Russian lessons

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.