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Learn Russian on YouTube and Master the Basics in Just Under 7 Hours

Have you ever tried to run wearing only one shoe?

What about driving with a flat tire?

If so, you know what it’s like to try to deal with something that’s imbalanced or uneven.

The same thing can happen to your Russian skills if you’re not careful.

And if you’re just starting out, it’s especially important to keep your skills balanced.

There are tons of resources to teach you the alphabet, but how will you learn Russian cursive?

There are plenty of ways to get a little listening practice, but what about speaking practice?

Luckily, there’s quite the variety of Russian resources out there to help you acquire a balanced basic skill set, and you may find them where you least expect it: YouTube.

While YouTube has a reputation for being great for listening practice, it’s not as well known for rounding out other skills, like speaking, reading and writing.

But if you know your way around YouTube (or if you just check out our list below!) you can find plenty of videos to give you the well-rounded Russian practice you need and get balanced study right out of the gate.

So check out the videos and channels below and start learning Russian with YouTube today!
 


 
Learn a foreign language with videos

The Benefits of Learning Russian with YouTube

For example, as a beginning student, you can benefit from the learning videos below, and as you advance, you might further hone your listening skills and vocabulary by watching authentic Russian vloggers.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 learn 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 on YouTube and Master the Basics in Just Under 7 Hours

We’ve grouped the videos below by the skills they target. We’ve also included some information about the channel that uploaded each particular video. So if you like the content, check them out for more!

The All-in-1 YouTube-based Method of Learning

FluentU

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FluentU is where you’ll find a collection of the best authentic Russian YouTube videos in one place. That’s because FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, commercials, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.

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, full transcripts and adaptive quizzes so that you can learn independently and authentically but with the full support of audio, definitions and examples whenever you need it.

Since 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 in your browser or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.

Reading

“How to Read Russian”

If you’re just starting out, getting accustomed to reading Russian words can be tricky. Cyrillic isn’t for the faint of heart.

However, “How to Read Russian” can help ease you into reading. This video begins by teaching you the alphabet. It goes on to discuss letters in more depth and provide plenty of examples of words that use different letters, giving you the opportunity to connect the written words with their pronunciations.

This makes reading in Russian a lot less intimidating!

About the Channel: 

RussianLearnsYou doesn’t have much up on YouTube but the Android app is a treasure trove of reading practice. It contains over 2,000 vocabulary words, fully voiced and written out with memorable images to accompany them.

There are also a few basic grammar lessons to get absolute beginners a leg up in learning the language.

“Russian Reading Practice for Beginners: Репка (Turnip)”

This video is the perfect jumping-off point for reading stories once you’ve picked up some basic vocabulary.

This video features the text and illustrations of a children’s story as the speaker reads the story aloud slowly and clearly, all while pointing to each word so you can connect the letters to their sounds. You can think of this like your teacher reading books to you in elementary school.

There’s no English translation, so you might not understand all the words at first, but this is a great way to test your early vocab knowledge, and the illustrations can help you fill in vocabulary gaps.

About the Channel: 

College Russian no longer updates but the existing library of videos has many useful tips and lessons on Russian grammar, vocabulary and more. Videos look and feel like college lessons, with the host Janey, a Russian teacher, explaining the information displayed on a series of slides.

Listening

“31 Minutes of Russian Listening Practice for Beginners”

When you need some Russian listening practice and 30 minutes just isn’t enough, “31 Minutes of Russian Listening Practice for Beginners” from RussianPod101 can hook you up. This is a helpful video for fine-tuning your listening skills to prepare for real-life conversations.

If you’re at a mid-range beginning stage through an intermediate level, there should be material in this video that will benefit you.

In this video, you’ll be asked a question. Then, you’ll hear a dialogue exclusively in Russian before being asked the question again. This gives you an opportunity to focus exclusively on listening. Next, you’ll hear the dialogue again, but this time, it will be captioned in both Russian and English, allowing you to understand anything you may have missed.

About the Channel: 

RussianPod101 regularly posts useful videos featuring vocabulary words, grammar lessons, listening practice, cultural notes and even more.

If you enjoy this video, you can get plenty more from RussianPod101 by subscribing on their website, along with extras like PDF lesson notes, vocab learning tools and flashcards.

“Slow Russian—Listening Lesson 1—Book”

This video from Real Russian Club is a listening activity that revolves around a discussion of the book “Treasure Island.” Not only is this a great way to practice your listening skills, but it’s also a fun way to learn vocabulary sets related to books and pirates (both of which are obviously essential).

The speaker speaks very slowly and clearly, so it should be easy for anyone with some basic Russian skills to pick out at least a few words.

Plus, at the beginning of the video, there are some key vocabulary words presented to help you out along the way.

If you’re struggling or just want a little extra help, you can also turn on subtitles, which are available in English and Russian.

About the Channel:

Real Russian Club is hosted by Daria, a Russian teacher from Moscow. Her channel has many other slow (and fast) Russian videos, as well as lessons, vlogs and more. She also covers cultural Russian information and even pop culture like superhero movies.

“Learn Russian While You Sleep”

Although the jury is out on whether you can truly learn a language while you sleep, there’s no doubt that this YouTube video 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.

About the Channel:

Eko Languages has a large collection of lessons available in many different languages. The Russian selection includes more “learn while you sleep” style videos, as well as useful conversation examples and more.

Even cooler is the option to learn Russian taught from other languages like Spanish. So if your native language isn’t English, you might be able to learn Russian from your mother tongue here.

Speaking

“Learn Russian—Daily Russian Conversation Practice”

This video is designed to help you practice saying useful conversational phrases.

A phrase will appear on your screen in English and Russian, along with Romanization of the Russian to help you with the pronunciation. You’ll hear each phrase first in English. Then, you’ll hear it three times in Russian, with plenty of time in between to repeat the phrase aloud.

The video is nearly two hours long, so you’ll have the opportunity to practice a nice array of phrases, covering topics like shopping, getting to know you, feelings and so much more.

About the Channel:

Eko Languages was introduced in the previous entry, but it’s an excellent resource! Give it a look.

“Practice Speaking Russian”

This video offers a well-balanced combination of speaking and listening practice.

An image is shown in the video, and all of the listening and speaking revolves around this image.

First, you’ll hear a question in Russian. Then, there will be a moment for you to respond. There’s no one correct answer, so if you’re unsure of what to say, you can just go with whatever you want. After that, the speaker will give you one potential answer, spoken slowly and clearly.

If you want a little extra help through the video, subtitles are available in Russian and English.

About the Channel:

Real Russian Club is also the creator of the slow reading video. Have you subscribed yet?

“Intermediate Russian. Listen & Respond: Кот-путешественник (Cat Adventurer)”

This video tells the story of a cat who likes to go adventuring. Key vocabulary words and their definitions are displayed on the screen as the host tells the tale, and the video description details what grammar concepts and pronunciation aspects it teaches.

While this is excellent listening practice on its own, the video uses a “listen and respond” method of teaching, reading the story, then asking questions about it. By actively engaging with the video and speaking your answers out loud, you can mimic a Russian conversation and test your understanding of the story at the same time.

About the Channel:

Amazing Russian is hosted by Olga Jarrell, a Russian teacher who uses the videos as resources for her Russian students, in conjunction with the textbook “Голоса” (Voices). However, the channel is available for anyone to use with or without the textbook.

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!

Writing

“Russian Handwriting”

Whether you need a refresher of the Russian alphabet or are already familiar with the print alphabet but need more work with cursive, this YouTube video can help you pick up some valuable skills.

This video goes through each letter of the alphabet, one at a time. As the speaker names each letter, the letter also appears in printed text and in cursive. The cursive version even shows a pencil writing the letter so that you can learn how to form the letter for yourself.

To get practice writing letters, all you need to do is have a pen and paper handy to mimic the movement the pencil shows.

About the Channel:

RussianLessons.net is an excellent resource for absolute beginners. Although there’s no new content being added, the videos on this channel can still teach you how to read and say themed vocabulary words, some basic tenses and other useful words like verbs of action.

“How to Write Russian Words and Phrases”

Do you know the Russian alphabet by heart by now? What about Russian cursive?

To be fair, even if you think you know Russian cursive, there’s a strong chance you might benefit from a little extra practice. After all, connecting those complex but beautiful letters into actual words can be a real beast!

“How to Write Russian Words and Phrases” from Maria Zdorovetskaya can help you learn Russian cursive. The video begins with printed text. Then, the speaker rewrites some of it in cursive while pointing out similarities and differences. She also suggests a method for you to practice Russian cursive.

Instructions are given in Russian (perfect if you want to work in a little listening practice). However, if you need some help, subtitles are available in English and Russian.

About the Channel:

Easy Russian Club, hosted by Maria Zdorovetskaya, targets intermediate Russian speakers. The channel is successful because Maria doesn’t just focus on helping viewers learn the Russian language, but rather immerses them in the culture.

She’s created and shared hundreds of videos that feature Russian places of interest, such as Red Square, Russian food, vodka, etc. Check her out!

Vocabulary Building

“Russian with Passion”

This Russian-learning playlist features more than 160 videos (and still going!) by host Antonia Romaker. Her energetic and friendly tone makes it easy to get a passion for the language!

The videos feature common phrases, such as introductions, with the host providing the literal and popular translations with explanations.

About the Channel:

Antonia Romaker—English and Russian online uploads videos for learning Russian and English side-by-side. Beginners and intermediate learners can learn a lot from the Russian videos, which include grammar lessons, Russian idioms, vocabulary and more.

“100 Useful Phrases in Russian”

This video will teach you 100 useful Russian words in just under 10 minutes.

Instead of just flashing the words onscreen like many other vocab videos, the host presents each word with plenty of emotion, great facial expressions and gestures and generally makes them more memorable by infusing the video with personality.

If you do want to see the words and their definitions written out, the video description has the entire list.

About the Channel:

Easy Russian Club is behind the video about writing Russian words and phrases. The videos on this channel are funny, engaging and most of all, help you learn Russian!

“The Travel Linguist: Russian 101”

This oldie but goodie playlist 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.

About the Channel:

The Travel Linguist no longer updates their YouTube channel, but these 41 videos will provide you with a crash course in beginner Russian words and phrases, so it’s well worth a look.

 

With these channels and videos, you’re ready to learn Russian with YouTube!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.

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