An EPIC compilation of Russian-language resources to help you achieve fluency (+ keep checking back for more!)

There are four skills which language learners are required to develop in order to become proficient in a foreign language: listening; reading; speaking; and writing. Listening and reading are considered ‘receptive’ skills, as verbal communication is not necessary to understand the language, whilst speaking and writing are regarded as ‘productive’ skills, as learners must go beyond merely understanding a language, to actively producing that language independently.

Be honest with yourself, or take one of these assessment tests, in order to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Then, focus on developing those skills you are struggling with and feel it would be beneficial to enhance by taking advantage of the resources listed below. Everything is conveniently displayed on one page; all you need to do is identify the specific language-learning skill you need to develop and you’re ready to go! Simply click on the title of the course, the programme, or the name of the entity which created it below.

Comprehensive online courses for building up all four skills

50 Languages – This website features an extensive repertoire of vocabulary with high-quality audio and images. Amazingly, you can also hear a particular word pronounced in one of the many other languages the platform supports, making it an ideal language-learning tool for those whose native language is not English, or polyglots hoping to combine learning Russian with learning other languages.

Foreign Services Institute (FSI) course , available at Yojik.eu – FSI courses were primarily developed for diplomats and other government officials working abroad, by the Foreign Services Institute – a branch of the US State Department. With a focus on repetition and drills, they provide a solid basis for the development of one’s speaking and listening skills. The Russian course is not for everyone. The material was developed around the 60s and 70s, therefore some of the vocabulary may be outdated and the quality of the audio falls short of modern-day standards. It is relatively dry, requires work on your part and you need to be a highly self-motivated individual (or have a great desire to learn the

language) in order to plough through the course to completion. However, considering the fact that the course is completely free, it is an invaluable resource which will enable you to speak and understand a great deal of spoken and written Russian and any archaic vocabulary will be glaring to you if you combine the course with more modern resources in the form of films, TV shows, Youtube videos, graded readers, articles etc., interacting with native speakers or using Russian-language forums. Who uses just one resource to learn a language anyway?

Defense Language Institute (DLI) course , available at Yojik.eu – These DLI courses were produced by the Defense Language Institute – an educational and research institution of the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Take a look at it; the range of material is extensive, not to mention highly-structured, with courses that will help learners to develop a solid level of proficiency through vigorous vocabulary acquisition, pronunciation training and exposure to topics of grammar.

Princeton Russian course – This course developed by Princeton University, has been available to the public since 2003. The immersion is as intense as it gets when you aren’t living in Russia, with all audio exclusively recorded in Russian. As indicated on the download page, there are some issues with the numbering and concordance between the audio recordings and PDF dialogues. However, overall, it is an amazing resource with accented letters to indicate where the stress falls on a word, and a wealth of information and audio to support you on your language learning journey.

Everyday Russian – This website contains a variety of exercises aimed at developing your listening, reading, speaking and writing skills. It has a very colourful modern interface, with courses divided into well-organised series focusing on a particular skill. You’ll find series on the topic of pronunciation, basic vocabulary organised thematically, various aspects of grammar, reading and listening exercises combined, conversation, verb conjugation, the prefix and suffix system and plenty of tests to assess your progress.

Lingist – A well-structured 15-lesson course which will take you through foundation-level content in Russian. The activities are interactive, containing plenty of dialogue so that you will also develop your ‘ear’ for the Russian language. Cyrillic text is supported by a transliteration in the Latin alphabet in order to aid pronunciation. A notable feature is Study guide, which provides recommendations on how you should approach studying the content for maximum comprehension and retention.

Russian For Free – A sample of their programme for learning Russian is free to access, consisting of 32 lessons teaching you how to read, speak and understand the grammatical case system in Russia. Alternatively, you can purchase a subscription to 150 videos of 30 minutes each for around €30 a month; you decide which element of the course to spend your money on.

S azov (Russian from Scratch) – A Russian language textbook developed at Wolverhampton University, which adopts the communicative approach to explaining Russian. Each chapter contains interactive tests to assess your comprehension.

Textbooks

Golosa (Books 1 and 2, Fifth Edition) – This book was originally published by Pearson but is now in the hands of Routledge. Whilst the coronavirus pandemic rages on and the book is updated, revised and modified by the new publishing house, it is currently available at no cost to learners (naturally, with a disclaimer as to any errors it may contain as a result of the fact it is still undergoing editing!). With the hardback book costing almost £140 or around $180 , you should download it now because it won’t be around forever and whatever its flaws were previously, it is bound to have at least one chapter of value to you and will only get better from here onwards if Routledge conducts its market research effectively. The book is organised thematically and each unit is comprised of dialogues, reading texts, exercises for practice and to test comprehension of the material introduced in each chapter, as well as activities which allow students to develop their reading, speaking, listening and writing skills. Grammar is explained in a systematic way in order to aid comprehension of this most challenging aspect of learning Russian.

Grammar reference sites

Alpha Dictionary (also mentioned under Cornell University below) – A quality resource for getting your head around Russian grammatical concepts. Note that the website layout and approach to presenting information is not particularly modern, having been created in 1996 by the owner Russian Beard.

Gramota – A reliable Russian dictionary, which generates results containing Russian grammar rules. The website is entirely in Russian. Therefore, should you wish to translate the text, simply click on the Google Translate extension for Google Chrome, or copy and paste the text into a translator of your preference, such as DeepL,Yandex or Google Translate.

Multitran – A translation dictionary, permitting phrase searches. Notable for the sample sentences it produces when a single word is entered, organised by theme.

Reading

Royal Lib – This website features a large collection of books from a wide range of genres. Typically, unless the work has entered the public domain and may be redistributed freely, the books are subject to copyright, meaning you can only view an extract of the book. Your best bet is to search for books by Russian authors.

Lib.ru – Contains a large amount of classic 19th and 20th century literature.

Russkaia virtualnaia biblioteka – Contains a large amount of classic 19th and 20th century literature.

From the Ends to the Beginning – A bilingual anthology of Russian poetry, complete with audio recordings too in many instances!

News

Before I elaborate on the news and media outlets available in Russia, I should preface this section by stating that Russia does not enjoy press freedom. Unfortunately, around the world this is the norm, with just 13% of the world’s population enjoying true press freedom in 2017.

Over the past century, press freedom has never been great, with government censorship of reporting at an all-time high during the existence of the Soviet Union. However, despite the gradual relaxation of state control, the situation remains dire and journalists operate amidst a culture of fear, with tight controls on what may or may not be published. A failure to censor accordingly may lead to criminal prosecution for vague crimes, or false accusations , as happened in the Golunov case in 2019, vicious beatings, or even death. In Russia, state-sponsored news outlets have a much wider reach than the few independent outlets that exist, which has been said to mould mainstream opinion .

With the Kremlin exerting a powerful degree of control over news coverage , there can be no such thing as completely unbiased or reliable news reporting. However, I have done my best to provide an overview of the influences and associations at play with each of the newspapers and media outlets below, so that you are at least cognisant of the reason behind a particular stance taken by the author of an article.

Below you will find a combination of Russian-grown news and media outlets, as well as Western media outlets which provide commentary on domestic affairs within Russia in Russian. Note that the information below has not undergone scholarly review by experts and is intended to facilitate informed decision-making by the general public. The notes were collated through online research and reflect a combination of views expressed in academic journals and reports by independent organisations, as well as by former employees of the outlets below, Russian citizens and native-speakers of Russian who offered their views in forums and my general impressions.

Please also bear in mind that as this article ages, the information may become out of date. I will endeavour to keep it updated. However, I will appreciate your support in doing so. If the situation changes for any of the outlets below (perhaps due to being purchased by another entity, a change of management, or government controversy etc), please let me know via the contact form. Also, feel free to suggest other sources for inclusion in the list.

Kremlin-controlled – Publishes articles which avoid criticism of the Russian government, or generally paints the Kremlin in a positive light. This is often because in return for some benefit – such as access to exclusive interviews with Kremlin officials, state funding, or even permission to continue in operation – a demonstrated allegiance to the government is required.

Swinger – Publishes a mixture of articles which may be critical of the Kremlin, or disapproving of the Kremlin.

Neutral – Does not provide express much in the way of opinion and simply presents data, facts or information without much subjective analysis.

Challenger – Publishes articles which challenge the Kremlin’s leadership where necessary and display a level of impartiality to event coverage.

Right – Rejects the democratic norms and principles of the political West and tends to be pro-Kremlin in stance. Displays a conservative attitude on certain issues, such as LGBTI rights, gay marriage and abortion.

Liberal – Expresses or indicates support for the democratic norms and principles of the political West and may express views which are at odds with the official government line .

Name

Type

Governmental stance

Political leaning

Commentary

Argumenty i fakty (Аргументы и Факты)

Tabloid

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Bought by the Government of Moscow in 2014. Heavily-censored news outlet with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. Largely comprised of opinion pieces, with a strong anti-Western bias throughout.

Izvestia (Известия)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Originally a newspaper of the Soviet Communist party, since 2005 it has been owned by Gazprom-Media, which has links to Gazprom , a huge energy company controlled by the Russian government.

There is a strong pro-Kremlin bias . In fact, it has been described as being ‘in government hands, because the owners are so close to the government ’.

The newspaper enjoys wide-circulation in Russia. The opinion articles reflect a conservative bias as they are largely written by conservative experts and pro-Kremlin politicians .

Portrayals of ‘European’ and Russian culture as fundamentally opposed are often found in Izvestia and its articles generally follow the official government line .

Komsomolskaya Pravda (Комсомольская Правда)

Tabloid

Kremlin-controlled

Right / extreme right-leaning

A widely-circulated, daily newspaper with origins as an all-union newspaper and the official organ of the youth wing of the Communist Party, during the Soviet Union. It views Russia’s Soviet past through rose-tinted glasses .

Owned by a Russian oligarch who also owns RBC and Metro , and manages Komsomolskaya Pravda via a subsidiary of the ECN Group, an energy company with links to Gazprom – a state-controlled energy company.

Described as a propaganda tool with links to the Russian secret service by a Russian journalist.

Interestingly, beyond Russia, the newspaper is widely read in Eastern Ukraine. Yet, a 2016 NATO report described it as ‘a powerful instrument of Russia’s

information warfare’ and stated that the newspaper goes to great effort to portray Ukraine in a negative light . The paper has also been said to employ a mocking tone in order to ‘ humiliate and discredit ’ NATO, the West and the Baltic countries.

Many of the articles published are considered to be of low quality. They generally revolve around celebrity gossip, everyday life and socio-political developments. Little consideration is thought to be given to accuracy. The dissemination of fake news is rife and critical information may not be reported if they will present the Kremlin in a negative light.

Pravda Report (Правда)

Tabloid

Kremlin-controlled

Right / extreme right

Arose after the demise of the Soviet Communist Party’s Pravda and is now owned by a pro-Putin media magnate . Demonstrates an overtly pro-Kremlin political bias and is considered to function as a propaganda tool. In 2014, Pravda claimed to have created an algorithm which could identify an overarching anti-Russian sentiment at media outlets. Has been known to publish articles in return for payment.

Read the Media Bias Fact Check Report here.

Moscow Komsomolets / Moskovsky Komsomolets / Moskovskij Komsomolets (Московский Kомсомолец)

Tabloid

Kremlin-controlled

Right

The former newspaper of the Communist Party’s youth organisation and one of the most widely read today. It publishes articles on a wide range of topics, often with a sensationalist or provocative tone .

Vedomosti (Ведомости)

Quality press , though recent events have impacted editorial independence

Formerly a challenger, now Kremlin-controlled*

Right/neutral

A daily Russian-language business publication reporting on and analysing economic, financial, commercial and political affairs, as well as providing market trends forecasts. Readers are predominantly highly-educated bureaucrats or corporate workers.

Originally owned entirely by foreign investors: Dow Jones – the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, Pearson – the publisher of the Financial Times and Sanoma, a Finnish publishing house. It also had a pro-Western slant . However, in 2015, all three sold their stakes to be in compliance with a Russian law which entered into force, banning foreigners from owning more than 20 per cent of media companies.

In May 2020, a joint investigation by journalists from The Bell, Meduza, Forbes and Vedomosti exposed financial ties between the present Russian owner of Vedomosti and the state-owned oil giant Rosneft. It appears that the owner negotiated a loan with Rosneft and also required approval from the Russian government.

There had for some time been rumours of media gagging at Vedomosti and the Rosneft connection had often been posited as a reason why. In June 2020, senior editors at Vedomosti quit due to state-imposed censorship which restricted their editorial independence.

*The ability of the publication to report independently and impartially is now being called into question .

Kommersant (Коммерсант)

Broadsheet, quality press , but judgement to be reserved until more time has passed since events in 2020.

Formerly a challenger, now Kremlin-controlled*

Liberal , but judgement to be reserved until more time has passed since events in 2020.

Focuses on developments and occurrences in the commercial, economic, legal and regulatory spheres as well as socio-political matters. Possesses a primarily well-educated and relatively wealthy readership.

Since 2006, it has been owned by an Uzbek magnate with links to a the state-owned energy company Gazprom and a cosy relationship with the Kremlin itself.

Traditionally, an independent and authoritative news source, with neutral articles that argue the merits of a wide range of viewpoints. Claims are easily verifiable with credible sources linked.

However, Kommersant was at the centre of a media storm in 2019, when the entire politics desk resigned following the dismissal of two journalists for an article they published, which apparently violated (unwritten) editorial standards at Kommersant. Summer 2020 saw one of the two journalists who were dismissed, awaiting trial for treason . It remains to be seen which way the pendulum will swing for Kommersant.

A former Kommersant journalist, Oleg Kashin, was the subject of an attempted assassination after reporting on pro-Kremlin youth organisations.

*The ability of the publication to report independently and impartially is now being called into question.

Forbes Russia (Форбс)

Quality press

Challenger

Right/centre, liberal

An American magazine which focuses on financial and economic matters. Highly authoritative and well-known around the globe. Particularly renown for its ‘list’ or ‘rating’ articles.

Regarded as having a slight to moderate right/ conservative bias but the sources it uses are generally trustworthy.

Read the Media Bias Fact Check Report here.

Lenta (Лента)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Provides news coverage for a relatively broad number of categories with a demonstrated focus on entertainment news.

Previously a relatively neutral news reporting with liberal-leaning opinion pieces. However, the editor-in-chief was dismissed in 2014 and replaced with a pro-Kremlin journalist , following an interview with a radical nationalist group in Ukraine and since then, evidence has been brought forward in support of the notion that the revamped Lenta is ‘ fixated on Ukraine, past glories and Putin ’ in accordance with the dominant state discourse. It is now decidedly pro-Kremlin and critical of any opposition to the present regime.

Following the dismissal, the former editor-in-chief established Meduza, a news outlet which occupied a similar stance to that of Lenta prior to the ouster. Based in Riga and with a small readership, as of 2020, the Russian government has not yet sought to restrict access to it for those living in Russia.

The All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily-censored state-sponsored and run TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. Part of the Kremlin’s propaganda machinery .

The company is behind the Rossia 1 channel and in 2017, it was disclosed that 13.9% of the Russian population watch it daily.

Rossiya Segodnya (Россия Сегодня)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

A news outlet which is owned by the Russian government. RIA Novosti (РИА Новости) was brought under the control of a specially-created state-sponsored news agency Rossiya Segodnya, in 2013. However, within Russia, Rossiya Segodnya operates under the RIA Novosti brand.

There is no connection with RT (formally known as Russia Today ).

Russia Today (RT)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily-censored TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. The dissemination of fake news is rife and critical information may not be reported if they will present the Kremlin in a negative light.

Extensive coverage of domestic affairs in Russia and world news on a broad range of subject-matters.

Novaya Gazeta (Новая Газета)

Quality press

Challenger

Left/neutral

Novaya Gazeta is perhaps the last bastion of freedom of press in Russia. It is not widely read , but is a quality independent news source owned by the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev, described as an ‘ outspoken critic of Putin ’ and its staff.

Novaya Gazeta is considered a fierce critic of the Kremlin and its foreign affairs policy. It is renown for its brave investigative journalism , which is a rarity as far as the average Russian news outlet is concerned, uncovering corruption and abuses of power by the Russian military and exposing disinformation campaigns in the Kremlin’s propaganda machinery, such as the falsely-reported crucifixion of a boy by Ukrainian soldiers by Channel 1 news.

Unfortunately, threats, murder and death under suspicious circumstances have been de rigeur for its journalists who have sought to express themselves freely and as of 2020, since 2000, six of Novaya Gazeta’s journalists have been killed . In October 2006, the paper’s most high-profile reporter, Anna Politkovskaya, was shot dead outside her Moscow home. Around two years prior to her murder, she had been poisoned , though it was not fatal.

Considered to demonstrate a ‘Western’ outlook.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Quality press

Challenger

Neutral, liberal

Owned by a Russian business man, government adviser and journalist. In 2007, the owner was adamant that there had never been an attempt by the Government to influence the editing of the newspaper. However, given the fact that the paper is published in Russia and press freedom is curtailed to varying degrees, RFE advises caution in accepting this as truth.

Themes revolve around science, society, regional matters, the economy and Russia’s foreign affairs. This is an elite newspaper which is well-regarded by educated and politically active Russians, including academics, businessmen and politicians.

The articles are bold enough to critique government policies or government authorities, including Putin , at times.

Life News (Лайф)

Tabloid, propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form .

An online news outlet and 24-hour TV channel, owned by a private Russian firm with a pro-Kremlin outlook who has significant financial ties with Putin’s inner circle . It has therefore been reported as enjoying close links with the Kremlin.

Owned by a former Izvestia boss .

It has been known to leak videos and photos of opposition leaders and those critical of the Kremlin, in order to shame them, as well as those obtained from government sources , which are also shared on state-sponsored TV networks.

RBC / RBK (РБК)

Quality press

Kremlin-controlled

Liberal/centre

Following the unexpected sale by its former owner, it is now owned by a Russian oligarch who also owns Komsomolskaya Pravda and Metro .

Focuses on developments and occurrences in the commercial, economic, legal and regulatory spheres.

RBC suffered reputational damage when it was discovered that payments had been accepted in return for the paper publishing false reports . It has also faced criticism for its use of hidden advertising for financial gain in the politics and business section .

Nevertheless, it has traditionally been a trustworthy news outlet, making easily verifiable claims supported by credible sources and engaging in investigative journalism .

In fact, so influential was the paper’s brand for its objective reporting and independent journalism, that The Economist described it as a ‘ fatal combination ’ in the present-day Russian regime.

Following an investigation into the corrupt activities of the President’s family and associates, three editors were removed from their posts and replaced with three former employees of the state-owned news agency TASS in 2016. The following year, the newspaper was sold to its present owner. This reflects a tradition of news outlets which don’t toe the Kremlin line, being replaced by Kremlin-friendly owners .

It can no longer be regarded as truly independent, as news outlets which fall out of the Kremlin’s good graces eventually become ‘ innocuous…or…propaganda mouthpieces ’, as other news outlets such as Lenta have proven.

Metro (Метро)

Owned by a Russian oligarch who also owns RBC and Komsomolskaya Pravda .

Russia 24 (Россия 24)

Also on Youtube .

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily censored TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. The dissemination of fake news is rife and critical information may not be reported if they will present the Kremlin in a negative light. Attacked the Moscow Echo, describing journalists at the news outlet as ‘ foreign agents acting in the U.S. interest ’.

NTV (НТВ)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily-censored state-sponsored TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone.

Described as ‘notorious as the instrument of the Kremlin’s tabloid-style campaigns of defaming the opposition’.

Around 13% of the Russian population watch this news channel.

Owned by Gazprom-Media , which has links to Gazprom – the huge energy company controlled by the Russian government.

Channel 1 Russia / Pervyi Kanal (Первый канал)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily-censored state-sponsored TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. Part of the Kremlin’s propaganda machinery .

The dissemination of fake news is rife. For example, in 2015, Channel 1 news falsely-reported that a boy was crucified by Ukrainian soldiers. A former Channel 1 cameraman also admitted to false coverage of the unrest in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which Russia partially annexed in 2014.

Critical information may not be reported if they will present the Kremlin in a negative light. For example, Channel 1 failed to report on extra-judicial detentions and torture of members of the LGBTI community in Chechnya, first published in Novaya Gazeta in 2017.

National broadcasting channel ‘Zvezda TV’ (Всероссийский государственный вещательный телеканал «Звезда»)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily-censored state-sponsored TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. The dissemination of fake news is rife and critical information may not be reported if they present the Kremlin in a negative light. The TV channel has also been said to employ a mocking tone in order to ‘ humiliate and discredit ’ NATO, the West and the Baltic countries.

Ren TV (Рен ТВ)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

Heavily censored TV channel with an overtly pro-Kremlin tone. The dissemination of fake news is rife and critical information may not be reported if they will present the Kremlin in a negative light.

Dozhd TV (Телеканал Дождь)

Quality press

Challenger

Neutral, liberal

Privately-owned TV channel, which is heavily critical of the Russian government when considered necessary.

The owners dislike the label ‘oppositionist’ as they would like a platform which can accommodate those on both sides of the political debate. However, it does tend to exhibit an anti-Kremlin bias.

Reports fearlessly on sensitive political issues and corrupt business activities.

After publishing a poll which ruffled the Kremlin’s feathers in 2014, Dozhd TV was blacklisted from major TV networks and lost 90% of its subscribers in the Kremlin’s use of ‘ economic suffocation ’ to bring the news outlet down.

Subsequently, it launched a campaign to increase paid subscriptions to its existing paywall.

Meduza (Медуза)

Quality press

Challenger

Left, liberal

An online news content-creator and aggregator, regarded as having a Western outlook and heavily critical of the Russian government.

Its source of funding is currently unknown.

It is an authoritative source despite the fact it exhibits a bias towards the left of the political spectrum on the topic of US politics , as it makes use of credible sources.

Occasionally conducts investigational journalism, which is a marked cry from many outlets, which simply repost information sourced by others.

Read the Media Bias Fact Check Report here.

Express (Экспрес)

Tabloid

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form

Russian Gazette / Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Российская Газета)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right

A government-owned newspaper with the authority to publish all new legislation in full, after which point it enters into force . It does critique ministerial policy to an extent. However, describing it as an independent media outlet would be a step too far.

Portrayals of ‘European’ and Russian culture as fundamentally opposed are often found in Rossiyskaya Gazeta and the majority of its articles are consistent with the official government line .

Readers have a tendency to exhibit conservative views.

BBC Russia

Quality press

Challenger

Neutral/liberal

The BBC produces succinct and clearly articulated coverage of both domestic and international news items, which contain a wealth of vocabulary.

In true Western style, a fearless commitment to independent journalism has meant that propaganda-based lies have been debunked. For example, NTV’s claims that three children had died after artillery shelling in Donbas by the Ukrainian military, were uncovered in 2015 when the BBC sent a journalist there to speak to local residents and soldiers.

Moscow Echo (Эхо Москвы)

Quality press

Challenger

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form

The editor-in-chief has a relationship with the present regime and his radio station is owned by Gazprom-Media , which has links to Gazprom , a huge energy company controlled by the Russian government.

However, it is known to criticise the Kremlin . It has been speculated that the Moscow Echo has been permitted to openly critique the Russian government because it has relatively low market penetration and enables the latter to determine what the opposition is thinking .

Notably, the Moscow Echo also gives voice to Kremlin loyalists .

Interfax (Интерфакс)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Left-centre, liberal

A state-sponsored news outlet.

Moscow Times (Москоу Таймс)

Quality press

Challenger

Left/centre

An English and Russian-language newspaper. Simply click the flag at the top right-hand corner of the page to switch to the Russian version.

Frequently critical of the Kremlin, though it has not shied away from inviting perspectives from other sides of the political spectrum such as those of Maxim Shevchenko .

Provides accurate, well-sourced information.

Read the Media Bias Fact Check Report here.

Angliya (Англия)

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form .

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form .

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form .

Russian-language newspaper released on a weekly basis, with articles on lighter topics such as health and lifestyle, or heavier topics such as UK politics and current affairs, from a Russian perspective.

TASS (ТАСС)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right/centre

The largest Russian news agency, owned by the Russian Government. It is often accused of extreme bias, use as a tool of propaganda, failing to attribute claims to credible sources and intentionally disseminating fake news, given the fact it is state-owned. You probably won’t find an article published on this site which is overtly critical of the Kremlin.

Read the Media Bias Fact Check Report here.

Newsru

Quality press

Challenger

Please help me to categorise this news outlet using the contact form .

The location of the office building and the name of its editors are kept secret for their protection.

Vzglyad (Взгляд)

Propaganda tool

Kremlin-controlled

Right/centre

Owned by the Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (ISEPI), which is headed by former senior figure within the Kremlin. The organisation enjoys close ties to the Kremlin.

Political orientation: Liberal-conservative

vzglyad (Website) pro gov

Blogs

Batenka – A blog about Russia…..

Folkways (from the SRAS Family) – Plenty of resources to keep you busy for hours. The website is well-managed and regularly updated with input from a wide-range of knowledgable contributers. You’ll gain lots of insight into Russian culture, society and day-to-day life. Highly recommended as the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on, is the ‘Quarantine Diaries’ series, where you’ll find questions to test your comprehension and handy vocabulary lists.

Podcasts

Real Russian Club – Podcasts on a wide selection of topics, with high-quality audio, a slower tempo for ease of comprehension, a transcript from the audio and keywords highlighted.

Russian For Free – Podcasts covering everyday topics such as leisurely activities, travel, taking public transport, sport, home improvement and work, as well as life in Russia and aspects of Russia culture. Each podcast recording is accompanied by text with keywords highlighted. There is a section with keywords defined, as well as an activity for each podcast.

Expert (Эксперт) – Listen to authentic Russian content made for native speakers. The podcast spans a multitude of topics such as the economy, finance, business, politics, science, technology, culture and the arts. As the content is geared towards native speakers, you won’t find a transcript. However, the speed of conversation is not excessive and for more advanced learners, the themes explored are certainly more interesting than your run-of-the-mill podcast aimed at beginners. Your ability to understand Russian spoken at an intellectual level will advance by leaps and bounds with this one!

BBC Russia – Since April 2019, BBC Russia has produced podcasts on topical matters concerning society, sports, the war in Ukraine, the coronavirus pandemic and more.

Ochen Po Russki (Very Russian) – Provides learners with the opportunity to hear everyday spoken Russian through themed podcasts geared towards upper-intermediate and advanced students. In each podcast you’ll learn the colloquial language your textbook most likely never covers. Whether you choose to listen to the podcasts on the site, or download them, you can use the Russian-English transcript and vocabulary list provided with each episode to support your study.

A Taste of Russian – A podcast directed towards intermediate-level learners of Russian, which features everyday discussions we have with friends and family. The language is full of colloquial phrases and is therefore a great way to boost your knowledge of the informal ways in which Russians may choose to express themselves. In each lesson, you can take advantage of a downloadable PDF containing a transcript of the video in Russian. The podcasts themselves are also available for download as MP3s from the website.

Russian Podcast – Offers over 200 level-graded episodes for learners of Russian, with learners at all stages of their language journey able to benefit from the wide range of topics covered. The style is conversational and listeners can easily follow it by using the helpful PDF transcript. The podcast episodes also feature word lists with English translations (for beginner and intermediate learners of Russian) or definitions in Russian (for advanced learners).

RussianLingQ – Features podcasts graded according to difficulty on topics of general interest.

Each episode comes with a transcript and can be listened to online, or downloaded. Though not everything on the website is free, the podcast is.

RusPod – Content aimed at vocabulary-building for beginners, with each episode featuring a dialogue on everyday topics and an activity to complete. The website offers ‘shorts’ (podcasts with vocabulary lists) free of charge. However, payment is required for full access to RusPod’s podcasts, vocabulary lists, assessment tests and activities.

Russian Made Easy – These podcast episodes are great for beginners as they cover basic phrases you should know for routine conversations such as meeting and introducing yourself to new people.

The podcasts are accompanied by transcripts and are may be streamed online or downloaded.

Russificate – Podcasts suited to advanced learners, filled with colloquialisms, jokes and cultural references. Each episode may be streamed online or downloaded. A Russian transcript is available for each episode and there are also exercises aimed at reflecting on the theme of each podcast.

Business Russian Podcasts – Most suitable for those in certain business-related fields, or budding entrepreneurs, this podcast will introduce you to essential vocabulary on the topic of employer-employee relationship, taxation and organisational structure. The podcast episodes are available for download and online streaming.

Survival Phrases – This is one for those with wanderlust. Each episode will introduce you to key phrases every traveller should master for a smoother and more enriching travel experience. The first 10 podcasts are available for free, along with a PDF guide.

Rights in Russia – If you’re passionate about human rights (as we should all be!) and keen to gain an insight into socio-political challenges in Russia, check out this podcast where interviews are conducted with human rights defenders.

SRB Podcast – A weekly podcast on the socio-political environment in, and culture and history of, Eurasia. Academics, journalists, policy makers and pundits make regular appearances on this podcast.

Meduza – This Russian news outlet also produces podcasts targeted at native speakers. You won’t find transcripts, but if you’re an upper-intermediate to advanced learner, you should be able to keep up. The topics are highly variable, from commentary on recent political developments around the world, to popular culture and health problems. A guide to some of the best that Meduza has to offer in the way of podcasts, can be found here .

Psychology in the Rain ’ from Dozhd TV – This podcast sees appearances from psychologists and educators on topics ranging from stress and addictions, to relationships (or single-dom!) and family life.

National Capital Language Resource Center – Previously, a bi-monthly podcast called the News in Simplified Russian, which covered events of the previous two weeks, was produced by the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). The tempo of the recordings followed that of the Soviet era and the vocabulary was simplified (though, without compromising on the authenticity of the language for native-speakers of Russian) which made it far easier for non-native speakers and learners of Russian to digest. A series of interactive exercises were provided for learners to complete both before and after listening to the newscast. Unfortunately, this website is now defunct and it appears the website hosting rights were sold to other entities, as all pages redirect to unrelated companies. If you know where old recordings of these newscasts are stored, or know how I may get in touch with the producer, please let me know using the contact form.

Penpals

Master Russian – Allows you to search for a Russian penpal by country, age and gender!

Russian Pen Pal – Once you register with your e-mail, you simply complete your profile with a few details about yourself and perhaps a nice photo, then you’re ready to start making friends and receiving messages.

Vocabulary in context (sentences translated in pairs)

National Corpus Russian Language – The website is written entirely in Russian. To translate the text, simply click on the Google Translate extension for Google Chrome, or copy and paste the text into a translator of your preference, such as DeepL,Yandex or Google Translate. Simply enter the Russian word you are looking for in the search field under the word Слово (word).

Linguee – The results may sometimes be too complex or formal for your needs, in which case try Reverso Context.

Context Reverso – Features a mixture of text from films, TV series, reports by international organisations and more.

Multitran – The interface is a little dated. However, the content is excellent and the engine provides a plethora of results ranging from formal to informal registers and organised thematically.

Pronunciation dictionary

Forvo – Simply enter the word and click on the user-submitted audio recordings to hear a range of different accents from native speakers.

University resources

Duke University Slavic Center

  • Contemporary Russian Through Documentary Film – Activities of great benefit to intermediate and advanced students who are given an opportunity to explore the Russian language through clips on Putin, Yeltsin, and other cultural and political figures, which are accompanied by transcripts, vocabulary lists with definitions in English, ‘culture’ notes and questions at the end to test comprehension.

  • Russian reference grammar – An excellent reference grammar for those partaking in a scholarly programme in the pursuit of fluency in the Russian language, or very determined and diligent independent learners of the Russian language. Describes in great detail for a free online resource, Russia, the Russian language and its history, the phonology of the Russian language, its grammar (the declension of nouns, adjectives, participles, numerals, as well as pronominals and the conjugation of verbs), Russian syntax. You’ll even find traditional Russian tongue twisters!

  • Glossos Journal – A resource of greatest interest to college or university students of the Russian language or linguistics due to the academic content. The journal is peer-reviewed and publishes original, independent research in languages and linguistics. Though not exclusively dedicated to the Russian language, Glossos does focus on Slavic and East European languages, so Russian features heavily throughout the issues.

  • A literary analysis of Alexandra Marinina ’s ‘ Postmortal Image ’ – The book is available for purchase here (e-book), for review (20% of the text) here and read as an audiobook here . Upper-intermediate to advanced learners are introduced to an example of modern Russian literature in the form of a detective novel with a female lead character. If you’re an avid reader, you can expand the breadth of your vocabulary as the story unfolds. Duke University provides a literary commentary, a thematic dictionary and multiple questions to check your understanding of the text.

  • Readings II for Advanced Russian Students – Advanced learners of Russian will benefit from the selection of contemporary and classic Russian short-form literature (hosted off-site but free of charge), accompanied by extensive literary annotations and comprehension exercises.

Oxford University , England, United Kingdom – If you’re curious to see what students of one of the best universities in the world learn when they undertake a Russian language course at university, check out Oxford University’s handbook for the preliminary course here and for students on the road to preparation for the final exam here .


The University of Sussex and the London School of Economics and Political Science – This Russian Language-learning project will enable you to learn Russian through an exploration of classic Russian literature. You’ll read the works of renowned Russian authors such as Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Blok, learn about the historical context in which they wrote, find audio of the said work which will give you a chance to improve your listening skills and improve your pronunciation, find video discussions and discover interactive exercises.

Bucknell University – The Russian language site created by Dr Robert Beard of the Bucknell University’s languages department, is called ‘Alpha Dictionary’ and contains timeless insights into the Cyrillic alphabet, pronunciation rules, verb conjugation, verb aspect, verbs of motion, the parts of speech in Russian and syntax. Though the website interface is somewhat dated given its creation in 1996, the information is presented very clearly.

Cornell University – The Russian-language study website which was originally intended to support learners using the Beginning Russian textbook by Richard L. Leed, Alexander D. Nakhimovsky and Alice S. Nakhimovsky, is ever-useful. For those born after the millennium, enjoy the time-warp!

Radio

Radio Garden – Simply perform a search for Russia and you’ll find over a hundred Russian radio stations online, spanning music, conversation and general chat. The search function also lists the most popular stations in a country.

Russian Internet (Radio) – Russian radio online.

Video-based learning content (Youtube channels, and more)

3Ears – An incredible resource for video-based learning. The modern platform allows you to play video content with karaoke-style, interactive Russian transcripts. You can easily search for content suitable for your level, ranging from newbie to advanced. You simply click on a word to discover its definition and you can add words that you’re keen to remember to a word list. I highly recommend creating an account and bookmarking this page.

Russian from Russia – A Youtube channel, which utilises the language-learning technique called drilling in videos of under 10 minutes in length. The entire video is in Russian, so simply translate any vocabulary that you do not understand using translators such asGoogle Translate,DeepL, or Yandex. Unfortunately, as of August 2020, drills are only available for the genitive, prepositional, instrumental and dative cases.

Russian Grammar – Another great Youtube channel which will hold your hand throughout the process of learning case declensions by explaining the rule behind each change in form. With each pause, you have a moment to attempt to guess the correct ending before it is provided. The grammar series for the genitive case can be found here , the dative case here , the instrumental case here , the prepositional case here and the accusative casehere and here. The nominative case is the basic dictionary form of various parts of speech and is relatively straightforward, so there is no video guide to it. You can simply read my comprehensive guide to the nominative case in Russian here, which explains everything you could possibly need to know about the nominative case as a learner.

Luch Sveta ( Ray of Light) – A useful source of authentic spoken Russian in the form of news clips, accompanied by both a Russian transcript and an English translation. The podcast casts light on and debates current affairs in Russian cultural, social and political life.

Only4Russian – Improve your pronunciation whilst you sing along to hauntingly beautiful songs like this one here, or watch old Soviet clips via this channel which compiles Russian resources for learners.

Everyday Russian – An excellent resource for advanced learners of Russian, providing access to over 400 lessons and audio recordings designed to help you tackle grammar, increase your vocabulary and develop your reading and listening skills. After completing a lesson, a test may be taken so that you can assess your comprehension.

Rus4Me In order to understand Russian as spoken by native speakers outside of formal settings, you need to learn colloquial speech. Enter Rus4Me, which produces content infused with typical Russian expressions. This is a valuable resource as beyond the cultural insights the content provides, you’ll also be able to work on your pronunciation using the transcript which comes with each video and contains accent marks so that you know which syllable is stressed.

Film / movie websites

Replaye – Find films dubbed in Russian here and available to watch online for free.

Russian Film Hub – Films, movies – whatever you call them, you’ll find them here in Russian for free, along with English subtitles. By clicking on the bottom right-hand corner of the video, you may find other subtitle languages too. The website’s catalogue of Russian and Soviet movies is vast.

Mosfilm – You’ll find many films produced by Mosfilm (one of the largest and oldest film studios in both Russia and Europe) from the 1920s onwards, are available to watch online for free and they are often accompanied by English subtitles.

Lenfilm – Lenfilm film studios has released its collection of films on YouTube.

Culture – theatre

The Mariinsky Theatre – This historic theatre of opera and ballet located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, allows you to watch shows online for free!

Assessment Tests

Russian For Free – Provides activities on the six grammatical cases in Russian for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners. The interface is modern each exercise contains just 10 questions, allowing you to control the length and intensity of your grammar practice. Amazingly, the website is also available in Spanish, so if you’d prefer to learn Russian through Spanish, head to the page here.

Practice Russian – Features tests on nouns and adjectives amongst other parts of speech and phrases, which are customisable by the user. This means that you can decide which case to review and the grammatical number (that is, singular or plural). A noun or adjective will appear on the screen and you’ll be asked to enter a particular declension form in line with the default settings, or the specific customisation changes you made. An on-screen Cyrillic keyboard is provided for your benefit if necessary. Be sure to select ‘go’ after each entry, otherwise you will encounter a glitch with the program.

Memrise – A popular language-learning application with a web-based platform, which has spaced repetition at the core of its philosophy. Users contribute courses to the community and therefore there are plenty of interactive resources available to assist you with case declension. Below I have listed some of the most useful ones:

1. ToastedMonkey’s course, published here , covers declension for all 6 grammatical cases in Russian with respect to pronouns, nouns and adjectives.

2. OneLifeLog’s course here, teaches the declension of nouns, pronouns and adjectives and comes complete with audio and images.

3. Goose525’s course, located here , trains you on identifying the case of nouns and adjectives, without nestling these parts of speech inside of sentences. Be quick! – this last test is timed.

4. JoshNadeau’s course here is also commendable, with the modules concerned with grammatical course in the course (though be aware that the correct spelling of genitive is well, genitive – please communicate this to the creator if you can work out a way to do so!)

5. SallomanDanilo’s course, available here , centres upon adjectival endings.

6. LinguistCrow’s course, found here , helps you the memorise the questions associated with each case.

7. TStockton’s course here, introduces you to some of the most commonly used verbs associated with each case (that is, those verbs which trigger the use of a certain case).

Clozemaster Once you get to a stage where you are relatively comfortable with the declensions of the grammatical cases in Russian, you can use Clozemaster to test your ability to anticipate the missing vocabulary, or the correct declension of a missing word. The program incorporates the philosophy behind spaced repetition into the technology in order to help you store information acquired through game play in your long-term memory.

ITT Leipzig – Test your knowledge of vocabulary with this test based upon the 5000 most commonly-used words in the Russian language.

Online Diagnostic Assessment (ODA) System – An assessment tool developed by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC).

Case declension resources

In order to determine the case of a word or discover all of the possible declensions that exist for it, you can use any one of the resources below. Some of the resources are in Russian but do not be worried as they are easily navigable. However, if you feel more comfortable with a translated page, use this Google Translate extension from Google Chrome to switch the text to your native language, or copy and paste the text into a translator of your preference, such asDeepL,Yandex or Google Translate. I have also included the Russian translation of each case for ease of reference, as often the first letter of Russian word is used to indicate the case.

И менительный падеж

The nominative case

Р одительный падеж

The genitive case

Д ательный падеж

The dative case

В инительный падеж

The accusative case

Т ворительный падеж

The instrumental case

П редложный падеж

The prepositional case

Duke University’s Russian Grammatical Dictionary – In order to determine the case of a word or discover all of the possible declensions that exist for it, simply enter it into the field provided. The resource is in English. However, you can change the text to Russian by clicking ‘Caption Language’ in the top right-hand corner.

Morpher In order to determine the case of a word or discover all of the possible declensions that exist for it, enter the nominative form of the word in the search field of the case declension generator. The website is in Russian, but don’t be frightened as you can easily navigate it despite this.

Morpher presents you with the grammatical gender and grammatical number of a word, as well as the questions associated with each case alongside the declensions. In the first column, you’ll find the singular form for the relevant gender, whilst in the second column, you’ll find the plural form for the relevant gender. The letters at the beginning of each row correspond to the first letter of the Russian equivalents of each case name, which is provided earlier on in this section.

Skloneniya – After entering the basic form of a word in the field provided, click ‘Склонять’ and you will be presented with a series of words organised by case and number.

Beyond stylistic elements, the main difference between Morpher and Skloneniya is that whilst Morpher presents you with the grammatical gender of a word and the questions associated with each case alongside the declensions, Skloneniya goes further and writes out the full name of each case (which is ostensibly lacking on Morpher), in addition to the part of speech , grammatical number , grammatical gender , and animacy of a word.

RTR Planeta – Round-the-clock Russian info-tainment channel.

Cursive handwriting practice

Script:


Script Practice

ASMR

This one is unique to say the least. I noticed that ASMR is very popular amongst youth in Russia and Ukraine, so I’ve listed a few options below.

Part 1

Part 2

For native-speakers of Italian, try the video below:

History

For those for whom a fascination with the Russian language is inextricably tied to a fascination with Russia’s history, take a look at the project ‘ Seventeen Moments in Soviet History ’, a rich multi-media archive of primary sources, which explores Soviet history from 1917 to 1991.

If you any further recommendations for expanding this list of resources, please get in touch via the contact form .

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