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The Only Guide to Russian Tenses You’ll Ever Need

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Let me guess. You’re at a stage where you already know how to introduce yourself and talk about your family, and now you’re ready to get down to real business. Hesitating between the verb conjugation and noun cases, your choice fell on Russian tenses. Fair enough. You need a way to tell the world about your past adventures, current feelings, and ambitious plans. Stick with me, and I’ll show you how it’s done.

We’ll go step by step, starting with the Russian verb basics like the infinitive, person, number, and verbal aspects before seamlessly switching to the tenses: present, past, and future. Russian tenses are not a piece of cake, but we’re going to have one bite at a time anyway. Shall we?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Basic Concepts
  2. Present
  3. Past
  4. Future
  5. What’s Next?

1. Basic Concepts

No need to sugarcoat it: Russian verb conjugation might seem intimidating. However, you can breathe a sigh of relief: there are only three tenses in Russian—present, past, and future. Before we dive into the tenses, though, let’s cover some basic info on verbs to help you better understand the logic behind the tense formation.

A- The Infinitive Form and the Verb Groups

When you look up a verb in a dictionary, you find its infinitive form. In the world of conjugation, the infinitive will be your guide and best buddy. This is because verb tenses are formed by modifying the infinitive (usually changing its ending), and sometimes the infinitive is helpful in identifying the conjugation group of the verb.

    “Conjugation group, you said?”

Yes, there are two conjugation groups in Russian, each with its own set of endings. We didn’t waste much time thinking of how to name them, so they’re simply “Group 1” and “Group 2.” In most cases, you can predict which group a verb belongs to by looking at the ending of its infinitive.

Russian verbs: First and second conjugation groups
Group 1

Endings -еть, -ать, -ять, -уть, -ти
(-yet’, -at’, -yat’, -ut’, -ti)

Examples:
Богатеть (bogatet’) – “to get richer”
Играть (igrat’) – “to play”
Гулять (gulyat’) – “to stroll”
Гнуть (gnut’) – “to bend”
Ползти (polzti) – “to crawl”
Group 2

Most verbs ending in -ить (-it’)

Examples: 
Говорить (govorit’) – “to speak”Учить (uchit’) – “to learn” / “to teach”

11 exceptions, which are verbs that seemingly belong to Group 1:
  • Дышать (dyshat’) – “to breathe”
  • Держать (derzhat’) – “to hold”
  • Гнать (gnat’) – “to drive fast”
  • Ненавидеть (nenavidet’) – “to hate”
  • Слышать (slyshat’) – “to hear”
  • Вертеть (vertet’) – “to spin something”
  • Смотреть (smotret’) – “to look”
  • Видеть (videt’) – “to see”
  • Обидеть (obidet’) – “to offend”
  • Терпеть (terpet’) – “to tolerate”
  • Зависеть (zaviset’) – “to depend”

Pro tips

1. To start, just keep in mind that most verbs ending in -ить belong to Group 2, and the rest belong to Group 1. To level up, try to remember the 11 exceptions as well!

2. Many infinitives end with -ть, but sometimes -ться can pop up. It’s a typical ending for reflexive verbs like одеваться (odevat’sya), meaning “to dress.” Just ignore the -ся part for now.

B- Person and Number

The ending a verb takes depends on the person and number as well. Here’s a list of possible ‘person + number’ combinations represented by personal pronouns. Keep in mind that any pronoun can be replaced by a noun (for instance, “my parents” instead of “they”).

Pronoun typeRussianEnglish
1st person singularя (ya)I
2nd person singularты (ty)you (casual)
3rd person singularон, она, оно (on, ona, ono)he, she, it
1st person pluralмы (my)we
2nd person pluralвы (vy)you (plural) / you (formal)
3rd person pluralони (oni)they

Examples: 

  • я читаю (ya chitayu) – “I read”
  • мы читаем (my chitayem) – “we read”
  • студенты читают (studenty chitayut) – “the students read”

➤ Check out our list of the Most Useful Pronouns if you would also like to hear how these pronouns are pronounced.

A Couple Sitting on the Sofa Reading Together

oни читают (oni chitayut) – “they read”

C- Aspect

Apparently, the Russian tense system seemed a bit too simple, so we decided to implement the concept of aspect. 

There are two verb aspects in Russian: imperfective and perfective

The imperfective aspect represents an ongoing or repeating action.

The perfective aspect usually indicates a completed action.

Can you think of something similar in English? (Take a second to think.) Right, a similar concept is used in English with the contrast of continuous/simple and perfect tenses.

Compare:

  • я ел (ya yel) – “I was eating”
  • я поел (ya poyel) – “I’ve eaten”
  • я буду читать (ya budu chitat’) – “I will be reading”
  • я прочитаю (ya prochitayu) – “I’ll finish reading”

Try to guess which forms are perfective and which ones are imperfective. How did you arrive at your answer?

❗️ Aspects are only relevant when we talk about the past and the future. We don’t use aspects in the present.

You must’ve been attentive enough to notice that each perfective verb had a prefix added. This is, indeed, the usual way of making a perfective form. Suffixes are used as well, but they’re not as common.

D- The Part that Changes

Again, you can try to guess a verb’s type by the ending of its infinitive form. This would work in most cases. Then, you’d usually just remove the -ть / -ти part of the infinitive to make the infinitive stem and add a corresponding ending to it. Easy-peasy.

However, some verb forms require the present tense stem. You can find it by cutting off the ending of the verb’s third person plural form (“they”). 

Yes, you didn’t misread it: To find the stem, you need a verb that is already conjugated. That’s the surefire way to get your conjugations right. This stem is used to create a variety of verb forms: present, future, imperative, and some others. Sometimes, the infinitive stem and the present tense stem end up being the same, but don’t let your guard down!

Context Conjugator will support you during the early stages of verb conjugation. But learning to see the conjugation patterns on your own will make your life easier in the long run.

The formula

The present tense stem [for the present and the simple future]
Regular verbs

In third-person plural, remove the last two letters and add the new ending:

“To play”: играть [infinitive] > играют [third plural] > игра [stem]
“To learn”: учить [infinitive] > учат [third plural] > уч [stem]

Reflexive verbs

In third-person plural, remove the reflexive part -ся and two more letters. Add the new ending, place -ся or -сь (for “I” and “you” formal) back:

“To dress”: одеваться [infinitive] > одеваются [third plural] > одева [stem] + ся / -сь
я одеваюсь – “I dress”
ты одеваешься – “you dress”
The infinitive stem [for the past]
Regular verbs

Remove the last two letters from the infinitive (usually -ть or -ти):

“To play”: играть [infinitive] > игра [stem]
“To learn”: учить [infinitive] > учи [stem]
Reflexive verbs

Remove the reflexive part -ся and two more letters from the infinitive (usually -ть or -ти), then put -ся (for “I” and “he”) or -сь back:

“To dress”: одеваться [infinitive] > одева[stem] + -ся / -сь
“To study”: учиться [infinitive] > учи [stem] + -ся / -сь

он учился – “he studied”
они одевались – “they dressed”

A Man Contemplating a Decision with a Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other

Играть или учиться? (Igrat’ ili uchit’sya?)
“To play or to study?”

2. Present

A- When?

We use the present tense for:

  1. General facts

    Ночью на небе появляются звёзды. — “At night, the stars appear in the sky.”
    (Noch’yu na nebe poyavlyayutsya zvyozdy.)
  1. Habitual actions

    Каждое утро я пью кофе. — “Every morning I drink coffee.”
    (Kazhdoye utro ya p’yu kofe.)
  1. The present state of affairs

    Я живу с родителями. — “I live with my parents.”
    (Ya zhivu s roditelyami.)
  1. An action that’s happening right now

    Мы смотрим фильм. — “We’re watching a movie.”
    (My smotrim fil’m.)
  1. An action that’s been taking place for a period of time

    Мы гуляем уже три часа. — “We’ve been walking for three hours already.”
    (My gulyayem uzhe tri chasa.)
  1. Timetables and future arrangements

    Поезд отправляется в 7 утра. — “The train departs at 7 a.m.”
    (Poyezd otpravlyayetsya v 7 utra.)

    Завтра мы идём в музей. — “We’re going to the museum tomorrow.”
    (Zavtra my idyom v muzey.)

As you can see, the Russian present tense is like the English present simple, continuous, and perfect continuous wrapped up into one tense. Yes, 3-in-1! 

B- How?

Finally, we’ve made it to the present tense endings that we use for each conjugation group. Remember that, ideally, you should work with the present tense stem (see “Basic Concepts”). Sometimes the two types of stems coincide, but if you’re only relying on the infinitive stem, the conjugation results might be unpredictable.

Group 1Group 2
играть (igrat’) – “to play”

я играю* (ya igrayu) – “I play”
ты играешь (ty igrayesh’) – “you play” [informal]
он играет (on igrayet) – “he plays”
мы играем (my igrayem) – “we play”
вы играете (vy igrayete) – “you play” [formal, pl.]
они играют* (oni igrayut) – “they play”
учить (uchit’) – “to learn,” “to teach”

я учу* (ya uchu) – “I learn”
ты учишь (ty uchish’) – “you learn” [informal]
она учит (ona uchit) – “she learns”
мы учим (my uchim) – “we learn”
вы учите (vy uchite) – “you learn” [formal, pl.]
они учат* (oni uchat) – “they learn”
* Use the endings -ю, -ют after vowels
or the soft sign (я думаю, они читают).

Use -у, -ут after consonants (я расту).
* Use the endings or -ат after the letters Ж, Ш, Ч, Щ, and all hard consonants.

Use and -ят after soft consonants and vowels.

Look at the endings once again and try to see the similarities between the two groups. If you manage to figure out the patterns on your own, the rules will stick better. It’s also an extremely satisfying experience to solve a problem by yourself, so give it a try.

Anyway, you were right if you said that the only difference is that from the first group changes into for the second group, and -у/-ю is replaced with -а/-я.

A Man Drinking Coffee Early in the Morning

Fill in the blank:
Каждое утро я _______ . (Kazhdoye utro ya ________.)
“Every morning I ___.”

3. Past

A- When?

We use the past tense in Russian to describe:

  1. An action that happened regularly in the past

    Она каждый день занималась спортом. — “She used to do sports every day.”
    (Ona kazhdyy den’ zanimalas’ sportom.)
  1. An action that began and ended in the past (the result is not important)

    Вчера я гулял в парке. — “Yesterday I walked in a park.”
    (Vchera ya gulyal v parke.)
  1. An action that was occurring for a period of time in the past

    Я ждал тебя весь день. — “I’ve been waiting for you all day.”
    (Ya zhdal tebya ves’ den’.)
  1. An action that began and ended in the past (the result is important, and the completeness of the action is emphasized)

    Я сходил в магазин. — “I’ve been to the shop.” [you can see that my hands are full of bags]
    (Ya skhodil v magazin.)

    Когда мы пришли, он уже ушёл. — “When we arrived, he had already left.”
    (Kogda my prishli, on uzhe ushel.)

As you can see, the Russian past tense is quite different from the English one. It’s a mixture of the English present perfect, past perfect, past continuous, past simple, and some other tenses. No need to draw parallels between the two languages here. It’s better to try grasping the main idea behind it: the action happened and was left in the past, even if this past was there just a second ago.

Also, if you remember what we covered about aspects, you can see that the first three instances refer to the imperfective past and the last one to the perfective.

➤ Confused about the aspects? Don’t hesitate to backtrack to the “Basic Concepts” section.

B- How?

To form Russian verbs in the past tense, we use the infinitive stem that we were talking about in the “Basic Concepts” section.

You need to drop the infinitive ending -ть and add the following endings instead:

    → masculine: (-l)
    → feminine: -ла (-la)
    → neuter: -ло (-lo)
    → plural: -ли (-li)

❗️ The past is the only tense where gender plays a role.

Groups 1 and 2 [same endings]
играть (igrat’) – “to play”

я играл(a) (ya igral-a) – “I played” [m/f]
ты играл(а) (ty igral-a) – “you played” [inf.] [m/f]
он играл (on igral) – “he played”
она играла (ona igrala) – “she played”
оно играло (ono igralo) – “it played”
мы играли (my igrali) – “we played”
вы играли (vy igrali) – “you played” [form., pl.]
они играли (oni igrali) – “they played”
учить (uchit’) – “to learn,” “to teach”

я учил(а) (ya uchil-a) – “I learned” [m/f]
ты учил(а) (ty uchil-a) – “you learned” [inf.] [m/f]
он учил (on uchil) – “he learned”
она учила (ona uchila) – “she learned”
оно учило (ono uchilo) – “it learned”
мы учили (my uchili) – “we learned”
вы учили (vy uchili) – “you learned” [form., pl.]
они учили (oni uchili) – “they learned”

C- Additional notes

1. If the infinitive ending is -чь, the ending changes to or . If there’s one or more е in the word, the last one will become ё. However, it only concerns the masculine form.

печь (pech’) – “to bake” → пёк (pyok) – “was baking” [m] (пекла [f], пекло [n], пекли [pl])

2. If the infinitive ending is -ти, all you need to do is drop the ending. To create the feminine, neuter, and plural forms, just add -ла, -ло, or -ли respectively. 

ползти (polzti) – “to crawl” → полз (polz) – “crawled” [m] (ползла [f], ползло [n], ползли [pl])

3. Many words with the -ти ending change their stems while forming the past, so try to memorize them.

идти (idti) – “to go” → шёл (shyol) – “went” [m] (шла [f], шло [n], шли [pl])

4.  A perfective form usually turns up with a prefix, but the endings normally stay the same. What changes, however, is the meaning.

Compare: imperfective > perfective

  • есть (yest’) – “to eat”
  • я ел (ya yel) – “I was eating” [masculine]
    я поел (ya poyel) – “I’ve eaten”

    я ела (ya yela) – “I was eating” [feminine]
    я поела (ya poyela) – “I’ve eaten”

  • он ел (on yel) – “he was eating”
    он поел (on poyel) – “he’s eaten”
  • она ела (ona yela) – “she was eating”
    она поела (ona poyela) – “she’s eaten”

  • оно ело (ono yelo) – “it was eating”
    оно поело (ono poyelo) – “it has eaten”

5. The verb “to be” deserves special attention. We mostly use it in the past and the future with adjectives and adverbs. It also serves as a means of making compound future forms. We’ll look deeper into them in the next chapter (“Future”).

The verb Быть (Byt’) – To be
я был(а) (ya byl-a) – “I was”
ты был(а) (ty byl-a) – “you were” [inf.] [m/f]
он был (on byl) – “he was”
она была (ona byla) – “she was”
оно было (ono bylo) – “it was”
мы были (my byli) – “we were”
вы были (vy byli) – “you were” [form., pl.]
они были (oni byli) – “they were”
Examples:
  • Там было холодно. — “It was cold out there.”
    (Tam bylo kholodno.)
  • Я был дома. — “I was home.”
    (Ya byl doma.)
  • Это было для нас хорошим уроком. — “It was a good lesson for us.”
    (Eto bylo dlya nas khoroshim urokom.)

A Woman in Winter Clothes Shivering in the Snow

How do you say “It was cold out there” in Russian?

4. Future

A- When?

We use the future tense in Russian for:

  1. An action that will be ongoing or repeated at some point in the future [imperfective aspect]

    Завтра утром я буду на работе. — “Tomorrow morning, I’ll be at work.”
    (Zavtra utrom ya budu na rabote.)

    Мы будем каждый день ходить в ресторан. — “We will go to a restaurant every day.”
    (My budem kazhdyy den’ khodit’ v restoran.)
  1. An action that will be finished at some point in the future [perfective aspect]

    К 7 вечера мы уже закончим. — “We’ll be done by 7 p.m.”
    (K semi verchera my uzhe zakonchim.)

B- How?

There are two ways to form the future tense in Russian.

Way 1: Compound future [for the imperfective aspect]

An appropriate form of the verb быть (byt’), meaning “to be,” + the infinitive 

Groups 1 and 2 (identical formation)
1. играть (igrat’) – “to play”

я буду играть (ya budu igrat’) – “I will play”
ты будешь играть (ty budesh’ igrat’) – “you will play” [inf.]
он будет играть (on budet igrat’) – “he will play”
мы будем играть (my budem igrat’) – “we will play”
вы будете играть (vy budete igrat’) – “you will play” [form., pl.]
они будут играть (oni budut igrat’) – “they will play”
2. учить (uchit’) – “to learn,” “to teach”

я буду учить (ya budu uchit’) – “I will learn”
ты будешь учить (ty budesh’ uchit’) – “you will learn” [inf.]
он будет учить (on budet uchit’) – “he will learn”
мы будем учить (my budem uchit’) – “we will learn”
вы будете учить (vy budete uchit’) – “you will learn” [form., pl.]
они будут учить (oni budut uchit’) – “they will learn”

❗️ The same works for adjectives and adverbs as well:

  • Там будет холодно. — “It will be cold out there.”
    (Tam budet kholodno.)
  • Я буду дома. — “I will be home.”
    (Ya budu doma.)
  • Это будет для нас хорошим уроком. — “It’ll be a good lesson for us.”
    (Eto budet dlya nas khoroshim urokom.)

Way 2: Simple future [for the perfective aspect]

The perfective form of the verb + the present tense endings

Group 1
играть (igrat’) – “to play”

я поиграю* (ya poigrayu) – “I will play a bit”
ты поиграешь (ty poigrayesh’) – “you will play a bit” [inf.]
он поиграет (on poigrayet) – “he will play a bit”
мы поиграем (my poigrayem) – “we will play a bit”
вы поиграете (vy poigrayete) – “you will play a bit” [form., pl.]
они поиграют* (oni poigrayut) – “they will play a bit”
* Use the endings -ю, -ют after vowels
or the soft sign (я думаю, они читают).

Use -у, -ут after consonants (я расту).
Group 2
учить (uchit’) – “to learn,” “to teach”

я выучу* (ya vyuchu) – “I will learn”
ты выучишь (ty vyuchish’) – “you will learn” [inf.]
она выучит (ona vyuchit) – “she will learn”
мы выучим (my vyuchim) – “we will learn”
вы выучите (vy vyuchite) – “you will learn” [form., pl.]
они выучат* (oni vyuchat) – “they will learn”
* Use the endings and -ат after the letters Ж, Ш, Ч, Щ, and all hard consonants.

Use and -ят after soft consonants and vowels.

There’s no clear answer as to which prefix to use with the perfective form. The meaning might differ drastically depending on the prefix.

Compare:

  • он идёт (on idyot) – “he is walking”
  • он придёт (on pridyot) – “he will come”
  • он уйдёт (on uydyot) – “he will leave”
  • он отойдёт (on otoydyot) – “he will stand back”

My advice is to just learn the verb together with the prefix and the meaning it brings. Treat it as a new word. You’ll soon start seeing the logic behind many prefixes because they’re not completely random. Similarly to the particles of English phrasal verbs, they tend to have a specific meaning. For instance, the prefix по- often indicates that an action was short: 

поиграть (poigrat’) – “to play a bit”
почитать (pochitat’) – “to read a bit”
поспать (pospat’) – “to sleep a bit”

A Couple Getting Done Playing a Video Game Together

Поиграем? (Poigrayem?)
Shall we play?

5. What’s Next?

How do you feel about Russian tenses now? Are you ready to talk about present, past, and future events in Russian? In this article, we’ve covered the most typical cases of verb conjugation, mostly focusing on regular verbs. But if you feel like looking deeper into the topic, feel free to see our list of helpful resources below.

While reading, you must have noticed many similarities between the Russian and English systems of tenses. Try to remember those by mere analogy, and for the rest, I encourage you to look for the patterns in each tense. There is some logic behind them.

Obviously, mastering the Russian tenses and remembering all the endings would require lots of practice. This is where our RussianPod101 teachers can come to your aid! With our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Russian tenses or verb conjugation—our tutors are there to help you! You can also request some grammar and vocabulary exercises to drill the conjugation patterns into your mind. In addition to this, you’ll receive some speaking and writing assignments to boost your Russian skills on all fronts! Give it a try!

Eager to learn more? 

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

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.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  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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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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A Brief Russian Culture Overview

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What images come to mind when you hear the word “Russia”? 

Russia is known for its large territory and cold winters. But, digging deeper, what is Russian culture like? 

Art and literature enthusiasts may be familiar with our world-famous ballet and our prominent writers: Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky… 

Sports lovers may acknowledge our hockey team and outstanding performances at the Olympics.

Those who are into science must already be familiar with our space activities as well as our massive oil and gas industry. 

And gamers: you know Tetris, right?

Perhaps you’ve already learned something new just from reading this Russian culture introduction. But if you want to find out how Russians live, interact with each other, and spend their free time, the following overview of the Russian culture will help you get a bigger picture. You’ll see: Russia is not only about bears and vodka!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Numbers and Facts
  2. Relationships
  3. Education
  4. Religion
  5. National Holidays
  6. Leisure Time
  7. What’s Next?

1. Numbers and Facts

Someone Holding a Miniature Russian Flag

The Russian flag has three colors.
White for nobility and frankness, blue for faithfulness and honesty, and red for courage, generosity, and love.

Let’s warm up with some interesting Russian culture facts!

Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of territory. While it’s not all permafrost and tundra that’s unfit for human life, it’s still one of the least densely populated developed countries in the world. The current population is only 144 million people.

However, Russia can still boast of its vast cultural diversity, being home to nearly 200 ethnic groups, according to the CIA. Russian is the most common group (77.7%), and other ethnic groups include Tatar, Ukrainian, Bashkir, Chuvash, Chechen, and others.

Due to this population diversity, there are various languages spoken in Russia. Of more than 100 languages used throughout Russia, Russian is the most widely spoken. It might come as a surprise, but Russian has very few dialects. To be precise, there are some well-distinguishable accents like the one from Moscow or Kuban in southern Russia. But it’s usually impossible to tell where a person is from just by listening to them talk.

2. Relationships

A key component in understanding Russian culture is learning how people interact with each other. Let’s go over what Russian relationships look like at home and at work!

A- Family

The legal marriage age in Russia is 18 years old for both men and women. Monogamy is the only form of relationship recognized in Russia. Same-sex marriage is not allowed. 

Nowadays, most couples prefer to move in together to dip their toes into real family life. Even though more and more couples prefer to just live together without engagement, the institute of marriage is still going strong in Russia, meaning most couples will end up marrying after all. Unfortunately, the current divorce rate in Russia is 52%.

The child-free spirit is not widely supported. Most people still expect a married couple to have a baby, and some couples might even experience pressure from their relatives or peers. Thirty years ago, it was normal to have your first baby at 20-22; nowadays, the mothers-to-be prefer to do it later.

The government is trying to stimulate childbirth in the country by offering monetary payments to new parents. Starting in 2020, couples will receive a one-time payment for their first child equal to almost 40 minimum monthly wages in Russia. Before 2020, you could only get this payment for the second child in your family.

The state offers a generous maternity leave as well: up to 3 years, 1.5 years of which are paid. For this reason, mothers prefer to go back to work when their baby is 18 months old. At this point, they will find a babysitter or nursery to look after their offspring. It’s also a common practice to ask one’s parents to babysit. Most of them don’t mind spending time with their grandchildren anyway!

Property in Russia is expensive considering the local salaries, so many children stay with their parents even as adults. Charging one’s children rent is extremely uncommon—if they could afford rent, they would already have moved out to live on their own. However, children often offer financial support to their families by purchasing the groceries and such. There is also the expectation that kids will look after their parents when they become old or can’t take care of themselves.

    → Brush up on some relevant vocabulary with our Family vocabulary list!
A Woman Putting a Wedding Ring on Her Right Hand

When Russians marry, they put a wedding ring on the right hand.
When they divorce, they put it on the left.

B- Work

In Russia, one is legally allowed to work when they turn 16 (in some cases 14). Many people start working at the age of 22-24 after graduating from university, and around 50% of students combine their studies with a part-time job. Surprisingly, only less than half of all graduates work in their degree field after leaving their alma mater.

Many Russians are dissatisfied with their jobs. It’s pretty common to hear someone complaining about their boss and salary. Very few people follow their hearts and truly enjoy what they’re doing. 

As for Russian work etiquette, one piece of advice will be especially useful: learn how to be punctual. It’s strongly advised to arrive at a meeting or an interview on time, or even ten minutes in advance. If you’re going to be late, it’s better to call the person to warn them.

Another crucial aspect of Russian culture in business is that you should address people formally.

➤ After reading our article about doing Business in Russia, you’ll have a better idea of how formal language differs from informal language.

Patronymic names are one feature of ‘formal’ Russian that will be new to you. Whenever you talk to your boss, teacher, doctor, etc., you should address them by their first name + their patronymic name. The patronymic name is derived from the person’s father’s name:

  • m: Иван Сергеевич — Ivan (name) Sergeyevich (patronymic)
    Ivan’s father’s name is Sergey.

  • f: Марина Викторовна — Marina (name) Viktorovna (patronymic)
    Marina’s father’s name is Viktor.

Most male patronymic names end in -vich, while most female patronymic names end in -vna

➤ Learn more about male and female patronymic names in our lesson “Introducing Your Boss to a Client.”

A Man Sitting at His Work Desk, Rubbing His Eyes with Exhaustion

A typical work week in Russia is 40 hours, five days per week.
14 days of public holidays together with all the weekends give Russians 118 days off work each year.
Also, most workers have an average of 28 vacation days per year.

3. Education

You already know from the previous chapter that the maternity leave in Russia can last up to 3 years. After that, the majority of parents enroll their children in kindergarten. However, the number of free public kindergartens fell drastically in the 90s, so now there are far more children than places available. This results in extremely long waiting lists, and many parents stake a place for their children the moment they’re born!

The primary school welcomes children aged 6 or 7 years old. Parents usually enroll their children in the school closest to their home. In Russia, education in primary and secondary public schools (a total of 11 years) is free for everybody. 

Russian schools use a 5-point system for grading. It ranges from 5 (“excellent”) to 2 (“unacceptable”). The lowest score, 1 (“a total failure”), is hardly ever used. 

In Russia, students often have no choice in what subjects they focus on later in their studies: everybody follows the same curriculum. However, after 9 years of schooling, children can choose to stay in school for 2 more years to complete their secondary education or to transfer to a training-type school that specializes in an area of choice (construction, metalwork, electricity, secretarial practice, etc.). Very few teens decide to drop their studies at this point, and students who intend to apply to university should finish the full 11-year school program. 

At the end of the 11th grade, all students are required to pass the Unified State Exam (USE), which includes two obligatory subjects: the Russian language and Math. Students can then apply to a university with these results, so they strive to pass the test with flying colors. Depending on the entry requirements for their specialty of choice, students can opt for tests on other subjects as well (literature, foreign language, history, etc.).

Going to university after school is a popular choice in Russia. According to OECD, around 65% of adult Russians have a college degree. Higher education is not free for everybody, though. Depending on the specialty, there is a limited amount of state-funded places reserved for those with high USE scores and beneficiaries (such as veterans, orphans, and disabled people). Since 2010, there are three types of university degrees: Bachelor’s degree (4 years), a Master’s degree (2 more years), and postgraduate degrees.

A Little Russian Girl Wearing a Soviet-era School Uniform

Many Russian schools require their students to wear a uniform.
However, it doesn’t have a unified look, so each school decides on its own dress code.
The girl in the image is dressed in a uniform worn during Soviet times.

4. Religion

The dominant religion in Russia is Orthodox Christianity. Over 70% of the population identifies as Russian Orthodox Christian. In Russian culture, however, religion does not play a large role in most people’s lives. Most believers don’t attend church regularly, limiting their religious activities to baptizing their kids at a nearby church and attending funerals.

Majestic Russian Orthodox churches attract visitors from all over the world, but even foreign tourists are recommended to follow the traditional rules when visiting. To begin with, men must remove any headgear; their heads must be uncovered at all times. Women must cover their hair and wear long skirts, certainly not trousers. If you arrive wearing trousers or shorts, some churches might offer you a large piece of cloth at the entrance to wrap around your legs, even if you’re a man. You’ll also see people crossing themselves three times from right to left before entering and leaving the church.

A considerable difference between a Russian church and a Western one is that the Russian church will have very few seats (if any at all). One must stay standing, often for many hours. The service is always in Old Russian. Russians can understand some of it, but it can be difficult to comprehend completely.

Church of All Saints in Ekaterinburg, Russia

Church of All Saints in Ekaterinburg, Russia
Golden domes represent eternity and heavenly glory.

5. National Holidays

National holidays reflect and incorporate some of the most significant Russian traditions. In Russia, there are numerous religious holidays. Even those who do not consider themselves believers enjoy celebrating Christmas and Easter, for instance. Here’s a brief look at the most important Russian holidays and celebrations.

A- New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is undoubtedly the biggest and most anticipated holiday in Russia. It’s a magical time for kids and a well-deserved 10 days of rest for adults!

Because celebrating Christmas was prohibited in Soviet Russia, many Christmas traditions (such as giving gifts and decorating Christmas trees) were carried over to the New Year. The Russian Santa Claus is called Ded Moroz, and he visits kids with his granddaughter Snegurochka

Almost all Russian families decorate the New Year tree and exchange presents when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. Just before the countdown, all national channels broadcast a video message from the Russian President where he congratulates everybody and gives a summary of the past year. 

➤ Check out our article about New Year’s Day to learn how Russians celebrate this holiday. You can even learn a couple of new words and expressions in Russian right away!

B- Christmas and Easter

Russian Christmas is on January 7, according to the Gregorian calendar. It’s mostly celebrated by believers, who attend a night service at church. Some young girls often go for old traditional fortune-telling at night, hoping to get a hint of who their future husband might be.

Easter is usually celebrated in April or May. Russians cook paskha and kulich, and greet each other with this salutation: 

  • Христос воскрес! (Khristos voskres!) – “Christ has risen!”

To this, the other party replies:

  • Воистину воскрес! (Voistinu voskres!) – “Truly, he has risen!”

On this day, they also paint chicken eggs different colors and then compete with their folks to see whose egg is “stronger.” They do this by trying to crack the egg of their loved ones with their own to see whose breaks last.

C- Defender of the Motherland Day

Defender of the Motherland Day is celebrated on February 23 in honor of veterans and all of the men and women in the military service. Men and boys receive gifts and congratulations on this day. And even though the holiday does celebrate women to some extent, it’s still informally called Men’s Day.

D- International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. It’s like a mixture of Mother’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day, where men express their love to women with gifts and flowers. 

E- Victory Day

Victory Day, celebrated on May 9, is one of the most spectacular Russian holidays with its military parades, performances, and fireworks. On this day, the whole country thanks and congratulates the World War II veterans on the surrender of Nazi Germany. The Immortal Regiment is a massive march held in major Russian cities to pay tribute to those who died in the battle. Every year, thousands of people march through the city with photos of the loved ones they lost in the war.

A Christmas/New Year Tree Set Up in Russia

Russians have two New Year celebrations: one on January 1 and another on January 13. The latter is called “the Old New Year,” and it’s only there because of the Julian calendar we used before 1918.

6. Leisure Time

Russians enjoy spending time with their folks and friends. Several months of winter make Russians enjoy summertime to the fullest. Outdoor activities and picnics are particularly popular.

  • Shashlyk is a Russian variety of BBQ. The meat is grilled on a skewer with marinated onion.

  • Fishing is a popular men’s hobby. Some even cook the fish right on the spot: ukha is a traditional Russian fishing soup. It’s best when cooked and served in the fresh air.

  • Dacha is a summer house in the countryside that some Russians use as a means of escaping from busy cities to quiet nature. Many have a garden with all types of vegetables and fruit trees. For most, banya is a must-have in their summer house.

  • Banya is a Russian sauna. Temperatures can reach up to 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) with a humidity of 90%. In winter, some Russians get steamed and warmed up thoroughly first, then jump into the snow to cool down.

Winter activities include sledding, sliding, and snowball fights as well as the popular winter sports of skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating.

Shopping in Russia is popular at any time of the year. In a big city, even if you go to a shopping mall in the middle of the week, it will be full of people. But, unlike in most European countries, Sunday is the most popular day for going out. So if you don’t like crowds, you’d better stay home. 

Russians put much value upon good looks, especially women. Heels, neat makeup, fine clothes—looking spick-and-span is just a part of their daily routine. 

Needless to say, some people just prefer the quietness of their homes.

Younger people entertain themselves with social networks, music, movies, books, computer games, and different forms of art and handwork (painting, scrapbooking, knitting, etc.). Most music and movie enthusiasts in Russia still prefer foreign bands and cinema, frowning upon everything produced in Russia. However, older people tend to take the opposite view. 

The older generation enjoys watching TV, gardening, cooking, and spending time with their friends and children. Most people over 60 in Russia are not exactly tech-savvy.

Still, Russian is the second most popular language on the Internet. We even have our own Google (Yandex) and Facebook (vk.com). But you should probably take the comments on social media with a grain of salt: the Russian Internet community is notorious for its toxicity and love for trolling.

A Birch Bath Broom Resting in a Banya

In a Russian banya, get ready to be slapped with a birch bath broom all over your body.
They say it cleans your skin and relaxes your muscles (and mind).

7. What’s Next?

Did this page shed some light on any aspects of Russian culture you didn’t know about? What was the most surprising fact you learned about Russia today? 

This overview only scratches the surface of the multifaceted Russian culture, but we hope it caught your interest and motivated you to learn more about the largest country in the world. While visiting Russia yourself is the best way to explore the culture, you can start small by getting acquainted with the language first. 

RussianPod101.com is the best place for this. For example, you can learn grammar and new words with our podcasts and free vocabulary lists. And if you happen to have any questions about Russian culture, our native teachers will help you dispel any doubts. 

With our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. He or she will answer all of your culture- and language-related questions, give you assignments, and provide you with grammar and vocabulary exercises to boost your Russian. They may also assign you voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. Give it a try!

Eager to learn more? Check out this material to dig a little deeper into Russian culture and traditions:

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

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Russian Food Guide: Traditional Dishes and Quick Recipes

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Although Russia is not considered one of the world’s top food destinations, this country has lots of fantastic traditional dishes to offer. Tourists who come to Russia are often astonished by the diversity and flavors of the local cuisine. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the most famous Russian foods and give you some simple recipes that you can try wherever you are. 

Let’s start our journey into the world of Russian cuisine!


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Russian Restaurants
  2. Unique Russian Foods
  3. Food-Related Vocabulary
  4. How to Cook Russian Food at Home
  5. Conclusion

1. Must-Try Dishes in Russian Restaurants

If you come to Russia and visit a local restaurant, you’ll probably find some traditional Russian foods on the menu. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find variations of Russian cuisine in your home country! We highly recommend that you taste the following Russian dishes should you ever have the opportunity:

A- Borscht

Borscht is a beet soup that came to Russia from Ukraine many years ago. The main reason you should try borscht is to enjoy the unusual combination of meat and sauteed vegetables. It’s served either hot or cold, usually with a piece of rye bread and some sour cream on top.

B- Pirogi

Pirogi is just as important in Russian cuisine as pizza is in Italian cuisine. Russian pirogi are usually cooked with unsweetened dough, and they come with different stuffings, from meat to fruits. You’ll find the best version of this traditional Russian food not in a cafe, restaurant, or Russian food store, but rather as a guest in a Russian home.

C- Varenyky

Another Russian food you must try is varenyky, or dumplings filled with potatoes, cabbage, or cherries. You can find them in any Russian food store’s frozen food department. It’s a really cheap yet nourishing Russian dish.

D- Blini

Blini are Russian wheat pancakes. In most Russian restaurants, you can find plain blini, as well as blini with toppings. This dish is such an important part of Russian cuisine, that even the annual spring festival called Maslenitsa is celebrated with blini.

E- Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is a dish made with beef and served in a special delicate sauce. It has a really long history, and there are lots of variations in its cooking. Rice, pasta, or potatoes are usually good side dish options for beef stroganoff.

F- Kvass

Kvass is an ancient Russian drink. Initially, it was served as a light alcoholic drink; over time, Russians started to make it from roasted bread. We advise you to order kvass if you come to Russia in the summer, since it’s really refreshing. This drink is sold in every single Russian food store.

Borscht

Borscht is one of the most internationally popular Russian foods ever!

2. Unique Russian Foods

There are some unique Russian foods which are extra-popular in Russia, but have no analogues outside of the country. If you’d like to try some really authentic Russian cuisine staples while visiting, look for the following items on the menu:

A- Olivier

This Russian salad was invented by M. Olivier, who owned a luxurious restaurant in Moscow in the 1860s. It consists of meat, peas, eggs, boiled vegetables, and mayonnaise. This is a very popular Russian food for New Year, in particular. 

B- Dressed Herring

This simple but delicious salad is the second-most famous meal in Russia, after Olivier. Its ingredients are layered: first comes the herring, then boiled potatoes, carrots, and red beets. Mayonnaise is used as the dressing.

C- Okroshka

Okroshka is a cold soup with small cubes of vegetables, pickles, meat, or fish. Before serving, Russians fill this dish with kvass and add some sour cream to it. It’s a great summer alternative to other soups.

D- Raznosoli

This is not one particular dish, but a general term for foods eaten during a cold season. Raznosoli include salted cucumbers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Russian people mostly use them for cooking soups and second courses, but sometimes they’re served as separate meals.

Olivier Salad

Most Russian people love their Olivier and dressed herring enough to cook these dishes for any celebration.

3. Food-Related Vocabulary

Are you good and hungry for some traditional Russian cuisine and can’t wait to get a taste? 

Unfortunately, not all Russian people know English well, so you’d better learn some food-related phrases before going to Russia and visiting local cafes and restaurants. These ten phrases will be really helpful:

RussianRomanizationEnglish
Где-нибудь поблизости можно попробовать русскую еду?Gde-nibud’ poblizosti mozhno poprobovat’ russkuyu yedu?“Is there any Russian food near me?”
Я хочу есть/пить.Ya hochu yest’/pit’. “I am hungry/thirsty.”
У вас есть меню на английском?U vas yest’ menyu na angliyskom?“Do you have a menu in English?”
Дайте меню, пожалуйста?Dayte menyu, pozhaluysta?“Could I have the menu, please?”
Я возьму это.Ya voz’mu eto.“I’ll have this.”
Стакан чая/кофе, пожалуйста.Stakan chaya/kofe, pozhaluysta.“A cup of tea/coffee, please.”
Больше ничего, спасибо.Bol’she nichego, spasibo.“That’s all, thank you.”
Счёт, пожалуйста?Schyot, pozhaluysta?“Could I get the check, please?”
Приятного аппетита!Priyatnogo appetita!“Enjoy your meal!”
Было очень вкусно, спасибо!Bylo ochen’ vkusno, spasibo!“It was delicious, thank you!”

If you’re a RussianPod101 member, you can learn even more useful phrases in our Restaurant lesson series:


Food Served in a Russian Restaurant

This is how some Russian restaurants serve their borscht—in a bread bowl!

4. How to Cook Russian Food at Home

What if you don’t have access to a Russian restaurant and can’t visit the country anytime soon? You’re still in luck!

Below, we’ve outlined two Russian food recipes that don’t take much time or effort. You can try them at home and have amazing Russian food for dinner!

    → Don’t forget to check out our lesson on Cooking-Related Actions so you can get used to reading recipes in Russian! 

A- Pelmeni

Pelmeni are Russian dumplings which have much in common with varenyky. The main difference is that pelmeni are made from meat or sometimes fish. This dish is quite popular in Russia due to its convenience: large batches of it may be frozen and then swiftly boiled for dinner another day.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of flour

Filling

  • 18 ounces of ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • ½ of a tablespoon of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 pepper

Directions

1.  Mix the first three ingredients for the dough in a measuring cup. Add water to fill the cup. Pour everything into a bowl and add some flour. Start mixing the dough till it becomes smooth and elastic. Leave it for 30 minutes in a warm place.

2.  Take the bowl and mix ground beef with onion and pepper. Add some water and salt. Mix everything one more time using your hand or a fork.

3.  Flour your table surface and roll the dough thin. Cut it into small circles. While doing this, keep the rest of your dough under the towel, otherwise it will dry out. Put ½ of the teaspoon with filling on one side of the prepared circle and form a crescent. Join the ends.

4.  Flour your baking sheet and put the half-done pelmeni on it. Keep them in your freezer for 30 minutes to keep them from sticking together.

5.  Take a pot, pour water in it, salt it, and then bring it to boil. Put pelmeni into your pot and cook them for 5-10 minutes, depending on their size.

6.  Serve the dish with ketchup, mayonnaise, sour cream, or any other sauce you like.

Pelmeni

Russians love pelmeni from early childhood.

B- Shchi

Shchi is a good example of traditional Russian food for lunch. This popular cabbage soup is also known as “green shchi.” It can be cooked with or without meat. The recipe below is meatless, but you can always add your favorite kind of meat into it. By the way, this is one of the easiest Russian food recipes!

Ingredients

  • 250 g. of white cabbage
  • 150 g. of beans
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Soak beans. If you do it two hours before cooking, the taste will be amazing.

2.  Cut potatoes and cabbage. Grate carrots and garlic.

3.  Fill a pan with water. Put the soaked beans into it. As soon as the water begins to boil, add potatoes.

4.  In the meantime, heat the pan. Put some vegetable oil in the pan. Fry onions with carrots and tomato paste.

5.  When the fried vegetables are ready, place them into the pan. Add cabbage. Add salt to taste.

6.  Cook the soup for 15-20 minutes. Right before the end of cooking, add garlic and bay leaf.

Shchi

Shchi is very similar to borscht, but not the same.

5. Conclusion

In this Russian food guide, we’ve introduced you to only the most famous Russian foods. Of course, there are many more Russian recipes worth knowing. 

If you’d like to learn more Russian cooking words or even become an expert in Russian cuisine, create a Premium PLUS account to use RussianPod101’s MyTeacher service. Your native Russian tutor will help you learn more vocabulary and also help you get better acquainted with the cuisine and culture of Russia. 

If this article made your mouth water, then it’s time to taste some traditional Russian dishes yourself. If you could cook any Russian meal right now, what would it be? Share your favorite Russian food in the comments!

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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.

Happy learning with RussianPod101.com!

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Is Russian Hard to Learn?

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If you’re thinking about learning Russian but are hesitant to get started, you may be asking yourself: “Is Russian hard to learn?” 

You’ve read in the language forums that it is, and maybe you’ve even heard this firsthand from someone you know who’s learned the language. But here’s a spoiler: it’s not that bad. And even though I’m a native Russian myself, and learned how to speak Russian at the same time as I learned how to walk (oh, a double struggle!), I can sympathize with the experience of my students and apply my own language-learning observations to help them combat common issues.

So if you still haven’t decided whether you want to include Russian in your daily schedule or not, I might be able to help you decide. In this article, we’ll talk about why you would want to learn Russian in the first place, how easy it is to learn, and what you should start with to get onboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Russian Table of Contents
  1. Why Should You Learn Russian?
  2. Is it Hard to Learn Russian?
  3. I Want to Learn Russian. Where Should I Start?
  4. What’s Next?

1. Why Should You Learn Russian?

Let’s start with the most obvious reasons. Just in case you weren’t aware, Russian is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Worldwide, it’s almost as popular as French and Arabic, and even more widespread than German. 

There are around 260 million people speaking Russian around the globe. According to recent statistics, Russian is still widely spoken in Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Estonia, and some other neighboring countries. And that makes learning the language a good investment for travel enthusiasts. You can experience freezing winters, enjoy boiling hot steam baths, try shchi and pelmeni, and see for yourself that there are no bears walking in the streets (if anybody still believes in this stereotype).

Many of my students learn Russian for business or study. Whether you have a business trip to Russia or work with Russian partners, some Russian might help in your working relations and networking. A person working in tourism who has basic Russian language knowledge is a real gem: Russians often travel abroad without knowing any English. 

As for studies, higher education is affordable in Russia, and the vibrant student life will definitely leave a trace in your memory—that is, if you decide to assimilate with locals and not just hang out with your English-speaking friends.

Also, Russia has lots to offer in terms of culture. You might not see lots of Russian movies in theaters or hear Russian songs on every corner, but they exist in abundance. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find Russian movies with subtitles, so this is a good incentive to learn the language. Not to mention the benefits that literature-lovers can experience: you’ll find peace in Tolstoy’s elaborate descriptions, enjoy the witty nature of Krylov’s fables, and relish in the emotional styling of Yesenin’s poems.

Learning Russian is also a good choice for those craving a challenge. English-speakers tend to learn languages similar to their own: Spanish, German, French, etc. But Russian is hard for English-speakers compared to most Germanic and Romance languages. It’s something different and totally unusual, but at the same time, not as drastically “alien” as Japanese, for example. 

But if the motivation comes from inside, no logical reasoning is necessary to convince you to learn the language. Whether you just like the sound of Russian, want to enjoy the Trans-Siberian journey, or understand what Dima Bilan is singing about, if it truly makes you excited, then just go for it!

Russian Pastry

Russian cuisine is definitely worth trying! Guess if it’s savory or sweet.

2. Is it Hard to Learn Russian?

I believe that by now, you’re secretly hoping to hear a strong “no.” I would lie if I said that Russian is the easiest language to learn; it has its own specificities, but it’s still easier than many people say it is. Let’s start with the easy parts.

A- The Good News

1. Cyrillics is not too different from the Latin alphabet. There are even some familiar letters (like е, а, м, с, р, etc.). Yes, some of them are pronounced differently from what you would expect, but they’re easy to write, and you can start reading Russian words in literally one day.

2. Many words are borrowed from English. Yes, they are written with the Russian alphabet, but when you learn to read it, you’ll recognize the words in a heartbeat. Try:

  • футбол (futbol)
  • телефон (telefon)
  • маркетинг (marketing)
  • компания (kompaniya)
  • лампа (lampa)

    ➢ You can check the meanings of these words in a dictionary to see if you were right.

3. Genders are easy to determine. Russian categorizes words into one of three genders: feminine, masculine, and neuter. Usually, you just have to check the ending of the noun to see what gender category it belongs to.

4. There are fewer tenses than in English. We only have three tenses in Russian: past, present, and future. That’s enough; three is a good number.

    ➢ Read more about the tenses and other properties of verbs in our article about Verb Conjugation.

5. Questions are simple. For Yes/No questions, we use intonation. For open questions, we just place the question word at the beginning, and that’s it. No special question structures or word order changes.

  • Сегодня мы смотрим кино. (Segodnya my smotrim kino) — “Today we’re watching a movie.”
  • Сегодня мы смотрим кино? — “Are we watching a movie today?”
  • Где ты был? (Gde ty byl?) — “Where have you been?”
  • Что ты купил? (Chto ty kupil?) — “What did you buy?”
  • Почему торт не купил? (Pochemu tort ne kupil?) — “Why didn’t you buy the cake?” 

6. It’s easy to say “no.” In most cases, to make a negative sentence in Russian, you simply add не (ne) before the word you want to make negative.

  • Я не курю. (Ya ne kuryu) — “I don’t smoke.”
  • Мы не дома. (My ne doma) — “We aren’t home.”
  • Она не такая. (Ona ne takaya) — “She isn’t like that.”

7. Russians appreciate the initiative. It’s rare to hear a foreigner speak Russian, so any attempt to do so will evoke praise and excitement. No need to wait for a pint of beer to untie your tongue; feel free to proudly demonstrate your Russian skills right away. No sarcasm intended.

8. Speakers of other Slavic languages have an (un)fair advantage. If your mother tongue is Polish, Czech, Serbian, or a similar language—congratulations! You have a free upgrade of three times the speed in learning Russian right from the start. These languages come from the same language family, so many words sound similar, and even the grammar can be familiar in some aspects. I believe this is why, in some remote parts of Serbia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, locals prefer foreigners to speak Russian rather than English.

Woman Holding Out Hand to Say Stop

Стой. Торт купил? (Stoy. Tort kupil?)
“Stop. Did you buy the cake?”

B- The (Not So) Bad News

Even taking into account the easier aspects mentioned earlier, the Russian language is hard to learn for many people, particularly English-speakers. Here are some things you can prepare for in advance:

1. Pronunciation. If learning the alphabet takes one evening, mastering the sounds themselves is a bit trickier. Many sounds are similar to those in English, but some are unusual, like [щ], [ы], [р] (and the last one is not an English “p”!).

    ➢ If you want to work on your pronunciation, check out our Ultimate Pronunciation Guide. You’ll learn about the Russian sounds and how to pronounce them without twisting your tongue.

2. Verb conjugations. In Russian, we only have three tenses, but the verb conjugation is also affected by grammatical mood, person, aspect, etc.

Here are some examples:

  • Я пою. (Ya poyu) — “I sing.” (present, 1st person singular)
  • Мы поём. (My poyom) — “We sing.” (present, 1st person plural)
  • Вы бы спели? (Vy by speli?) — “Would you sing?” (conditional, 2nd person plural)

3. Verbal aspects. In Russian, we use verbal aspects to indicate the difference between an action that is complete (perfective aspect) and an action that is habitual or ongoing (imperfective aspect). It’s similar to the English perfect and simple / continuous aspect.

  • Я ужинал. (Ya uzhinal) — “I was dining.” (ongoing > imperfective)
  • Я поужинал. (Ya pouzhinal) — “I’ve had dinner.” (complete > perfective)

Have you spotted the difference?

4. Declensions and cases. Russian has six cases—technically five, if you don’t count the dictionary form (the nominative case). Cases help you see the relationship between words (it’s not just to make you memorize extra endings!):

  • кот (kot) — “a cat” (Nominative singular)
  • У меня нет кота. (U menya net kota) — “I don’t have a cat.” (Genitive singular)
  • Но я люблю котов. (No ya lyublyu kotov) — “But I love cats.” (Accusative plural animate)

The good thing about cases is that each of them has a function and some markers (typical prepositions and verbs they go with). When you learn to distinguish cases by their function, your life becomes easier. Anyway, if you use the wrong case, it won’t be the end of the world. Patience is the key—and practice.

The prospect of learning endings for six cases and three genders might seem intimidating, but you can definitely manage it if you don’t try to swallow the whole cake at once. Instead, slowly savor it piece by piece. 

5. Verbs of motion. You can find countless ways of translating the verb “to go” into Russian. The choice depends on what means of transport you’re talking about:

  • идти (idti) — “to go on foot”
  • ехать (yekhat’) — “to go by car / by bus / by bike / etc.”
  • лететь (letet’) — “to go by plane”
  • плыть (plyt’) — “to go by boat”

Motion verbs with prefixes can seem even more confusing:

  • лететь (letet’) — “to go by plane”
  • прилететь (priletet’) — “to arrive by plane”
  • улететь (uletet’) — “to leave by plane”

“How do I deal with that and not get crazy?”

  • Learn the four basic translations for the verb “to go” listed above. This way, you’ll be able to distinguish between the means of transport.
  • Analyze the prefixes and try to find the logic behind them. For example, the prefix у- usually means “departure” and при- indicates “arrival.”
    ➢ Wikipedia has a nice table of prefixes with their meanings for your verbs of motion.
    ➢ If you don’t know how to say “train” or “bus” in Russian, check out our Vehicles vocabulary list.
Plane Flying Past Clouds

Ехать или лететь?

3. I Want to Learn Russian. Where Should I Start?

The alphabet. A no-brainer. At RussianPod101, we want to support you from the earliest stages, so we provide the English transliteration for almost every word and phrase you see. However, you’ll find no romanization in authentic Russian sources like books or articles. You’ll also need to learn writing (or at least typing) to be able to send messages in Russian, or even to look up words in your dictionary.

    ➢ Start exploring the Russian letters with our series of lessons titled The Russian Alphabet Made Easy. You can even try your hand at writing cursive!

Survival phrases. If you travel to a Russian-speaking place soon, learning some basic phrases would help you immensely. Based on my observations, many young people in the big cities would know enough English to help you find the Red Square or accept your order in a restaurant, but not enough to discuss climate change or politics. However, I wouldn’t have much hope for English while interacting with people of the older generations.

The following series of lessons will be a good start:

Your own sentences. When you master your introductory speech about yourself and your dog, it’s time to combine new chunks of words into meaningful phrases. Analyze how words cooperate with each other, and try to make similar sentences yourself. Start simple. Don’t dive into grammar right away: learning the rules without having the vocabulary to apply them is pointless. 

Send the sentences you make to your RussianPod101 tutor for proofreading (subscribed users only) and receive feedback from a native speaker. Your tutor would also help you find the right path for your further studies if you can’t figure out what to do next.

Russian Calligraphy Handwriting

Russian calligraphy handwriting (created by VectorSR and licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

4. What’s Next?

As a language-learner myself, I have established three important rules that always help me stay on track:

  • Quality over quantity. Make sure you’re comfortable with the topic before moving on to something else. It’s also important to review the material from time to time.

  • Consistency. It’s better to practice ten minutes every day than two hours once a week. Consistency is necessary to create strong neural connections in your brain, and this means repetition. If you skip several days of learning, especially if you’re a beginner, chances are that the connections will already be lost when you’re back, and you’ll have to learn everything again.

  • Patience. Don’t compare yourself to other learners. Don’t judge yourself by the number of words that you’ve learned or the grade you’ve received on your recent language test. Take your time and remember the first two rules.

Like learning any other language, learning Russian isn’t that difficult if you have some discipline and patience. There are plenty of resources for you to get started, and many enthusiastic people ready to help. In our premium service, MyTeacher, you can get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. You’ll receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and also voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. And if you have any questions about Russian, feel free to ask your tutor; they’re there to help you!

Useful links for those who want to learn more:

Before you go, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about learning (or continuing to learn) Russian. We’d be glad 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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