The way we learn is different for each of us and some people take in new information best when it comes in through our ears. So get ready because this article is all about the finding the best learn Russian podcast for you.
Of course, there’s not just one podcast to listen to. Everyone has different tastes and you’ll want a different podcast depending on your level. So I’ll go over:
- The best podcasts for beginners
- Ideal podcasts intermediate learners
- Podcasts that cover specific topics or ideas
- Which podcasts have additional membership programs
As a Russian learner, you’re in luck with lots to choose from, so let’s get started!
Learn Russian By Podcast: Starting From Zero
If you have absolutely no Russian whatsoever, don’t worry! There are plenty of podcasts out there for the absolute beginner.
#1 Russian Pronunciation
While most podcasts focus on listening and comprehension, the Russian pronunciation podcast is a great tool for learning how to both pronounce and hear the sounds of Russian correctly.
This is a great jumping-off point for anyone who’s at the start of their journey to learn Russian.
Episodes cover topics like the difference between sounds that English speakers often confuse like the sounds of ы and и as well as soft and hard consonants. There are only about a dozen episodes, but they’re all available for free.
There’s a lot of repetition so you’ll have your ears ready to hear all the sounds of Russian by the end of it.
#2 Russian Made Easy
This is probably the first podcast that a Russian language learner can start listening to if they want to dive in as soon as possible. In total, there are 30 episodes, and all of them are free.
This should take you from knowing nothing to having a good handle of the basics. By the end of the last episode, you’ll have a strong understanding of basic greetings, question words, a few common verbs, pronouns, and some basic vocabulary.
#3 Very Much Russian
A solid podcast where you can also listen to a selection of random topics. The podcasts are quite short, as each tells a short story.
Sometimes it’s about something in the news, a specific type of vocabulary, Russian culture, and sometimes it’s really a bit random.
The good part about this Russian podcast is that it’s available for free. However, if you want to download the offline materials, you need to pay.
That’s okay, as it’s a good collection of resources. And that they include the translation underneath the transcripts. This makes it more beginner friendly.
#4 Speaking Russian
Speaking Russian is a podcast for those who don’t have a lot of time. The episodes are short, sweet, and to the point.
Normally, they centre around a single word and go over the different conjugations or declensions in examples with English translations.
If you’re having any trouble with Russian verb conjugations, this is a great podcast to practice with.
#5 Michel Thomas
The idea is that you’re listening in on a class while they’re learning Russian, so there’s English supplementing all the Russian you hear.
The pace is slow and different points on grammar or pronunciation are explained as they come up.
But there's no overly-long explanation of how the past tense works or what the prepositional case looks like. It’s quite effective at introducing you to the sounds, vocabulary, and basic vocabulary of Russian.
However, Michel Thomas comes with two caveats. The method isn’t for everyone. Simply put, some people really connect with it and others don’t.
Additionally, there’s no free version of Michel Thomas so you’ll have to buy it for the full version, though you can try some sample episodes before you make up your mind.
Learn Russian Podcast For Intermediate Level
So far, I’ve gone over the best podcasts for those starting out learning Russian. But what about when you’re feeling confident and comfortable with the basics and want to take your Russian further?
This list of podcasts for intermediate Russian learners is just the thing!
#6 Slow Russian Podcast / Real Russian Club
This podcast by Real Russian Club is an excellent podcast for beginners from A1 to A2. It’s made by the same creator as the Russian pronunciation podcast and she puts even more energy into this one.
Most episodes introduce a Russian text and then go over the harder grammar points and vocabulary in English and then replay the text.
If you like the content, the creator has a site full of videos, transcripts, and blogs on specific topics. For example, the From Zero to Fluency playlist on YouTube is great if you prefer video format over text for grammatical concepts.
The bulk of her additional materials can only be accessed via paid membership, but you’re certain to get your money’s worth.
#7 Russian Podcast
With its clear-cut name, the Russian Podcast is a podcast for intermediate learners that’s entirely in Russian.
If you’re looking to go forward from upper beginner or lower intermediate, this is the podcast for you.
New words are explained with lots of context and examples and the subject matter is usually interesting, often coinciding with something in the news.
The only caveat to this podcast is that the lion’s share of its episodes are behind a paywall. However, if you get a membership, it comes with some great material to help you really feel comfortable.
#8 Russian With Max
The host Max is a likeable, smart, and sometimes silly host whose overflowing enthusiasm will keep you engaged.
He talks about a huge range of subjects ranging from psychology, travel, history, and sociology and he's excited about all of them.
Because of the nature of his topics, you should at least be at a B1 level before you give it a listen.
The podcast is entirely in Russian. Don’t be intimidated though. Max is very good at explaining new concepts and new vocabulary. This is particularly good as he teaches listeners at least a few new words or phrases every episode.
You can listen to the podcast or watch his YouTube channel for free. There’s also a paid plan which has even more episodes and materials. This includes transcripts for each episode which many learners find helpful.
Going Beyond The Typical Learn Russian Podcast
The previous podcasts are all great for intermediate learners who want to learn about more general content. However, these next podcasts are for the intermediate learner who wants to get more specific.
#9 The Word’s Worth
The Word’s Worth is an eclectic and hard to categorise podcast and also one of my personal favourites.
It could be something seasonal (such as the many ways to talk about snow), or some of the ways that some English and Russian concepts simply don’t translate well.
You never know what you’ll get with each episode, but it’s always bound to be interesting.
The majority of the podcast is in English and all the Russian she uses is followed by her own translation, but the vocabulary is not for beginners. If you’re ready to dive into more idiomatic and colourful Russian, you’ll have plenty to enjoy!
#10 Russian Verbs From Russia
Each episode focuses on two or three Russian verbs with a similar meaning and how they are used.
The podcast is entirely in Russian, but Anna has a knack for explaining what she means and giving the listener lots and lots of examples to help you follow along.
If you’re ready to bolster your verb vocab and get into the nitty-gritty of nuance, then this is a must-listen podcast.
#11 Ilya Speaker
Like the Word’s Worth, you’ll get a much more broad understanding of how Russian is actually spoken with Ilya.
At the moment, Ilya is only available on SoundCloud. There's no transcript available but his pronunciation is so clear that you should be able to decipher unknown words by ear alone.
Learn Russian Podcast: Listen And Learn
The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them at your leisure and then listen again when you want to go back to something. And over time, you’ll be ready for podcasts made for Russian natives like Arzamas and Эхо Москвы.
Now you know some good podcasts to try out as well as:
- The podcasts beginners should listen to
- Podcasts to try for intermediate learners
- What to expect from each podcast
Just remember that while you can do a lot by listening to podcasts, you can’t learn a language with just one method alone! You have to get lots of input and one of the best things to try is learning with stories.
That's why the StoryLearning® method is all about immersing yourself into your new language through books. So read Russian books or short stories in Russian to help you pick up vocab and grammar the natural way, through exposure.
So now you can get out there and listen to your heart’s content. And as always Удача из удач! (Best of luck!)