What’s the Gameplan? How to Study Smart with Online Russian Lessons

When was the last time you built a shelf without instructions?

Or cooked a delicious dinner without glancing at a recipe?

To get something done right, it’s always helpful to have a plan.

So why would you try to improvise learning a language?

We have no idea!

A carefully constructed study guide is essential to keep you motivated and on track when learning Russian.

Below, we’ll provide you with eight trusted online Russian learning resources—think of them as stepping stones toward fluency.

We’ll show you which stones to step on, and when.

Let’s go!

Tips for Successful Online Learning

There are so many online resources for studying Russian that it may be overwhelming to figure out where to start. Plus, since you don’t have a teacher and grades hanging over your head, it can be easy to procrastinate or lose your learning momentum. Below are some tips to study Russian successfully online:

  • Commit to a schedule: You can be extremely dedicated to learning Russian during your first week… and then go a month without studying.

Create a reasonable schedule for consistent studies depending on how much free time you have and follow it to stay on top of your learning.

  • Find credible sources to use as you advance your skills: Anyone can create a website, which means that you can’t trust everything you read online. Double check your information and look for comments and reviews to make sure you’re studying with reputable sources.
  • Take notes to review later: Listening and reading material is great in the moment, but reviewing it later is crucial to solidify your knowledge and reinforce your new skills.
  • Quiz yourself to test your knowledge: How do you really know if you’ve studied well enough? Test yourself! Look for resources that offer quizzes or exercises on the material you covered to make sure you truly know what you think you know. You know what we’re saying?

How to Go from Zero to Fluent with 8 Top Online Russian Lessons

Utilize the study guide below as you advance from the beginner to advanced stages of learning Russian. Each of these online lesson resources teach you a new concept as you improve your Russian skills!

Building Your Language Foundations

These resources cover foundational concepts that’ll help you understand how Russian works and start expressing very basic ideas. However, they’re also resources that you can carry forward in your Russian learning journey, as they have increasingly complex material available too.

Learn the Cyrillic Alphabet with Russian for Free

The basics of any language start with the alphabet.

Russian for Free is a handy website that teaches many language topics—it’s particularly useful for its interactive lesson on the Cyrillic alphabet.

You’ll explore how the letters look, listen to their pronunciation and read examples of how they’re used in common Russian words.

Absorb Authentic Russian with FluentU

Many beginning language learners will focus first on flashcards and textbooks, waiting until later to hear how native speakers sound.

Resist this urge! Absorbing authentic Russian right from the get-go is crucial for listening comprehension and building good pronunciation habits. You’ll also learn how to use Russian vocabulary in context, rather than memorizing words blindly.

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

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Each video comes with interactive captions where you can get definitions and pronunciations for any unfamiliar word. There are also flashcards and exercises to make sure you’re actively learning from each video.

FluentU gets you comfortable with Russian the way it’s used in the real world. And with videos for beginner through advanced learners, it’ll stay with you as your skills grow.

Developing Communication Skills

Now that you’ve heard how Russian sounds, learned the alphabet and familiarized yourself with some Russian words, get ready to put those skills to use. Here are resources to learn how to communicate effectively in Russian.

Master Russian Verbs at Everyday Russian

This source separates materials by low-intermediate, intermediate and upper-intermediate lessons. It has a series of online lessons that focus on verb conjugations, which are essential for expressing yourself in any context in Russian.

Each lesson focuses on one or more verbs, spelling the verb out, explaining how it’s used in various tenses and providing verb derivatives with examples of usage. Some lessons let you hear how the words sound with audio tracks.

Get Familiar with Written Russian at LibriVox

One you’ve gotten comfortable with Russian words, see them come alive in Russian books. Combine your written and auditory knowledge by seeing Russian in print in an e-book and listen to the accompanying audio pronunciation.

LibriVox is a website that encourages volunteers to read books in many languages, including Russian. Each book entry provides the title in English and Russian, its author, genre and a brief synopsis.

Expand Your Vocabulary Stockpile with “Learn 125 Intermediate Russian Words with Katya!”

You can almost never have a big enough vocabulary! The more Russian words you know, the more you’ll be able to communicate. In this YouTube lesson, follow the host Katya as she describes 125 intermediate Russian words.

Katya says each word in Russian. It’s then spelled in Russian and written in English as Katya provides usage examples.

The video is just shy of an hour long, but you don’t need to binge it all at once. You can stretch it out over several study sessions. Just be sure to take notes and return for reviews so you ultimately retain all the words.

If you find this video helpful, you’ll definitely want to check out its parent resource, RussianPod101. It’s an audio and video podcast with more than 1,000 lessons for any type of learner. You’ll also get study support with PDF lesson notes, interactive flashcards and more.

Immersing in Russian Culture

Solidify your Russian language skills by turning to more advanced resources that’ll help you understand and connect with the culture of native speakers.

These resources will get you started. And don’t forget to keep using FluentU for authentic videos straight from Russia!

Learn Everyday Russian at Rus4me

Access a vast library of videos with subtitles, annotation and notes to help you better understand colloquial Russian as it’s used by native speakers.

The subtitles have accent marks to help you improve your pronunciation—and you’ll need the help as Russian words aren’t easy to pronounce!

You also get a full transcript of the video in Russian, and can click certain words for more information.

Get Dispatches from Russia with Luch Sveta

To truly understand the intricacies of language, you need to understand the culture associated with it. Or is it the other way around? Research has found that our language dictates the way we think, so it’s important to learn about Russian language and culture simultaneously in the advanced stages of your studying.

With Luch Sveta, you can learn about Russian culture and modern Russian life by watching news from Russia. You’ll hear modern Russian and see Russia as it is today. The accompanying articles provide helpful context for both the video topic and language use.

Test Your Professional Russian with RussianPod101’s Listening Comprehension Series

Russian culture isn’t just the fun stuff like literature and food. Professional Russian is a crucial part of everyday life (and of course it’s especially relevant if you’re planning to do business in Russia or job hunt there).

This YouTube series (another one from RussianPod101) will walk you through key vocabulary and expressions for professional Russian. The host encourages viewers to listen to a question and then a short dialogue about the question. Viewers have to test their knowledge by answering the questions.

Topics covered include business presentations, ordering office supplies, arranging a business meeting, getting to the airport, etc.


Using a study guide to learn Russian as you improve your Russian speaking, listening, reading and writing skills is a smart move. Save yourself time by not having to look for online videos yourself, plus be comfortable knowing that these are vetted sources that’ll definitely help you learn Russian in no time!

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