Break on Through to the Russian Side: 11 Online Courses to Help You Reach Fluency

Close your eyes.

Imagine that the only thing that separates you from the amazing and useful Russian language is a wall.

All you have to do is knock it down and you can finally make it to the other side, aka fluency.

I mean, not that we’re comparing learning Russian to a significant historical event (okay, we totally are), but it can feel just as epic.

In any case, one question is standing in your way: How exactly do you learn Russian?

Luckily, there are plenty of different ways to work on your Russian language skills.

If you’ve already decided you want to learn Russian, you can build up your proficiency with awesome Russian music, engaging Russian movies and entertaining Russian TV shows.

You can even check your progress at all levels with effective Russian learning videos.

But if you want to completely master the Russian language, you’ll benefit from taking a comprehensive Russian course that walks you through the foundations of the language.

Having that firm ground to stand on will help you tear down that wall for good and become a fluent Russian speaker.

And of course, there’s no more convenient way to take a Russian course than online.

Why Use Online Russian Courses to Learn Russian?

  • Online Russian courses are diverse, so you can select the course that best caters to your needs. What’s more, if you don’t like something about one course (even something as minor as the font!), there are lots of other courses to choose from, so you can find something that better suits your wants and needs.
  • Online courses tend to be affordable (and in some cases free). Indeed, many online courses are low-priced or free. If you’re willing to put more money in, though, there are even affordable options that will give you college credit.
  • If you’re a beginner, online courses give you the opportunity to test the waters and see if this is a language you might want to learn. If you’re just starting to think about learning Russian, an online course is a great option. You can dip your toes in before you dive in. If you don’t like it, you won’t have invested a lot of time or money, but if you love it, you’ll have basic skills that you can build on in the future.
  • Indeed, online Russian courses provide a strong foundation to build upon in the future. Whether you start with a course just to see if you like it or you’re already serious about learning the language, online courses will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to become fluent in Russian.

11 Top Online Russian Courses to Tear Down the Wall Between Fluency and You

This free online course offers great lessons on Russian grammar rules, conjugations and vocabulary.

While it’s best for beginning and intermediate students, it also offers some features that advanced students will benefit from. For instance, there’s a helpful section with parallel texts in Russian and English accompanied by audio from native speakers.

Additionally, there’s a forum where you can discuss the Russian language with other learners. This is great for all levels. Since learning a language online is usually less social than learning in a classroom setting, forums are a helpful way to connect, ask questions and share frustrations (which will probably mostly revolve around the case system, let’s be real).

Learn Russian


Learn Russian is a free online course offered by RT, a Russian television network. Like, while most of the content here is best for beginning and intermediate students, there’s also some great material for advanced learners.

Beginning learners can learn the alphabet and work on phonetics, then dive right into lessons with simple phrases accompanied by audio. There are even quizzes in the lessons (complete with a popup Cyrillic keyboard), so you can test your learning as you go.

While the “Lessons” section offers a lot for beginning and intermediate students, other sections target all learners. For instance, the tests section can help you see how far along you are. The vocabulary section has everything from beginning to advanced vocabulary. The grammar tables section can help beginners learn basic things like noun gender endings, but it can also help advanced learners master complex topics like the figurative meaning of motion verbs.



With FluentU, you essentially craft your own course.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Plus, the videos are all naturally entertaining since they come from the shows, movies and channels that native Russian-speakers enjoy on the regular. You can watch documentary footage, television show clips, funny commericals and more all while learning the Russian language!

Take a quick look at what FluentU has on offer for yourself:


Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? FluentU makes native Russian videos approachable through interactive captions. Tap or click on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more.


Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab. Easily review words and phrases with audio under Vocab.


Don’t stop there, though! Use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.


And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that information to give you a 100% personalized experience by recommending videos and examples.

Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.

FluentU is a unique and innovative tool you can use to learn what you want to learn when you want to learn it, all with entertaining native speaker videos. With videos for all interests and levels, it’s great for those who are just starting out and advanced learners alike.

Russian for Everyone

This free Russian course offers a straightforward structure that will gently guide you through learning the Russian language. It’s great for beginning and intermediate students.

If the Cyrillic alphabet intimidates you, this course is a good option, since it lingers on the alphabet significantly.

But there’s so much more than that—if you study all the materials, this course could help guide you from zero knowledge of the language through to intermediate-level proficiency.

Additionally, this website offers some games to help you practice Russian, so if you just aren’t up for studying, you can still learn.


This is an online course that focuses on clear explanations and guided learning. As you move through each lesson, you’ll be given thorough explanations of any new grammar and vocab concepts. You can move at your own pace, test your understanding with quizzes and make sure you’re up to speed before moving on to the next lesson.

Lingualift will appeal to learners who like to be sure of themselves and see the big picture. It’s also a useful resource for learners who have gotten fed up and frustrated with some of the complexities of the Russian language and would like to make a fresh start.

Russian for Free

Russian for Free offers online courses conveniently labeled from beginning through advanced.

Lessons generally contain at least one grammar rule, a vocabulary list and dialogues (both print and audio) to illustrate usage for you.

Russian for Free also offers some special features to help improve your Russian, like comics (including “Garfield” and “Dilbert”) with both Russian texts and English translations. There are also cartoons with transcribed text and vocabulary lists.



Duolingo offers a unique free course that helps you learn Russian for free with just a little work each day.

You can choose from different plans that vary the amount of study time you put in per day. The website will even email you a daily reminder if you like.

You can either start from scratch or take the placement test to see what level you’re already at. Duolingo uses a quiz format, so it feels more like a game than actual studying.

Brookhaven College


You may have never heard of it, but Brookhaven College is a community college in Dallas County, Texas. They offer affordable rates for online beginning- and intermediate-level Russian courses.

The big benefit of this online Russian coursework is that you can earn college credit from it. If you are (or intend to be) a college student, you might want to check with your school to see if the credits transfer.

While there is a charge, the fees are lower than a lot of other colleges and universities, so this might be a great deal for you if you can transfer the credits.

Olesa’s Russian Course

Olesa’s Russian Course is a free, helpful course useful for assisting beginning and intermediate students.

Each lesson consists of a dialogue, wordlist, grammar lesson and details on usage. The usage section is a great way to understand the context in which certain words and phrases can be found. Additionally, the wordlist is very helpful, allowing you to check off words to keep track of those which you have already learned.

The site also offers a helpful Cyrillic keyboard, so if you haven’t installed a Cyrillic typing option on your computer (or can’t remember where each key is), you have a helpful tool for you to input words here.

What’s more, tabs on the Russian alphabet and pronunciation provide more detailed lessons to help you understand the language in depth. offers free beginning and intermediate coursework. Theoretically, advanced Russian coursework is also available, but there isn’t much offered at the moment (fingers crossed—maybe they’ll update soon!). However, their podcasts are up and running, so there’s still a little something for advanced learners.

Most lessons focus primarily on learning words and phrases and come with accompanying videos, so this is great if you don’t like reading about nitty-gritty grammar rules (but if you love grammar, they have those rules for you, too).



Babbel offers four levels of beginning Russian courses and several other specialized courses. While you must register to access the courses, you have the option of trying out a lesson free. Additional access is offered for a fee.

One unique feature of Babbel is that you can set it for speech recognition so that you can practice speaking Russian.

Additionally, Babbel uses a simple format that’s easy on the eyes (and mind). You’ll be presented with a series of brief, easy interactive activities, and you’ll regularly be quizzed on what you’ve learned. This format is very easy to follow and less overwhelming than conventional study techniques.


With so many great online Russian courses available, why not go for it?

Tear down the wall to learning Russian once and for all!

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

Experience Russian immersion online!

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