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Russian Etiquette: Body Language and Gestures


Did you know that when a Bulgarian nods his head, that means “no,” and when a Russian nods his head, it means “yes?” The same thing goes for shaking one’s head from side to side. In Bulgaria that means “yes,” but in Russia that same gesture means “no.” That’s why it’s so important to put some time and effort into learning foreign body language. You need to be perfectly sure that you interpret every gesture the right way. That said, here’s our list of Russian body language and gestures that you should know. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Russian Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Russian Greetings and Gestures
  2. Interesting Russian Nonverbal Gestures
  3. Counting
  4. Russian Business Etiquette Tips
  5. Conclusion

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1. Russian Greetings and Gestures

How do Russians greet each other? There are several different ways, and you need to understand in which situations certain Russian gestures and greetings are appropriate. Here’s a list of common Russian body gestures with an explanation of when to use each one.

  • Russian handshake etiquette. A handshake in Russia is usually a greeting between men. They greet each other with a handshake both in formal and informal situations. For women, the handshake is less common. It’s never used in informal situations. As for formal situations, such as business meetings, handshakes are becoming pretty popular.
  • Nodding or waving a hand. Though greeting a girl with a handshake in a business meeting is becoming more and more common nowadays—due to a spread of the American lifestyle in Russia—just smiling and nodding is more common for her. Waving one’s hand is usually used instead of a nod if the person is some distance from you and a nod won’t be well seen.
  • Waving: Woman Waving
  • Nod: Woman Nodding
  • Hug. When it comes to body gestures in Russian culture, hugging is very common in Russia. It’s used as a warm greeting, especially between family and friends.
  • Kiss. One kiss on the cheek is the typical way that Russian girls greet each other. There was a tradition to greet by three cheek kisses in old Russia, but nowadays it’s gone.

2. Interesting Russian Nonverbal Gestures

Russian Hand Gestures

Here’s a comprehensive list of some Russian nonverbal signals you may encounter or need to use while in Russia. Please, keep in mind to use these body gestures of Russian people only in informal situations.

1- Fig

Fig Gesture

How to do it. Put your thumb between your index finger and middle finger and form a fist. Stretch your hand forward with this fist and show it to the other person. You can twist it a little for more emphasis.

What it means. This hand gesture in Russia is very popular and is basically a rude way of saying “You get nothing.” It’s rarely used in real life—except by grannies and granddads—but you’ll see a lot of it in movies and television series. This gesture can go by a variety of names: кукиш (kukish), шиш (shish), фиг (fig), or дуля (dulya). These four words are synonyms. Nowadays the words кукиш (kukish), дуля (dulya), and шиш (shish) are rarely used in speech.

The word фиг (fig) is used a lot in informal situations, but sometimes it loses its actual meaning. Let’s see some examples of how this Russian gesture can be used.

  • Фиг тебе (Fig tebe)—“I won’t give it to you”.
  • This has a slightly rude meaning, though it’s often used between friends or others who are close and isn’t considered rude under those circumstances. Фиг (fig) replaces the name of the object that the person refuses to give. Instead, he gives fig (fig), which equates to nothing. This can also be shortened to Фиг те (Fig te), both in speaking and informal messaging. If you want to learn more about Russian text abbreviations, check out our article.

    • Миша, дай мне шоколадку. (Misha, day mne shokoladku.) “Misha, give me the chocolate.”
    • Фиг тебе. (Fig tebe.) “Nope.”

    This phrase is often used in a teasing sense before smiling and actually giving the object requested.

  • Фига себе (Figa sebe)—“Wow”
  • It’s usually used to express strong feelings about something that you’ve just experienced. You can use this phrase for both good and bad news. After that, you can add a noun or a sentence to go more into detail about what your strong feelings are about. For example:

    • Фига себе, погода. (Figa sebe, pogoda.)—“Wow, the weather.”
    • Фига себе, ты крутой. (Figa sebe, ty krutoy.)—“Wow, you are really cool.” Be aware that it can be said sarcastically.
    • Фига себе, как дорого! (Figa sebe, kak dorogo!)—“Wow, so expensive!”

    This phrase can be shortened to Фига (Figa). If the person you’re talking to tells you that he/she did something unexpected, you can also react to that by adding ты (ty) meaning “you” after фига (figa), making it Фига ты (Figa ty). After Фига (Figa) and Фига ты (Figa ty) you can also add extra information about why you’re surprised:

    • На сколько поедешь в Берлин? (Na skol’ko poyedesh’ v Berlin?) “For how long are you going to Berlin?”
    • На месяц. (Na mesyats.) “For a month.”
    • Фига ты надолго! На работе нормально дали отпуск? (Figa ty nadolgo! Na rabote normal’no dali otpusk?) “Wow, so long! Did you get a job vacation without any difficulties?”
    • Да. (Da.) “Yes”.

  • Ни фига (Ni figa)—“No”
  • This can be used when you’re speaking about a situation with an unexpected outcome. Compared to the usual Нет (Net) meaning “No,” this phrase expresses more emotion.

    • Алё*. Уже купил? (Alyo. Uzhe kupil?) “Hello. Have you already bought (it)?”
    • Ни фига. Тут огромная очередь. Стою, жду. (Ni figa. Tut ogromnaya ochered’. Stoyu, zhdu.) “Nope. There is a huge queue. Standing and waiting.”

    *Note that Алё (Alyo) meaning “Hello” is a form of greeting used on the phone. If you want to learn more Russian greetings, please check out our article.

  • До фига (Do figa)—“A lot”
  • For example, У неё до фига денег (U neyo dо figa deneg) meaning “She has a looot of money.” It’s used to highlight the emotions the speaker feels about the subject.

  • Фиг знает (Fig znayet)—“I have no idea”
  • For example:

    • Во сколько обычно закрывается аптека? (Vo skol’ko obychno zakryvayetsya apteka?) “What time does the pharmacy usually close?”
    • Фиг знает. (Fig znayet.) “I have no idea.”

  • Фиг с ним (Fig s nim)—“Forget about him/it” or Фиг с ней (Fig s ney)—“Forget about her/it”
  • An additional meaning is “I don’t care about it” or “It doesn’t matter to me.” For example:

    • Ты доделал работу? (Ty dodelal rabotu?) “Have you finished your work?”
    • А, фиг с ней. Завтра доделаю. (A, fig s ney.) “Well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll finish it tomorrow.”

2- A Flick on the Neck

Neck Flick

How to do it. Bend your neck to the side a little bit and flick it with your fingers.

What it means. This gesture is generally used to replace the phrases выпить (vypit’) meaning “to drink” and пьяный (p’yanyy) meaning “to be drunk” in a dialogue. For example, you can use this gesture instead of underlined words here:

  • Пойдем выпьем. (Poydyom vyp’yem.)—“Let’s go for a drink.”
  • Давай выпьем. (Davay vyp’yem.)—“Let’s have a drink.”
  • Да он уже пьян. (Da on uzhe p’yan.)—“Well, he is already drunk.”

3- Crazy Person

Crazy Person Gesture

How to do it. Twist your finger near your temple several times.

What it means. This gesture means that someone you’re talking about is crazy. By doing this gesture, you indicate that something is wrong with this person’s head and brain. The meaning could be both literal and figurative.

You can use it by itself or with phrases like these:

  • Ты что, псих? (Ty chto, psikh?)—“Are you a psycho?”
  • Он совсем рехнулся. (On sovsem rekhnulsya.)—“He has gone completely crazy.”
  • Ты с ума сошёл? (Ty s uma soshyol?)—“Are you crazy?”

4- Giving a Tooth

Giving a Tooth Gesture

How to do it. Raise your upper lip a little bit and pretend that you’re pulling out one of your front teeth.

What it means. This gesture is a way of swearing. Essentially, it’s like promising that you’re ready to give a tooth if something you say will happen doesn’t happen. This shows that you’re 100% sure that it’s going to happen.

This gesture is usually used after the words Зуб даю (Zub dayu) meaning “I’m giving you a tooth.” Less often, you can see it after the words Правду говорю (Pravdu govoryu) meaning “I’m telling the truth.”

For example, you believe that this time you’ll pass your exams for sure. Then talking to your friend about it, you can say Зуб даю, что сдам экзамен (Zub dayu, chto sdam ekzamen) meaning “I’m absolutely sure that I will pass the exam.”

5- “I’m fed up with it”

Fed Up Gesture

How to do it. Put your hand, palm down, near your neck and tap your neck several times.

What it means. This gesture means that you’re fed up with something. It literally shows the expression Сыт по горло (Syt po gorlo) which translates to “Fed up till the throat.” It can be used without any words, but don’t forget to make a meaningful expression of irritation or anger on your face.

You can also add some phrases to make this gesture more expressive:

  • У меня здесь уже это все. (U menya zdes’ uzhe eto vsyo.)—“For me, everything is already here.” Show the gesture on the word здесь (zdes’)—“here.”
  • Как меня уже это достало. (Kak menya uzhe eto dostalo.)—“How I’m already fed up of that.”

6- Hitting Your Chest with a Fist Two Times

Chest Beating

How to do it. Make a fist, turn it to yourself from the side with your thumb and index finger, and tap your chest—on the furthest side from the arm—two times.

What it means. By using this gesture, Russians express loyalty or vouch that they’re telling the truth. This gesture is mostly used in street gangs, so it has a slightly aggressive and criminal “aura.” A lot of men love this gesture and use it pretty often in informal situations.

7- Russian Shrug

Woman shrugging

How to do it. Spread your hands sideways with your palms up and shrug.

What it means. By meaning, this gesture is equal to an international shrug. It’s used when you need to stress that you don’t understand or know anything. Compared to the usual shrug, this gesture means that you’re experiencing a lot of emotion and want others to know this.

8- A Confused Head Scratch

Woman Scratching Her Head

How to do it. Loop your arm around your head from the top and scratch your head.

What it means. Though Russians can just scratch their head when they’re confused—like people do everywhere in the world—they tend to make it more emphatic by looping their arm over their head and scratching the other side of the head. The thing is that it takes more time to make this gesture than the usual head scratch, so Russians get more time to think. Pretty smart, huh?

9- “Now I Get it!”

How to do it. Slap your forehead with an open palm.

What it means. Russians use this gesture when they suddenly or eventually understand something.

10- Throwing a Hat on the Ground

Throwing a Hat Gesture

How to do it. Raise your right arm, and with a strong breath out, throw it down and to the left.

What it means. This gesture comes from the old times when people really threw their hats on the ground. Right now, the gesture only implies that. This gesture expresses that a person has made a desperate decision.

3. Counting

Popular hand gestures in Russia are those used for counting. When Russians count, they start with an open palm and bend every finger starting from Один (Odin) meaning “One” or Раз (Raz) which also means “One.” Most people start by bending their little finger, but some people start with bending the thumb. No matter which finger you bend first, you’ll be understood.

The exerсise. First, let’s learn the Russian numbers from one to five.

  • Один (Odin)—“One”
  • Два (Dva)—“Two”
  • Три (Tri)—“Three”
  • Четыре (Chetyre)—“Four”
  • Пять (Pyat`)—“Five”

Now guess the number by the picture and choose the right answer.

Hand Three

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Два

Hand Four

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Один

Hand Five

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Пять

Hand Two

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Три

Hand One

  • Один
  • Два
  • Три
  • Четыре
  • Пять

The answer: Четыре

4. Russian Business Etiquette Tips

Russian body language is something that you need to know, especially before business meetings with Russian partners or clients. Though Russian business culture is similar to that in American, it has some significant differences in terms of proper etiquette. Here are some examples of proper Russian body language etiquette:

  • Don’t keep your hands in your pockets in formal situations. Though European and American people feel more or less okay with keeping their hands in their pockets, in Russia this posture is considered careless. If you want to avoid this impression, don’t do that.
  • Don’t whistle. Though whistling is fun, in Russia it’s considered rude to whistle inside the house or office. Basically, it comes from the Russian superstition that if you whistle inside, you’ll soon lose all your money.
  • Take your shoes off when you enter someone’s home. Russians keep their floors at home clean. There’s usually a shelf or a place to put your street shoes near the entrance door in every flat or house. Usually, a Russian host will offer you slippers to wear or you can find them near the entrance and put them on yourself. As Russian floors are usually not heated and the winters are cold, wearing slippers inside is very reasonable.

5. Conclusion

To sum it up, there are several different gestures that are used in Russia. In this article, we highlighted the most unique and popular ones. But you can feel at ease with gestures that are used worldwide such as thumbs-up, facepalm, etc. People from countries all over the world are connected through the Internet, so people everywhere are slowly starting to understand gestures from other regions.

Learning gestures is an important part of language study, but keep in mind that you’ll feel more confident using them if your verbal skills are also at their best. We have the MyTeacher program for Russian learners, which is sure to help you out here. With the help of our teachers, you’ll improve your Russian language skills and start to sound and use your body language like a real Russian. Be careful though, on high language levels you might get a cold-weather resistance. :)

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Russian Internet Slang: How to Text Like a Modern Russian


Did you know that Russian people have their own way of forming emoticons in text? They amputate the eyes and the nose of :-) leaving just a bracket-mouth. The more brackets you use, the more positive the emotions you express are.

While one bracket means just a light smile or an expression of friendliness, using three or more brackets represents laughter. Sometimes if a person doesn’t put at least one bracket in his message, it seems as though he’s being very serious.

Let’s dig deeper into the Russian text lingo and learn how to speak exactly like a Russian on the internet.

Table of Contents

  1. About Russian Texting Slang
  2. Russian Texting Abbreviation Dictionary
  3. Russian Internet Slang Words
  4. Fun Exercise: Rewrite the Sentences Using Russian Texting Slang
  5. Bonus: Great Websites to Practice Your Russian Texting Slang Skills
  6. Conclusion
  7. Answer Key

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1. About Russian Texting Slang

Computer words

Russian text language is very rich with various abbreviations, misspellings, and slang words. We’ve prepared a guide for you, so there’s no need to use a Russian texting translator. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to understand and use all of the most important Russian slang words and expressions yourself.

Many Russian texting abbreviations come from the English — ЛОЛ (“LOL”), ИМХО (“IMHO”), and ОМГ (“OMG”). But most of the slang abbreviations are native Russian.

Don’t use these slang words in official text messages or emails because they may be offensive. But feel free to use them while chatting with your Russian friends; they’ll appreciate your effort and feel more comfortable texting with you.

Below, we’ve gathered abbreviations that are widely used now—2018—or getting there. Texting with Russian abbreviations may seem hard at first, but once you catch the logic, it’ll be hard to stop using them. Let’s get started!

2. Russian Texting Abbreviation Dictionary

Computer sentences

1- Smiles and Russian Text Faces

  • ))) means “LOL.” That’s the first thing that you should know about Russian text messaging. Typically, instead of “normal” emoticons, Russians use brackets.
  • Here’s a common example of how a text conversation will typically start, using these brackets, or parentheses:

- Привет) (Privet) “Hi!”

- Привет)) Как дела?) (Privet. Kak dela?) “Hi! How are you?”

- Норм. Как у тебя? (Norm. Kak u tebya?) “Good. How are you?”

- Да тоже ничего.) (Da tozhe nichego.) “Also good.”

Additional information:

Some expressions may be confusing, so let’s study them.

  • Норм (norm) is an abbreviation of Нормально (normal`no) and means “Okay.”
  • Да тоже ничего (Da tozhe nichego) is a widely used expression that basically means “I am also good.” If you wanna say just “I am good,” use Да ничего так (Da nichego tak).
  • Да (da) here doesn’t mean “Yes.” It has no definite meaning and serves as a sentence opener in spoken language (E.g. Да ты поправился! (Da ty popravilsya!) “You gained some weight!”).
  • Ничего (nichego) is translated as “nothing” and basically means “nothing specific is going on in my life, everything is like usual.”
  • The opening bracket ((( represents sadness or crying.
  • Гы [gy] (Гыы, Гыыы). Some time ago, this meant “LOL.” It was used by less-educated people, so it still gives the slight impression of dumbness. However, in the modern Russian text lingo, it shows the delight of the speaker. For example:
    • Да ты просто молодец!) (Da ty prosto molodets!) “Well done!”
    • Гыыыы)) (Gyyy) *Expressing delight from appreciation of the effort*
    • Note! Да (Da) here is also a sentence opener.
  • Лол (Lol) means “LOL.” In gamer conversations, this is short for “League of Legends.”
  • Ггг [Ggg] (гг, гггг) expresses understanding of a joke, but not necessarily a laugh. For example:
    • Хватит дома сидеть, пойдём гулять. (Khvatit doma sidet`, poydyom gulyat`.) “Stop sitting at home, let’s go for a walk.”
    • Чо, время такое, зима близко :) (Cho, vremya takoe, zima blizko.) “Well, that’s not me, that’s the time. The winter is coming.”
    • Дешёвые отмазки) (Deshyovye otmazki.) “Poor excuse.”
    • гг)) раскусила)) (Gg raskusila.) “LOL. You got me.”
  • Хах (hah), ахаха (ahaha), хаха (haha), and хахаха (hahaha) mean “LOL” and can be replaced with two or more brackets.
  • Кек (Kek) ultimately comes from Korean ㅋㅋ (kk) and means “LOL.” This is less used than the other ones, but may be appreciated by younger Russians who enjoy fresh ways of expressing laughter in texting.
  • Ыыы (Yyy) means “LOL.” It expresses the crying sound you make after laughing for too long, and has the same meaning and impression as Гыыы (Gyyy).

2- Expressing Opinion or Emotions in Russian Text Slang

  • Имхо (imho) means “IMHO.” This is hardly used by millennials, but is still well-known and used by an older generation. Just keep this Russian slang abbreviation in mind.
  • Хз (kheze) is short for хрен знает (khren znaet), хуй знает (khui znaet) and means “I don’t know.” Without a smiling bracket it sounds too harsh, so it’s better to put ( or ) after that—or more brackets, if you want to express strong emotions.
  • Мб (mb) is short for может быть (mozhet byt`) and means “Maybe.”
  • OMГ (OMG) simply means “OMG.”
  • Ппц (Ppts) is short for пипец (pipets) and also means “OMG.” The word is a softer version of the obsolete verb пиздец (pizdets). This word originates from пизда (pizda) which means “c*nt.” Ппц (ppts) or пипец (pipets) has almost lost the obsolete meaning and is quite commonly used in Russian SMS slang.

3- Russian Shorthands for Texting Nouns

  • МЧ (Emche) is short for молодой человек (“boyfriend”).
  • Выхи (Vykhi) is short for выходные (“weekend”).
  • Вел (Vel); велик (velik) is short for велосипед (“bike”).
  • Зп (Zepe) is short for заработная плата (“salary”).
  • Нг (Enge) is short for новый год (“New Year holiday”).
  • Тыща (Tyshcha) is short for тысяча (“thousand”).
  • Лям (lyam) is short for миллион (“million”).
  • Комп (Komp) is short for компьютер (“computer”).
  • Инет (Inet) is short for интернет (“Internet”).
  • Ноут (Nout) is short for ноутбук (“laptop”).
  • Анон (Anon) is short for аноним (“anonymous”).
  • Чел (Chel) is short for человек (“person”).

4- Other Russian Texting Abbreviations

There are two ways to shorten the words. The first one is to write the word the way it sounds in a spoken language (e.g. «щас»). The second one is to leave in only the first letters or syllables of the word.

  • Ща (Shcha); щас (shchas) is short for сейчас (“now”).
  • Норм (Norm) is short for нормально (“ok; good”).
  • Ток (Tok); тока (toka) is short for только (“only”).
  • Те (Te); тя (tya) is short for тебе; тебя (“you”). It’s mostly used when imitating a childlike or cute speech.
  • Се (Se); ся (sya) is short for себе; себя (“me; to me”). It’s mostly used when imitating a childlike or cute speech.
  • Ваще (Vashche); аще (ashche) is short for вообще (“in general; at all”).
  • Эт (Et) is short for это (“this”).
  • Чо (Cho); че (chyo); чё (chyo) is short for что (“what”).
  • Чот (Chot) is short for что-то (“rather; a bit; quiet”).
  • Кто-нить (Kto-nit`) is short for кто-нибудь (“anybody; somebody”). The particle -нибудь in other words can also be shortened to -нить. It can be used with or without a hyphen.
  • Пасиб (Pasib); пасиба (pasiba); пасибоу (pasibou) is short for спасибо (“thanks”).
  • Пжст (Pzhst); пжлст (pzhlst) is short for пожалуйста (“please”).
  • Здрасте (Zdraste) is short for здравствуйте; здравствуй (“hello”), and is very common.
  • Дратути (Dratuti) is short for здравствуйте; здравствуй (“hello”). It’s used mainly for texting gamers or schoolchildren. The abbreviation comes from internet memes.

Useful fact! To memorize words better, input the word in Russian + мем (mem) in Google search, and you will see different memes with this word.

  • Прост (Prost) is short for просто (“just; easy”).
  • Чтоль (Chtol`) is short for что ли (“perhaps”).
  • Наверн (Navern) is short for наверно; наверное (“probably”).
  • Канеш (Kanesh); канешн (kaneshn) is short for конечно (“of course”).
  • Скок (Skok); скока (skoka) is short for сколько (“how much; how many”).
  • Сток (Stok); стока (stoka) is short for столько (“so much; so many”).
  • Седня (Syodnya); сёдня (syodnya) is short for сегодня (“today”).
  • Низя (Nizya) is short for нельзя (“must not”). It’s mostly used when imitating a childlike or cute speech.
  • Спс (Sps) is short for спасибо (“thanks”).
  • Хорош (Horosh) is short for хорошо (“good; okay”). In slang, хорош (horosh) means “stop it.”

5- Shortened Verbs and Expressions

Verbs that end with -тся (-tsya) or -ться (-t`sya) are sometimes written with a -ца (-tsa) ending.

Particles such as б (b) and ж (zh) used next to я (ya), ты (ty), and other pronouns in text slang are often typed without spacing: яж (yazh); тыб (tyb).

6- Obsolete Russian Abbreviations

  • Нах (Nah) is short for нахуй (nahuy) and translates as “to dick,” meaning “f*ck this.”
  • Пох (Poh) is short for похуй (pohuy) and translates as “till dick,” meaning “I don’t care.”

3. Russian Internet Slang Words

Text slang

These are words that come from the internet or internet memes. Most of them appeared over the last two or three years and aren’t familiar to older generations or people who don’t use the internet a lot.

  • Баян (Bayan) is a Russian accordion, and basically means an old joke.
  • Котэ (Kote) translates as “cat.” This is just an internet version of the common Russian word кот (kot) “cat.”
  • Ламповый (lampovyy) is an adjective and is translated as “with a lamp.” Essentially, this means something mellow, heartfelt, or sincere.
  • Ору (Oru) means “I’m laughing like crazy.”
  • Печалька (Pechal`ka); печаль (pechal`) means “sad” or “too bad,” and could also mean “not the result I wanted.”
  • Тролль (Troll`) is translated as “troll,” meaning a provocative person.
  • Фейспалм (Facepalm) is a well-known word from English.
  • Холивар (Kholivar) comes from the English “holy war” and basically means a quarrel.

4. Fun Exercise: Rewrite the Sentences Using Russian Texting Slang

1. Rewrite the dialogue with internet slang and abbreviations. You can find the answers at the end of this article. No need to rewrite the text on the picture.

Man Lying on Mines with Text

(On the picture:)
КОГДА СМОТРИШЬ ИГРУ ПРЕСТОЛОВ (Kogda smotrish’ igru prestolov)
Я: МНЕ ТАК НРАВИТСЯ ЭТОТ ПЕРСОНАЖ, (Ya: mne tak nravitsya etot personazh)
НАДЕЮСЬ, ОН НЕ УМРЕТ… (nadeyus` on ne umryot…)
ПЕРСОНАЖ: (personazh)


“When you are watching ‘Game of Thrones’
Me: I love this character so much, I hope he won’t die…
Character: )”

2. And now decipher the dialogue. Change slang words and abbreviations in usual words.

Аня (Anya): [Sends the image above]
Олег (Oleg): Смешно. Но старая шутка же.
Аня (Anya): Ну не знаю. Только увидела.
Олег (Oleg): Смешно. Что на выходных делаешь?
Аня (Anya): Вообще не знаю.
Олег (Oleg): Пойдем на велосипедах кататься?
Аня (Anya): Пойдем!

Лена (Lena): За компом?
Даша (Dasha): Ага
Лена (Lena): Посмотри скок сегодня градусов на улице пжст)
Даша (Dasha): А че мне за это будет?))
Лена (Lena): Даша!!! Хорош, прекрати
Даша (Dasha): ыыы) +18
Лена (Lena): о, норм, тепло. спс
Даша (Dasha): ;)

5. Bonus: Great Websites to Practice Your Russian Texting Slang Skills

1. Interpals
For beginners and higher levels. This is a great place to find language exchange partners. Many Russians use this website and will be happy to help you with your Russian texting skills.

2. VK
For middle and higher levels. If you’re learning Russian, you most likely already have an account on VK. If not, stop reading and register there immediately. It’s a Russian version of Facebook which is used by nearly every Russian. It has a great base of easily accessible user-generated content useful for Russian-language learners—video, audio, and books (even more than you can find on YouTube). There are also several different groups and communities that you can join. It’ll be a great opportunity to practice and meet new Russian friends who will be more than happy to explain and show you how to text in Russian. Here’s a community that publishes funny notes and has open comments: Practice!

3. 2ch
For upper-intermediate and advanced levels. This is a trending Russian chat consisting mostly of schoolchildren and students. Though the website UI is quite complicated, you can find and practice the newest and most trending Russian slang words and abbreviations with real Russians. Be aware, though, that schoolchildren might be rude.

6. Conclusion

One last piece of advice—don’t abbreviate ALL words in your texts; only abbreviate one or two. Otherwise, the message will look kind of dumb.

So, you’ve mastered texting with Russian abbreviations and slang words. An endless space of Russian internet and Russian chats has opened its gates so you can practice the freshly received knowledge and make new Russian friends.

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

7. Answer Key

Please note that there may be different versions of the right answer.

1. Олег (Oleg): ))) Баян же)
Аня (Anya): Ну хз. Ток увидела.
Олег (Oleg): Кек. Че на выхах делаешь?
Аня (Anya): Ваще хз.
Олег (Oleg): Пойдем на велах кататься?
Аня (Anya): Пойдем!)

2. Лена (Lena): За компьютером?
Даша (Dasha): Ага.
Лена (Lena): Посмотри, сколько сегодня градусов на улице, пожалуйста.
Даша (Dasha): А что мне за это будет?
Лена (Lena): Даша! Прекрати.
Даша (Dasha): :-) +18
Лена (Lena): о, нормально, тепло. Спасибо!
Даша (Dasha): ;-)

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List of Untranslatable Russian Words: Top 10 Idioms 2019

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Опохмелиться (Opokhmelit’sya)

Man Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Literal Translation: “Drink some more alcohol.”

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

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

Interesting Fact:

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

2. Запой (Zapoy)

Literal Translation: “Several days drinking.”

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

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

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

Interesting Fact:

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

3. Сушняк (Sushnyak)

Someone Pouring a Glass of Water

Literal Translation: “Dry mouth.”

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

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

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

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

4. Халява (Khalyava)

Literal Translation: “Freebie.”

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

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

Interesting Fact:

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

5. Хамить (Khamit’)

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

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

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

Related Words:

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

Interesting Fact:

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

6. Брезговать (Brezgovat’)

Literal Translation: “To feel disgusted by something.”

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

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

Related Words:

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

7. Подвиг (Podvig)

One Person Carrying Another

Literal Translation: “Brave and heroic feat.”

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

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

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

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

8. Однолюб (Odnolyub)

Couple Hugging Each Other

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

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

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

9. Воля (Volya)

Literal Translation: “Freedom.”

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

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

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

Related Words:

Вольный (vol’nyy)—“Free.”

Usage in a Sentence:

Сила воли.
Sila voli.

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

10. Тоска (Toska)

Literal Translation: “Feeling of boredom and depression.”

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

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

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

Related words:

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

Usage in a Sentence:

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

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

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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Holiday for John the Baptist: Ivan Kupala Day in Russia

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

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

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

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1. What is Ivan Kupala’s Day?

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

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

2. When is Ivan Kupala Day?

Ivan Kupala's Day is in July

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. The Symbolic Plant of Ivan Kupala’s Day

Jumping Over a Bonfire

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

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

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

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

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Ivan Kupala Day

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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How to Introduce Yourself in Russian: Words and Expressions

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. How to Start

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

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

2. Identifying Yourself

1- Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2- Age

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

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

3- Nationality

People will definitely wonder what country you’re from.

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

4- Hometown

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lived in another city before?

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

5- Reasons to Learn Russian

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

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

3. Placing Yourself in Society

1- Major and/or Profession

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

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

2- Family

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

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

4. Sharing Personal Details

1- Hobbies

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

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

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

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

2- Pets

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

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

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

And use the words above with the sentences below.

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

5. Exercise: An Essay about Myself in Russian

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

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

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

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

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

6. Conclusion

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

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How to Celebrate the Day of the Russian Language

UN Russian Language Day

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

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

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

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1. What is Day of the Russian Language?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. When is Russian Language Day?

Russian Books of Literature

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

3. How to Celebrate Russian Language Day

Woman Reading Poetry

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

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

4. Pushkin’s Greatest Works

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

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

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

5. Useful Vocabulary for Day of the Russian Language

Handwritten Page

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Top 10 Russian Movies: With Links and Quotes

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

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

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

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

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1. How to Learn Russian Using Movies

Movie genres

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

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

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

Top verbs

2. The Best USSR Movies

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

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

Ivan changes professions poster

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


“Immured… Immured. Demons!”

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

Operation Y poster

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


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

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

Diamond Arm poster

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


“I am not a coward… But I am scared.”

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

Only old men poster

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


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

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

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

The irony of fate poster

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


“How disgusting is your fish in aspic…”

3. The Best Russian Movies

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

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

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

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

2- Брат (Brat) — “Brother”

Brother poster

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

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

3- Стиляги (Stilyagi) — “Hipsters”

Hipsters poster

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

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

4- Остров (Ostrov) — “The Island”

The island poster

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

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

Start now: Watch it by following this link:

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

Saint petersburg FM poster

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

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

4. Where to Watch

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

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

5. Conclusion

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

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

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Top 20 Russian TV Shows: Study Russian the Fun Way

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. How to Learn Russian Using TV Shows

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

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

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

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

2. Russian TV Series

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

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

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

1- Comedy

1. Кухня (Kukhnya) — “Kitchen”


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

Russian level: For beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

2. Интерны (Interny) — “Interns”


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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


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

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

2- Classical

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

The Master and Margarita

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

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

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

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


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

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

2. Идиот (Idiot) — “Idiot”


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

Russian level: Advanced

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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


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

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

3- Historical

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

Poor Nastya

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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

2. Екатерина (Ekaterina)—“Ekaterina”


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

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

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

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

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


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


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

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

4- Criminal

1. Бригада (Brigada)—“Brigade”


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

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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

2. Метод (Metod)—“Method”


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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

Start now: Here is the first episode:

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


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

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

5- Military

1. Диверсант (Diversant)—“Diversionist”


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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

Start now: Check out the first episode below:

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

Storm Gates

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

Start now: Here is the first episode:

6- Fantastic

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

exclusion zone

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

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

2. Маргоша (Margosha)—“Margosha”


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

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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

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

7- Romantic

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

Hearts of Three

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

Russian level: Advanced.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

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

Don`t Be Born Beautiful

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

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

Start now: Here’s the first episode:

8- Russian Reality TV Shows

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

Evening Urgant

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

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

Club of Fun and Resourceful

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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

3. Comedy Club

Comedy Club

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

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

Obverse and Reverse

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

Russian level: Beginners.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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

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

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

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

Ural Dumplings

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

Russian level: Intermediate.

Phrases and quotes:

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


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


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

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

Find the vocabulary list for a supermarket visit here.

3. Where to Watch

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

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

4. Conclusion

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

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

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How to Find a Job in Russia: The Best Tips

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

1. Russian Job Market for Foreigners

1- The Best Cities to Work in Russia

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

2- Why Work in Russia?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


2. How to Search for a Job

1- How do Russians Search for a Job?

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

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

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

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

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

job hunting

2- Popular Russian Job Hunting Sites for Foreigners

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

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

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

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

3. Jobs in Russia for English Speakers

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

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

4. Tips on CVs and Interviews

1- Russian Resume Tips

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


2- Common Interview Questions in Russia and Other Tips

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

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

3- Cultural Tips for an Interview

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

5. How to Say “Get a Job” in Russian

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

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

6. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. When is International Women’s Day?

March 8 is International Women's Day

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

3. Reading Practice: Women’s Day Celebrations

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

4. Additional Information: Flowers

Breakfast Tray and Flower

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

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

5. Must-know Vocab

Male and Female Colleagues

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

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

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


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

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