Recommended Tools

The biggest problem in 2020 and beyond is not that there aren’t any good courses/apps/sites available to learn Russian.

The problem is that there are too many.

It’s too easy to be seducted by shiny object syndrome and think that one course or app will be the magic button to fluently speak Russian right away.

Some are better than others. Some plain suck. Some are great.

I’ve tried a lot of different Russian courses, apps, sites and programs. So have many other people I’ve spoken to.

Here below you’ll find my recommended toolbox to speak Russian.

In the above video I explain my progress how I learned Russian.

Some of these courses are paid. If you purchase through one of my links, I will receive a commission. This helps me keep putting out good free content. This commission comes at no cost to you.


A good course is the foundation of your Russian journey. It teaches you the nuts and bolts of the language. You can of course puzzle together all the information yourself. But it’s way easier to just put in your headphones and follow a predesigned program.

Michel Thomas Russian

This is the course I listened to when I started learning Russian. I have not found any other course that mimics the simplicity and effectiveness of Michel Thomas. Especialy in the beginning stages

The beginner course is built up of eight 1-hour lessons. You are the third student in a small classroom, and the teacher teaches the 2 other students the fundamentals of the Russian language.

She asks them questions, they make mistakes, teacher corrects them. And so on. You literally feel as if you are there inside the classroom.

The progressions are also superb, and before you know it you will be speaking pretty complicated sentences.

Start with the beginner course (8 hour).

It’s officially a paid course, but someone put the beginner course on YouTube. Use that ๐Ÿ™‚ Listen to it here.

Then continue with the advanced course (8 hour).

Finish with the vocabulary course (4 hour).

Best way to get these courses is to google them, and see what the easiest and cheapest way it to get them for your country.

If at any point you notice that you do not understand the previous material well enough, just go back a couple of lessons. I listened to each of these courses at least 4 times. So there’s no shame in backtracking ๐Ÿ™‚


After I finished Michel Thomas, I got serious with Russianpod 101. They have an enormous amount of online materials, but I only listened to their audio podcasts.

Those alone are worth the subscription 100 times.

Each lesson is clearly structured:

  • dialogue in Russian at regular speed
  • same dialogue in Russian at slow speed
  • new vocabulary in dialogue
  • discuss new grammar
  • common expressions
  • cultural notes
  • repetition of the dialogue

I haven’t listened to their course for over 2 years now, as my Russian advanced. Recalling how each lesson goes makes me nostalgic for the short walks I used to take listening to their lessons.

You can start a free 7 day trial here.


I recommend you pick one of these 2 apps. The principles are basically the same, just a different execution. Spend around 5 minutes per day on these.

Search for these apps in your app store.


Ankidroid is an awesome spaced repetition app without fancy design. It’s just basic, and that’s why I love it.

Install a user made deck, and do 5 new words, and 10 repetitions per day.

You’ll thank me in half a year, when you know the 900 most common Russian words with less than 5 minutes per day ๐Ÿ™‚


I haven’t done too much Duolingo myself, as I prefer the simplicity of Ankidroid.

But my mom and some other friends have great experiences with Duolingo.

You follow a more structured path, it looks nice, and there’s competitions.

If a nice user interface and gamification make you more likely to open the app and practice Russian, pick Duolingo over Ankidroid.

Speaking Practice

Via Russian

ViaRussian is a small Russian-oriented platform that connects native Russian speakers with people who want to learn Russian.

The platform is different from many other platforms, in that the focus lies just on practicing conversations.

Practicing conversations is the main thing you need to do to get better at conversations. But it can be difficult to find people to practice with.

If you’re looking to practice your Russian online, I recommend you go to ViaRussian.

Series and movies

We’re so lucky that we’re learning Russian. As there are 1000’s of hours of series and movies available in Russian WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES online.

I’ve tried looking for Dutch movies with English/Russian subs for my girlfriend and I had trouble just finding a single one…

So please be grateful for the fact that you know English and learn Russian.

Starmedia EN

Has a ton of great series and movies in Russian with English subs.


Same series as Starmedia EN, just more. But without subtitles, so this is only recommend if you’re intermediate.


Netflix also has around 10-20 movies and series in Russian with English subs. If you already have Netflix, why not watch them?