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Top classroom words and phrases for studying in Russia

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Studying takes up a large part of our lives, and very often when learning a new language from scratch you get acquainted with new vocabulary in a classroom that will be useful further in life. Therefore, today we will talk about school and university vocabulary.

The topic of education is very extensive, but in this article, we will try to mention the main things that interest people who study Russian. For example, there are a lot of school subjects or school supplies surrounding us in everyday life, and it will be especially useful to know what they are called. So, we suggest talking about the education process in Russian language learning and its essential vocabulary.

Books of Different School Subjects

Do you know the names of school subjects in Russian?

Here you can learn the names of school subjects, accessories, expressions, teacher’s commands and instructions, and other Russian words. Let’s get started with the classroom phrases in our Russian language learning path.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. School Vocabulary
  2. Communicating with Teachers
  3. Communicating with Classmates
  4. Conclusion

1. School Vocabulary

A) Types of educational institutions in Russia

The first educational level in Russia is kindergarten. It offers not only daycare for children aged 1-7 but special educational programs suitable for each group. Children play, draw, dance, and learn letters and numbers; even, sometimes, foreign languages. There are state kindergartens and private ones.

Kids in Kindergarten

Early childhood education is very important

Детский сад. Detskiy sad. – “Kindergarten.” 

People usually shorten this name to just: 

Садик. Sadik. – “Kindergarten.” 

The next level is school. It consists of three steps: elementary school, middle school, and high school. All three can be combined in one actual building under one name, or they can be separate schools. 

Школа. Shkola. – “School.” 

In Russia, a school with an in-depth study of the humanitarian sciences is often called a “gymnasium,” and with an in-depth study of physical and mathematical sciences –  a “lyceum.”

Гимназия. Gimnaziya. – “Gymnasium.” 

Лицей. Litsey. – “Lyceum.” 

In Russia, education up to grade 9 is considered compulsory. Parents or guardians are required by law to ensure that a child will attend a school or get home education and pass all state exams. But whether you want to proceed to the 10th and 11th grade, you can decide for yourself, together with the family. You can drop studying, go to 10th grade or go to a special college.

Educational institutions with the name “college” are like technical schools. This word doesn’t mean higher education institutions. Graduates are qualified as technicians, managers, accountants, salesmen, and so on. A college diploma gives the right to enter a university. Technical schools and colleges give vocational secondary education.

Техникум. Tekhnikum. – “Technical school.” 

Колледж. Kolledzh. – “College.” 

In Russia, the following types of higher educational institutions are established: institute, university, academy. Each has its own specifics.

Институт. Institut. – “Institute.” 

Университет. Universitet. – “University.” 

Академия. Akademiya. – “Academy.” 

B) School Subjects

The following are some subjects of the school curriculum studied in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Математика. Matematika. – “Mathematics.” 

Музыка. Muzyka. – “Music.” 

Физкультура. Fizkul’tura. – “Physical training.” 

Граждановедение. Grazhdanovedeniye. – “Civic studies.” 

Литература. Literatura. – “Literature.” 

География. Geografiya. – “Geography.” 

Алгебра. Algebra. – “Algebra.” 

Естествознание. Yestestvoznaniye. – “Natural science.” 

C) School Supplies

School supplies in Russian – let’s learn everything that is on the table.

Тетрадь. Tetrad’. – “Notebook.” 

Ручка. Ruchka. – “Pen.” 

Карандаш. Karandash. – “Pencil.” 

Стирательная резинка. Stiratel’naya rezinka. – “Eraser.” 

Линейка. Lineyka. – “Ruler.” 

Маркер. Marker. – “Marker.” 

Учебник. Uchebnik. – “Textbook.” 

Did you forget your textbook or lose the pen? Let’s ask your fellow students for help.

У тебя есть запасная ручка? Кажется, я потерял свою. U tebya yest’ zapasnaya ruchka? Kazhetsya, ya poteryal svoyu. – “Do you have a spare pen? I seem to have lost mine.”

— О, нет. Я забыл учебник по математике.
— Возьми мой. Сделай копию заданий в библиотеке. 
— O, net. Ya zabyl uchebnik po matematike.
— Voz’mi moy. Sdelay kopiyu zadaniy v biblioteke.
“— Oh no. I forgot my math textbook.
— Take mine. Make a copy of tests in the library.”

School Supplies

Did you also use all of these at school?

You can find more classroom vocabulary in our article and watch a free video with Katya.

2. Communicating with Teachers 

A) Greetings

In the Russian lesson, a student can address a teacher only using the first name with patronymic. In some countries, for example, in the Scandinavian countries, you can use a name in combination with the “Ты” form (informal). But not in Russia. Also, in Russia, students do not address the teacher by the name of the profession, i.e. “Hello, teacher” sounds pretty strange. So, to address a teacher or professor in Russia, you need to know his or her first name and patronymic and also use the “Вы” form (formal).

Доброе утро, Валентина Петровна. Dobroye utro, Valentina Petrovna. – “Good morning, Valentina Petrovna” 

A Teacher Holding Some Books

In Russian you address your teacher (or any other person you are not on first-name terms with) by their name and patronymic

B) Instructions

Very often, elementary-level students are not ready to accept instructions in Russian. Therefore, it is better to begin any course with the study of instructions in order not to spend a lot of class time explaining them. Learn Russian words and Russian phrases for class to understand the teacher’s instructions.

Откройте ваш учебник на странице 56. Otkroyte vash uchebnik na stranitse 56. – “Open your textbook on page 56.” 

Прочитайте слова в рамке. Prochitayte slova v ramke. – “Read the words in the box.” 

Решите задачи “а” и “б” в упражнениях 545, 546 и 547. Reshite zadachi a i b v uprazhneniyakh 545, 546 i 547. – “ Solve problems “a” and “b” in exercises 545, 546 and 547.” 

Внимательно прослушайте диалог и подготовьте ответы на вопросы. Vnimatel’no proslushayte dialog i podgotov’te otvety na voprosy. – “Listen carefully to the dialogue and prepare answers to the questions.” 

Произнесите это слово по буквам. Proiznesite eto slovo po bukvam. – “Spell this word” 

Работайте в парах. Разыграйте диалог. Rabotayte v parakh. Razygrayte dialog. – “Work in pairs. Act out the dialogue.” 

C) Questions from the teacher and getting clarifications

Всё понятно? Vsyo ponyatno? – “Is everything clear?” 

Кого сегодня нет в классе? Kogo segodnya net v klasse? – “Who is absent today?” 

Кто пойдёт к доске? Kto poydyot k doske? – “Who will go to the blackboard?” 

Извините, я не успеваю. Вы можете повторить ещё раз? Izvinite, ya ne uspevayu. Vy mozhete povtorit’ eshchyo raz? – “Sorry I can’t keep up. Can you repeat one more time, please?” 

Можно задать вопрос?  Mozhno zadat’ vopros? – “Can I ask you a question?” 

Уточните, пожалуйста.  Utochnite, pozhaluysta. – “Please, clarify it.” 

D) Discipline, Absence and Tardiness

Learn Russian classroom phrases for students to make excuses for tardiness and to explain the absence. Here are also a few phrases to understand when the teacher asks for discipline.  

Я нехорошо себя чувствую. Я не могу сегодня пойти в школу. Ya nekhorosho sebya chuvstvuyu. Ya ne mogu segodnya poyti v shkolu. – “I’m not feeling well. I won’t be able to attend school today.” 

Извините за опоздание. Трамвай встал на мосту. Электричество закончилось. Izvinite za opozdaniye. Tramvay vstal na mostu. Elektrichestvo zakonchilos’. – “Sorry I’m late. The tram just stood on the bridge. The electricity has run out.” 

Тишина! Tishina! – “Silence!” 

Иванов, сядь на место! Ivanov, syad’ na mesto! – “Ivanov, sit down!” 

На задней парте — тихо! Na zadney parte — tikho! – “In the back, be quiet!” 

3. Communicating with Classmates

A) Greetings

Students Giving High-fives

School friendship can last for a long time

Here are some useful classroom phrases in Russian that you can hear communicating with other students.  

— Привет! Идёшь сегодня на физру? — Нет, я забыл дома форму.  Privet! Idyosh’ segodnya na fizru? — Net, ya zabyl doma formu. – “– Hey, are you going to the gym today? – No, I forgot my uniform.” 

— Привет! Ты сделал домашнее задание по математике? — Нет, я ничего не понял. — Privet! Ty sdelal domashneye zadaniye po matematike? — Net, ya nichego ne ponyal. – “— Hey! Did you do your math homework? — No, I didn’t understand anything.” 

До завтра, Ваня. Встретимся утром у класса химии. Do zavtra, Vanya. Vstretimsya utrom u klassa khimii. – “See you tomorrow, Vanya. Meet me in the morning at the chemistry class.” 

B) Favorite Subjects

Each of us has our favorite and least favorite lessons, there are boring ones, and there are those that we cannot stand. Let’s say it in Russian.

Мой любимый предмет — математика. Moy lyubimyy predmet — matematika. – “My favorite subject is math.” 

Терпеть не могу физику. Зачем она вообще нужна? Terpet’ ne mogu fiziku. Zachem ona voobshche nuzhna? – “I can’t stand physics. Why do we need it at all?” 

У меня хорошо получается сочинять истории. Я люблю писать сочинения. U menya khorosho poluchayetsya sochinyat’ istorii. Ya lyublyu pisat’ sochineniya. – “I’m good at writing stories. I love writing essays.” 

C) Talking About Teachers and Timetables

Мария Петровна заболела. Сегодня не будет математики. Mariya Petrovna zabolela. Segodnya ne budet matematiki. – “Maria Petrovna fell ill. There will be no math today.” 

Тест по химии перенесли на субботу. Test po khimii perenesli na subbotu. – “The chemistry test has been moved to Saturday.” 

В пятницу у меня окно второй парой. Пойдём вместе в библиотеку. V pyatnitsu u menya okno vtoroy paroy. Poydyom vmeste v biblioteku. – “On Friday I have a free period instead of the second double class. Let’s go to the library together.” 

D) Tests Instructions

In order to quickly and correctly complete tasks in Russian, you need to understand well what you are asked to do. Here are some useful phrases in Russian tests.

Отмечайте правильный выбор только на матрице, в тесте ничего не пишите. Otmechayte pravil’nyy vybor tol’ko na matritse, v teste nichego ne pishite. – “Mark the correct choice only in the matrix, do not write anything in the test!” 

Задания рекомендуется выполнять одно за другим. Zadaniya rekomenduyetsya vypolnyat’ odno za drugim. – “Tasks are recommended to be completed one by one.” 

Вы не можете пользоваться калькулятором во время экзамена. Vy ne mozhete pol’zovat’sya kal’kulyatorom vo vremya ekzamena. – “You cannot use a calculator while taking the test.” 

Выберите правильную форму глагола. Vyberite pravil’nuyu formu glagola. – “Choose the correct form of the verb.” 

4. Conclusion

Now you know Russian classroom words and phrases — how to talk about the school schedule in Russian, what are the names of school items and supplies, how to communicate with the teacher and fellow students, and what are the main teachers and test instructions. Do you know some other Russian words that you often use in classrooms? Please share in the comments below. 

Do you want to learn Russian vocabulary? Be sure to check RussianPod101.com. If you want to learn Russian on your own for free, then this site is for you. Here you can find free Vocabulary lists, video lessons, and Russian grammar guides.

With our premium service MyTeacher you get oneonone personal training sessions and can practice classroom vocabulary, improve pronunciation and ask questions. An experienced tutor will help you learn Russian very quickly. Learn Russian with RussianPod101 and improve your skills on daily basis.

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Eating out: Russian Phrases for Visiting Restaurants

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Why is it important to study restaurant phrases?

No trip to Russia is complete without visiting local restaurants and cafes. But to enjoy Russian food to the fullest and not end up getting something strange on your plate, it is better to know in advance the basic Russian restaurant phrases, what popular dishes are called in Russian, how to book a table, and other nuances.

Of course, many restaurants have menus with pictures, which greatly simplifies the task for those who are new to this vocabulary. But wouldn’t you like to know how to order food in Russian and not just point the finger at the dish in the picture?

So today’s “special” is useful Russian vocabulary and the most common Russian restaurant phrases. From this article, you will learn Russian restaurant phrases, how to place an order, ask for a bill in Russian and make a dialogue in a cafe or restaurant.

A Man and a Woman Making an Order

You can also practise your social skills when dining out

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Booking a table
  2. During Dining
  3. After Dining
  4. Tipping etiquette in Russia
  5. Conclusion

1. Booking a table

Being able to reserve a table in a restaurant helps to get rid of a lot of stress. You don’t have to waste time looking for places with empty seats or waiting for a table already at the restaurant.

If you are going to dine at a famous restaurant, you need to book a table (зарезервировать столикzarezervirovat’ stolik) in advance, for example, by phone. At the same time, it is important to give your name, tell the number of seats required, as well as the exact time of booking. Specify where you would like to reserve a table.

Могу ли я заказать столик на троих на субботу, 7 мая, на 17:00?Mogu li ya zakazat’ stolik na troikh na subbotu, 7 maya, na 17:00? – “Can I reserve a table for 3 on Saturday May 7th at 5pm?” 

В вашем ресторане есть свободные места на террасе в пятницу?V vashem restorane yest’ svobodnyye mesta na terrase v pyatnitsu? – “Does your restaurant have free seats on the terrace on Friday?” 

Let’s see in the dialogue how to book a table in a restaurant in Russian:

А: Доброе утро! Я бы хотел зарезервировать столик.Dobroye utro! Ya by khotel zarezervirovat’ stolik. – Good morning! I would like to reserve a table.

В: Конечно. На какое число и время?Konechno. Na kakoye chislo i vremya? – Certainly. For what date and time?

А: Завтра днём в два часа.Zavtra dnyom v dva chasa. – Tomorrow afternoon at two p.m.

В: Сколько вас?Skol’ko vas? – For how many people?

А: Нас будет четверо.Nas budet chetvero. – There will be four of us.

В: На веранде или внутри?Na verande ili vnutri? – On the patio or indoors?

А: На веранде, пожалуйста.Na verande, pozhaluysta. – On the patio, please.

В: Скажите, пожалуйста, ваше имя?Skazhite, pozhaluysta, vashe imya? – Can you please tell me your name?

А: Иван Петров. – Ivan Petrov. – Ivan Petrov.

В: Какие-нибудь особые пожелания?Kakiye-nibud’ osobyye pozhelaniya? – Any special requests?

А: Больше ничего. Спасибо!Bol’she nichego. Spasibo! – That will be it. Thanks!

В: Спасибо, что выбрали нас. До свидания!Spasibo, chto vybrali nas. Do svidaniya! – Thank you for choosing us. Goodbye!

А: Всего доброго!Vsego dobrogo! – Have a good day!

2. During Dining

After you have sat down at the table, ask them to bring you a menu if the waiter has not already done so. Then you can order your dishes, as well as choose a drink and dessert.

In a good restaurant, the staff will always meet the guest with a smile and show them to the table, after which the waiter will immediately come up to you, bring the menu and introduce himself. During the meal, you can refer to the waiter by name. To attract attention, you can use a gesture of a raised hand, as well as a nod of the head to invite the waiter.

A Man Is Calling a Waiter

It’s actually encouraging for servers to be called by their name instead of something as rude as a finger snap

Fortunately, the word menu in Russian sounds almost the same. Here are some Russian phrases for waiters at a restaurant:

Могу я посмотреть меню, пожалуйста?Mogu ya posmotret’ menyu, pozhaluysta? – “Can I see the menu please?” 

Подскажите, где находится ванная комната.Podskazhite, gde nakhoditsya vannaya komnata. – “Could you tell me where the bathroom is.” 

В вашем ресторане есть фирменные блюда?V vashem restorane yest’ firmennyye blyuda? – “Do you have specialties in your restaurant?” 

Что вы порекомендуете из горячих блюд?Chto vy porekomenduyete iz goryachikh blyud? – “Do you recommend something for hot dishes?” 

Какое ваше самое популярное блюдо? –– Kakoye vashe samoye populyarnoye blyudo? – “What’s your most popular dish?” 

Предложите мне что-нибудь из традиционной русской кухни.Predlozhite mne chto-nibud’ iz traditsionnoy russkoy kukhni. – “Offer me something from traditional Russian cuisine.” 

A small dialogue:

Как вам приготовить бифштекс?Kak vam prigotovit’ bifshteks? – “How do you want your steak?” 

Хорошо прожаренный. А моему спутнику – с кровью.Khorosho prozharennyy. A moyemu sputniku – s krov’yu – “Well done for me, please. And a medium rare for my companion.” 

Learn more about Russian traditional cuisine in our online Russian article

In Russia, the set lunch or menu of the day, a set of certain dishes served at certain times of the day at a relatively low price, is called a business lunch (бизнес-ланч). The life of a businessman goes at a crazy pace, so it is not always possible to allocate an hour or two for lunch or at least a light snack. Therefore, in Russia, back in the early 2000s, popular restaurants and cafes began to offer their visitors business menus. The food comes out pretty fast, the menu is different every day, and the price is good. Of course, not only businessmen can take advantage of this offer.

Я возьму бизнес-ланч.Ya voz’mu biznes-lanch. – “I would like the menu of the day.” 

Perhaps, when choosing a dish, it will not always be clear to you what it consists of. If you are allergic, be sure to learn the Russian words for the foods you are allergic to and tell the waiter about it. Or if you are a vegetarian. Maybe you just don’t like a certain ingredient? You can ask the chef to prepare a dish without it. Were you served a hot meal at room temperature? Ask to replace it or warm it up. Or maybe you have a dull knife? Ask for another one. In addition, you can ask for some add-ons (sauce, bread) to the order or completely change the order if you wish.

Можно нам ещё морса?Mozhno nam eshchyo morsa? – “Can we have some more fruit drink?” 

Принесите нам белый соус, пожалуйста.Prinesite nam belyy sous, pozhaluysta. – “Bring us a white sauce, please.” 

У нас кончился хлеб. Принесите, пожалуйста. U nas konchilsya khleb. Prinesite, pozhaluysta. – “We’ve run out of bread. Can we have more, please.” 

Можно принести ещё салфеток? Mozhno prinesti eshchyo salfetok? – “Can you bring some more napkins?” 

У меня аллергия на лесные орехи. Можно ли приготовить фирменный салат без орехов?U menya allergiya na lesnyye orekhi. Mozhno li prigotovit’ firmennyy salat bez orekhov? – “I’m allergic to tree nuts. Can you make a house salad without nuts?” 

Это не мой заказ.Eto ne moy zakaz. – “This is not my order.” 

Еда холодная. Yeda hkolodnaya. – “The dish is cold.” 

Блюдо пересолено.Blyudo peresoleno. – “The dish is too salty.” 

У него кислый вкус.U nego kislyy vkus. – “It has a sour taste.” 

Я давно жду свой заказ. Когда он будет готов? – Ya davno zhdu svoy zakaz. Kogda on budet gotov? – “I have been waiting for my order for a long time. When will it be ready?” 

Мы торопимся.My toropimsya. – “We’re in a hurry.” 

Are you going to work while dining in the restaurant, or are you learning online Russian on the go? Many cafes have free Wi-Fi; just ask the waiter for the password.

Скажите, пожалуйста, пароль от Wi-Fi.Skazhite, pozhaluysta, parol’ ot Wi-Fi. – “Please tell me the password for your Wifi.” 

Please, note you can’t smoke in Russian restaurants. Tobacco smoking is prohibited in Russian cafes and restaurants, even on open terraces. It is also not allowed to consume nicotine-containing products (tobacco heating systems, electronic cigarettes, vapes) or use hookahs in public catering premises.

A Woman Is Breaking a Cigarette

From June 1st  2014, all cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, markets, shopping centers and long-distance journeys on ships and trains became smoke free in Russia

3. After Dining

You can always take food to go. Here are some useful expressions in a restaurant in the Russian language for ordering takeout:

Могу я взять эти блюда с собой?Mogu ya vzyat’ eti blyuda s soboy? – “Can I get these dishes to-go?” 

Можно мне кофе с собой? Mozhno mne kofe s soboy? – “Can I get coffee to-go?” 

Можно мне два контейнера?Mozhno mne dva konteynera? – “Can I get 2 boxes?” 

After a pleasant dinner, it’s time to pay. Call your waiter and tell them you want to checkout using the following phrases:

Спасибо. Принесите счёт, пожалуйста.Spasibo. Prinesite schyot, pozhaluysta. – “Thank you. Can I have the bill, please?” 

У вас можно расплатиться карточкой?U vas mozhno rasplatit’sya kartochkoy?– “Can I pay by card?” 

Давайте заплатим каждый за себя.Davayte zaplatim kazhdyy za sebya. – “Let’s share the bill.” 

And there is no problem if you ask your waiter to call a taxi for you.

Вызовите такси, пожалуйста. Vyzovite taksi pozhaluysta. – Could you call me a taxi, please?

A Taxi Car

Taxi fares are affordable in Russia

4. Tipping etiquette in Russia

According to the new rules, in Russia, it is forbidden to include a tip in the bill. Previously, guests would find an additional service charge printed on the check, but now visitors decide on their own how much to tip. The optimal amount of tipping in Russian culture is considered to be 10-15% of the total amount.

Tips Left with a Cup of Coffee

Typically in Russia the etiquette is to tip anywhere between 10% and 15% of the bill

You can tip when you are completely satisfied with the service, with the waiter’s recommendations on the choice of dishes and drinks, unobtrusive service during dinner, and quick response to your requests. It is no secret that in some restaurants, bars, and cafes, tips are the main income of waiters. 

According to the rules of restaurant etiquette, it is better to leave a tip in a restaurant after paying the bill. It is considered indecent to demonstrate one’s generosity, so it is better to leave a tip without further ado. You should not run after the waiter with money in your hand; leave tips in cash in a special book, box, or bucket. 

Another option is to leave more money and say with gratitude: 

Сдачи не надо.Sdachi ne nado. – “Keep the change.” 

While it used to be customary to leave a tip in cash, today, most restaurants have the opportunity to thank the waiter with the help of non-cash tip systems. To do this, the guest needs to scan the QR code placed on the bill using the phone’s camera or ask the waiter to show the QR code in his mobile application. You can immediately follow the link, select the required amount (it can be indicated as a percentage), then select a convenient payment method and transfer the tip instantly.

5. Conclusion

Now you have learned a list of Russian restaurant phrases and can safely go even to the dining room, even to a classic restaurant. Knowing the proposed set of phrases and expressions, you can enjoy Russian hospitality, appreciate cuisine and drinks.

Don’t forget to explore Russianpod101 — there is a lot of useful and free information and materials which will make your Russian language learning easy. Check Vocabulary lists that are especially useful in restaurants: Twenty Drinks to Quench Your Thirst, Food – Fruits and Vegetables, and Russia 100 Food.

MyTeacher is another great way to learn Russian language — you get a personal 1-on-1 teacher to practice not only the restaurant phrases but to discuss cultural differences and improve your pronunciation. Your teacher will give you personal assignments, personalized exercises, and audio material — all in all, this approach helps to improve your Russian in no time. Enjoy your learning with RussianPod101!

What dish would you order in a Russian restaurant? Please, let us know in the comment section below!

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Learn the Names of Animals in Russian

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A visit to Russia presents a great opportunity to see some extraordinary wildlife! For example, the Russian taiga is home to such animals as boars, reindeer, moose, and even bears. Russians also love their pets—if you ever find yourself invited to a Russian’s home, don’t be surprised if you encounter a dog or cat during your stay.

Pets

In this article, we’ll be taking a trip to the zoo to learn the names of different animals in Russian. While some of these animal names may sound familiar to you and prove easy to memorize, others will be more of a challenge. Make sure to keep an open mind while reading and to write down any unfamiliar animal names for future reference—you might already know the basics, like “cat” and “dog,” but I doubt you know the Russian word for “monkey”! 

We will be covering the names of animals in a variety of categories: 

  • Pets
  • Farm animals
  • Wild animals
  • Sea animals
  • Bugs and insects
  • Birds, reptiles & amphibians

In addition, we’ll teach you the sounds of animals in Russian according to our onomatopoeia, the names of animal body parts, and several expressions and idioms related to animals. 

Before we continue, keep in mind that the Russian language has grammatical gender. This applies to animals, as well, so we’ve included the names for both male and female animals where applicable (sometimes, the name is the same regardless of the animal’s gender). 

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Pets
  2. Farm Animals
  3. Wild Animals
  4. Sea Animals
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians
  7. Animal Body Parts
  8. Animal Verbs
  9. Animal Sounds
  10. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions
  11. Conclusion

1. Pets

More than half of Russian families have pets. The most popular are cats, which comprise 54% of all pets. 38% of the pets in Russia are dogs, while 7% are farm animals (like rabbits). Only 3% are animals like hamsters, turtles, rats, mice, aquarium fish, and ornamental birds (parrots). Very few people here have exotic animals. 

Interesting fact: Snails are probably the most exotic animal you’ll find kept as a pet in Russian homes. They have recently gained popularity, especially the giant African snail Achatina

Now, here are the names of the most common Russian pets: 

  • Кошка (Koshka) / Кот (Kot) – “Cat (female)” / “Cat (male)” 
  • Собака (Sobaka) – “Dog” 
  • Хомяк (Khomyak) – “Hamster” 
  • Черепаха (Cherepakha) – “Turtle” 
  • Аквариумная рыбка (Akvariumnaya rybka) – “Aquarium fish” 
  • Улитка (Ulitka) – “Snail” 
  • Мышь (Mysh’) – “Mouse” 
  • Крыса (Krysa) – “Rat” 
  • Морская свинка (Morskaya svinka) – “Guinea pig”

A Snail Creeping on a Table

Snails are very therapeutic to watch and easy to take care of.

2. Farm Animals

Farming is quite popular in Russia nowadays. Townspeople began to master farming during the 2008 financial crisis; some lost their jobs and took up farming to support themselves, and others just wanted to do something different. Retired people often move to villages and keep poultry such as chickens, geese, and ducks. Rabbits are also quite popular in villages and on small farms. Of course, there are also large animal farms with livestock such as goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and cows.

One more exotic farm animal in Russia is the reindeer, which is most often bred for its meat and antlers. In some regions, farms have larger numbers of reindeer than sheep or horses.

The word for “farm” in Russian is: 

  • Ферма (Ferma) “Farm” 

And here’s a list of the most common farm animals in Russian: 

  • Курица (Kuritsa) – “Chicken” 
  • Петух (Petukh) – “Rooster” 
  • Цыплёнок (Tsyplyonok) – “Chick” 
  • Утка (Utka) – “Duck” 
  • Кролик (Krolik) – “Rabbit” 
  • Коза (Koza) – “Goat” 
  • Овца (Ovtsa) – “Sheep” 
  • Лошадь (Loshad’) – “Horse” 
  • Свинья (Svin’ya) – “Pig” 
  • Корова (Korova) – “Cow” 
  • Северный олень (Severnyy olen’) – “Reindeer” 

3. Wild Animals

Most of the wild animals in Russia live in the taiga, the Arctic, and the Subarctic regions.

Common animals in Russian forests include chipmunks, hazel grouses, wolverines, sables, squirrels, and sika deer. Legendary predators include the Ussuri tiger, the leopard, and of course, the national animal of Russia—the bear. Wild ungulates are well spread throughout the territory of Russia: big boar, wild reindeer, graceful roe deer, large moose, and saiga. 

Traditionally, Russian hunters favored fur-bearing animals such as sables, muskrats, minks, and foxes. The arctic fox is the primary species harvested for its fur. 

Here are the names of popular wild animals in Russian: 

  • Бурундук (Burunduk) – “Chipmunk” 
  • Рябчик (Ryabchik) – “Hazel grouse” 
  • Росомаха (Rosomakha) – “Wolverine” 
  • Соболь (Sobol’) – “Sable” 
  • Белка (Belka) – “Squirrel” 
  • Олень (Olen’) – “Deer” 
  • Тигр (Tigr) – “Tiger” 
  • Леопард (Leopard) – “Leopard”
  • Медведь (Medved’) – “Bear” 

In ancient times, people would call certain animals by so-called euphemisms (substitute words). It was believed that calling a bear by its real name was seen as an invocation of the bear, which was obviously undesirable. So, Медведь (Medved’) literally means “honey-eater.” This beast has other euphemistic names, as well: Mishka, Potapych, Toptygin, and others.

A Mother Bear and Her Cubs

The bear is one of the most common symbols associated with Russia.

  • Кабан (Kaban) – “Boar” 
  • Лось (Los’) – “Moose” 
  • Сайгак (Saygak) – “Saiga” 
  • Норка (Norka) – “Mink” 
  • Песец (Pesets) – “Arctic fox” 
  • Лиса (Lisa) – “Fox” 
  • Волк (Volk) – “Wolf” 
  • Манул (Manul) – “The Pallas’s cat, Manul” 

The manul is a very expressive cat and the constant hero of Russian memes.

4. Sea Animals

In Russia, whose shores are washed by the waters of three oceans and thirteen seas, there are a lot of sea animals—many of which are rare species. Below, you’ll find the English and Russian names of the most common marine animals.

  • Рыба (Ryba) – “Fish” 
  • Кит (Kit) – “Whale” 
  • Тюлень (Tyulen’) – “Seal” 
  • Морж (Morzh) – “Walrus” 
  • Морской котик (Morskoy kotik) – “Fur seal” 
  • Медуза (Meduza) – “Jellyfish” 
  • Бутылконос (Butylkonos) – “Bottlenose whale” 

The bottlenose whale is quite a rare animal, found in the cold Barents Sea. 

5. Bugs and Insects

There are also many types of bugs in Russia, most of which are active from April to May and hibernate during autumn. There are also a few dangerous bugs with toxic venom, which can be fatal under unfavorable conditions. Such venomous bugs include the Karakurt (black widow) spider in Southern Russia and the Asian hornet in the East. But actually, they’re quite rare, and most of the insects here are harmless.

  • Пчела (Pchela) – “Bee” 
  • Комар (Komar) – “Mosquito” 
  • Муха (Mukha) – “Fly” 
  • Паук (Pauk) – “Spider” 
  • Бабочка (Babochka) – “Butterfly” 
  • Шершень (Shershenʹ) – “Hornet” 
  • Таракан (Tarakan) – “Cockroach” 
  • Муравей (Muravey) – “Ant” 
  • Мотылёк (Motylyok) – “Moth” 
  • Божья коровка (Bozh’ya korovka) – “Ladybug” 

Literally, the term Божья коровка (Bozh’ya korovka) means “God’s little cow.” This name refers to the spots on its body, which are similar to the spots on certain cows. In addition, ladybugs can give milk—but rather than ordinary milk, it is red and poisonous! 

But…why God’s? 

Nobody knows exactly. But they fly in the sky, and in the past, superstitious people asked them to forecast the weather or predict the harvest.

6. Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians

There are about 804 bird species in Russia, and in the cities, you’ll likely see a lot of pigeons, chickadees, sparrows, wagtails, and bullfinches in the wintertime. Sometimes, you might even see a woodpecker or a crossbill. People feed birds (especially during the winter), and many Russians build feeders to help birds survive cold days.

  • Голубь (Golub’) – “Pigeon” 
  • Синица (Sinitsa) – “Chickadee” 
  • Воробей (Vorobey) – “Sparrow” 
  • Трясогузка (Tryasoguzka) – “Wagtail” 
  • Снегирь (Snegir’) – “Bullfinch” 
  • Дятел (Dyatel) – “Woodpecker” 
  • Клёст (Klyost) – “Crossbill”

A Snake

77 reptile species inhabit the territory of Russia. Luckily, only a few of them are venomous.

  • Лягушка (Lyagushka) – “Frog” 
  • Змея (Zmeya) – “Snake” 
  • Жаба (Zhaba) – “Toad” 
  • Ящерица (Yashcheritsa) – “Lizard” 
  • Черепаха (Cherepakha) – “Turtle” 
  • Крокодил (Krokodil) – “Crocodile” 

7. Animal Body Parts

Here are the names of basic animal body parts in Russian: 

  • Волосы (Volosy) – “Hair” 
  • Крыло (Krylo) – “Wing” 
  • Хвост (Khvost) – “Tail” 
  • Шерсть (Sherst’) – “Fur” 
  • Рог (Rog) – “Horn” 
  • Перо (Pero) – “Feather” 
  • Крыло (Krylo) – “Wing” 

8. Animal Verbs

  • Мяукать (Myaukat’) – “To meow” 
  • Лаять (Layatʹ) – “To bark” 
  • Рычать (Rychat’) – “To roar” 
  • Жужжать (Zhuzhzhat’) – “To buzz” 
  • Скакать (Skakat’) – “To gallop” 
  • Ползти (Polzti) – “To crawl” 
  • Кормить (Kormit’) – “To feed” 

9. Animal Sounds

The interesting thing about animal sounds is that they vary from one language to another. For example, a child in the U.K. imitates a dog’s sound as “woof-woof,” while a Russian toddler is taught to imitate barking with gav-gav.

  • Хрю-хрю (Khryu-khryu) – Pig 
  • Мяу-мяу (Myau-myau) – Cat 
  • Чик-чирик (Chik-chirik) – Bird
  • Кря-кря (Krya-krya) – Duck 
  • И-го-го (I-go-go) – Horse

A Cow

And what sound does a cow make in Russian? Correct: “moo.”

Curious how to pronounce some additional animal sounds and other words? Then you might enjoy reading the children’s poem Путаница (Putanica) by renowned Russian poet Kornej Chukovskij! 

10. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions

Animals have always lived close to people. And in Russian speech, many idioms and slang expressions mention different characteristic features of some common animals in Russia in one way or another.

Денег куры не клюют. (Deneg kury ne klyuyut.)

Literal translation: Chickens do not peck money.
Meaning: to have lots of money

Съел собаку (S”yel sobaku)

Literal translation: to have eaten a dog
Meaning: to be an old hand at something

Тянуть кота за хвост (Tyanut’ kota za khvost)

Literal translation: to pull the cat by its tail
Meaning: to beat around the bush

Кошки скребут на душе. (Koshki skrebut na dushe.)

Literal translation: Cats are scratching on the soul.
Meaning: to feel sick at heart

Делать из мухи слона (Delat’ iz mukhi slona)

Literal translation: to make an elephant out of a fly
Meaning: to make something out of nothing

Хоть волком вой (Khot’ volkom voy)

Literal translation: to howl like a wolf
Meaning: to despair due to an inability to correct a bad situation

Чёрная кошка пробежала. (Chyornaya koshka probezhala.)

Literal translation: Black cat ran between people.
Meaning: This is what they say about people who have quarreled.

Надуться как мышь на крупу (Nadut’sya kak mysh’ na krupu)

Literal translation: pouted like a mouse about the grains
Meaning: to be offended or dissatisfied with something

На кривой козе не подъедешь. (Na krivoy koze ne pod”yedesh’.)

Literal translation: You can’t drive up on a crooked goat to a person.
Meaning: Russians say this about people who are difficult to find an approach to. In the old days, one-eyed animals were called crooked. In particular, goats with only one eye lose the ability to move straight.

На птичьих правах (Na ptich’ikh pravakh)

Literal translation: bird rights
Meaning: without a legal basis; unofficially

Ежу понятно. (Yezhu ponyatno.)

Literal translation: Even a hedgehog understands.
Meaning: We say this about something that is obvious.

11. Conclusion

In this article, you learned the names of several different animals in the Russian language. If you would like to hear a recording of their pronunciation, make sure to visit our vocabulary list Animal Names

Once you’ve mastered this key topic, you’ll be able to enjoy a greater range of conversations with native Russian speakers during your visit. Russians love their pets, and many of us live in the countryside where we raise farm animals. What better way to begin a casual chat than by asking someone about their favorite furry friends? 

To continue learning about the Russian language and culture, create your free lifetime account on RussianPod101.com today! We offer a range of themed vocabulary lists, audio and video lessons, and other free resources (such as this English-Russian dictionary). If you sign up for a Premium PLUS account, you’ll also get access to our MyTeacher service; your personal Russian tutor will help you learn faster and smarter through personalized exercises and more. 

Before you go: What’s your favorite pet? Do you know its name in Russian? Please let us know in the comments!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Flirting with a Woman and Getting Her Number

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Surprising a Woman with a Bouquet of Flowers

Never forget that actions are more important than words!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Is Proposing to a Woman

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

4. Endearment Terms

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

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

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

  • Родной / Pодная
    Rodnoy / Rodnaya
    “Honey”

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

  • Моя любовь&
    Moya lyubov’
    “My love”

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

  • Моя радость
    Moya radost’
    “My joy”

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

  • Мой ангел
    Moy angel
    “My angel”

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

  • Душа моя
    Dusha moya
    “My soul”

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

  • Солнышко
    Solnyshko
    “My sun,” “Sunny”

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

  • Зайка
    Zayka
    “Bunny”

In most cases, this word is used toward girls. 

  • Котёнок
    Kotyonok
    “Kitten”

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

A Cat Hiding under a Bed

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

5. Must-Know Love Quotes

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

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

6. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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Why learn Russian? 10 reasons to start in 2021.

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Why learn Russian when there are so many other languages—such as English, Spanish, and Chinese—that are obviously in high demand? This question has no definite answer, but one thing is obvious: Those who decide to study Russian are signing themselves up for certain advantages unavailable to speakers of other languages. 

In this article, we’ll explain why you should learn Russian in 2021. We’ll also prove to you that this language is not as difficult as it seems, and tell you about the areas where it’s spoken. 

Already interested? Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Quick Info About the Language
  2. Benefits of Learning Russian
  3. Evidence that Russian is not Difficult to Learn
  4. Conclusion

1. Quick Info About the Language 

If you’re like most aspiring Russian learners, you’re curious what kind of language it is. 

Russian belongs to the East Slavic group of languages. It was derived from Old East Slavic and eventually standardized in the eighteenth century. After the Russian Revolution, this language became much simpler than it was before. 

The most obvious reason to learn Russian is its massive popularity. It’s the eighth most widely spoken language in the world and the official language of Russia—the largest country, with a population of 146 million people. There are more than 160 ethnic groups that currently live in Russia, and the majority of the population can speak, read, and write in Russian.

In Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Abkhazia, Russian is declared to be the official language of the government agencies. While it has no such status in some other post-Soviet countries, people living in these regions use it for daily communication as well. This is true for Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan. Moreover, due to the past influence of Russia in Eastern Europe, the Russian language is quite popular there too.

Russian Maslenitsa Festival

Why learn Russian? Well, it’s much better to study one language which is spoken in various countries than to study each country’s official language separately!

2. Benefits of Learning Russian 

Why should you learn Russian when there are so many other languages? Below, we’ll explain to you five benefits of studying Russian as a second, third, or maybe even fourth language. Let’s begin! 

1. You’ll be able to travel more easily.

We’ll start our discourse on why to learn the Russian language with one interesting fact: Only around 5% of the Russian population can speak English. Crazy, right? 

If you’d like to make some Russian friends while vacationing abroad, keep in mind that they probably won’t be able to hold a conversation in English with you. So, you may miss getting to know lots of interesting people if you come unprepared.

But the situation changes radically if you know how to speak Russian. In this case, you could go to any Russian-speaking country without the fear of getting lost, being misunderstood, or simply feeling lonely due to the language barrier. Knowing Russian will broaden your travel opportunities and help you get lots of new experiences! 

2. You can be in the minority and impress others. 

Another reason to learn the Russian language is that it will help you stand out from the crowd. 

Most people study a foreign language in school and don’t go beyond that. Considering that the most popular school languages are French, Spanish, and German, there’s only a small percentage of English-speaking people who know Russian. And those who can speak it are really impressive! 

First of all, Russian is known as a difficult language to learn (we’ll break down this myth later), so the fact that you’ve managed to master it deserves respect. Secondly, Russian is one of the most beautiful languages ever, and you sound extremely cool when you speak it. By the way, many Russian people find it amazing when a foreigner speaks their language with a typical English or American accent

3. You’ll better understand the diverse Russian culture.

Every language is closely related to the culture surrounding it. In fact, language and culture influence each other! The only way to truly understand another culture is to learn the language of its people. As such, another great reason to study Russian is that it will allow you to discover the rich culture and history of Russia. 

In particular, those who study this language will get to enjoy the world of wonderful Russian literature and poetry. You may not know that some of the greatest writers and poets ever were Russians. We’re talking about Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Gorky, Pushkin, Mayakovskyy…the list could go on. 

Having a strong knowledge of Russian will give you the opportunity to read the works of these authors in their original language and clearly see what they wanted to say. After becoming acquainted with these writers and poets, you’ll understand Russian people much better, believe us!

A Man Reading War and Peace by Tolstoy

Did you know that George Clooney’s favorite book is the novel War and Peace written by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy?

4. You can get a good education and pursue a career.

You’ve probably never considered studying in Russia, especially if you can study in your own country. While this is true, Russia is the perfect place to get educated in the sphere of natural resources and get employed afterwards. This country is one of the largest producers of steel, gas, and oil, and there are many well-paid jobs in these industries.

Another reason to study in Russia is because it’s full of wonderful opportunities for scientists. According to one of the most recent studies, Russian scientific publications about chemistry, geology, and biology are the second most popular (after English). If you know both English and Russian, you can make great progress in science. Think about it!

People of Different Nationalities Sitting Around a World Map Table

Why study in Russia? Not only to become a good specialist, but also to meet new friends from all over the world!

5. You can easily learn other languages after Russian.

Earlier, we posed the question: Why learn the Russian language if there are so many others? 

Well, that’s the point! 

Even if for no other reason, you should learn Russian so that similar languages will be easier for you to learn later on. Even at the beginner level, you’ll be able to understand some other Slavic languages. It definitely won’t be a problem to learn Belarusian, Ukranian, or Bulgarian, since they share around 60% of their vocabulary and most of their grammar patterns with Russian. 

After Russian, you’ll also be able to quickly learn Slovak, Polish, and Czech. These languages use a modified Latin alphabet, but there are still many similarities between them and Russian. 

3. Evidence that Russian is not Difficult to Learn 

We can already hear you asking: Why should I learn Russian, if it’s gonna be a challenge? 

We know that you think so, but you’re not 100% correct. Russian is easier than it seems, and we can prove it. Here are five reasons why Russian is not as difficult as you’d expect. 

1. The Russian alphabet isn’t that far out there. 

Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet and contains only 33 letters, while English uses the Latin alphabet and contains 26 letters. The two alphabet systems are quite different from each other, but are still more similar than languages like Japanese or Chinese which contain numerous characters to memorize!

The Russian Alphabet

The Russian alphabet is not as scary as it seems to be.

2. Russian pronunciation is clear-cut.

Many bilinguals and polyglots claim that Russian pronunciation is much simpler than that of English, namely in that it’s much more regular and clear-cut. All you need to do to speak Russian fluently is learn the basic pronunciation rules and, of course, get enough practice. 

3. Articles don’t exist in Russian.

Unlike English, French, Italian, and Spanish, the Russian language does not contain articles. In this language, nouns are used without any auxiliary particles. That’s one less thing to memorize, so it’s really easy to start speaking and writing in Russian. 

4. Russian word order is flexible.

Russian word order isn’t strict like that of English. Officially, Russian is an SVO (Subject – Verb – Object) language. You can change the word positions as you like, lending each word more or less importance in your sentence. Word order in Russian is mainly used to add emphasis to a specific word within a sentence. 

5. There are only three tenses in Russian. 

Do you know how many tenses there are in English? 12! Russian, on the other hand, has only three tenses: the past, the present, and the future. Such simplicity eliminates lots of errors and struggles, especially for new learners. Moreover, unlike many other languages, Russian has only two aspects: the imperative and the perfective.

A Girl is Giving a Present to Her Babushka

Did you know that some English words are derived from Russian? Babushka is one of them.

4. Conclusion 

We hope that you now know why studying Russian is important and are planning to learn this beautiful language as soon as possible. The best way to begin is by going through the Absolute Beginner lessons on RussianPod101.com. In addition to our standard lessons, there are lots of useful audio and video materials for beginners on our website. It contains everything you need to know about Russian grammar, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, and more. 

If you’d like to learn Russian fast and efficiently, then our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, is for you. This service includes one-on-one studying with a certified native speaker. MyTeacher is a great option for those who are going to study, work, or live in Russia. 

Before you go: Do you still think that Russian is a difficult language? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Happy learning!

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

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

But is Moscow a nice place to visit? 

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

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

Before You Go: The Most Important Things to Know

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

People

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

Weather

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

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

Currency

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

Accomodation

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

Transport

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

A Moscow Metro Station

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

Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

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

Red Square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

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

The Bolshoi Theatre

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

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

Arbat

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

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

Viktor Tsoi Wall in Moscow, Russia

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

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

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

Moscow-City

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

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

Moscow-City

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

The Moskva River

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

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

The State Tretyakov Gallery

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

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

Gorky Park

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

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

Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia

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

Sparrow Hills

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

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

Tsaritsyno

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

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

VDNH

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

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

Survival Russian Phrases for Foreigners

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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Cool English Words in Russian You Should Know!

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

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

Let’s get to it!

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

Introduction to Runglish

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

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

An American Astronaut and a Russian Cosmonaut

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

Runglish Examples

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

Ивент (ivent) – “event”

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

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

Боди (bodi) – “bodysuit”

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

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

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

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

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

2. The process of providing security itself

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

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

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

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

Loanwords vs. Runglish

An Open Bag of Potato Chips

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

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

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

How to Say These Names in Russian

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

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

McDonald’s Restaurant

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

English Words Derived From the Russian Language

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

“Intelligentsia”

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

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

“Babushka”

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

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

A Grandson and His Grandma

We all love our babushkas!

“Mammoth”

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

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

English-Russian Paronyms

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

“Artist” – артист (artist)

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

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

“Killer” – киллер (killer)

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

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


 A Screenshot from the Famous Movie

This iconic frame needs no introduction.

“Smoking” – смокинг (smoking)

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Happy Russian learning!

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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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