29 Conversational Russian Phrases to Learn to Fit In With Natives

Have you ever wondered what the real Russian language is like?

This is the Russian you’re not going to encounter in textbooks. The Russian you need to keep a conversation going like a native. The Russian on the streets.

The fact is, the gap between the literary Russian and the everyday Russian is dramatically bigger than the gap between the literary and everyday English.

Read on to learn how you can master the brutal, crude yet infinitely romantic everyday language you’re going to hear in the Russian speaking countries.


Phrases to Start a Conversation

Small talk isn’t normal in Russia. While Americans can ask anyone, “How are you?” as a greeting, that’s weird in Russia. Strangers normally keep to themselves.

Nevertheless, Russians are social creatures like all of us, so knowing how to strike up a conversation will help you break the ice when starting a dialogue.

Here are 29 everyday phrases that will help you start a conversation with a Russian. We’ve included audio clips for each word to help you pronounce these words like a native.

1.  риятно видеть вас здесь – Nice to see you here!

2.  Мы встречались с вами ранее?   – Have we met before?

3.  Как поживаешь? – How are you doing?

4. Привет! Что нового? – Hi! What’s up?

5. Привет! Давно не виделись! – Hi! Haven’t seen you in a while!

6.  Ты не будешь возражать, если я спрошу тебя о… ? – Would you mind if I ask you…?

7. Ну, дело в следующем … – Here’s the thing…

8. Без разницы! – Whatever!

Phrases to Break an Awkward Silence

We all hate awkward silences, don’t we? Check these phrases out to ensure you won’t experience that while communicating with your Russian friends.

9. В самом деле? Расскажи подробнее! – Really? Tell me more!

10. Ты, должно быть, шутишь! – You must be kidding!

11. Ну, как бы получше выразиться? – How can I phrase this right?

12. Видишь ли, дело в том, что… – You see, the thing is…

13. что касается… – Regarding the…

14. кстати… – By the way…

15. для справки… – Just for the record…

Slang Phrases to Keep the Conversation Going

Knowing some local slang gives you the upper hand when it comes to studying and actually using Russian Read on to remove any doubt Russians might have of your thorough knowledge of their language.

16. Приятель, давай сходим куда-то сегодня вечером – Let’s go out somewhere this evening, buddy.

17. Какая безбашенная вечеринка! – What a crazy party!

18. Я чертовски рад тебя видеть! – I’m very (freakin’) happy to see you!

19. Я сегодня замотался! – I’m overwhelmed today!

20. Базара нет – No questions about it.

21. Классная тема – This is some cool stuff.

22. Это реально круто – This is cool.

Phrases to Use With Someone You’re Romantically Interested In

Some of us develop crushes on speakers of the language we’re studying. Why not learn some clever and handy phrases to use with that?

23. ты красивая – You’re good looking [feminine].

24. ты красивый – You’re good looking [masculine].

Note: красивый means “beautiful,” and it’s totally acceptable to say it to Russian men although in English it would be more socially acceptable to say “handsome.”

25. Можно, пожалуйста, твой номер телефона? – Can I have your phone number please?

26. Давай поговорим по телефону – Let’s talk on the phone.

27. Давай встретимся – Let’s meet in person.

28. Ты мне нравишься – I like you.

Note: Although this phrase doesn’t have to be used in a solely romantic way, it implies that you find the other person attractive, funny or interesting.

29. Я тебя люблю – I love you.

Resources to Enrich Your Conversational Vocabulary and Phrase List

Here are a few resources that will help you expand your vocabulary by exploring authentic Russian media. These will allow you to go beyond the scope of this article to explore whichever part of the Russian world most appeals to you.

You can read about hockey or soccer in Russian, see what Russians say about politics, art and performance, comedy or fixing a leaky pipe. Search for the things that interest you in your life and you’ll start to pick up some quick phrases that you’ll want to use in conversation.

Popular Russian blogs


  • “Остров” (“The Island”) is a good movie if you’re up for a heavy topic. About a priest with a past, it will give you an introduction to some specific Russian vocabulary. This is probably not a movie for beginners, since the serious theme will require you to stay focused throughout the film.

Radio and podcasts

Videos and Miscellaneous

  • Very Much Russian. This website focuses on colloquial terms and cultural expressions, with a host of ways to learn them.
  • FluentU. This virtual immersion program uses native-level short Russian videos like movie clips and trailers, news clips and vlogs, all with interactive subtitles to help you grasp the meaning behind idioms, words and phrases.

    Search for any word or phrase to see it used in videos or save it as a flashcard. Or watch videos that interest you and click on words in the subtitles to see contextual definitions and save flashcards from here. Practice flashcards with interactive, personalized quizzes to help reinforce what you’ve already learned.

  • “Маша и Медведь” (“Masha and the Bear”). While this series focuses on the kind of informal speech that children use, it’s an invaluable tool for learning casual, natural language. 


Make sure to check out the resources outlined above, and focus on pronunciation to get your listening fluency up. Subscribe to blogs and channels and watch a couple of the movies mentioned in this post.

And if you utilize even just a small part of these resources and sprinkle the everyday phrases into your Russian speech, you’ll be sure to turbo-charge your Russian-learning to keep your conversations fresh and interesting!

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