This post was written by Hanna Sles, a Russian translator and localization specialist, owner of the freelance translator blog.
Watching Russian cartoons is an excellent tool to master the languages either in the classroom or during self-study. Today there are so many of them. And quite often it is very difficult for a language leaner to choose the cartoon that will help learn Russian easily.
Why Watch Russian Cartoons?
Daily interaction with Russian language is useful and cartoons are perfect tools for this. You can watch in one sitting or multiple times. It’s no secret, the more you listen, the closer you will be to Russian culture and language.
Which Russian cartoon to choose?
Generally speaking, there are classic story cartoons, purely entertaining cartoons and educational cartoons. The last ones are designed to teach preschool-age children basic vocabulary. Therefore, the sentences are simple, the speech speed is slower. The episode itself is short and cute, so motivating yourself to watch isn’t hard.
Hence, educational Russian cartoons are perfect for the Russian language learners at the beginner’s and intermediate levels. Whether you are a child or an adult, the language won’t overwhelm you, and cartoons can be an easy step towards more advanced listening practice.
Below you will find the contemporary Russian cartoons, carefully selected according to a learner’s needs. Some episodes are focused on special topics like alphabet, numbers, seasons, professions, so that you will be able to expand your vocabulary and enhance your listening, reading and communication skills.
Russians Cartoons in Language Learning
1 Peppa Pig (Свинка Пеппа – Svinka Peppa) translated into Russian
Peppa pig is an incredible resource from Astley Baker Davies studio for those who learn languages. Peppa Pig speaks 40 languages today. It gained more popularity, when the studio creators decided to translate the series to go global. Successful English to Russian translation services made Peppa famous in Russia. Russian cartoon characters from these series speak a little slower than average. Therefore it has become important asset to those who studies Russian.
2 Masha and the bear (Маша и Ведмедь – Masha i Medved)
It is one of the best animated cartoon series firstly debuted in 2009. It is based on the oral children’s folk story of the same name. It was also released on Netflix, translated into 25 languages and broadcast in more than 100 countries. The show focuses on the adventures of a little girl names Masha and fatherly bear that always keeps her from disasters.
3 The Fixies (Фиксики – Fiksiki)
This Russian cartoon series is based on the story written by Eduard Uspensky “Guaranteed little men”. The television premier was in 2010. And since that time, this cartoon has grown into not only one of Russia’s most popular animated brands, but into a global brand as well. The animated series tells about the family of fixies: little people living inside the machinery and repairing its breakdowns. In this way, the cartoon explains simple scientific principles through interesting stories.
4 Burenka Dasha (Буренка Даша)
This is a unique cartoon karaoke-based project created by Riki Group in Russia. You will find Russian folk songs and fairy tales, as well as stories from Russian writers. Each song is a trip. Dasha and her family invite children to take part in it. With this show, you will get acquainted with the Russian folk wisdom, ethnic lifestyle, traditions and mindset.
5 Masha’s clothes (Машины одежки – Mashiny odezhki)
This Russian cartoon is the perfect resource to learn the names of clothes. It was debuted in 2015. The main characters are little girls – Masha, Kate and Liza. The main intent of the cartoon is to help young Russian-speaking audience select clothes for different situations. Therefore, this animation will be especially useful to those who learn Russian. While watching these series, you will be offered to choose apparels for girls to wear on certain occasions. In this way, you will learn and practice new lexical units related to clothes topic.
6 Luntik (Лунтик – Luntik)
This is another Russian animated series for children. First episode dates back to 2006. The main character is a purple furry alien named Luntik. The series lasts in a format of 6-minute episodes. Each unfolds a story about the world through new experiences and interactions of the characters. Simple sentence, slow speech, situations from Russian culture is the perfect set to enhance mastering your Russian language with this Russian cartoon.
7 Smarta and her magic bag (Смарта и чудо-сумка – Smarta i chudo-sumka)
This is a very funny educational animated series created by Russian artists. It is very similar to famous Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer. The main character is a girl, named Smarta, with a love of exploring the world. She has got a bag with different useful tools: navigator, smartphone and English dictionary. Together with her dog Spotty, she overcomes obstacles and solve puzzles. From the point of language learning, with this Russian cartoon you will easily remember the numbers, geometric figures and letters in Russian. Simple sentences and easy language will also be a good addition to your endeavors.
8 Magic Kitchen (Волшебная кухня – Volshebnaya kukhnya)
Recently released “Magic Kitchen” (October, 2019) has become a real hit in Russia. This is a Russian cartoon about a little girl who dreams to help her mum and become a real chef. With the help of magic tricks, she appears inside the world of your toy kitchen set. Together with her friends she tries to cook and tells the secrets of baking and history of different dishes. For Russian language learners, this is a boundless resource to enlarge dictionary in the food field.
9 Kid-E-Cats (Три кота – Tri kota)
This Russian cartoon was created by CTC Media and Studio Metrafilms. First episode dates back to 2015. At present this series has been launched in 148 countries on Nick Jr. This is a story about three little kittens living in a little town. Every episode is a unique situation that kittens are involved and trying to find a solution. A special value for Russian language learners in these series is episodes dedicated to different professions. Kittens are getting to know about different professions in Russia, and Russian language learners will get a big list of profession names and will enlarge their vocabulary effectively.
11 Aunt Owl’s Lessons (Уроки тетушки совы – Uroki tetushki sovy)
It is a successful animated educational project covering main topics targeted for kids. But Russian language learners will also find it very useful. This Russian cartoon will teach you Russian alphabet, names of colors, names of seasons, and even some arithmetic. With these series, you will certainly expand your vocabulary at different topics, and enhance your listening and reading skills.
P.S. If you want to improve your Russian on 'autopilot', my best recommendation is to just listen to 1 single Russianpod101 podcast per day (about 15 minutes). Ideally you do this when commuting to work to create a lasting habit. You can also take a daily walk. I did this for about 6 months, and it's the reason my Russian improved so quickly. There's a free 7 day trial with just an email address, so you're not risking anything. Give it a try and see how fast your Russian skills improve.