Russian lessons

Russian alphabet

Russian alphabet

Start learning Russian with our 16-minute video, Russian alphabet and audio exercises! This lesson will teach you how to read and pronounce Russian letters correctly.

Tea or coffee?

Tea or coffee?

Would you like tea or coffee? This dilemma awaits you not only in cafés, but also at meetings – like in our dialog. After this lesson, you'll have no problems in either ordering tea or coffee, or offering it to others. In addition, we'll get to know different kinds of tea in Russia and have a look at its tea culture.

Meeting a Russian girl

Meeting a Russian girl

How can you pick up a gorgeous Russian girl? Or a guy, for that matter? Let's see how to start or not to start a conversation in Russian, and also how to react to some silly pick-up lines.

Where are you?

Where are you?

Location, location, location! Location is everything. But what if you don't know where you are? See how the girl from our dialog masters it. We bet that after finishing this lesson, you'll be able to cope with such situations even better!

I'll be in Oslo

I'll be in Oslo

While you may be dreaming to visit Russia, many Russians are yearning to escape it and to go abroad. Let's hear some of their travel plans and learn to describe our own!

How much does it cost?

How much does it cost?

Today, we are going to learn how to ask one of the basic questions of humanity: "Ско´лько сто´ит?" – "How much does something cost?" You'll be able to use it not only in a shop, but also while talking to a taxi driver. The answer can sometimes result in an unpleasant suprise – after our lesson, you'll be able to express it properly!

Exit

Exit

Today we're taking the Moscow subway. It's a lovely place to be, but still, after a while you might want to look for an exit, right? Our lesson will show you how to ask for an exit and other directions and locations.

Black bread

Black bread

It's time to buy some groceries – did you remember the bread? And have you ever heard about "black bread"? Let's try to figure out what that might be and learn how to talk to a vendor and ask for something.

What's up?

What's up?

One tricky thing about talking on the phone is that you sometimes don't know whom you're talking to. Then, you're too sweet to the wrong person, and the next moment your marriage is on the rocks. We can't teach you to be careful, but we can show you how to be nice and exchange the usual "how do you dos" in Russian. 

Here's your change

Here's your change

It's check-out time, so let's finish our shopping and pay. And don't forget your change! To deal with change and paying, it's useful to learn how to count – even if for now it's only up to five.

Which bus?

Which bus?

Shall we travel by bus today? First, you have to know which one to take: There are plenty of buses in Moscow, as well as streetcars and trolley buses – it's important to pick the right number!

Where are Ivanov and Petrov?

Where are Ivanov and Petrov?

Today, we are having a peek into Russian office life. It's Monday, which usually means that some of the colleagues are still relaxing after an oh-so-stressful weekend. Let's learn some of their common excuses and discuss most common conjunctions: "and" ("и", "а") and "but" ("но").

When is payday?

When is payday?

Deadlines and salaries – it's always good to know when they are due. That's why we'll be discussing the days of the week in today's lesson. What day is today? – Како´й сего´дня день? Let's find it out, maybe our paycheck is there already!

A bad employee

A bad employee

Today we'll examine another important aspect of office life: the qualities of the co-workers. Let's find out what is the better asset in a Russian company: to be a good professional or a good person. We'll also learn some adjectives used to characterize people or things.

I don't understand

I don't understand

Sooner or later, you'll master the Russian language and will be able to speak it like a pro. But for now, it's handy to be able to say that you're not that far yet and, thus, to avoid unnecessary questions. Let's see how the heroine of our dialog manages it, and let's learn how to say "I don't speak…" and "I don't understand…" in Russian.

Open or Closed?

Open or Closed?

Whether it's on the weekend or late at night, you can always find a place in Moscow to shop or have a coffee or even get a sun-tan. It is a city that never sleeps: many places are open 24/7 – that is, unless they are closed. Sometimes quite unexpectedly. A sign at the door will usually tell you what's the sitch, so it's better to understand what's written on it.

What's for breakfast?

What's for breakfast?

Feeding a kid is never easy, and in Russia it can be a real challenge. Russian kids usually hate traditional Russian kids' meals like porridge and soup. Let's try these dishes, too – maybe they are not as bad as we Russians thought as children.

Agenda for tomorrow

Agenda for tomorrow

As a tourist in Russia, you'll hardly have a chance to catch your breath. And that's just as well, because there is always so much to do and to see. Today's lesson will help you to organize your busy day of sight-seeing and teach you how to say phrases like "in the morning" or "in the afternoon" in Russian.

Going Abroad

Going Abroad

Russians love travelling – either abroad or just around. Today, we're heading to the Crimea: Let's find out how Russian it is, and practice saying where we are going.

It's not my size at all!

It's not my size at all!

Everybody likes getting presents – Russian women are no exception – and some of us even enjoy giving them. Let's see what went wrong with a gift in our dialog (and whether there ever even was one) and learn some necessary expressions concerning giving and receiving presents.

A skirt or a belt?

A skirt or a belt?

Visiting a clothing store can be pretty confusing, especially if one doesn't know much about fashions. And especially if it's a Russian store, because Russian women tend to be quite unorthodox in their fashion preferences. In such cases, it's useful to know how to ask "What (the heck) is that?" In today's lesson, we'll practice this question and find out more about clothes and Russian styles.

New Year Holidays

New Year Holidays

New Year's Day is arguably the favorite Russian holiday. And no wonder: All in all, the country has only ten whole days of vacation! But watch out: work is still looming on the horizon, so it's not a bad idea to keep your eye on the calendar. Check out our lesson to learn more about time words and the New Year holiday season of Russians.

In winter and in summer

In winter and in summer

Who hasn't heard about the Russian winter – and today, we're going to experience it ourselves, so dress warmly! It's a good season to learn facts and useful expressions concerning the Russian climate – both in winter and in summer.

Spring and Fall

Spring and Fall

Whether it's a spring or a nasty fall, Russians pay great attention to weather and would gladly discuss it. "How's the weather today?" is always a nice conversation starter, and the worse the weather is, the livelier the conversation may be. So, let's learn some weather words and also more season names in Russian!

A short-distance train

A short-distance train

Let's leave the city hustle and bustle and travel by train! Not too far for a first ride: a short-distance train, or "электри´чка," will take you to any suburban destination around Moscow. Provided that you know where to get off, how to ask about the station you need and – very important! – that you understand the answer. Pay attention to our lesson and you'll never miss your station – we hope!

What's the house number?

What's the house number?

Finding the right address in a big city is quite an adventure – especially in Moscow, where the house numbering system is pretty tricky. Our lesson will help you to get it straight, so that you'll always be able to understand where the house that you need is!

Airport Check-In

Airport Check-In

In Russia, like in any other country, you should check into the airport well in advance. But with luck, one can manage to get checked-in five minutes before boarding. Listen to our lesson for important airport vocabulary plus useful check-in expressions and you'll achieve cruising altitude in no time!

I'm the CEO!

I'm the CEO!

When starting a conversation in Russian it's not enough to know someone's name: You also have to address a person properly and politely. Our lesson will help you to avoid some possible faux-pas in dealing with intricate Russian politeness rules.

It's only us here!

It's only us here!

It's time to visit a Russian restaurant! Is there one in the vicinity? No problem if you're in Moscow – and quite a chore in a small provincial town.

Untranslatable Russian Cuisine

Untranslatable Russian Cuisine

Have you ever heard of borsch? Or okroshka? Today's lesson will help you to get through some delicious mysteries of Russian cuisine and lead you to the best restaurants where they are found.

Where is the restroom?

Where is the restroom?

Uh-oh! Here comes the lesson topic that makes many Russians a bit shy, but that doesn't make it less important: Where is the restroom?! Find it out in our lesson, and you'll feel much more at ease in your journeys around Russia!

Bootleg Taxi

Bootleg Taxi

How about a hitchhiker’s guide through the galaxy of Moscow? If you’re lucky, and no traffic jams are in sight, you can travel all around the town using only private drivers – like the girl from our dialog. And if, like her, you get stuck in a jam after all – you could spend time productively learning some Russian with your driver!

Russian Police

Russian Police

Russian police are not necessarily the people you'll most enjoy encountering in Russia. All the more important to know what to expect from them, how to talk to them, and what precautions to observe – check it out in our lesson!

 Supermarket

Supermarket

Enough of the fancy restaurants! It's time to go grocery shopping. There are plenty of shops around, and our lesson will not only help you to make the right choice, but also to talk to the salespeople.

A friend, not a boyfriend

A friend, not a boyfriend

When meeting people, it's better to clarify the girlfriend/boyfriend issue right up front so that you don't fall in love too soon. Or so that you can start falling, if the coast is clear. And, as a foreigner meeting Russian girls, you're in for some nice surprises in this lesson!

A too helpful waitress

A too helpful waitress

"At your service!" In today's dialog, the waitress is trying a bit too hard to be helpful: Taking your orders is one thing, but deciding them for you? No, thanks!
Check out our lesson to learn how to be your own man – or woman – in a Russian restaurant.

Russian customs

Russian customs

Today, we have to go through the Russian customs inspection. Nobody has ever escaped this procedure, so it's better to learn how to deal with it in style: with all the necessary words and tips. We'll also talk about bribing Russian officials, but no worries, we are not going to teach you that.

Moscow subway

Moscow subway

Time to visit something very beautiful and at the same time very useful! Today's topic is Moscow subway system. The beauty of its stations is legendary, and it will also get you around the city faster than any car. In this lesson, you'll learn how to pay for your trip and to find your way around the subway.

Do you have an apartment?

Do you have an apartment?

What makes a Russian man truly attractive? For some, it's the fact that he owns an apartment – or better still, a country house and a car, too. The favorite types of property in Russia are the topic of today's podcast. But will they make the man eligible after all?

Super-VIP hotel

Super-VIP hotel

Welcome to Russia! And welcome to our Super-VIP Deluxe hotel! Would you prefer this fancy suite for a price any millionaire could afford, or that cute standard room with no bathroom? This lesson will prepare you for the most typical surprises of Russian hotels and teach you some very useful expressions in dealing with them.

Mobile Communication

Mobile Communication

Let's turn off our cell phones, everybody, and do some Russian! Today's topic will be – guess what? Cell phones and text messaging in Russia. Russians love these little handy toys as much as anyone, and they sometimes overdo their mobile communication, but don't we all?

Calling a Taxi

Calling a Taxi

Whether you're late, in a hurry, or just don't want the inconvenience of using public transportation, the natural thing will be to call a taxi. This isn't exactly the case in Moscow, where the taxi service could sometimes be better and where there are traffic jams galore. Still, there comes a time when calling a cab is the only solution.

Email and Internet

Email and Internet

Today's dialog sounds a bit cryptic, but so is the Internet lingo in any language. Russians, too, have their own internet slang which sometimes is unclear even to Russians. Let's clarify the office colleagues' talk and learn a bit about the Russian internet world.

Russian shuttle-bus

Russian shuttle-bus

A minibus - called a "marshrutka" - is a number-one form of Russian above-ground public transportation. You’ll never get around it, so you’d better learn how to use it right now: Fare paid? Right house found? And by the way, we’ll also get to know some useful Russian shop names, so don’t miss it!

Travelling by train

Travelling by train

Today, we're taking a train! But first, we'll have to buy our tickets– so let's be careful in making the right choice: Sometimes, accepting a less expensive offer can result in a trip you'll regret!

Let's all go to the movies!

Let's all go to the movies!

A free evening in Moscow? How about going to the movies? If you don't want to risk seeing a Russian-language movie yet, maybe we can find something in English! The hero of our dialog wanted to watch a sleazy movie and ended up with something completely different – but maybe for the better!

How he met her mother

How he met her mother

Young love – isn't it romantic? Not if you are the mother who has to confront an unknown guy whom her daughter is going to "shack up" with. If only he'd been well-behaved and civilized, that is, knew at least how to address his potential mom-in-law properly!

Sick leave

Sick leave

Today we're talking about illnesses and excuses one makes because of them. A sickness can be imaginary, like in our dialog, but a good excuse is always a handy thing to learn. Let's hope that all your illnesses will be only imaginary, but still learn some body parts and illness-related expressions – just in case!

Weekend at a dacha

Weekend at a dacha

Russians can be not so industrious during the week, but they turn to truly hard workers on the weekend. How come? They work on their dachas: growing plants, digging the weeds, and having lots of other agricultural fun. Today, we'll learn more about the favorite Russian country house and weekend pastimes.

Hangover

Hangover

Where would Russia's famous drinking culture be without its most natural consequence - the hangover? It firmly belongs to the Russian life-style and today we'll get to know it closer (but not too close, please!) as well as learn how to avoid it in the first place and how to cure it in the worst case.

At the market

At the market

Today, we're going to buy some fresh fruit at the market. While the character in our dialog doesn't seem to know what he wants to buy, it's still a good chance for us to learn some useful expressions and measures.

Oh, those blue jeans!

Oh, those blue jeans!

Clothing stores still remain a terra incognita for many husbands, where dragons hide in the price tags. Russia is no exception. Let's take a stroll around a typical Russian store and find out more about cool things and their sizes.

What time is it?

What time is it?

Oh, not the alarm clock again! But yep – it's ringing, which means it's time to discuss the Russian concept of time: both formally - How do we ask about time in Russian? - and philosophically – How do Russians view time?

From Russia with love

From Russia with love

Just arrived or ready to depart – there is always a good time to get some souvenirs from Russia, otherwise who'd ever believe that you've been here! A nesting doll is always a good choice, but there are plenty of other goodies to bring home and show off – let's see what they are!

We are working!

We are working!

It's work time again! Let's visit a Russian office and find out what the employees are doing. They should be working, by the way, but you never know in Russia! And sometimes, what is regarded as leisure in other cultures is considered hard work here – which can lead to misunderstandings.

Learning Russian

Learning Russian

Oh those Russians, oh that Russian language… So difficult to learn, or is it? With a little effort, you're already making progress, and we hope that soon you'll master the basics. Step by step – that's the key!

Wrong airport

Wrong airport

There are so many things to think about when heading to the airport: flight time, tickets, passports, luggage… And last, but not least: Is this my airport? In today's lesson, we'll discuss how to get in and out of an airport and how not to mix the airports up!

Maslenitsa – Butter Week

Maslenitsa – Butter Week

In Russia, the winter season – and especially Maslenitsa, Russian Carnival week - is a season of pancakes. No one can resist Russian pancakes filled with caviar and eaten with mead – except maybe some extremely health-conscious fitness addicts.

Office in a former factory

Office in a former factory

Today, we're going to visit a factory. But wait, it's not a factory anymore – it has been converted into museums, offices, recording studios, shops and what not – and everything is available for rent. That is, if you don't mind funky neighbors or the whole idea of an art cluster – which has become very popular in Russian big cities.

I love Russian

I love Russian

Learning a foreign language can be difficult at times: You start with such enthusiasm, and then all those new words and rules seem to pile up. But persevere, and you'll have a breakthrough. Many have been through this stage already – look at our dialog's heroine: She'll get over through her sudden aversion in no time.

Village life

Village life

Granny's pies are fresh from the oven, kebabs are emanating heavenly smells, the sunset is perfect – at times like this, there seems to be no better place than a Russian village. Up until the moment when you have to trek to the faraway outhouse while being pursued by swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. Nevertheless, visiting a Russian village is always fun – if only through our lesson!

Greetings from the Traffic Police

Greetings from the Traffic Police

Surely you, dear listener, are one of those drivers who have never broken any traffic rules in their entire life. Even so you're not safe from the Russian traffic police and their fines: They have to fill their quota, after all, that's why they'll sometimes fine you just for the sake of your ready money. Unlike you, our dialog's hero had it coming and got what he deserved. Let's see what his infraction was and find out more about the Russian traffic police.

Women's day in Russia

Women's day in Russia

March 8th – International Women's day – is widely celebrated in Russia. However, this holiday is not about the rights and freedoms of women. As you'll find out in our lesson, it's more about flowers, and presents, and a cake – and women don't seem to mind.

Going to the ballet

Going to the ballet

If you are planning to go out in Moscow, classic ballet at the Bolshoi theatre is certainly a number-one destination. Musicals come and go, but the Russian ballet with its classic pas de deux has always been a part of the national heritage and is still a wonderful opportunity to enjoy beautiful dancers, and to dress up to the nines.

On the road

On the road

Russians love their cars and fast driving, but their relationship to Russian roads is much more complicated. "On the road again…" – many Russians dread such a perspective. The many reasons for this can all be found in our lesson, so let's start our engines and hit the road ourselves!

MMM: Mysteriously Missing Money

MMM: Mysteriously Missing Money

What's better? Stuffing your savings into a mattress, or investing it in a profitable venture? Obviously, the thought of having your money work for you is appealing. Lots of Russians felt the same way and so bought shares in MMM – Russia's greatest financial fraud of the 90s. And as crazy as it sounds, many people out there are still investing in a "sure thing", just like our dialog's hero.

Leaving Moscow

Leaving Moscow

Where is the "real" Russia? Some people firmly believe that the one and only place to live in Russia is Moscow. Others think that Moscow isn't really Russia at all. In today's dialog, we'll witness someone's life choice between these two options, and have a chance to compare the capital and the "province" ourselves.

The troubles of Russian football

The troubles of Russian football

One of the best conversation starters with a Russian male (and often female) of any age is football. By football, we mean soccer – the only kind of football as far as Russians are concerned, and the sport nearest their hearts. Our lesson will help you in sharing your football thoughts with Russians – which will immediately warm them up towards you. If you don't happen to bad-mouth their home team, that is.

Reading Dostoevsky

Reading Dostoevsky

Have you read Dostoevsky? Even though many Russians haven't, they nevertheless all agree that he is the most influential and famous Russian writer ever. That is, if one doesn't count his eternal rival, Leo Tolstoy, of course. In today's lesson, you'll get to know both, and maybe choose where your preferences lie: Is it the darkish Dostoevsky or the classier Tolstoy?

Destination Baikal

Destination Baikal

If you're still undecided about your next vacation trip, how about Lake Baikal – one of Russia's greatest natural treasures of legendary purity and beauty? Admittedly, it's not easy getting there, and it is quite unlike the usual holiday resort with all its comforts – that's why the ultimate question is: Are you ready for an adventure – or would you rather stay on the safe sunbathing side?

Being a real man

Being a real man

Men and women – it's a miracle that they can co-exist at all, considering how often they want different things and how many different opinions they have about one another and each other's duties and obligations. Still, it often works out somehow – let's hope that today's dialog heroes also will find a mutual understanding someday.

Grandmas and grandsons

Grandmas and grandsons

Who's gossiping there on a bench near our house entrance? Of course, it's the grannies – or babushkas. And what would they discuss more gladly than their pride and joy – their grandchildren! Let's listen and find out more about babushkas and their role in Russian family life.

Planes, Trains, and May Day

Planes, Trains, and May Day

May Day, May Day! These words would never cause alarm in Russia: On the contrary, the first days of May are the best time for having fun and travelling around, because the whole start of May is like one long weekend in Russia. In today's lesson, you'll not only find out why this is so, but also get a chance to compare some of the most popular ways of long-distance travelling in Russia.

Job Interview

Job Interview

Prepare to get some goose bumps: We're going to a job-interview. Thankfully, it's someone else's future on the line: Let's see whether he's got the necessary qualifications to be a journalist and whether he'll get the position. That'll also give us a chance to find out more about the Russian job market for foreigners. Maybe your job-interview will be the next!

A friend in need

A friend in need

When you're down, when life sucks, or when your boyfriend has dumped you, nobody can console or support you better than your best friend. True friends might be brutally honest with you, but they'll never let you down and always lend a hand when needed – that's what the notion of true friendship means, and, as you find out in our lesson, Russians take it very seriously.

Indispensable ushanka

Indispensable ushanka

It's not a stereotype: Russians do wear ushankas, or ear-flapped hats, a lot. And confronted with a serious Russian winter, you would, too. But an ushanka is not only great against sub-zero temperatures; it's also a fashion statement. Our lesson will introduce you to different kinds of ushankas – and maybe even help you to make your own choice!

Three stations

Three stations

Moscow is an awesome city full of architectural surprises. For instance, here is this impressive square – Комсомольская площадь. It seems to be filled with magnificent castles and cathedrals, or isn't it? Actually, all those buildings are railway stations, and today we'll take a closer look at them.

Vacation plans

Vacation plans

Summer is nearing, so it's high time to plan our next vacation! There are so many places to see around the world, but the sad key question is usually: What will our purse allow? In this lesson, we'll listen to dialog characters watching a travel show on TV and find out more about Russian ways to travel and attitudes to travelling.

The early bird gets the worm

The early bird gets the worm

Доброе утро! Good morning! Some of us enjoy rising early and starting the day with the birdies, but for the larger part of humanity it's an everyday torture. Just like for the hero of today's dialog: At tough times like these, even coffee doesn't help. But maybe a couple of soothing folk-sayings about early rising will cheer him up? Let's learn them, too!

Great apartment for rent

Great apartment for rent

Choosing an apartment to rent is a tricky business anywhere, and Russia is not without its own risks and peculiarities. Today, we are listening to a prospective landlady who thinks her rental is just great. Is she telling the truth, or is her apartment lacking something?

A present for the mother-in-law

A present for the mother-in-law

The holidays are approaching: It's time to discuss presents and the relatives who will receive them. Let's listen to two friends examining their already-purchased gifts and see what lucky relative will be getting an anti-flea shampoo!

Why I need an iPhone

Why I need an iPhone

The more gadgets one has, the more one wants. At least in Russia, this seems to be a universal principle. Today, we're meeting one insatiable consumer who'll give us a chance to learn the names of those desirable objects.

What a waste!

What a waste!

Recycling garbage? What is that for? Generally speaking, Russians aren't familiar with the concept and are quite perplexed when confronted with it. Like the hero of our dialog who's visiting friends abroad and honestly can't understand the purpose of the whole idea.

The Case of a Stolen Wallet

The Case of a Stolen Wallet

Today's lesson takes us to a Russian police station: An unlucky father has to report the loss of his wallet – and if only that! But at least we can learn something useful from his misfortune: How to talk to the police in such emergencies, and what steps to undertake.

Where babushkas are

Where babushkas are

Let's sit down on a bench and listen to Russian babushkas talk. One can find out lots of things while eavesdropping on old ladies – from the latest gossip to the inflation rates and the most precise weather forecasts.

Back to school with Vovochka

Back to school with Vovochka

Have you done your Russian homework? Well, good for you! Because Vovochka – the hero of today's dialog – didn't do his homework that well, and now he has to deal with the consequences. Let's meet him and his teacher Maria Ivanovna and see what the Russian school system looks like.

What a wedding!

What a wedding!

It's  a wedding day today – for some, the most important day of their lives; for others, a happy opportunity to gossip gleefully about the bride's looks and the groom's faults. Let's join in on the celebrations – or at least on the gossip – and learn more about Russian wedding traditions.

Olympic fever

Olympic fever

Would you rather hang out at a bar or go to a hockey match? Some Russians wouldn't miss a big sports event for anything – even if it's much more expensive than a wild night in a pub. One such event is certainly the impending Olympic Games 2014 in the Black Sea city of Sochi - let's take a closer look at it.

Missing lunch

Missing lunch

Let's drop by at a Russian office – it's lunch time, so how about sharing a tasty snack? But wait: While someone is happily filling his belly, his colleague is still searching for her lunch in the corporate fridge. It's gone! Who could possibly be the culprit?

Puttin' on your face

Puttin' on your face

Getting ready to go out can turn into a very slow process if your "significant other" attaches too much importance to her good looks – and thus also to her make-up and clothes. Let's be patient with such girls: They're only trying to make the world a prettier place by adding their gorgeous looks to it.

The wine must go on

The wine must go on

What's a romantic rendezvous without sufficient quantities of alcohol to accompany it? At least that's what some people - like our dialog's hero - firmly believe in. They are even ready to put their date "on hold" while they run out and get more drinks, because alcohol isn't sold all night in Russia anymore. This lesson will tell you more about this new law – and the ingenious ways in which Russians get around it.

Mister Twister

Mister Twister

Today, we're making the acquaintance of an American millionaire who once came to Soviet Russia and was immortalized in the children's poem "Mister Twister" written by Samuil Marshak. Let's read its most famous excerpt and then find out more about foreigners confronting Russian life.

Russian Time Zones

Russian Time Zones

Russia's vastness has its drawbacks: While one business partner is getting up, his client has already gone to bed – a not-uncommon situation that can make business dealings a real headache. No wonder that Russians are infamous for their lack of punctuality – maybe their many time zones are to blame?

Calling from Yakutsk

Calling from Yakutsk

You have to be tough to live in Yakutia – not only because it's one of the Russia's coldest regions, but also because the rest of the country doesn't seem to understand how unusual it really is. Let's find out more about it in this lesson.

Going Postal

Going Postal

Today's lesson is a cautionary tale about Russia's state postal service – "Почта России." Unfortunate, but true: The Russian Postal Service is nothing to write home about. Let's take a closer look at its weaknesses and find ways around them.

Comrade, can you spare a dime?

Comrade, can you spare a dime?

Beggars are a sad part of every city in the world, and Russia is no exception. On the contrary, the populace of panhandlers is so vast and multifaceted that one can talk about a separate complex subculture – or sub-society. In this lesson we'll get to know it a bit closer – but not too close: Some murky waters are better treaded carefully.

Polar Night

Polar Night

Would you like to live in a place where the night sometimes lasts for more than a month? Exotic as it may sound, there are several big Russian cities where the polar night is a part of everyday life. Let's listen to a telephone conversation with one such city and learn more about the conditions beyond the Arctic Circle.

The Speckled Hen Tale

The Speckled Hen Tale

Sit back, listen carefully, and let us tell you a story – and not just any story, but the most famous of Russian children's fairy-tales: Speckled Hen. Maybe it's not the most exciting or the cutest of all tales, but it's definitely one of the most enigmatic – even parents are often at a loss. Let's try to decipher it in today's lesson!

Cops and robbers

Cops and robbers

In Russia, it's sometimes hard to say who you have to beware of more, hooligans or policemen. The rule of thumb here is to keep away from both of them. Let's see whether our dialog's hero followed this rule, and discuss some police-related topics as well.

Grandfather Frost

Grandfather Frost

Did you know that Russians not only have their own Santa Claus, but that he also comes not at Christmas time, but on New Year's Eve instead? And not late at night through the chimney, but right through the front door to your happy kids? Come and greet him, too, maybe there'll be presents?

Dodging the draft

Dodging the draft

There are many concerns on a young Russian man's mind, like: "Why did my girlfriend leave me?" or "Where can I get more money?" or "What am I doing with my life?" But very often they are overshadowed by another one: "How can I avoid the draft?" In Russia, military service is compulsory, and not everyone is happy about it. Why it is so, and what can indeed be done to avoid it – this lesson will reveal a couple of open military secrets.

Meeting with a car

Meeting with a car

Here you are, driving to an important meeting in Moscow. You're almost there – but whose car is parked there, blocking your way? We'll find it out in this lesson, together with the discussion of Russian parking habits and some useful words you have to know when driving or walking along Russian streets.

Kings of the road

Kings of the road

A car with its flashers on rushes onto the wrong lane, crashing into someone who wasn't paying enough attention and who then is blamed for the accident. This is not a scary road movie, this is Moscow reality. But who's the real culprit? Was it the ambulance, the fire department, or the police? None of them. Our lesson will give you all the answers and prepare you for some surprises on the big city streets.

Guests are a-coming

Guests are a-coming

Despite their natural reserve and seeming unfriendliness, Russians are well-known for throwing exuberant parties. The backstage of the festivities can be stressful and chaotic, but the result is always delicious. Our lesson will provide you with some menu suggestions among other things – so you'd better not go through it on an empty stomach!

Runaway bun

Runaway bun

Wanderlust – the inability to stay in one place – may not be a typical Russian affliction, but still, there are many Russians abroad nowadays, on the look-out for a less-boring or a less-dangerous country to settle in. To some, they are reminiscent of the most famous of all Russian fairy-tale characters – Kolobok. Kolobok – a gingerbread man-like character - wanted to break free and move on. But did he get a happy ending? You'll find it out in our lesson.

Wish Fish

Wish Fish

Choosing presents can sometimes be very tricky, especially if you're searching for something suitable for two people who get along with each other like cats and dogs. In such cases, it often looks like only the Golden Fish can help you – one that fulfills all your wishes.

A ride in marshrutka

A ride in marshrutka

Another ride in the marshrutka – the shuttle mini-bus - is due today – side by side right next to a lovely Russian girl. Let's listen to her incessant requests and demands addressed to her fellow-passengers and learn how to make our own: The marshrutka is a place where you'll have to use your Russian, so it's better to start now!

Lada's Last Stand

Lada's Last Stand

Bad news awaits us in today's lesson: A car crash is never fun. But wait a minute, are we talking about a Soviet-era Zhiguli here? In this case, a car crash might be a blessing in disguise. Let's find out why in this lesson, and have a look at cars and Russian car industry in particular.

Sleep, little one, go to sleep

Sleep, little one, go to sleep

It's beddy-buy time! Well, obviously not for us grown-ups. Instead, let's stay up and learn a famous lullaby loved by generations of Russian kids. It was also used as a cover song of the first Russian kids' TV-show Goodnight, Little Ones. See if you can recognize the melody.

No more 1990s

No more 1990s

Russian business isn't always clean and fair. Why is the businessman in our dialog going crazy? Because his former partner is refusing to pay him back, and is afraid neither of the tax agency, nor even of a legal suit. These businessmen of today! Life was much simpler back in the 90s when a scammer like this one would be simply eliminated.

How to fix the sink

How to fix the sink

Oh dear, the sink is clogged again. Calling the plumber is the last option in Russia: God knows when he'll finally come and in what condition. That's why our heroes are trying to repair the sink themselves. Let's see how successful they are and what tools they are using.