Use: learning basic-to-intermediate spoken Russian

Effectiveness

You will learn real-life spoken Russian.

Cost

Not the cheapest but reasonable.

Ease of use

Easy user interface & lessons.

Support

Great answers but some delays.

I love

  • 75+ hours of podcasts
  • 15 minute lessons cover every topic
  • 2000 most common word list

I don't like

  • Promotional content in some lessons
  • No advanced grammar explanation
  • 1 teacher's (Eddy) annoying voice

Summary: Russianpod101 is for me the best Russian language podcast for beginners out there. However, once you reach the intermediate stage, it will start to lose its magic progressions structure.

This is why I put this review together. To help you make the most of it and learn real spoken Russian.


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From $4/month (Free Trial for 7 Days)

Before you start reading this review, take a minute to watch me speaking Russian. Just so you know that I walk the talk 😉

Moscow, Russia - Do you want to speak fluent Russian? Do you want to talk with your Russian friends or partner without stumbling over words? Or do you need to learn Russian for your job? You'd be amazed at how fast you'll be able to speak Russian with the  new audio-based program Russianpod101In this detailed Russianpod101 review you'll learn exactly why this program is the missing key that you need to learn Russian...

It might seem unbelievable that in a year you will be speaking Russian like a native:

I understand. Maybe the following statement represents how you think about learning Russian:

"Russian is considered a difficult language and many who start learning it give up after a few months"

But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?

What if there's an easier way:

That allows you to speak fluently - and learn it in a relatively short period of time? We're talking about months to a year - instead of years (or even decades!).

 If you've got the right tools - you can beat the odds:

A short background story.

I used to put in hours of practice every day.

When I went to Russia on a 14 day trip in the summer of 2016 to put my Russian skills to the test, I was shocked.

After two and a half years of practice I could only have basic conversations...

After my first long day in Moscow I laid down to sleep and thought to myself:

"What did I do wrong during studying? Isn't two and a half years enough to at least have normal conversations?"

I could barely believe it… It felt like all my effort had been for nothing.

moscow city
"What is the fastest way to improve my fluency in Russian?" was my thought while I made this picture from Moscow City. (view from the apartment of a friend)

I resolved to go all-in for the next two weeks of my trip:

I put a ton of effort into speaking Russian with every single person who came upon my path.

I was determined to be able to speak well, without long pauses stumbling for words. Without the small vocabulary that made me sound like a 8-year old Russian kid. Without awkward conversations – because I couldn't understand what Russians said to me.

When I returned from my trip I could already speak better, because I had so many opportunities to practice in Russia.

So this crash course in Russian had helped when I was in Russia... but back home I had no one to practice speaking Russian with.

So naturally my thoughts went:

"I need to find something that mimics the experience of being in Russia. Some sort of immersion in the Russian language and culture."

Then, after a couple of weeks of looking for the right Russian program, I met up with a good friend of mine. She just came back from a trip to Spain and told me she had a great time. Not only did she speak very well, she also said that she was mistaken for being native Spanish several times.

Still thinking about my experiences in Russia - I asked her how she had managed to do that in such a short period of time:

She replied that she had been using a program called Spanishpod 101 and that it helped her to improve not only her level of speaking, conversational abilities, but also her pronunciation in Spanish…

Later, still impressed by her results I began googling. Was this Spanishpod 101 also available in Russian?

Turned out it was available in Russian and I signed up immediately:

It’s been over a year ago since I first found Russianpod101. It has helped me tremendously with learning how to speak real Russian that I want to share my experiences with the program here with you.

Russianpod101 Review - What Is Russianpod101?

Russianpod101 (Link) is an online language program developed by Innovative Language Learning. They offer a wide variety of languages and Russian is one of their programs.

Their mission is to teach Russian in a clear and effective way. So you can make fast progress in speaking Russian. Here’s a short recap of what their philosophy on learning a language is all about:

“The purpose of Russianpod101 is to expose the listeners (you) to native speakers and help people learn conversational Russian faster than traditional language learning (several months to a year instead of many years)”

What this means is (as you’ll discover later) that the way they teach is based around real Russian native speakers and real life examples. You can basically see it as an all-inclusive immersion program in Russian.

In my experience, it is one of the closest ways to experience actually being in Russia, even if you’re in another country. And everyone knows that one of the best ways to learn a language is to go to the country where they speak that language.

Virtually anyone knows a friend, family member or colleague who moved to another country – or to your country – and grasped the language in a short period of time. All because every day they were confronted and immersed in the language they were learning.

I’ve found this is also the case for any good language program. And Russianpod101 is one of the few programs that completely immerses you in Russian.

How Russianpod101 Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Many programs only focus on one part of the language (e.g. speaking, listening, reading, vocabulary, grammar etc.) Think back on your high school foreign language courses:

Chances are you spent a lot of time learning grammar. Whereas that time would’ve been better spent having simple conversations with your teacher or other classmates.

This balance in each aspect of Russian is one of the main things that Russianpod101 does incredibly well. For instance: you will learn the grammar at the same speed as you are practicing your conversation skills. 

And it is exactly this balance that will get you the fastest to your goals. Think about it as car. If one wheel is lacking the optimal pressure, it will slow the entire car and bring it out of balance…

Let’s move on to everything else you will find inside the Russianpod101 program.

Russianpod101 review
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times both wrote a Russianpod101 review describing how the program can teach you effortless Russian.

Everything You Will Find In The Program

Like I said before, in any language program it is important to have all the aspects of that language included. So you can learn as effective and fast as possible

Except for the audio and video lessons (which we’ll be discussing later) - here is the complete list of everything else you will find inside the program:

  • List of 2000 most common words in Russian ( plus example phrases )
  • A tool to help you perfect your Russian pronunciation
  • A guide that will teach you the Russian alphabet
  • List of Russian key-phrases
  • Complete dictionary
  • Verb conjugation sheets
  • Easy to follow tutorials on Russian grammar
  • Grammar database ( detailed write-ups covering over 100 grammar points )

Let’s See What Others Think About The Program

Now, before we get into the nuts and bolts of how the program is going to help you speak better Russian, I want to show you some opinions of others who have tried the program:

 

"I have been using RussianPod101 for just over a month, and I’m so pleased at how much I have learned. I believe this is due to how your audio and video lessons are structured as well as your tutors. Previously I used pimsleur Russian, however I believe that your material has helped me greatly. When I listen back to the pimsleur Russian it starts making sense what they are saying so thank you keep up the good work!"

- Gavin Sowerby

 

"This Premium PLUS service was the best choice. Before that I didn’t have any idea how to learn Russian, but after, my teacher Oksana helped me a lot and she gave me a very good learning system. Now I can work with Russian guests because I am an entertainer animator. Oksana always gives me tips how can I learn faster, and if I'm having trouble with the learning, she always helps me to adjust my focus, so I highly recommend this service for anybody who wants to talk in Russian!"

- Tomas Zele

Here’s How Russianpod101 Will Help YOU Learn Russian

After listening to the podcasts for over a year - and having listened to every single podcast they have to offer, I could talk for hours how exactly the program will help you learn Russian...

But since our time is valuable, I want to tell you about the three things that will help you the most to become fluent in Russian.

The Audio Lessons

These are the best part of the program. If you have any experience learning languages you’ll know that audio is the format that beats every other type of study.

Why?

Because being fluent in another language is all about speaking and listening. By listening to audio courses you are practically guaranteed that you will be able to communicate with native speakers. All because you have trained your ears to spoken Russian..

By listening to audio lessons you gain so much benefits that are you won't achieve by just reading language books. Here are all the advantages you will receive when listening to the lessons:

  • Your ears will get trained to the language – You’ll be able to differentiate words easier and understand native speakers with ease.
  • Your pronunciation will get better. By exposing your brain to correctly pronounced Russian, you will pick up on subconscious cues and improve your pronunciation without any effort.
  • Ever had the experience of knowing how a word is written, but having no clue how it is pronounced? With audio this problem is over and you’re more likely to experience the opposite problem.

Now that you know why audio is the perfect tool to improve your Russian language skills, let’s get to Russianpod101’s audio lessons:

You’re probably curious about the structure of each lesson - and how they manage to pack each 15 minute lesson with a ton of valuable information.

Structure Of Each Audio Lesson

Each lesson is given by two teachers and is structured like this:

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

As you can see, virtually each aspect of learning Russian is discussed. And that’s exactly the strong point of Russianpod101. Also, in each lesson cultural information about the Russian culture, history, cities, nature and traditions is discussed:

You will not only speak fluently, you will also learn a great deal about the country and people!

I cannot stress the importance of this last part enough. For instance, did you know whistling within a house is very offensive to the owner of that house? Or that Russians love giving and receiving presents, but there are several presents that cannot be given?

You’ll learn those and more within the audio section of the program:

russianpod 101 by innovative language learning
This is how the audio lesson interface looks like. You can pick your lesson, download the lesson PDF and listen to the lesson review and dialogue track.

Oh, and one last thing, you might be wondering how much lessons you will actually be getting. Don't worry. There's a LOT of content. From the Absolute Beginner lessons to the advanced Russian dialogues, there are:

  • 5 different levels
  • 14 different seasons
  • Each season contains 25 audio lessons
  • Each lessons takes on average 15 minutes
  • Which gives you a total of 75 hours of listening time. And that’s without any of the other resources or video lessons

"That’s an immense amount of content for less than the price of an hour of traditional language schooling."

Join over 6 million other Russian learners at Russianpod101!

List of 2000 Most Common Used Words (+ Pronunciation Helper)

The second best thing about Russianpod101 is the list of 2000 most common used words. Studies have shown that, even though the Russian language contains over a 150.000 words (excluding красиво - красивый etc.: these count as 1 word), the 2000 most common words make up ­83% of the daily used vocabulary:

Learning these 2000 words will mean that you can get by in virtually any regular conversation you might have – it also means you can read Russian newspapers and books, listen to Russian music, and watch Russian television and movies that are not available in English.

Now you might think “But I can find lists of most-used words everywhere on the internet…” and you’re totally right.

But the one thing that gives this specific list an edge is the extras. With other list you have just that - a list of Russian words followed by the list of their English counterparts.  That might be good enough if you’re looking for a quick translation, but does such a list help when you really want to increase your vocabulary?

I’ll tell you what. It doesn’t. If you’re learning a word, you want to know how it is pronounced, right? And you also want some example sentences so that you know exactly how the word is used.

Take a look at the screenshot below how it will look like when you’ll be learning vocabulary. See that speaker-button? Press it and you’ll hear the right pronunciation. Want to know more about how to use the word you’re looking at? Check the examples.

This one single list is already worth the price of Russianpod101.

is russian pod 101 a scam
Nice to meet you! With the audio button you'll learn how to pronounce words the right way.

Total Package (It Includes Every Single Aspect Of Language Learning)

As I said before when choosing a language program it is important that you pick one that has all the aspects of Russian language learning. Of course, you can use one book for grammar, some random list on the internet for vocabulary and a website for practicing your listening and conversation skills.

But wouldn’t it be easier to have everything in one place? Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, listening & comprehension skills, cultural aspects and more. To have the total package, easy and simple in one single place.

That way you don’t have to keep track of all your resources and can actually focus your time and energy where it matters - so you can learn Russian.

And another thing Russianpod101 does well is the gradual difficulty increase of the Russian level in its podcasts. And what’s even better: it does so in every aspect of the Russian language.

Even if you would only listen to the podcasts and ignore all the other resources, you would make massive improvements in your Russian fluency. You'll make gradual process since the lessons are created in such a way that each lesson builds upon the next.

This ensures that you make optimal progress. Your vocabulary grows at the same rate as your knowledge about the grammar rules.

There’s a whole lot that can be said about different aspects of learning new languages. Far too much to be discussed here,. If you want to learn more, you can follow this link.

But Wait – There Is One Thing

I’m not the kind of guy who only talks about the positives.  So I want to draw some attention to some of the drawbacks of the program in this Russianpod101 review. Even though Russianpod101 has helped me improve my Russian tremendously, there is one thing that kind of bugged me while going through the program.

I told you before about the audio program, and how the two teachers start with a Russian conversation, and then explain the used vocabulary, grammatical concepts and cultural references.

There is one teacher, whose name is Eddy. When he speaks Russian, there is no problem. Even though he has an accent (he is not a native speaker), his Russian is good.

The problem is when he starts speaking English, for some reason he talks like he’s the presenter of a Football match. Including all the exclamation points and overhyped sentences. While there’s nothing wrong with this type of speaking, I feel it’s unnecessary when the subject is grammar.

Fortunately, all the other 13 teachers speak in a good way. For the non-native teachers, their Russian is great, and for the native teachers – they have a very good grasp of how to easily explain grammatical concepts in English.

(UPDATE: some others listeners also commented on Eddy’s style of presenting, and he’s changed it. After the first Beginner Intermediate season he's changed his way of teaching and it’s now a pleasure to listen to his lessons!)

Why 15 Minutes Per Day Is All You Need

You're probably wondering what exactly is going to happen when you sign up for Russianpod101. Well, it's simple. After you've signed up for - let's say premium membership (only $25 per month) - you'll get to pick at what level you want to start:

NOTE: I recommend starting with the audio podcast and using the other resources when you feel you could use them.

  1. Introduction
  2. Absolute Beginner
  3. Beginner
  4. Intermediate
  5. Advanced

Let's say you already know some basic words and grammar. You've followed some classes and can hold a basic conversation. You classify yourself as a beginner learner. So you start with the beginner lessons:

You plug all the beginner seasons on your phone and get started. You listen to one lesson per day - and after the first two weeks you already notice that your vocabulary is getting a little bigger - you recognize some more words. And you understand more spoken Russian when you watch a Russian movie.

And that's only with one lesson a day. So why is 1 lesson (15 minutes) a day the magic number?

Because at that pace you will be able to go from Absolute Beginner to an advanced speaker in the time span of one single year.

Assuming you can spare 15 minutes every day, you can go from a beginner Russian learner to an advanced Russian speaker. And the great thing is that everyone has 15 minutes. Because it is an audio program you can listen to it while you're:

  • Commuting to work
  • Cooking a meal
  • Going for a walk
  • Doing household chores
  • Working out

So, if there's one thing I want you to take away from this Russianpod101 review it's this: Even if you have every single minute of your day scheduled, you will still be able to become fluent in Russian by the end of the year!

Having said that...

The Program Also Comes With A 100% Satisfaction Or Your Money-Back Guarantee:

If you still have doubts about the effectiveness of the program - Russianpod101 comes with a 100% money back guarantee. If you try out the program and you're not satisfied you can get your money back within 60 days. No problems, just a quick message to Russianpod101 and they will refund you the money.

That means that when you follow the program the absolute worst that can happen is that you get a couple of hours of free Russian language audio and video lessons!

So How Does It Work?

After you've ordered your package (Basic or Premium) you'll gain immediate access to all the resources Russianpod101 has to offer. No need to wait untill your account is verified. You can start to learn Russian right away!

For less the price than a cup of coffee per day (you can subscribe for as low as $25/month for premium courses) you can get access to:

  • Over 75 hours of total audio lesson time
  • List of 2000 most common word in Russian (plus pronunciation and example phrases )
  • A tool to help you perfect your Russian pronunciation
  • A guide that will teach you the Russian alphabet
  • List of Russian key-phrases
  • Russian dictionary
  • Verb conjugation sheets
  • Easy grammar tutorials
  • Grammar database ( detailed write-ups covering over 100 grammar points )
  • And more...

"RussianPod101 has helped me to learn Russian through its easy to use visual and audio podcasts and powerful My Tools module which allows me to structure my learning experience in a manner that is best suited to my abilities and needs. The interactive dialogue with Anna and Erik is great for helping me hear and learn the words. Thanks so much!"
- Scott Stephenson 

Try it 7 days for FREE!

I can understand that you might want to try the course before you order. And did you know that you can get a free trial pass for Russianpod101?

That means that you can check out all their resources, audio and video lessons - with no risk whatsoever. I did this too before I signed up. But already after several lessons I could tell the program was right for me. It just clicked with me.

When you sign up for a free 7-day trial you're not being tricked into anything. What's more:

You can sign up for the free trial below with only your e-mail address or Facebook account. No payment details required:

Sign Up For The FREE Seven Day Trial of Russianpod101 & Start Learning Russian the Easy Way!

P.S. If you're looking for 1 single program that will help you get better at Russian, Russianpod101 is what you need. By following one lesson every day (about 15 minutes) you'll go from a complete beginner to advanced Russian speaker within a year. Prices go as low as $4 a month - which is less than $0.15 cents per day!

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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