Learn Russian for Free: 47 Russian Lessons for Learners on a Budget
Learning Russian but too many resources to choose from? Or maybe you’re just not sure where to start.
If you’re looking to learn Russian online, you might find yourself wondering which resources are the best resources.
Ready for some good news? I’ve put this article together because I’ve done the work for you. I’ve tried out several Russian learning tools to find the best ones available. And there’s even better news… You can use any of them to learn Russian for free.
Here are some of my favorite online Russian lessons and classes so you too can learn Russian online.
Free Online Audio and Podcasts to Help You Learn Russian
Ready to level up your listening comprehension? If you want to improve your listening skills, then you’ll need to find resources to listen to. But where do you find good quality audio lessons in Russian?
I like podcasts because they’re so versatile. You can take them with you whenever, wherever. The local deli? They’re there while you wait for your number to be called. Your commute? Just load them up on your phone in advance. Anytime you have a spare moment, you can fit in some language learning with a podcast.
There are several Russian language podcasts out there, but only a few provide a complete Russian course. In my experience, podcasts that provide a step-by-step Russian class prove to be the winners. I also think it’s good to listen to Russian as it’s spoken in real conversations
Here’s where to start with Russian language audio:
- RussianPod101 is free to sign up for and is a favorite of the Fluent in 3 Months team. It has an impressive amount of Russian content available at every level from complete beginner to advanced. You get a one-week free trial to test out lessons at all skill levels. After that, you do have to pay for the more advanced lessons and premium material, although it’s very much worth it.
- TuneIn: Listen to radio in Russian on TuneIn. Choose from talk, sports or music, trying out different stations to see what you enjoy. You can also download the app to enjoy radio on your phone or tablet.
- Forvo: If you come across a new word, especially with Russian which has its own writing system and several letters that are “false friends” to the Latin alphabet (Н vs H anyone?), Forvo is a great place to listen to words spoken by a native speaker. It has a large database and is a good reference for pronunciation.
- Очень по-русски: Want to learn Russian as it’s actually spoken? This podcast helps you do just that.
YouTube: Free Russian Video Lessons
YouTube is a good place to look for free Russian classes and resources. The channels listed below give you hours of Russian lessons in an engaging format, all at no cost. Plus, video has the added perk of giving you insight to how facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal aspects are used to communicate in the Russian language.
- RussianPod101: In addition to their free podcast lessons, RussianPod101 also has an excellent YouTube channel with hours of free content.
- Easy Russian: I adore the Easy Languages channel. Why? Because it gives you a glimpse of the local culture and offers you context for Russian. In this series, the hosts go out into the streets and interview the people they meet. It’s casual and an enjoyable way to hear how the language is truly spoken, pick up useful conversational language, and improve your listening comprehension.
- Russian with Anastasia: This Youtube channel teaches Russian through a series of interviews and video lessons.
- Be Fluent in Russian has tons of videos that feature useful phrases in the Russian language. It’s a great place to start learning useful Russian vocabulary.
- Ru-land Club shares tons of thematic, fun videos to help you learn the Russian language.
- Real Russian Club offers Russian learners a wide array of videos. I particularly like their slow listening lessons!
Free Online Russian Courses and Systems
If you’re interested in organized lessons, there is an excellent selection of free online Russian courses and systems available to you. Here are just a few websites that help you learn Russian free:
- Glossika: Glossika is an audio language course and the first 1,000 repetitions are free. It uses spaced-repetition to help you learn useful Russian phrases.
- Coursera’s Russian as a Foreign Language Part 1 and Part 2: The online learning portal Coursera has two free Russian language courses from St. Petersburg State University called Russian as a Foreign Language. They have several free video lessons and are for learners looking to get to the B1 and B2 CEFR levels.
- Goethe Verlag has 100 free lessons for Russian language learners. They cover everything from numbers to preparing for a trip to running errands.
- Live Lingua: There are more than a dozen free courses for Russian on Live Lingua, a database of Peace Corps and FSI coursebooks and audio materials. There are materials available for both beginner and advanced learners.
- Wikibooks offers Russian language learners a free online coursebook.
- Loecsen has almost twenty beginner lessons available to Russian learners. They cover everything from basic greetings to phrases you can use if you find yourself in need of help.
- BBC Languages: Looking for a fantastic introduction to the Russian language with video and tons of accompanying material? The BBC’s Russian course has it all.
- Russian Lessons has tons of free Russian lessons available for learners for free.
Free Russian Language Apps
Apps are a handy way to learn a new language, especially for those who like to study on the go.
- Memrise or Anki (for iOS, for Android, and for everyone else): These are flashcard systems that you can use to create your own Russian vocabulary decks or download those already created by other users. The desktop version of Anki is free, as is the basic version of Memrise.
- Duolingo is a popular language learning app that introduces you to both Russian vocabulary and grammar. It’s a gamified platform, so it’s fun to use and addictive, so you’ll keep coming back to learn more.
- Drops helps you build your Russian vocabulary in just five minutes of study time per day using gorgeous visuals and spaced-repetition.
- Clozemaster is a language learning app that uses cloze (fill in the blank) to help you master new vocabulary in Russian.
- NEMO on iOS and Android is free to download and it offers you the chance to record yourself speaking Russian and then compare it against native speakers.
Free Online Russian Language Resources for Advanced Russian Learners
Take a Free Online Course in Russian
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) not only offer Russian language courses, but they also offer courses on other subjects in Russian. If you’d like to use Russian to learn more about something you’re passionate about, taking an online course in Russian can be a useful way to do two things at once.
- Class Central is an online portal that indexes free online courses from a variety of sites (including Coursera and EdX). Currently, they have almost 300 courses taught in Russian listed on their site.
- Ted Talks in Russian are a powerful way to learn new things in bite-sized chunks. Most talks are between 10-20 minutes and are presented so that they keep your attention from start to finish.
Watch Russian Vloggers on YouTube
If you’re looking for native material for your Russian learning because you’re at a more advanced level, YouTubers are a useful source. Russian vloggers cover everything from comedy to beauty to food, so you’re sure to find a YouTube personality who covers a topic that you’re interested in.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Kate Clapp is a Russian lifestyle vlogger who is immensely popular. She does video commentary and documents her life in video.
- Frost produces gameplay videos as well as commentary, so there’s a diverse selection of material to learn from on this channel.
- Ruslan Usachev: If you’re into games, entertainment or even political commentary, you may enjoy this Russian Youtuber.
- Sasha Spilberg originally shared lifestyle and commentary videos, but has more recently turned to singing.
- Elena Krygina: Do you like fashion or beauty videos? If so, then you’ll definitely enjoy Elena’s channel.
- BadComedian: Are you a movie buff? This Russian vlogger shares movie reviews and would be an interesting channel for the movie fan to follow.
- Advocat Egorov is a lawyer, but also a survivalist and in his videos, he shares how to live outdoors.
- This is Khorosho: This channel is in Russian, but the vlogger, Stas Davidov is actually from Latvia! Most of the videos are commentary on pop culture, but he isare immensely popular and hashave even been featured on Russian major television channels.
- Top Geek is run by Karin and Nimrod Aldea and they vlog about entertainment, science, and technology. Their channel includes gameplay and other fun videos, too.
- GameGems is a Russian vlogger who reviews games and shares gameplay videos with new content every few weeks.
- OldSchoolil includes gameplay videos and may be of special interest to those who enjoy vintage games on some of the older game systems.
- Ashley Waxman Bakshi: Searching for a Russian speaking beauty vlogger? Look no further. Ashley posts makeup tutorials, beauty tips, and commentary videos.
Free Russian Language Reading Materials
Finding reading material appropriate for your level in the language can be a challenge. Thankfully, there’s a decent selection of Russian reading resources available to you as a learner online for free.
- Wikipedia: Use Wikipedia to read short articles in Russian. You can switch back to your native language to check your comprehension.
- LingQ is a popular online learning system that helps you acquire new vocabulary through its reading interface. It’s free to sign up, though if you want to use it long-term you’ll need to opt for a paid plan.
- Google News: Read the news in Russian with Google News.
Want More? Check out Benny's favorite Russian resources.