7 Russian Movies and TV Shows on Netflix (Updated 2023)
Looking for Russian movies and TV shows to watch on Netflix? The selection is pretty sparse at the moment.
That’s because of the company’s decision to halt all ongoing and future projects in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
As of 2023, most Russian-language content has been removed from the platform.
But there are still a handful of films and shows you can watch on the streaming giant. Read on to see what’s available (if you’re US-based) and how to find more Russian content as it comes to Netflix.
- 1. “Silver Skates”
- 2. “Major Brom: Plague Doctor”
- 3. “Dovlatov”
- 4. “Better Than Us”
- 5. “To the Lake”
- 6. “Sparta”
- 7. “Masha and the Bear”
- How to Find More Russian Movies and Shows on Netflix
1. “Silver Skates”
Russian Title: “Серебряные коньки”
Genre: Historical Drama, Romance
Director: Michael Lockshin
IMDB Rating: 6.8
“Silver Skates” is a Russian film that blends romance, drama and sports. Think “Anastasia” on ice!
Set in the 19th century, the story revolves around Matvey, a talented yet impoverished artist, and Alisa, a spirited aristocrat. Their worlds collide when Matvey is commissioned to paint Alisa’s portrait. As they spend time together, their contrasting backgrounds and dreams intertwine, and they discover a shared passion for ice skating.
Against societal norms, they form an unexpected bond through their mutual love for the sport. The film captures their journey as they navigate societal pressures and personal ambitions, all while striving to excel in the world of competitive ice skating. “Silver Skates” beautifully depicts the transformative power of love and the pursuit of dreams in a visually captivating historical setting.
2. “Major Brom: Plague Doctor”
Russian Title: “Майор Гром: Чумной Доктор”
Genre: Action, Adventure
Director: Vladimir Besedin
IMDB Rating: 6.3
This Russian superhero film follows the story of Igor Grom, a fearless and unorthodox police major. Set in St. Petersburg, Grom takes on the alter ego of “Plague Doctor” to confront a masked vigilante who challenges the city’s corrupt officials and criminal underworld. With his unconventional methods, Grom seeks to restore justice and order.
The film combines action, suspense and a touch of satire to explore themes of corruption and vigilantism. “Major Grom: Plague Doctor” offers a unique take on the superhero genre, showcasing Grom’s determination to unravel the mystery behind the enigmatic Plague Doctor and his relentless pursuit of truth and justice.
Russian Title: “Довлатов”
Genre: Biographical Drama
Director: Alexey German Jr.
IMDB Rating: 6.4
This biographical movie provides a glimpse into the life of Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov.
Set in the 1970s Leningrad, the film chronicles six days in the life of Dovlatov, a talented but struggling author. It shows the author as he navigates the challenges of Soviet literary censorship and personal struggles.
The film offers a portrait of the artistic and intellectual circles of the time. Through interactions with friends, colleagues and his family, “Dovlatov” delves into the complexities of creative expression within a repressive regime. The film captures Dovlatov’s wit, humor and resilience as he grapples with his identity as a writer and his yearning for artistic freedom.
4. “Better Than Us”
Russian Title: “Лучше, чем люди”
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama
Director: Andrey Dzhunkovsky
IMDB Rating: 7.3
“Better Than Us,” whose Russian title is literally translated as “Better Than People,” is a science fiction television series set in a futuristic world where humanoid robots, or “synthetics,” coexist with humans.
The story revolves around a family that becomes entangled with Arisa, an advanced and experimental synthetic with human-like emotions. As tensions rise between humans and synthetics, the family must navigate complex ethical dilemmas and societal divisions.
The series explores themes of artificial intelligence, human identity and the blurred lines between technology and humanity. “Better Than Us” delves into the impact of advanced technology on society and human relationships, offering a thought-provoking take on the potential consequences of AI integration into everyday life.
5. “To the Lake”
Russian Title: “Эпидемия”
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Pavel Kostomarov
IMDB Rating: 7.3
No, you’re not seeing double—the lead male in “To the Lake” is Kirill Käro, and he’s also the lead in “Better Than Us” (along with a number of other shows and movies, including my personal favorite, “The Sniffer”).
Once again, we follow Käro into the realm of Russian sci-fi. “To the Lake” is a Russian TV show set in a post-apocalyptic world. The story follows a group of people who must navigate a deadly pandemic that turns people into violent and contagious individuals. The show is even not-so-subtly titled “Epidemic” in Russian!
As society collapses and chaos ensues, the group embarks on a perilous journey to a remote lakeside location, seeking safety and salvation. Along the way, they face not only the threats posed by the infected but also the challenges of survival and human nature under extreme circumstances.
Russian Title: “Спарта”
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Egor Baranov
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Following a teacher’s mysterious death, detective Igor Andreevich heads to school to investigate her class. Everyone seems to have something to have something to hide, with complicated relationships and alliances revealing themselves the more he digs. And, it turns out, this isn’t the first mysterious death to happen recently in the school.
As Andreevich investigates further, the detective realizes that something else unites the students: a beta test of a new no-holds-barred virtual reality game. As the detective dives deeper into the world that these kids frequent, the lines between reality and virtual reality starts to blur. What really happened to the teacher and what does the suspicious game have to do with it? Watch this series for a satisfying romp through a frighteningly believable sci-fi scenario.
7. “Masha and the Bear”
Russian Title: “Маша и Медведь”
Genre: Animation, Family
Director: Oleg Kuzovkov
IMDB Rating: 7.9
“Masha and the Bear” is a popular Russian animated children’s series that follows the misadventures of a mischievous girl named Masha and her friend, a kind-hearted bear. Set in a quaint forest, each episode showcases Masha’s curious nature, which often leads to humorous and unpredictable situations. The bear, a former circus performer, serves as a paternal figure, trying to keep Masha out of trouble while navigating her boundless energy and imagination.
The series is known for its charming animation, minimal dialogue, and universal themes of friendship, kindness and problem-solving. Masha herself is adorable and charming, though beware: If you’re a parent, you might find her annoying!
How to Find More Russian Movies and Shows on Netflix
At the time of this writing, there are only seven Russian-language TV shows and movies on Netflix. But as things (hopefully) settle down, Netflix may return to adding Russian content to the streaming platform. How will you know, and how can you find more Russian media on Netflix?
To find Russian TV shows and movies on Netflix, follow these steps:
- Search for Russian Content: In the search bar, type “Russian” or specific titles of Russian TV shows or movies you’re interested in. You can choose “Russian movies & TV” from the search results at the top of the page.
- Use Category Codes: Netflix has category codes that allow you to access specific genres easily. For Russian content, you can use code 100393. However, I’ve found the previous tip more effective in finding Russian content.
- Browse Genres: Explore different genres like “International Movies,” “International TV Shows” or “Foreign Language” to discover Russian content.
- Audio and Subtitles: Look for the audio and subtitle options. Some non-Russian content might have subtitles or dubbing in Russian, turning your favorite English-language show into a Russian one.
Remember that Netflix’s content library can vary by region and might change over time. Using these steps, you should be able to find a variety of Russian TV shows and movies to enjoy.
In the meantime, there are other ways to get your Russian media fix. You can find great Russian movies on Amazon Prime and on other platforms or check out the FluentU language learning program. Here, you can watch clips from movies and shows, along with trailers, commercials, informative talks and more—all in Russian, with English and Russian dual subtitles.
FluentU lets you click on any word in a video to see its meaning and allows you to populate flashcard decks with vocabulary words of your choosing. You can then study them with video- and audio-enhanced flashcards and adaptive quizzes. You won’t find full movies on FluentU, rather focusing on authentic-language-packed short video segments, for bite-sized but powerful language lessons.
Though they may be slim pickings, these Russian movies and TV shows on Netflix will get you started with the world of Russian-language entertainment.