Updated: 
September 29, 2021

Summary: there are so many online Russian language courses available, that it’s difficult to choose which one is good for you. Here are my recommendations: Try Russianpod101 to go from upper beginner to advanced. Try the Russian Conversational Blueprint if you’re looking to speak Russian. Try the Michel Thomas Method if you’re a complete beginner.

A quick search online shows you tens of online Russian language courses. Unfortunately, many of them are outdated, or not as effective as they promise.

I’ve been learning Russian since 2016 and have been through many online Russian courses through the years.

Below you’ll find my top 3 Russian courses.

Why Russian courses are better than free apps

Before we start, you might notice that I do not have any free apps on this list. There’s a reason for that.

Free apps are a good tool if you want to learn Russian.

However, they are only good in the super beginner stages.

If you’re unsure if you seriously want to learn Russian, install Duolingo/Memrise/Drops/Busuu or something similar. Try it for 2 weeks and see if you’re actually interested in the Russian language.

After that, the apps become a repetition of new words. And it becomes increasingly difficult to learn any meaningful vocabulary or grammar with them.

What are the best online Russian courses in 2021?

The first Russian course you try is something special. It can make or break your entire experience learning Russian.

Why?

Because it’s the progress you make in the beginning that will either motivate you. In that case you continue learning.

Or it will demotivate you. And you’ll quit learning Russian completely.

An example I always think about is a Dutch friend. He’s a smart IT guy, and is married to a Ukrainian wive.

He wanted to learn Russian for her.

But the course he took focused on all the wrong things. The teacher wanted him to perfect his Russian pronunciation. And scared him in the first lessons with all the difficult Russian cases he would need to learn.

Needless to say: he quit soon after following a couple of lessons.

While this wasn’t an online Russian course, the same principles apply:

success in the beginning will motivate you to continue. Which gives you more success. And you’ll have more motivation. And your Russian becomes better and better.

But let’s stop the storytime for now. Let’s find out what the best online Russian courses are.

Russian language course #1: Russianpod101

Russianpod101 is a Russian online course that’s a compilation of many different resources:

  • audio lessons
  • video lessons
  • vocabulary lists
  • quizzes
  • they even offer personal tutoring

This is all great. But in my opinion you only need one single part of their repertoire:

The audio courses.

I followed Russianpod101 for about 1.5 years. And before that I could hardly speak any Russian. And after listening to a daily audio lesson for about 15 minutes for over 500 days, my Russian had become good.

Sure, there were other factors But this course is built up so well, that it’s difficult to find another RUssian online course that has more content for the price.

Why is Russianpod101 good?

Russianpod101 is so good because the audio lessons cover everything you need to learn Russian. Here’s an overview of a single lesson:

on is given by two teachers and is structured like this:

  • A short dialogue in Russian (20-50 seconds)
  • The same dialogue – still in Russian, but now spoken slowly
  • The dialogue with its English translation
  • New vocabulary + translation
  • Explanation of new grammatical concepts
  • Common used expressions
  • The dialogue again – so you can test the things you’ve learned

It may sound simple. And it is. But I’ve found that it’s good to not overcomplicate things when learning the Russian language. If you’re serious about language learning, all you need to do is basically:

  1. learn a lot of words
  2. understand Russian grammar
  3. listen often to native speakers
  4. practice having conversations

If you can do all those things on a daily basis, your Russian language skills will massively improve.

And the great thing about Russianpod101 is that it does the first 3 things well. Sure, you may learn more words per hour invested if you were to install a vocabulary app such as ankidroid.

Or you may learn more Russian grammar per hour if you were to spend that hour with a Russian teacher.

But Russianpod101 takes all those things, and puts them together. So you don’t need to create your own schedule of learning. Just listen to 1 single podcast every day, and you’re good.

Add some practice with native Russian speakers, and you’ll do well.

How much does it cost?

This online Russian course is paid. It’s a monthly subscription. And you can decide for yourself which tier you want to take.

Russianpod101 pricing plans.

These prices are if you sign up for 2 years. If you go for a monthly subscription, it’s more per month. But you then do have the flexibility.

Russianpod 101 premium pricing plan

I personally haven’t tried the premium plus program. So I don’t know if there’s a benefit to the 1 on 1 lessons they offer. But you can try it for yourself. They have a 60 day guarantee.

Before you pick a plan, I highly recommend you try their free trial though. Check the Russianod101 lessons and see if you like the style of teaching. Try to listen to 7 lessons in 7 days, and then you’ll have a good overview if you like this online Russian course.

Russian online course #2: Russian Conversational Blueprint

Just so you know, the Russian Conversational Blueprint is my own course. It’s different than other courses, because it’s not a collection of grammar lessons or vocabulary.

There are hundreds of courses, websites and apps that you can use to learn new Russian grammar of vocabulary.

So the main problem is not that there are no good resources. The main problem is that there are so many resources that it’s incredibly difficult to create your own learn Russian schedule.

If you’re following a live Russian class, that’s no problem.

But if you’re learning Russian at home, you need to make sure you spend your time well.

The Russian Conversational Blueprint is a system that guides you exactly how you can learn to speak Russian in about 90 days.

It includes a roadmap and step-by-step system you can follow to learn Russian.

After 90 days of following it for about 1 hour per day, you will be able to have solid conversations in Russian with native speakers.

Why is the Conversational Russian Blueprint good?

Because it gives you a step-by-step program to follow to learn to have Russian conversations.

Once you can have solid conversations with Russian native speakers, you’ll be so happy with your progress, that you’ll be full of motivation.

If I can help you achieve that success in the first 90 days, I can guarantee you that you’ll continue learning. And that is the true secret to Russian fluency: don’t quit learning.

How much does it cost?

There are 2 tiers for the blueprint:

  • Basic course: $79
  • Course + bonuses: $149
Russian Conversational Blueprint pricing

There’s a 90 day guarantee for the Russian Conversational Blueprint, so there’s no risk to trying it out. If you have any questions, feel free to sign up for my email list and reply to one of the emails.

Russian language course #3: Michel Thomas Russian

The Michel Thomas Russian course is a simple audio course that teaches you the learn Russian basics.

It’s a total of 20 hours of lessons.

After listening to the lessons, you will be able to have simple conversations.

You’ll know:

  • approximately 500 words
  • understand 80% of Russian grammar

Each lesson is basically a recording of two students and their Russian teacher.

Natashe Bershadzki (the teacher), gives the two students a lesson. You are there are the third student. So you get to hear the exact mistakes that they make, so you don’t make them yourself. During each lesson the teacher often asks a questions. And you then pause the lesson to answer. And then you listen to what the other students say, and the explanation of the teacher.

Why is Michel Thomas Russian good?

Because it doesn’t feel like learning. It’s a fun way to immerse yourself in a virtual classroom.

If you listen to each lesson with focus, you’ll find yourself learning so much new words.

And the explanation of Natasha Bershadzki for the Russian grammar is so good, that it makes the difficult cases almost sound easy.

Also, each lesson builds on the previous lesson, so there’s a good sense of progression. You use the words from the previous lesson in the new one, so you won’t forget them.

How much does it cost?

The full bundle of all lessons costs $198. You can also order the lessons apart from eachother, but then it will be more expensive. If you’re going to try this Russian language course, I highly recommend you get the complete version.

Which online Russian language course should you pick?

Good, now you’ve seen some of the best Russian courses currently out there. Which one should you choose?

Here are my recommendations:

Russianpod101: pick Russianpod101 if you already have some experience learning Russian. You might already know the Russian alphabet and some basic phrases. In that case Russianpod101 is a good online Russian language course. You’ll be able to go from upper beginner phase to advanced.

Russian Conversational Blueprint: pick this course if you are interested in actually speaking Russian. The course will guide you from the beginner levels to the intermediate level in about 90 days, while focusing on speaking.

Michel Thomas Russian: pick this learn Russian course if you are a complete beginner. The course will teach you how you can go from complete beginner to upper beginner in about a month or 2.



P.S. Do you find it difficult to have conversations in Russian? I know it's hard, because most of my students struggle with it. Wouldn't it be nice to speak Russian fluently without struggling for words all the time? I have designed a step-by-step system where you'll learn to have solid conversations in 90 days. Make sure you click the link to get access now: https://learntherussianlanguage.com/conversational-russian/


About the Author Ari Helderman

My name is Ari Helderman and I help people learn Russian through videos and blog posts where I share my experience. I have been learning Russian since 2016. I often get mistaken for a native speaker these days, so I've learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't if you want to speak Russian well.

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