. To see how verbs change in each case, check out our article about Verb Conjugations.

2. Nailing a Job Interview

Job Interview

In the previous section, you learned how to greet a person in the workplace. 

Now, let’s consider some questions that your future employer or an HR representative might ask you during the interview.

  • Есть ли у вас опыт работы? — “Do you have any work experience?” 
    (Yest’ li u vas opyt raboty?)
  • Где вы раньше работали? — “Where did you work before?”
    (Gde vy ran’she rabotali?)

    • Я пять лет работал(а)* в компании ABC. — “I’ve worked for ABC for five years.”
      (Ya pyat’ let rabotal-a v kompanii ABC.)


      Я работал(а) в продажах. — “I worked in sales.”
      (Ya rabotal-a v prodazhakh.)


      Я работал(а) журналистом. — “I worked as a journalist.”
      (Ya rabotal-a zhurnalistom.)

* [The ending -a is added if the speaker is a woman.]

  • Какое у вас образование? (Kakoye u vas obrazovaniye?) — “What is your educational background?”

    • Я закончил(а) Карлов университет в Праге. “I graduated from Charles University in Prague.”
      (Ya zakonchil-a Karlov universitet v Prage.)

      Моя специальность — гостиничное дело. — “I have a degree in hospitality.”
      (Moya spetsial’nost’ — gostinichnoye delo.)

      Я учился [m] / училась [f] в Париже на дизайнера. — “I studied design in Paris.”
      (Ya uchilsya / uchilas’ v Parizhe na dizaynera.)
    ➢ You can find more school-related terms to talk about your degrees on our Education vocabulary list.
  • Какие языки вы знаете? (Kakiye yazyki vy znayete?) — “What languages do you speak?”

    • Я свободно говорю по-испански. — “I speak Spanish fluently.”
      (Ya svobodno govoryu po-ispanski.)

      Я немного говорю по-русски. — “I speak a bit of Russian.”
      (Ya nemnogo govoryu po-russki.)

      Я знаю китайский и японский. — “I speak Chinese and Japanese.”
      (Ya znayu kitayskiy i yaponskiy.)
    ➢ There’s a good chance you can find your native tongue on our list of 38 languages spoken worldwide.

An interview is a stressful event for most job-seekers. Especially if it’s not going to be in one’s native language! But believe me, many HR representatives and CEOs are more likely to care about your professional experience and how useful you can be to the company than how you conjugate verbs and use cases. If you don’t understand the interviewer’s question, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat.

  • Не могли бы вы повторить, пожалуйста? — “Could you repeat, please?”
    (Ne mogli by vy povtorit’, pozhaluysta?)
  • Простите? — “Pardon me?”
    (Prostite?)

❗️ Keep in mind that Простите? should be said with a rising intonation to make it a question. Otherwise, it will sound like an apology.

If you feel too anxious while sitting in the hall waiting for your interview, just take ten deep breaths to trick your brain into a state of calmness.

A Businessman Looking Smug during an Interview

What do you think this person is saying about himself at the interview?
Come up with three sentences in Russian.

3. Interacting with Coworkers

When you receive that finally-I’m-hired call and an invitation to start working on Monday, it’s time to brush up on your introduction lines (if you didn’t before the interview). Your nosy colleagues will be curious about a foreigner on the team! 

Remember to mirror the politeness level your partner is using with you; chances are, your peers will address you informally right away.

Here are some phrases for effective Russian business communication with your new work team! 

Nice to meet you.

First, some questions that you might want to ask your colleague during small talk:

[Casual]

  • Извини, как тебя зовут? — “Sorry, what’s your name?”
    (Izvini, kak tebya zovut?)

  • В каком отделе работаешь? — “In what department do you work?”
    (V kakom otdele rabotayesh’?)
  • Давно ты тут работаешь? — “How long have you been working here?”
    (Davno ty tut rabotayesh’?)
  • Где ты раньше работал? — “Where did you work before?”
    (Gde ty ran’she rabotal?)

And a couple of ideas for how you could react:

[Casual]

  • Ясно. (Yasno.) — “I see.”
  • Понятно. (Ponyatno.) — “I got it.”
  • Прикольно! (Prikol’no!) — “Cool!” [familiar]

However, you should be careful with these reactions. They can be real conversation killers if used improperly. Consider them to be a solid full stop, so if you don’t want an awkward silence to interrupt your discussion, use the combination “reaction + follow-up question” to keep the conversation going.

I need help.

[Casual]

  • Можешь помочь мне с презентацией? — “Could you help me with the presentation?”
    (Mozhesh’ pomoch’ mne s prezentatsiyey?)

  • Можешь объяснить, как это работает? — “Could you explain how it works?”
    (Mozhesh’ ob’yasnit’, kak eto rabotayet?)
  • Я не понимаю, что надо делать. — “I don’t understand what I need to do.”
    (Ya ne ponimayu, chto nado delat’.)
  • Умеешь пользоваться этой штукой? — “Do you know how to use this thing?”
    (Umeyesh’ pol’zovat’sya etoy shtukoy?)

These phrases are suitable for a conversation with your fellow coworkers. If you need to ask a senior colleague for help, you need to increase your level of politeness. Find an example of a formal dialogue in our “Asking for Help” lesson from the “Business Russian for Beginners” course.

I’m sorry.

The last thing you want to do when you’ve already messed something up is to apologize poorly. You need to be extra-careful with formality here; you don’t want to call your boss “dude” in the heat of the moment.

  • Извини(те). — “Sorry.”
    (Izvini-te.)
  • Извини(те) за опоздание. — “I’m sorry I’m late.”
    (Izvini-te za opozdaniye.)
  • Прости(те), я не видел(а)*, что мне звонили. — “I’m sorry, I didn’t see that you had called.”
    (Prosti-te, ya ne videl-а, chto mne zvonili.)

* [The ending -a is added if the speaker is a woman.]

❗️We add -те to извини and прости if we want to sound polite

We’ve written a whole article about How to Say Sorry, with a wide variety of apologies for any occasion. Using these phrases, you’ll be forgiven, guaranteed. 

Thank you!

  • Спасибо. — “Thank you!”
    (Spasibo.)
  • Спасибо за помощь. — “Thanks for the help.”
    (Spasibo za pomoshch’.)
  • Молодец! — “Well done!”
    (Molodets!)
  • Так держать! — “Good job!”
    (Tak derzhat’!)
People Worried about the Internet Connection and Deadline

When the Internet suddenly shuts off ten minutes before the report delivery deadline.
Have the phrases for apologizing already popped up in your mind?

4. Speaking in a Meeting

Now let’s go over some useful phrases for Russian business meetings! 

Expressing opinions

  • Я согласен. (Ya soglasen.) — “I agree.” [m] / Я согласна. (Ya soglasna.) — “I agree.” [f]
  • Всё верно. (Vsyo verno.) — “That’s correct.”
  • Извините, я с этим не согласен / не согласна. — “Sorry, I can’t agree with you here.” [m/f]
    (Izvinite, ya s etim ya ne soglasen / ne soglasna.)
  • Пожалуй, тут я не соглашусь. “I’m afraid I must disagree here.”
    (Pozhaluy, tut ya ne soglashus’.)
  • Проблема в том, что… — “The problem is that…”
    (Problema v tom, chto…)
  • Давайте сделаем так… “Let’s do this…”
    (Davayte sdelayem tak…)
  • Я предлагаю повысить цены. — “I suggest that we increase the prices.”
    (Ya predlagayu povysit’ tseny.)
  • Все согласны? “Can we all agree on that?”
    (Vse soglasny?)

Giving presentations

If you give a presentation in front of new colleagues or partners, it’s worth saying a couple of words about yourself. Speaking about something familiar and trivial will help you relax if you feel anxious, and your new partners will have a better idea of who the speaker is.

  • Меня зовут Майк. — “My name is Mike.”
    (Menya zovut Mayk.)
  • Я представляю отдел продаж компании ABC. “I represent the sales department in ABC.”
    (Ya predstavlyayu otdel prodazh kompanii ABC.)

Check out our lesson “Introducing Yourself in a Business Meeting” to gain some cultural insight on the matter!

And here are some basic phrases for the presentation itself.

  • Сегодня поговорим о продажах. “Today we will talk about the sales.”
    (Segodnya pogovorim o prodazhakh.)
  • Сегодня мы обсудим новые сделки. “Today we will discuss the new deals.”
    (Segodnya my obsudim novyye sdelki.)
  • Обратите внимание на этот график. — “(Please) take a look at the chart.”
    (Obratite vnimaniye na etot grafik.)
  • Посмотрите на эту статистику. — “(Please) have a look at these statistics.”
    (Posmotrite na etu statistiku.)
  • Всем спасибо за внимание. — “Thank you all for your attention.”
    (Vsem spasibo za vnimaniye.)
  • Буду рад(а)* ответить на ваши вопросы. — “I will be glad to answer your questions.”
    (Budu rad-a otvetit’ na vashi voprosy.)
  • Иван ответит на вопросы после собрания. — “Ivan will answer the questions after the meeting.” 
    (Ivan otvetit na voprosy posle sobraniya) [if you feel insecure about answering the questions yourself]

* [The ending -a is added if the speaker is a woman.]

People with Mixed Opinions during a Business Meeting

Все согласны?

5. Business Emails and Phone Calls

Even with the rising popularity of messengers, sending emails is still the most popular way of in-company communication in Russia. The phone is still a thing, as well.

Email etiquette

While casual emails to your colleagues are not going to be much different from a message on a social network, the etiquette of formal emails is much stricter, so this is what we’re going to focus on in this section.

  • Уважаемая Екатерина Сергеевна! — “Dear Ekaterina Sergeyevna”
    (Uvazhayemaya Ekaterina Sergeyevna!)
  • Уважаемый Александр! — “Dear Alexander”
    (Uvazhayemyy Aleksandr!)
  • Здравствуйте, Александр! — “Hello, Alexander”
    (Zdravstvuyte, Aleksandr!)
  • Добрый день! — “Hello!” (lit. “Good afternoon”)
    (Dobryy den’!)
The greetings are listed in order of formality, starting with the most formal one. If you know the full name of the person you’re emailing (the first name + the patronymic name), you should address them accordingly. 
  • Я хотел(а)* бы узнать, готова ли презентация. “I’d like to know if the presentation is ready.”
    (Ya khotel-a by uznat’, gotova li prezentatsiya.)
  • Хотел(а) бы напомнить о завтрашнем дедлайне. “I’d like to remind you about tomorrow’s deadline.”
    (Khotel-a by napomnit’, o zavtrashnem dedlayne.)
  • Хотел(а) поинтересоваться стоимостью курса. — “I was wondering about the price of the course.”
    (Khotel-a pointeresovat’sya stoimost’yu kursa.)

* [The ending -a is added if the speaker is a woman.]

  • Спасибо! “Thank you!”
    ((Spasibo!)
  • С уважением, “Faithfully yours,
    Майк Сантос Mike Santos”
    (S uvazheniyem, Mike Santos”
Business Phrases

Business calls

Within the company, you’re likely to call your colleagues via Skype or some other video conference software. However, if you’re going to call other companies, you might want to use the phone.

Let’s start with Алло? (Allo?), or “Hello?” Like in English, it’s a versatile word that can be used both when you pick up the phone and when you can’t hear the person well. But only on the phone—not face-to-face, please.

Here are some practical Russian phrases for business phone calls.

Calling

When you call the company, they usually introduce themselves when answering the phone. If you just hear a cold “Алло?”, the strategy would be the following (don’t forget to greet the person!):

  • Здравствуйте, это магазин «Шик»? “Hello, is this the ‘Shik’ shop?”
    (Zdravstvuyte, eto magazin «Shik»?)
  • Здравствуйте, это Сергей Иванович? — “Hello, is this Sergey Ivanovich?”
    (Zdravstvuyte, eto Sergey Ivanovich?)
  • Я хотел(а)* бы поговорить с Сергеем Ивановичем. — “Could I speak to Sergey Ivanovich, please?”
    (Ya khotel-а by pogovorit’ s Sergeyem Ivanovichem.)
  • Пожалуйста, соедините меня с отделом продаж? “Could you put me through to the sales department?”
    (Pozhaluysta, soyedinite menya s otdelom prodazh?)

* [The ending -a is added if the speaker is a woman.]

Receiving calls

  • Слушаю. — “Hello?” [lit. “I’m listening.”]
    (Slushayu.)
  • Добрый день. Компания ABC. — “Good afternoon. It’s ABC company.”
    (Dobryy den’. Kompaniya ABC.)
  • Вас плохо слышно. — “I can’t hear you well.”
    (Vas plokho slyshno.)
  • Минутку, пожалуйста. — “One minute, please.”
    (Minutku, pozhaluysta.)
  • Я вас с ним соединю. — “I will put him on.”
    (Ya vas s nim soyedinyu.)
  • Извините, сейчас он занят. — “I’m sorry, he’s busy at the moment.”
    (Izvinite, seychas on zanyat.)
  • Может, мне ему что-нибудь передать? — “Would you like to leave a message?”
    (Mozhet, mne emu chto-nibud’ peredat’?)
  • Можете перезвонить чуть позже, пожалуйста? — “Could you call again a bit later, please?”
    (Mozhete perezvonit’ chut’ pozzhe, pozhaluysta?)
  • До свидания. — “Goodbye.”
    (Do svidaniya.)
  • Извините, вы ошиблись номером. — “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number.”
    (Izvinite, vy oshiblis’ nomerom.)

You can listen to a sample phone conversation in one of our lessons from the “Business Russian for Beginners” course.

A Man Holding a Map and Talking on the Phone

Who is he calling? Why?
Come up with a simple phone conversation in Russian to practice the new phrases.

6. What’s Next?

I think you’re now ready to do business in Russia and chat with your Russian speaking colleagues! You know how to introduce yourself, interact with your coworkers, write business emails, and how to not make your boss angry if you messed something up! Obviously, these Russian business phrases are just the tip of the iceberg, but they’re a good place to start. 

When you feel comfortable using the phrases listed in this article, you can explore our “Business Russian for Beginners” course to improve your knowledge. If you happen to have any questions about doing business in Russia or the formal style used in the business environment, our teachers on RussianPod101.com will help you dispel any doubts. 

With our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask any business- or language-related questions. If you want to practice your business phrases, you’ll receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. Give it a try!

Eager to learn more? The following material will help you gain even more knowledge about business phrases in Russian.

Is there anything we didn’t cover that you still want to know? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help! 

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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How to Say Goodbye in Russian

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When you’ve just started studying a foreign language, you may not be able to keep up conversations in it, but you should at least know the basic rules of politeness. Greeting and saying goodbye are the most essential aspects of day-to-day communication, and they can make or break your future encounters with native speakers.

Today, RussianPod101.com will teach you how to say goodbye in Russian for a variety of life situations. After learning the following ten phrases, you’ll be much more confident when meeting and speaking with Russians.

Let’s get started! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. До свидания (Do svidaniya)
  2. Пока (Poka)
  3. Прощай (Proshchay)
  4. До встречи (Do vstrechi)
  5. До скорого (Do skorogo)
  6. Увидимся (Uvidimsya)
  7. Спокойной ночи (Spokoynoy nochi)
  8. Мне пора (Mne pora)
  9. Счастливо (Schastlivo)
  10. Давай (Davay)
  11. Conclusion

1. До свидания (Do svidaniya)

Most Common Goodbyes

До свидания (Do svidaniya) is the most popular way to say goodbye in Russian. The literal translation of this expression is “Until we meet again.” Its English equivalent is “Goodbye.”

This versatile Russian phrase for goodbye is suitable for any formal situation. Keep in mind that it may sound a little too formal if you’re chatting with good friends or family.

Feel free to implement this expression while talking to someone who is older than you or anyone you’re not very close with. Look at the following example:

  • До свидания, Мария Ивановна, спасибо вам за всё!
    Do svidaniya, Mariya Ivanovna, spasibo vam za vsyo!
    “Goodbye, Maria Ivanovna, thank you for everything!”

Here, we put the pronoun Вам (Vam) instead of Тебе (Tebe). Anytime you say До свидания (Do svidaniya), you need to use the polite forms of any other words in that sentence.

A Grandson Offering His Grandfather a Cup of Coffee

You should definitely learn more about Russian forms of address in order to be polite while talking to older people (and to avoid awkward situations)!

2. Пока (Poka)

Пока (Poka) is the most popular informal expression for saying goodbye in Russian. Its literal translation is “For now,” but it’s just like saying “Bye” in English. 

You may use Пока (Poka) in any everyday situation, toward anyone you would address informally as Ты (Ty). This kind of goodbye in Russian is appropriate for ending conversations with friends and close relatives. For instance:

  • Пока, дружище!
    Poka, druzhishche!
    “Goodbye, buddy!”

You may also say Пока-пока (Poka-poka). The meaning won’t change at all, but your farewell will be longer, warmer, and friendlier.

3. Прощай (Proshchay)

This Russian word for goodbye isn’t very common, so you probably won’t hear it in everyday conversations. The literal translation of this word is “Forgive me.” By saying it, you mean “Farewell” or “Goodbye forever.”

Прощай (Proshchay) is used when the speaker knows that he or she won’t see the other person again. It’s suitable to use when somebody is moving away, lying on their deathbed, or breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend.

This is the perfect parting word to use when you want to say goodbye and ask for the other person’s forgiveness at the same time. This word carries the additional weight of admitting guilt, and it sounds really sad. Here’s an example:

  • Прощай, моя любовь.
    Proshchay, moya lyubov’.
    “Farewell, my love.”

You’ve probably noticed that the example above uses informal language. If the situation was formal, you would use the polite form Прощайте (Proshchayte).

A Girl Misses Someone

Sometimes saying goodbye is heartbreaking… And you need special words for it.

4. До встречи (Do vstrechi)

До встречи (Do vstrechi) is one of the safest expressions for saying goodbye in Russian. We say this because it’s appropriate for both formal and informal conversations with people of different ages.

The literal translation of this phrase is “Until the next meeting,” but it’s more like saying “See you soon” in English. Of course, you should only use this phrase to part ways with people you’ll definitely be seeing again. Check this example:

  • Мне нужно идти, до встречи!
    Mne nuzhno idti, do vstrechi!
    “I have to go, see you soon.”

5. До скорого (Do skorogo)

Another phrase you should know for saying goodbye to close friends and family is До скорого (Do skorogo). Its literal meaning is “Until soon,” but it’s really just another way to say “See you soon.”

This is a shortened version of До скорого свидания (Do skorogo svidaniya), which is translated into English as “Until we meet again soon.” For your information, the long version isn’t used in modern Russian.

Here’s an example of how to use this Russian informal goodbye phrase: 

  • Ну, мы пойдём, до скорого!
    Nu, my poydyom, do skorogo!
    “We’re going now, see you!”

The most appropriate situation for using this expression is when you know you’ll see the person again very soon. For example, if you’re working, studying, or even living together.

A Dad Is Saying Bye to His Family

Saying goodbye is not sad when you know that you’ll see the person again soon!

6. Увидимся (Uvidimsya)

This expression means almost the same thing as the previous one. Увидимся (Uvidimsya) is literally translated into English as “See each other.” It’s like saying “See you soon” in English.

This phrase is a good way to say goodbye in Russian in more casual situations. You may say Увидимся (Uvidimsya) to your friends if you know you’ll see them again in the near future, like in the following example:

  • Увидимся на неделе.
    Uvidimsya na nedele.
    “See each other again this week.”

You may also say the longer version: Ещё увидимся (Eshchyo uvidimsya). The meaning will stay the same.

7. Спокойной ночи (Spokoynoy nochi)

Спокойной ночи (Spokoynoy nochi) is a good phrase for ending a conversation late in the evening. The literal translation of it is “Have a calm night,” and it’s like saying “Goodnight” in English.

This phrase is very versatile, and you can use it in both formal and informal situations. This language construction is appropriate for when it’s late, and you know that the person whom you’re talking to is going to bed. Look at this simple example:

  • Спокойной ночи, выспись хорошенько!
    Spokoynoy nochi, vyspis’ khoroshen’ko!
    “Goodnight, get enough sleep!”

There are some Russian equivalents for this phrase, as well:

  • Доброй ночи.
    Dobroy nochi.

This one sounds good in both formal and informal situations.

  • Сладких снов.
    Sladkikh snov.

This one sounds very informal and even romantic, so you’d better save it for use with really close friends or your sweetheart.

Texting Someone a Good Night

If someone wishes you goodnight every day, you’re happier than many people.

8. Мне пора (Mne pora)

This is a great example of how to say goodbye in Russian when leaving a formal conversation. Мне пора (Mne pora) may be literally translated as “It’s time for me,” but it actually means “It’s time for me to go.”

Using this phrase implies that you not only need to cut the conversation short, but that you also need to leave your current location. It’s a good idea to elongate it with a more traditional way of saying goodbye in Russian, like in the example below:

  • Мне пора, до свидания!
    Mne pora, do svidaniya!
    “It’s time for me to go, goodbye!”

You may also say:

  • Боюсь, что мне пора.
    Boyus’, chto mne pora.
    “I’m afraid it’s time for me to go.”

9. Счастливо (Schastlivo)

Счастливо (Schastlivo) is a colloquial phrase for ending everyday conversations. The literal translation of it is “Happily,” and it’s like saying “All the best” in English.

We recommend that you use this phrase with people whom you know pretty well—otherwise, it would sound overly familiar. This is a good example of how it should be used:

  • Классно провели время. Счастливо!
    Klassno proveli vremya. Schastlivo!
    “We’ve had a cool time. All the best!”

Pay attention to the stress. In this case, it falls on the vowel И, not on А like in all of the other cases.

10. Давай (Davay)

The literal translation of this word is “give” or “let’s,” but people often use it to mean something like “Bye-bye” in Russian. 

Russians often use this word to say goodbye after a phone call or Skype chat with friends. Here’s an example:

  • Давай, ещё созвонимся.
    Davay, eshchyo sozvonimsya.
    “We’ll talk later, byе.”

You should only use this goodbye phrase with your friends, acquaintances of your age, and close relatives.

People Waving Goodbye

Most Russian Skype sessions end with the word Давай. Russians really love this way of saying goodbye!

11. Conclusion

All of the words and phrases we covered in this article are used regularly in Russia. If you’re only a beginner, it’ll be sufficient for you to learn one formal, one informal, and one universal phrase from this article. If you’re an intermediate or advanced student, you’d better learn all ten of them (or even more!).

Please remember that if you need more help saying goodbye in Russian—or any other aspect of the Russian language—we have a Premium PLUS service called MyTeacher. One-on-one tutoring with your personal teacher will help you succeed at any point of your language-learning journey.

Do you know any other ways to say bye in Russian that we didn’t mention in this article? If yes, please leave a comment below.

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