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—where you’ll reach 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.
Just 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, there are lots of others to choose from—so you can find something that suits you better.
- Online courses tend to be affordable. Indeed, many online courses are even free. If you’re willing to put some money in, though, there are even modestly priced options that could give you college credit.
- Online courses let you test the waters. If you’re considering learning Russian but haven’t yet made a firm commitment, you can dip your toes in the proverbial Volga with an online course. 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.
- Online courses tend to be more flexible. Traditional classroom courses entail a fixed schedule and a commute to the classroom. Some online courses might have a few deadlines, but you can usually tailor your learning schedule with respect to your personal obligations. And you can visit your online classroom from anywhere, at any time.
- Online Russian courses provide a strong foundation in the language. Whether you start with a course just to see if you like it or you’re already serious about learning the language, the structure of online courses will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to become fluent in Russian.
16 Top Online Russian Courses to Tear Down the Wall Between Fluency and You
So, what are you waiting for? A wide world of flexible, diverse, affordable options awaits!
This free online course offers simple, easy-to-follow lessons on Russian grammar rules, conjugations and vocabulary.
While it’s best for beginners and intermediate learners, it also has some features that will benefit those at an advanced level. 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 connect, ask questions and share frustrations with your virtual classmates. (To be honest, most of these frustrations will probably revolve around Russian grammatical cases!)
Learn Russian is a free online course offered by RT, a Russian television network. While most of the content here is best for beginning and intermediate students, there’s also some valuable material for advanced learners.
Beginning learners can study 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 concentrates on beginning and intermediate level learning, other sections target all learners.
For instance, the tests section can help you measure your progress. The vocabulary section builds your repertoire of Russian words and phrases, step by step.
The grammar tables section can help beginners learn basic things like noun gender endings—and it can also help advanced learners master complex topics like the figurative meaning of motion verbs.
With FluentU, you essentially craft your own course.
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. You’ll get extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.
FluentU is a unique and innovative language-learning tool that’s built around your interests.
Use FluentU to focus on what you want to learn, when you want to learn it. Entertaining, native-speaker videos for all interests and levels cater to beginners and advanced learners alike.
Russian for Everyone
The straightforward structure of Russian for Everyone will gently guide you through learning the Russian language. It’s a free course that’s designed for beginning and intermediate students.
If the Cyrillic alphabet intimidates you, this course is a good option: It gives you the opportunity to thoroughly master reading and writing in Cyrillic—including demonstrations of how the handwritten letters are formed, in isolation and in words.
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 a thorough breakdown of any new grammar and vocab concepts.
You can work 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 would like to make a fresh start at understanding some of the complexities of the Russian language.
Russian for Free
Russian for Free gives learners a choice of three online courses: Beginners can start with “Step 1: Learn to read,” and then move on to the intermediate phase of their Russian learning via “Step 2: Learn to speak.” Intermediate to advanced learners are directed to “Step 3: Russian Cases.”
Within each course, you’ll find a series of lessons, broken into specific categories.
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 has some special features to help improve your Russian, like comics (including “Garfield” and “Dilbert”) with both Russian texts and English translations. There are also Russian cartoons with transcribed text and vocabulary lists.
Duolingo‘s free Russian course feels more like a game than actual studying.
Start from scratch with the first lesson, which introduces you to the Cyrillic alphabet—or take the placement test to assess your current level of Russian.
You’ll learn vocabulary and grammar through the Tips section of each lesson, then practice through a variety of exercises including multiple choice, matching, translation and dictation.
You can set your own goals for how much you’d like to study each day. The website will even email you a daily reminder, if you’d like.
To get access to some additional features, such as progress tracking and unlimited mistakes, you can try Duolingo Plus for a monthly fee.
Brookhaven College is a community college in Dallas County, Texas. They offer affordable rates for online beginning- and intermediate-level Russian courses.
You can potentially earn college credit through Brookhaven’s online Russian coursework. If you’re a college student, or intend to be one, you might want to check with your school to see if the credits would transfer.
While there is a charge, the fees are lower than a lot of other colleges and universities—so this might be an economical way to earn college credit for your Russian studies.
Russian-Plus.com hosts free beginning classes and intermediate lessons.
Advanced Russian coursework is quite sparse. 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, which are written out and then summarized through videos. If you don’t like reading about nitty-gritty grammar rules, this approach might appeal to you.
If you happen to love grammar, Russian-Plus.com also provides a list of grammar rules for different parts of speech.
Babbel presents 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 for free. Additional access is offered for a fee.
Babbel’s speech recognition feature gives you feedback on your Russian pronunciation.
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 be quizzed regularly on what you’ve learned. This format is very easy to follow and less overwhelming than conventional study techniques.
Over 500 lessons on Wlingua can take you from complete beginner to upper-intermediate Russian.
These lessons deal with grammar, vocabulary, listening skills and Russian reading.
Absolute beginners who don’t know Cyrillic will welcome the opportunity to work slowly and carefully through the Russian alphabet. You’ll learn not only the basic sounds of each letter, but how every one of them behaves in the context of different words.
Besides the regular Russian Course, there’s a Russian Cases Course that focuses on inflecting nouns properly in Russian, starting with noun gender at a beginner level.
Moreover, Wlingua has good, clear audio to help you learn the sounds of Russian consonants and vowels. In addition, the appearance and sounds of the lessons are customizable.
You can complete some of the lessons and exercises with a free account. Additional material and exercises, including dictations and writing exercises, are available with a Premium subscription.
Also called “Red Kalinka,” Sistema Kalinka is an online course that centers around video-based lessons. If you prefer, private Skype lessons and tutoring via email are also available.
Since the program boasts thousands of online exercises, plus four textbooks and graded readers with audio, you’ll always have plenty of practice opportunities.
Sistema Kalinka gives learners the opportunity to assemble a program that meets their budget and needs, with many types of resources available for purchase separately. Try the free samples to get an idea of the resources that will suit you best!
Busuu provides a structured set of online Russian courses with plenty of varied exercises.
The exercises include both vocabulary and grammar practice. Writing and speaking exercises are frequently interspersed with the lessons. Each time you complete a writing or speaking exercise in Busuu, it’s sent to be corrected by fluent and native speakers.
Busuu’s “Complete Russian” course works for beginner through upper-intermediate learners. At the earliest levels, the Russian is written in both Cyrillic and a Latin transliteration; later, the Russian words and phrases are presented only in Cyrillic.
With only nine lessons, “Russian for Travel” concentrates on the words and phrases that visitors to Russia need the most. Interestingly, the Russian in that course is written only in Cyrillic from the get-go.
Busuu relies heavily on its community of fluent and native speakers to interact with learners and help show them the way to mastering the language. In return, you can take the opportunity to correct other learners’ exercises that are written or spoken in your native language.
Udemy hosts courses for all levels, on a wide variety of topics. These courses are generally designed and presented by experts in their respective fields.
Udemy’s online Russian courses cover conversational Russian and Business Russian, among several other choices.
There’s even a course to prepare for the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL). If you’re planning to earn that particular certification, possibly for a job opportunity, that course might be especially useful.
Most Udemy lessons are taught through instructional videos with worksheets and exercises. Some courses even give you the chance to interact with your instructor and fellow students in a chat room.
The price of each course gives you lifetime access, which includes any updates the instructor later makes to the course.
With a 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as deep discounts through frequent sales, Udemy is a convenient and fairly risk-free way to take an online Russian course.
Moscow State University
Why not take a Russian course from a Russian university—right from the comfort of your own home?
Both group and individual lessons for all levels are conducted online via Skype, Zoom or similar virtual meeting platforms.
If you’re not sure about committing to a full course, you can take a free trial lesson. To make sure you get exactly the lessons and focus you need, courses can be customized to meet each student’s learning level and individual goals.
Study materials are included in the price of each course. MSU furnishes successful learners with a completion certificate, which other institutions may convert to college credit.
Russian Mobile Academy
Many online courses work for beginners and lower-intermediate students. The Russian Mobile Academy delivers lessons for learners at higher levels.
This highly structured set of online Russian courses is targeted at intermediate and advanced learners. The Russian Mobile Academy is designed to help learners smash through the intermediate plateau and achieve an advanced level of Russian fluency.
To make the harder material easier to digest, lessons are broken into small, manageable steps. You can access the courses via browser or mobile app, so studying can be done anytime and anywhere.
An exclusive Facebook group provides support from your fellow learners. The courses also can prepare you for standardized tests of Russian fluency.
With so many outstanding online Russian courses available, why not go for it?
Tear down the wall to Russian fluency 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.