We all love YouTube.
We’ve all spent hours entertaining ourselves there.
Watching hilarious videos of animals doing tricks.
Watching adorable videos of babies.
While we may be used to turning off YouTube in order to get some work done, study something or do something else productive, we challenge you to do just the opposite: learn Russian with YouTube.
Online videos are great language learning resources.
You can hear Russian spoken by natives, see it written and even ask questions in the comments sections, all absolutely free.
There are a variety of YouTube resources that focus on teaching Russian to newbs, as well as resources for a range of levels where you can easily jump in as an absolute beginner.
In this post, we’re going to focus on these types of resources. So whether you’re a brand-new learner feeling nervous about taking the leap into learning a language, or you’re just looking for some solid resources that cover multiple levels from the ground up, we’ve got you covered.
Why Start Learning Russian with YouTube?
- Choose between a wide variety of sources: YouTube has billions of videos, and thousands of them are geared towards teaching the audience Russian. Using YouTube allows you to peruse different teachers, following the ones you like and moving on from those that you don’t.
- It’s free: YouTube is completely free; other than paying for an internet connection, you can enjoy learning without the costs associated with your typical online classes.
- Learn anywhere, anytime: You can learn using YouTube on your break at work, while you’re at the gym or on your commute. There’s no limit to where and when you can learn, whether you have a few minutes or a few hours.
- Listen to native Russian pronunciations: Russian words can be long and complicated. YouTube lets you hear how words are pronounced correctly by native Russians. This is really important to fluency, especially when you’re just starting out.
- Connect with other learners: As YouTube is a social media platform, you can connect with other Russian learners and read comments that often suggest other resources and share tips for the most effective learning strategies.
How to Have the Best Experience Learning Russian on YouTube
- Create a schedule to stay consistent: If you attend a Russian class, you commit to going on a certain day and at a set time. YouTube doesn’t ask for any commitments, but not creating a schedule to stay consistent may prevent you from dedicating sufficient time to learning the language. To stay on track, set out a weekly schedule and abide by it.
- Utilize other sources, such as textbooks, blogs and flashcards: To truly immerse yourself in the Russian language, it helps to use as many sources as possible to find different ways of learning a certain topic and to test your knowledge.
- Make sure the YouTube channel is legitimate: Anyone (read that again, anyone) can upload a video onto YouTube. Before committing your time to learning from a particular source, check to make sure it’s a legitimate channel. One easy way to do this is to look out for tried-and-tested channels with many followers and views. An even easier way is to check out the great resources below!
Learn Russian from Scratch with These 7 YouTube Resources
Learn Russian While You Sleep
Although the expert-jury is out on whether you can truly learn a language while you sleep, there’s no doubt that this YouTube video from Eko Languages will help you learn some Russian vocabulary, even if you have to do so while you’re awake!
Especially for beginner Russian speakers, this single video features over three hours of 100 common Russian words and phrases to help give you a good initial grounding in pronunciation and vocabulary.
Each word is first pronounced in English, followed by it being said in Russian a few times. The video features the Russian and English spellings, as well as a pronunciation guide.
Learn Russian with RussianPod101
Created by the website RussianPod101.com, this YouTube channel has over 125,000 subscribers. Part of its popularity has to do with the teacher, Katya, who’s friendly, funny and makes viewers feel comfortable enough to share their journey with her.
This channel offers a wealth of videos that are geared towards the novice learner. Most of them concentrate on teaching Russian words and phrases, verbs, nouns, adjectives, family member names, buildings, etc. You can get more videos (all the way through the advanced level) by subscribing on their website. You’ll also get additional learning materials and support when you subscribe, like PDF lesson notes and access to their community forum.
FluentU is where you’ll find a collection of the best authentic Russian YouTube videos in one place.
In other words, with FluentU, you can actually skip the instructional stuff and jump right into learning with children’s cartoons, songs and the kind of authentic content that native Russian speakers watch. It’s all sorted by level, set up with interactive captions, transcripts and quizzes, so that you can learn independently and authentically but with the full support of audio, definitions and examples whenever you need it.
As FluentU comes with multimedia flashcards, vocab lists, grammar explanations and more, you can either use it on its own or in addition to any of the resources on this list. You can also continue using it throughout your Russian journey as your level improves, and you’ll have access to new videos that are being added all the time.
Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
The Travel Linguist: Russian 101
The Travel Linguist offers 41 Russian courses for beginners. Like on most other YouTube sites, the words and phrases are pronounced in Russian and English, as well as written in both languages. However, what sets these videos apart is that they feature two different people saying the same word back to back, which is extremely helpful if you can’t fully catch on to what one of them is saying.
Also, the video pauses after each word, encouraging the viewers to try and say the words themselves. The videos center around learning words for greetings, directions, shopping, dining out and so on.
Russian with Passion
This YouTube channel features more than 130 videos by host Antonia Romaker. In the intro video, Antonia provides a few good reasons for learning Russian, one being that Russian women are very beautiful, and that speaking their language can help you communicate with them (this explains the channel’s title!).
The videos feature common phrases, such as introductions, with the host providing the literal and popular translations with explanations.
Learn Russian with RT
This YouTube channel differs from others because the videos are short and to the point. Shot as if they’re news presenters, the hosts spend a few seconds teaching a specific Russian topic, such as how to say happy birthday, good morning, goodbye, etc.
These videos are excellent for looking up a specific word or phrase without having to sit through a long video!
Although this channel is available to anyone, the creator, Olga Jarrell, is a Russian teacher who uses the videos as resources for her Russian students, in conjunction with the textbook “Голоса” (Voices).
Being a teacher, Olga provides a great introduction to her videos, explaining the goal of the video as well as her methodology for teaching the topic. This is helpful because you won’t only learn the Russian language, but may come to understand more about your particular learning style!
Bonus: Easy Russian Club
This is the only channel on the list that isn’t completely beginner-friendly, but it’s a good one to start watching for inspiration and a taste of what’s to come. The videos from Easy Russian Club, hosted by Maria Zdorovetskaya, have over 3.8 million views. Targeting intermediate Russian speakers, this channel is so successful due to the fact that Maria doesn’t just focus on helping viewers learn the Russian language, but immerses them in the culture.
She has created and shared hundreds of videos that feature Russian places of interest, such as Red Square, Russian food, vodka, etc. The videos are funny, engaging and most of all, help you learn Russian!
We’ve explained why learning with YouTube can help you master the Russian language and provided great resources to get you started.
So, what are you waiting for? Go and learn!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.