Michel Thomas Russian Review: 5 Reasons Why I Love The Course

By Ari Helderman
December 27, 2021

Moscow, Russia – If you haven’t yet, read my Michel Thomas Russian review. This review contains a ton of useful information about the Michel Thomas Russian programs (why they offer a lot of value for beginners, why audio programs are the best way to go, and a lot more)

Click here to read the Michel Thomas Russian review Beginner courses.

And if you have, good job! The next step is for you to find out why the Michel Thomas method works. Now, this is not just done to give you a favorable impression of the program…

Actually, on the contrary. When I was just getting started learning Russian (over 3 and a half-year ago), I used the Russian courses by Michel Thomas with great success.

Russian is a tough language to learn… and many beginner learners quit after a couple of weeks (if not days!). I’ve found that, if you’re really serious about learning Russian, it’s best to start with the right program.


Because this way you’ll dramatically increase your chances of not giving up!

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll get extra motivation when you start seeing results come through. What this all means is simple:

The better your start is when learning Russian – the higher your chances of becoming fluent in the Russian language!

So, with that out-of-the-way… What does a good science-based Russian course actually need? I’ve found that the best beginner courses all:

  • Give you the essential information when you’re just starting out
  • Do not overwhelm you with difficult grammar rules and vocabulary lists
  • Focus on giving you a short and concise overview of the language (and what you can expect)
  • And most of all, make the process fun!

So, without further ado… let’s get into the Michel Thomas Russian review And find out why it works if you want to learn Russian!

michel thomas vocabulary builder
Sevastopol, Crimea – Crimea is one of the most beautiful places to go in Russia!

Quick overview of the Michel Thomas Russian courses

In total there are 3 different packages of the Michel Thomas Russian courses. They are all divided into several categories (Which I’ll explain later). Here are the 3 Michel Thomas packages that you can get:

  1. Beginner Russian
  2. Advanced Russian
  3. Russian Vocabulary builder

Here’s all the info you’ll need about each of these courses:

Watch this video where I tell you in Russian (with English subtitles) 9 reasons why Russian is actually easy to learn.

1. Michel Thomas Russian Beginner

The beginner courses contain 8 CD’s and teach you exactly that what you’ll need as a beginner. And each CD contains around 60 minutes of useful audio content. The course starts to teach you simple words such as:

  • Bank
  • Theatre
  • Big
  • Brother
  • Sister

And also teaches you how to say simple verbs

  • It is
  • That is
  • I like
  • I do
  • You can
  • etc.

In the end you can expect to make pretty complicated phrases already. The main strength of the beginner course is that at no point during the 8 CD’s will you feel overwhelmed. On the contrary, the program is very simple to follow (just listen to the CD’s) and follow the instructions. All it asks of you is that you concentrate on the audio lesson, and answer the questions from your teacher (Natasha Bershadski).

It’s complete breeze to listen to the program and you’ll find yourself learning Russian words and phrases without effort!

Note: As said before, I wrote a comprehensive Michel Thomas Russian review about the  beginner Russian course. You can find all the information here.

The Michel Thomas Russian Beginner course is everything you need when you’re a beginner Russian learner!

2. Michel Thomas Russian Advanced

The Michel Thomas advanced Russian course starts where the beginner course ended. In this course you will increase your vocabulary of useful words. You will also start learning  all the cases in Russian!

This is a very intense course (there are 4 CD’s here – each around 60-80 minutes of listening time). I highly recommend you listen to these lessons twice. Because sometimes the speed at which you’ll learn new grammar and words can be slightly overwhelming.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing. After all – it’s the advanced course!

If you’ve enjoyed the Michel Thomas Russian beginner course, then you’re guaranteed to learn a whole lot more with the Michel Thomas advanced course!

Michel thomas russian review

Michel Thomas Russian Advanced is where you’ll learn the complex Russian case system

3. Michel Thomas Russian Vocabulary Builder

After you’ve learned much of the difficult grammar in the Russian language with the advanced course, you probably want to increase your vocabulary.

This is where the Vocabulary Builder course comes in. It’s in the same format as the Advanced course (4 CD’s – each 60-80 minutes of intense audio content). but the main focus is not longer on grammar and increasing your comprehension of Russian.

You will learn a ton of new words and your vocabulary will double, if not triple!

After listening to the Michel Thomas Russian Vocabulary builder, I could start having good conversations in Russian.

And chances are high that you too, will be able to converse with native speakers after you’ve finished the last course of Michel Thomas Russian.

If you’ve followed the Advanced Course, then the Vocabulary Builder is the perfect complement to polish your Russian skills.


Michel Thomas Russian review: Learn 1000+ new words with the Michel Thomas Russian Vocabulary Builder!

Michel Thomas Russian Review: my experience

Just so you get a better overview of how the Michel Thomas courses might help you learn Russian, I think it’s a good idea to tell my experience shortly. I started learning Russian in the end of 2014. A friend taught me some Russian words and I got interested in the language. Since I was already using Michel Thomas to learn a bit of French, I decided to check out the Russian programs of him.

That clicked right away, since I quickly realised that I enjoyed Russian more than other languages. So in the first year I virtually only practiced Russian with Michel Thomas. The 3 programs I listened to about 5 times each. repetition is the key to learning – and listening to the programs that much really gave me a head start to speaking Russian.

After only half a year of learning Russian I already started getting compliments on my skills. And I really credit this method for that. But enough about me in this Michel Thomas Russian review – let’s talk about some of the concrete benefits that you’ll get when listening to this program.

5 Things I liked most about the Michel Thomas Russian programs

#1 Natural progression that teaches a lot in a short period of time

Some Russian courses jump from one subject to the other. Which makes them hard to follow. With Michel Thomas you’ll find that each lesson builds on the last one. Each CD nicely follows the previous. And even every track adds just a little bit of new things compared to the previous.

So what you’ll find is that every lesson you follow builds another small layer of vocabulary and grammar upon the previous. I believe a lot in incremental progress (especially when it comes to learning a new language). So if you make a bit of progress every day: learn some new words, a new ending for a case, and some new verbs – then you’re going to make a ton of progress in the long run.

Daily it might not feel like a lot of learning is going on – but if you look back after a couple of months you sure completely surprise yourself (and others) with how many progress you have made in a short period of time.

#2 The emphasis lies on speaking

When I first started learning Russian, what i really wanted was to learn how to speak Russian. And I think it’s that way for the majority of people who are learning Russian. So, you also need a program that focuses on learning how to speak. And the Michel Thomas method is focused mainly on speaking. To start, audio is already a great way to learn how to speak – a lot better than most programs that do not incorporate audio. And since the program is meant to be paused so that you can then repeat the phrase, you can make a lot of real speaking progress. Added to that is the fact that all the words and phrases that you are going to learn can be easily used yourself to create your own phrases.

michel thomas russian speaking
After you’ve read this Michel Thomas Russian review, you’ll know everything you need on how the program can help you learn how to speak real Russian!

#3 It’s a virtual classroom

The way the entire program is set up is that you’re going to be in a virtual classroom. It’s going to be an audio class-only, but that is a good thing. There are 2 students, and 1 teacher. So during the course, the teacher will explain new words, grammar and phrases to your (and the 2 other students). When she asks a question, you pause the program and answer the question. Than, when you resume, one of the other students will answer. Most of the time they make a small often-made mistake. The teacher (Natasha Bershadski then explains to you what the mistake was and how to say it correctly. I really like this approach because you can often learn a lot from mistakes.

By the way, the 2 other students are also real students at the time of the recording. So it’s not scripted and feels very natural. This makes it even easier and more fun to listen to the program.

#4 Listen to audio anywhere (saves time)

I recommend you get the audio course program so you have the MP3 files and can put them on your phone. But it works as well with the CD’s. Because you can listen to the program from your phone, you can easily listen to the tracks when you’re commuting, doing chores or maybe flying to Russia! it can save a lot of practice time if you use those *dead time* in your car, or while travelling to learn Russian. For example, if you’re driving to work every day for 30 minutes, than you can use this 30 minutes twice to learn Russian.

Now, the program asks that you pause every track the moment they ask a question. but I’ve found that if you’re an average to smart learner, you can get by without pausing. Maybe you need to listen to some of the tracks one more time in order to get it. But it sure pays off if you can use all the time in your car or traveling to become better in Russian.

#5 Good introduction to the Russian case system

The Russian case system can be very overwhelming the first time you get to know it. Every word can have 6 different forms. And that’s excluding the plural forms. This also means that each adjective needs to be in the right form. For both masculine, feminine, neuter and plural. So you’ve got a lot of memorization and practice to do to really get it.

You can do this through brute force memorization, but that is going to be very tough. In the program you’ll find a different approach. Little by little you’ll learn new cases and their endings. Together with all the practical examples, this will make learning all the Russian cases much easier. If you’re struggling to learn the cases, I also recommend you check out Michel Thomas.

Michel Thomas Russian review conclusion

The Michel Thomas Russian methods is a great way to get started learning Russian. I used it with great pleasure myself when I was just starting out learning my first phrases in Russian.

Therefore I highly recommend you follow the complete series if you’re serious about learning Russian.

The 3 programs are structured in such a way that each course builds upon the previous. And as you’ll see, each CD will build upon the previous CD’s.

The Michel Thomas Russian method offers you a well-structured approach to learning Russian, In addition, you can learn thousands of new Russian words and get a good feeling for the complex grammar rules (especially the cases and the perfective/imperfective aspects of Russian).

Highly recommended for everyone who wants to learn Russian!

P.S. Enjoyed this Michel Thomas Russian review? If you’re a beginner Russian learner, do yourself a favor and get yourself the Michel Thomas Russian beginner CD’s! You’ll thank yourself later!

What should you do next?

Learning Russian does NOT need to be difficult. All you need is a solid plan that helps you improve the following things daily:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • listening skills
  • speaking skills

That's ALL you need. If you can do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll already be making great progress in your Russian skills.

And the best part? If you improve a little bit every day, soon these practices will become daily habits.

And then you will start making progress on autopilot.

This means that learning Russian is now a part of your daily routine. So you won’t even need discipline anymore to get yourself to practice.

If you like the idea of this, but don’t know where to start, go here for more information.

About the Author

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.

Ari Helderman