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The Best Podcasts for Learning Russian

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Do you find native Russian speakers simply impossible to understand? Are you tired of reading boring textbooks and doing endless exercises? If so, we suggest you start listening to some Russian podcasts for language learners!

A Woman Is Tired from Reading a Textbook

Are you tired of reading? Why don’t you try podcasts?

There are many benefits to living in the digital age, but this is especially true when it comes to language learning. Today, you can improve your Russian with ease and pleasure using your phone, tablet, computer, and the internet. Whether you’re learning Russian for fun, in order to speak with friends, or for work, podcasts are a great tool to help you start understanding the language better.

Podcasting (the word is a contraction of “iPod” and “broadcasting”) is the process of creating and distributing audio files on the internet. As a rule, podcasts focus on a specific topic and have a consistent publication frequency. Due to their convenient format and the wide variety of topics they cover—from science to comedy—podcasts continue to grow in popularity. Moreover, listening to podcasts in another language is an effective way to learn that language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Russian
  2. The Best Russian Podcasts for Learning the Russian Language
  3. Tricks to Help You Learn Russian More Effectively with Podcasts
  4. Conclusion

1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn Russian

First of all, listening to podcasts in Russian will help you get used to how it’s spoken in daily life. How do you speak your native language? Surely quickly and without long pauses; you shorten words, use idioms, and incorporate slang terms. Natural Russian speech sounds much the same. If you want to understand “real” Russian in addition to the stuff you learn in textbooks, you cannot do so without listening to live, fluent conversations. This is where Russian podcasts come in handy. Other useful tools include Russian films, TV shows, and songs.

Secondly, you will become acquainted with modern vocabulary. In all fairness, it must be said that many educational materials teach vocabulary that either lost its relevance a decade ago or is simply too formal for ordinary conversations. On the other hand, podcasts are a product of our time, so they’re built upon a base of words and phrases that are relevant today.

Thirdly, hearing these words in context will teach you how to use the vocabulary you learn. Learning words is half the battle since you need to understand how to apply them correctly in a conversation. The examples found in podcasts help a lot in this regard; the more content you listen to, the more opportunities you’ll have to use a particular vocabulary word. Themed podcasts are especially useful in this regard.

Fourthly, Russian podcasts offer free language lessons. Some of them provide additional information for money, but most podcast episodes are freely available for everyone.

A Woman Watching and Listening to Something on Her Tablet with Headphones

Podcasts offer many benefits when used as language learning tools, and they’re extremely portable.

2. The Best Russian Podcasts for Learning the Russian Language

1. Russian Made Easy 

  • Level: True Beginner to Lower-intermediate
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast
  • Free content + Premium subscription

The Russian Made Easy podcast is a great learning resource for those who are just starting their Russian studies. Language teacher Mark Thomson presents modern ways of learning the language, including contextual learning, pattern recognition, and speed learning techniques. The podcast was made for beginners who would like to start speaking and understanding Russian in no time. Mark explains everything in English, and native speakers use Russian. At the end of each episode (about 20 minutes), you can do exercises to help solidify what you’ve learned. 

2. RussianPod101 

  • Level: True Beginner to Advanced
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast
  • Free content + Premium subscriptions

RussianPod101 offers an innovative and fun way to learn Russian with podcasts. We provide a ton of lessons on the Russian language and culture, including content for learners at every level. Russian might be one of the most difficult languages in the world, but our tools help take some of the pressure off you. Audio lessons, slowed-down audio, line-by-line breakdowns, and more are waiting for you! 

3. Russian with Max

  • Level: Lower-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast, News, Politics, Society
  • Free content + Premium membership program

This Russian podcast is geared toward learners at the intermediate level and above. On the website, you’ll find stories, videos, articles, and a weekly podcast made by a qualified Russian language teacher. Each story lasts about 15 to 50 minutes and includes a podcast transcript.

4. In Russian Terms  

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: Current Events 
  • Free content

This podcast is made for advanced learners. It has 54 episodes, each one from 10 to 20 minutes long. It focuses on current political and social events taking place in Russia, and the host uses commonly used idioms while providing cultural context.

5. Russian Podcast 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free and paid content

This podcast is recorded in Russian, but its simple dialogues and grammar explanations make it ideal for beginners. It has a huge number of episodes, and you can access transcripts and explanations for a fee. Episodes are anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour long. 

Headphones Over Some Colorful Books

Auditory memory has a great impact on language learning.

6. Learn Russian with Dasha 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: Life Stories
  • Free content

This is an educational podcast recorded in slow Russian, and it comes with transcripts so you can easily follow along. Dasha is a Russian language teacher from Siberia, and she talks about her life and experiences in this podcast series. Episodes are anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes long. 

7. Slow Russian 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: Slang, Idioms, Common Expressions
  • Free content

One of the best Russian podcasts for beginners, Slow Russian includes transcripts and translations for learners. In each episode, you’ll learn about Russian traditions, holidays, and poets; you’ll also get to hear about how Russians perceive international media and movies, such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. Episodes are about 15-25 minutes long and recorded in slow Russian. 

8. Very Much RussianLearn Russian as Russians speak it!

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free content

This is one of the best Russian podcasts for intermediate learners who are ready to level up. Very Much Russian talks about more complex topics like collocations, slang, and idioms, and each episode comes with a transcript and translation. Episodes are only a few minutes long, and they incorporate Russian jokes or funny stories to further engage listeners. 

9. Speaking Russian 

  • Level: Beginner to Upper-intermediate
  • Theme: Teaching Podcast
  • Free and paid content

This podcast teaches the basics of Russian. It’s good for beginners, as you’ll hear simple Russian words and phrases explained in English. Episodes are less than 10 minutes long.

A Man Is Sitting in Front of a Laptop while Wearing His Headphones

Podcasts are a time-efficient tool for learning.

10. Speaking Russian Advanced 

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: Reading Russian Classics
  • Free and paid content

In this advanced Russian podcast, a native speaker reads from classic works by Anna Karenina and Leo Tolstoy. The host then explains the main Russian expressions in English and provides a summary. We recommend this podcast for more advanced learners because it’s geared toward native speakers. 

11. Arzamas 

  • Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free content

Arzamas is a Russian history and culture podcast aimed at native speakers. This trusted podcast also publishes courses on the Arzamas website, including lectures by Russian experts in a number of fields: science, history, literature, art, anthropology, philosophy… Each episode runs for 10-60 minutes. 

12. Dikie utki (Wild ducks) 

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: Life Stories
  • Free content

Do you enjoy hearing wild, bizarre, breathtaking, and sometimes disgusting stories from people from different walks of life? Then you’ll love this Russian podcast, which is all about life stories. You’ll hear stories about failed dates, crazy parties, fun childhood experiences, and more. This is a great resource for advanced Russian learners because it uses real-life speech full of idioms and advanced vocabulary. Each episode is about 30-50 minutes long.  

13. Идеи, Изменившие Мир (Ideas that changed the world) 

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: History of Science
  • Free content

This Russian-language podcast consists of several 10- to 15-minute episodes that cover the stories behind discoveries that changed our lives. You’re sure to be entertained and intrigued, as many of these discoveries were made under unusual circumstances. 

14. Как стать русским? (How to become a Russian?)

  • Level: Advanced
  • Theme: History and Culture
  • Free content

Hosted by journalist Timothy Kirby, who emigrated from the United States to Russia, this podcast discusses Russian culture and traditions. Each episode is roughly 45 minutes long. 

3. Tricks to Help You Learn Russian More Effectively with Podcasts

The human brain is amazing and works even when we are not aware of it. Even when you’re listening to a podcast while driving to work and can understand only one word out of five, your brain is still remembering and analyzing information!

Using podcasts will help strengthen your listening and comprehension skills. With podcasts, you can stop the track, check grammatical constructions and translations, and (like on YouTube) slow down the playback speed. You can use your favorite app to learn with Russian podcasts, as most of them are available on popular podcast apps.

A Woman Is Lying on the Grass and Listening to Something with Her Headphones

One study proves that podcasts stimulate mental imagery more intensely than watching or reading; they also cause listeners to have to pay more attention.

Follow these guidelines to perfect your Russian listening skills with podcasts:

  • Listen to podcasts at least once a day; set aside 5-10 minutes when you can listen without distractions. 
  • Choose a podcast that will interest you. This is important because otherwise, you will lose interest.
  • It is better to start with a podcast for your level. You may get lost in the fluent speech of native speakers and drop your studies out of frustration.
  • Listen to the podcast without looking at the explanations—can you understand the main idea of the conversation?
  • Listen again, but look at the text this time. This will help you identify new words, solidify unfamiliar grammatical constructions, and mark the natural pronunciation.
  • Pay attention to the context because it will help you understand what unfamiliar words mean.

And the most important thing: Do not despair, even if everything seems incomprehensible to you. The more you practice, the faster your speech will become native-like.

4. Conclusion

All in all, the best Russian-language podcasts are those that have something to offer both beginners and advanced learners. Whichever podcast you choose, listening every day will help you learn the peculiarities of the language: intonation, pronunciation, word stress, logical pauses, etc. 

Members of RussianPod101.com get access to several of our podcast-style lessons for free, while Premium members can enjoy the entire library. Each of our lessons includes a number of useful tools to make learning easier: vocabulary lists, PDF lesson notes, slowed-down audio, and more. In addition, we provide auxiliary tools on our website and make a point of including useful cultural context in every lesson. 

If you upgrade to Premium PLUS, you can also learn 1-on-1 with your own Russian tutor through our MyTeacher service. You can discuss your favorite podcasts with a Russian teacher, ask questions, and work on your pronunciation. 

Happy learning!

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

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!

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

How to be a Good Lover in Russia

https://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/518029universal.png

Click here to listen how to pronounce those lovely words!

– Ты так много значишь для меня.
Ty tak mnoga znachish` dlya menya
You mean so much to me.

– Будешь ли ты моим Валентином?
Budesh` li ty maim Valentinom?
Will you be my Valentine?

– Ты такая красивая.
Ty takaya krasivaya.
You’re so beautiful.

– Ты для меня больше чем друг
Ty dlya menya bol`she chem drug
I think of you as more than a friend.

– Даже 100 сердец будет слишком мало чтобы выразить всю мою любовь к тебя.
Dazhe 100 serdets budet slishkam malo chtoby vyrazit` vsyu mayu lyubov` k tebe.
A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

– Любовь, это просто любовь. Её никогда нельзя объяснить.
Lyubov’, eto prosto lyubov’. Yeyo nikagda nel`zya ob`yasnit`
Love is just love. It can never be explained.

– Ты так красив.
Ty tak krasiv.
You’re so handsome.

– Ты мне нравишься.
Ty mne nravish`say.
I’ve got a crush on you.

– Tы заставляешь меня быть лучшим мужчиной.
ty zastavlyaesh` menya byt` luchshim muzhchinai.
You make me want to be a better man.

– Пусть всё что ты делаешь, будет сделано в любви.
Pust` vsyo chto ty delaesh`, budet sdelana v lyubvi.
Let all that you do be done in love.

– Ты моё солнце, моя любовь.
Ty mayo solntse, maya lubov`.
You are my sunshine, my love.

– Слова не могут описать мою любовь к тебе.
Slava ne mogut apisat’ mayu lyubov’ k tebe.
Words can’t describe my love for you.

– Мы встретились чтобы быть вместе.
My vstretilis` chtoby byt` vmeste.
We were meant to be together.

– Если вы думаете о ком-то, читая это, Вы определённо влюблены.
Yesli vy dumaete a kom-to chitaya eta, vy apredelyona vlyubleny.
If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

– Я люблю тебя.
Ya lyublyu tebya.
I love you.

Break up? Want to impress friends? Learn Russian with our other vocabulary lists!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From RussianPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at RussianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Russian together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Russian with RussianPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the RussianPod101.com Team!