You’ve probably danced along with one, laughed along with one and even cooked along with one.
Now, you can learn a new language with one, too.
What is this miraculous invention, you may ask?
Videos are an interactive, fun and easily accessible way to get information and content from anywhere, anytime!
This also means that videos are an excellent resource to help you learn intermediate Russian.
But if you’re not at an intermediate level of Russian, don’t stop reading!
The reason why we’re focusing especially on the intermediate stage here is because while video learning can be helpful at any part of the learning process, it can be especially useful when trying to push past the intermediate stage, as this is a place where learners often find themselves in a slump. Also, you’ll need to listen to and practice spoken Russian and pronunciation before moving on to the advanced level, which videos help you do.
Still, you’ll want to note that some of the resources below can be used for any level of Russian.
If you’re a beginner, you can start with the basics using some of these resources and when you reach the intermediate level (which may not be as far in the future as you think!) come back to this post to try out the intermediate video recommendations.
If you’re an advanced learner, you probably won’t need as much help with navigating the below resources in the first place, so enjoy checking them out!
Just be aware that the recommended videos and descriptions below are geared towards those who’ve gone through the basics (learned the Cyrillic alphabet, utilized Russian textbooks to learn basic vocabulary words and downloaded Russian apps to learn grammar, for example) and are aimed at helping those learners continue sharpening their language skills with both free and paid video resources.
How Videos Can Help All Russian Learners—Especially Intermediates!
While textbooks are good for teaching letters and basic words to beginning learners, intermediate videos can help students hear the correct pronunciation of words, which is essential for speaking Russian properly.
Videos can also help you improve your knowledge of real Russian language usage at any stage by listening to Russian speakers and hearing the language as it’s spoken today.
In addition, when learning with videos, you have the option to choose from a variety of videos that all teach a similar subject. This allows you to reinforce what you know by hearing the same subject taught in a variety of ways and finding various examples.
Another great advantage is that unlike learning from, for example, a class lecture in person, you can pause or rewind a video to jot down a note, look up a word or repeat something you couldn’t understand the first time around.
Below we’re going to look at some awesome resources that include videos with a special focus on the intermediate learner. There are specific recommended videos below, but with many of these sources, you can dig a lot deeper and find practically endless content if you wish.
Awesome Videos for Intermediate (and Other) Russian Learners
Cornell University has created a webpage dedicated to helping learners with 91 intermediate Russian mini-videos.
You’ll want to check out this source for two reasons: 1) the videos are short and can easily be watched without a big time commitment 2) the videos are clips from the Russian comedy series “6 Kадров” (6 Frames), a Russian sketch show directed by Alexander Zhigalkin. How cool is that?
The sketches typically take place in a specific business or area, which is great for Russian learners to hear vocabulary that’s used in various scenarios. Plus, each video has a transcript, an English translation of phrases used in the videos and additional vocabulary help.
Be sure to check out the following videos:
- “Нaдо мaсло поменять” (Need to Change the Oil) — A video that takes place in an auto body shop.
- “Таблeтки от диабeтa” (Pills for Diabetes) — A video that takes place in a pharmacy.
- “Мeст нeт” (No Seats) — A video that takes place on a train.
RussianPod101 offers free videos on their YouTube channel and more content if you subscribe on their website. There’s content available for learners from the beginner through the advanced level, and in addition to a ton of audio and video material, subscribing gets you access to a learners’ forum, PDF lesson notes and more.
Here are a couple of longer videos for intermediate learners that really pack a punch:
- “125 Intermediate Russian Words” — This video is a compilation of different Russian videos that takes up almost one hour. Led by host Katya, it includes 125 words perfect for intermediate Russian students who are confident in their basic skills. Each word is said and written in Russian, and translated in written English. Plus, Katya discusses various examples of using the words, and the different ways words can be used in Russian and in English.
Topics include computer-related words, words that describe different health ailments, bugs and insects, life actions, etc. It’s a really nice and relatively quick vocab boost!
- “46 Minutes of Intermediate Russian Comprehension” — Here’s a video to help you test your Russian comprehension skills. See an image and listen to the question, which is formulated in Russian, and then think of what the correct answer should be before it’s presented to you. After that, watch a short dialogue, which is voiced by both a man and a woman.
The scenarios include action discussions, such as a husband and wife discussing which apartment is right for them, picking the right hotel room, ordering a cake and listening to weather reports.
Get access to the most current Russian videos to listen to the latest Russian music, watch movie trailers, commercials and even find business-related content with FluentU.
How can all of this help you to perfect your Russian? By listening to Russian words as spoken by natives and watching the way Russians use their facial muscles to formulate words. In addition to hearing the content, you can improve your comprehension of what’s said (or sung) by using interactive subtitles in Russian with English translations.
The added benefit that FluentU offers over other language programs (or video sources) is that you have the ability to look up a word you don’t know simply by clicking on it to see its definition and examples of usage.
Other exciting FluentU features include fun quizzes to test your knowledge and the ability to download audio dialogues to learn Russian without internet connectivity.
As you’ll find out if you subscribe, FluentU offers plenty of material for all levels of learners (six levels, to be exact), but here’s just a quick look at what you can find among the intermediate videos:
- “Prostokvashino – Part 1: The Correct Way to Eat Sandwiches” — The first in a series of clips taken from an old Soviet cartoon, this adorable interaction between a cat and a kid will help familiarize you with an essential Russian culture reference and pick up some useful phrases having to do with living arrangements.
- “#InsideYourHead by Dima Bilan” — From Soviet Russia we move on to a more current piece of entertainment (you’ll notice the title of this song is even a hashtag!) that’ll help you load up on useful verbs with a catchy and colorful music video.
- “Being Chased By Pushkin” — This video is a humorous skit that gets you started memorizing a famous work of Russian literature that Russian kids learn in school. This might be better for upper intermediate learners—if it feels a bit over your head, it’s something to look forward to!
This YouTube video channel is led by host Maria Zdorovetskaya. The videos are all of different lengths—ranging from just a few minutes to up to about 30 minutes.
As opposed to some Russian videos intended for learners, which can get a little dry and same-y, Maria makes every single video unique by filming in different locations. So the videos go much further than helping you learn the Russian language, they also familiarize you with different Russian places, and help you immerse yourself in the Russian culture and learn Russian customs.
Check out these videos:
- “Как правильно общаться с русскими людьми?” (How to Correctly Interact with Russian People?) — Advice on how to interact with Russians as opposed to Americans to make friends.
- “Where to Eat in Moscow?” — See images of Russian food along with what the dishes are called and learn the prices of typical Russian food in restaurants.
- “How to Pick Up Russian Girls?” — Tips on dating Russian girls.
This YouTube channel was developed by an actual teacher of the Russian language, Olga Jarrell. She uses the videos in conjunction with the textbook “Голоса” (“Voices”) by Richard Robin, Karen Evans-Romaine and Galina Shatalina. However, the videos can be used without the textbook both in a classroom environment and for self-study.
This YouTube channel has videos geared towards different Russian level skills.
Here are some to check out:
- “30 Adjectives to Describe Clothes” — Olga asks questions related to picking out clothes in Russian, and presents the content written in Russian and translated in English. She then presents 30 adjectives to help answer these questions, along with their English translations.
- “Listening for Telephone Numbers” — This video helps you understand Russian phone numbers by listening to different phone numbers being pronounced, writing them down, checking whether you wrote them correctly and repeating them.
- “Seasons” — Learn about different times of the year as they’re pronounced in Russian. Find out different ways to talk about seasons, such as expressing your favorite time of the year and describing weather patterns during specific seasons.
This website is called Луч света (Ray of light), and it’s operated by Sarah Ruth Lorenz, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian at Franklin & Marshall College. The site features different Russian media clips that have interesting content and a cultural or social point that says something about life in Russia today.
The purpose of the site is not only to help Russian learners hear modern Russian as spoken by native Russians, but also to spark conversation about important issues.
Each video has a Russian and English title, as well as a Russian and an English transcript to follow along with what you hear.
The site also has helpful categories so that users can search for what interests them, including politics, history, culture, etc.
We recommend the following videos:
“Московский велопарад” (Moscow Bike Parade) — A great way to see Moscow, its insane traffic and often harsh weather as cyclists ride through this capital.
“День ВДВ в парке Горького” (Paratrooper Day in Gorky Park) — A perfect opportunity to see a famous Russian park and hear military terms as paratroopers are celebrated during this awareness day.
“Путин о ‘вмешательстве’ в выборы” (Putin’s Comments on “Interference” in Elections) — Hear Russia’s president and political terms in this discussion.
Russian videos are the perfect resource for honing your Russian skills and moving from beginning to intermediate Russian, getting from intermediate to upper intermediate Russian or leveling up at any point in the learning process.
You can choose easier videos when you first start to study, moving on to harder content as you perfect your language skills.
The best part is, you can keep yourself entertained with the large variety of content, so you never get bored and are motivated to keep studying!
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