Russian lessons

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.

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!