Back to archive
In previous posts, we’ve looked at some websites and materials aimed at learners of Russian. While these are invaluable resources, they have their limitations. To really learn the language, you need to listen to and read a lot in “real” Russian aimed at native speakers. The good news is there is an endless amount of listening and reading material in Russian available for free online about any topic you can imagine, and everyone can find something that interests and motivates them if they know where to look.
Virtually anything you would want to read in your native language online you can also find in Russian online. Just think of a topic that interests you and search for a relevant website.
With the help of readlang’s
webreader, you can more easily read any website in Russian, and if you’re not sure where to start, you can check out their Russian library
and search Russian texts by length, genre, topic and difficulty.
you can find many free books in Russian, which you can read online or print out. There is a large selection of modern and classic novels, short stories, poems, and even songs.
Watching movies in Russian can be an interesting and enjoyable way to practice listening to the language and understand more of Russian culture.
Dozens of full-length classic Russian movies from the famous studios Mosfilm and Lenfilm are available for streaming with English subtitles on the studios’ youtube channels (Mosfilm
The Russian website IVI
also offers an enormous selection of modern Russian films and international films dubbed into Russian, though for the most part without English subtitles. Ideal for intermediate and advanced students, or beginning students who want to get a feel for how the language sounds.
Watching TV shows is an even better way to improve your listening than watching movies because they are repetitive and can be easier to understand. You can find many Russian TV shows on youtube, but you’ll find many more on the Russian site “rubube
“. If you’re not sure where to start, consider:
Как я стал русским
– a comedy series about an American journalist who is sent to work in Russia and his misadventures and experience with cultural shock.
– A comedy talk-show, featuring skits, music, and interviews with celebrities.
– A sitcom about a cook who comes to Moscow with dreams of becoming a famous chef. For this series, you can even find the Russian transcripts with their English equivalents online here
which is extremely helpful for language learners.
– Sitcom set in a hospital, similar to the American series Scrubs.
Audiobooks in Russian are a great way to practice your listening, and you can find thousands of them online for free here
, which you can stream online or download, either as one file per book, or broken up into smaller clips of 5-20 minutes each.
If your Russian is good enough, of course, you can listen to entire classic Russian novels such as Anna Karenina
. But even if you’re still a long way off from being able to understand completely, you can already take advantage of this resource. For example, you can read a chapter of a Russian novel in your native language first and then listen to that chapter in Russian (or listen first and then read it in your language to check your understanding).
You could also try listening to the Russian version of a book you might already be familiar with, such as Harry Potter (Гарри Поттер И Философский Камень
) or you can start small with short stories such as those of Chekhov
For a wide range of podcasts on a variety of subjects, aimed at native speakers, check out
Check out these online radio stations for listening to music, news and talk.