Russian is considered to be difficult to learn, especially for non-Slavic people or learners who are learning it as their first Slavic language. Most learners would agree that one of the challenges is definitely Russian pronunciation. Shifting word stress and special sounds that are so different from those of English don’t make it easy for you!
How to go about it, then? How to acquire a good Russian accent and leave a great first impression when speaking to native speakers?
You basically have two options:
We are providing the websites of individual podcasts in this blogpost so that you can look for transcripts or other bonus materials. However, feel free to use the titles only and find them in your favorite podcasts app.
Transcripts are a great help in your vocabulary learning, especially if you are a beginner, unsure about how to spell unknown words. Most of the learning materials also show where the word stress should be placed, which makes it so much easier to copy the words and put them into your Anki deck or write them into your Goldlist. You can then review them systematically until you’ve learned them. Without further ado, let’s move on to our list:
This is an amazing resource for all beginners. Although it is all in Russian, it’s not a huge problem because Tatiana speaks very slowly. She explains all the new terms in many different ways using synonyms, and she describes difficult words using simple ones.
In the individual episodes, you’ll learn how to react in common daily situations you can experience as a tourist, e.g.: booking a hotel room or ordering food at a restaurant. But that is not all! You will also learn about Russian culture, traditions – for example, you’ll find out that Russians really like weekend cottage getaways, how real Russian saunas – so-called “banyas” – work, how to make “pelmeni”, and much more about life of people in Russia.
Most of the episodes are made up of a single dialogue which Tatiana first reads slowly and then explains all the new vocabulary. Then she reads it once again, only a bit faster. And as a little bonus, she teaches you one Russian proverb at the end of each episode!
There are over 330 episodes of the podcast on Tatiana’s website, and the first 230 of them come with a free transcript! The text shows also stress placement, and Tatiana provides a list of new vocabulary with equivalents in English.
This podcast is originally meant for beginners, yet advanced learners can benefit from it too and learn some new phrases. On top of that, it is a great resource for shadowing as Tatiana speaks slowly and very clearly. (If you are not familiar with shadowing, you can learn more about this method in my video courses.)
This podcast is great for pre-intermediate and intermediate learners, and similarly to Tatiana’s, it’s all in Russian. But don’t worry! Max’s speech is slow and clear, he explains all the difficult words, repeats himself, provides many examples, and uses synonyms, sometimes even interjections and sounds.
He chooses popular topics such as traveling, relationships, jobs, education, yoga, vegetarianism, minimalism, etc., and shares his personal opinions on them, as well as his experience with them.
There are about 130 episodes so far and Max adds a new one every week. You should definitely give it a shot because the Russian Language Podcast is an engaging and unusual podcast.
In case you like it so much that you’ve listened to all of the material, check out Max’s YouTube channel as well!
If you are a beginner or a pre-intermediate learner and are afraid of listening to podcasts all in Russian, you should try this one.
At the beginning of every episode, Daria reads a short text in Russian and then translates it sentence by sentence into English, while explaining new vocabulary. By listening to her podcast, not only are you working on your language skills but you’ll also learn a lot about Russia, its culture, and widespread stereotypes. Do all the Russians eat a lot of caviar? Are there bears roaming freely around Russia? You’ll find out in the podcast!
The complete transcript of the Russian text and its translation to English, as well as explanations of unknown words, can be found on Daria’s website. There are almost 100 episodes available so far. The length of one episode varies from 10 to 30 minutes.
Apart from the Slow Russian Podcast, Daria has two more podcasts (Russian Pronunciation Podcast focused on pronunciation and TPRS Russian Podcast where she reads short stories), a YouTube channel, and a free course and blog where she shares additional tips on language learning materials.
A Taste of Russian is a podcast for intermediate and upper-intermediate learners covering a variety of daily topics. You’ll listen to how Russians talk to each other at home, at work, in the shops, during exams, or at a party. It covers colloquial Russian, informal vocabulary, idioms, and slang.
There are around 450 episodes already. You can listen to the first 36 of them for free and download their transcript as well. All the others are available only to paying members. Still, you can listen to a 7-10-minute-long excerpt of every episode and enjoy one free episode a month. Each episode consists of two parts – in the first one, the hosts of a podcast read a dialogue or a short text, and in the other they explain words and phrases from it using examples.
This podcast is for everyone really – be it a complete beginner or an advanced learner. You can choose the level yourself and change it whenever it doesn’t suit you anymore. There are as many as 1,200 recordings already so everyone can find something they’ll enjoy.
On top of that, you can find a transcript of every episode on their website and even download it in PDF format. You can also listen to the individual words (provided with English translation) and do exercises that’ll help you remember the words better.
Apart from the podcast itself, you can use a dictionary, pre-created lists of vocabulary on various topics, or have a new word emailed to your inbox every day – all of that for free!
This podcast is meant for advanced learners with a good command of grammar and wide vocabulary. Elena uses a lot of economic and political terms to talk about current world events from the point of view of Russians and citizens of former Soviet republics. She also compares and contrasts ideological and cultural differences between West and East and their respective worldviews.
Elena is a teacher of Russian and English. She’s learning a couple of other languages herself so she knows a lot of effective language-learning methods. One of her main principles is to repeat a word in different contexts, i.e. she uses the phrases from past episodes in the following ones, always in different situations. The aim of her podcast is to make up for the lack of learning materials for advanced Russian. She strives to bring interesting content using current language that Russians use every day, that you won’t find in textbooks.
The podcast consists of 5 parts (Little Russian Things, Russian Idioms, All Things Russian, Easy Rote, Poli-Sci Po-Russki) and contains 54 episodes so far. All of them are free but there are transcripts and other bonus materials available for paying members only.
What about learning some slang, informal expressions, or idioms if you are already an upper-intermediate or advanced learner of Russian? In every episode of this podcast, you’ll learn a few phrases that you may encounter while talking to your Russian friends, watching a movie in Russian, or overhear when walking down the street.
Listen to the new phrases and idioms with examples and clear explanations and learn when it’s (not) suitable to use them. There is a free transcript available on the website including an English translation and stress placement. Moreover, you can also search for unknown phrases in a glossary of all the vocabulary covered in the podcast. And that’s not all! There is a list of famous Russian movie quotes and Russian jokes too. After you go through the content of this website, no Russian expression will surprise you!
This is my personal favorite! This podcast is created by a Russian online magazine so its speech tempo is native-like – not adapted to learners of Russian. I recommend it to advanced learners, but if you find it interesting, try adjusting the speed in your podcast app.
New episodes are released every day. That means there are thousands of episodes and you won’t run out of listening material too soon. By listening to it every day, you will learn something interesting you’ve never thought of before, such as how the thermometer was invented, why cats meow, or how Big Ben got its name. It covers also topics that are a little bit more useful, such as how to travel with kids, how to shop at a fair and not overpay, how to live longer or find the love of your life.
The episodes are 4-15 minutes long, perfect for your daily commute. They are recorded by different people, which is another advantage for language learners. You’ll get better at understanding different speakers, their ways and tempos of speech, accents, and so on. And if you miss something, don’t worry, you can go through a transcript available on the website for free!
This podcast is for everyone who seeks to improve their effectiveness, stick to new habits, and work and live without stress. In each episode, Nikita Maklakhov hosts entrepreneurs, bloggers, coaches, athletes – or all of the above in one person.
These successful people share their experiences and advice, talk about their habits and their unique journey to success. As a bonus, they recommend one book and a movie, a useful habit, or an app to boost their productivity. After each episode, you are left with something new to read, watch and try every time.
On top of that, there is a short synopsis of each episode on the website providing a list of all the links, people, services, and everything else that the interviewee mentioned during the episode.
This podcast is hosted by Roman Rybalchenko and tackles the topic of IT business. In every episode, Roman invites a representative of a different company, and they talk about how the company works, how they do marketing, customer relations, and how to do online business in general.
If you are interested in these topics, you’ll certainly find something for yourself in Roman’s podcast. However, most of the episodes are over an hour-long – excellent for longer travels or if you prefer walking on foot. There is a free transcript available on the website, and if you like to watch videos instead, check it out in video format too!
If you are looking for bilingual materials for beginners in different language combinations, check out this website. You can download plenty of recordings from there and use them as learning material. After you have the basics covered, you can then move on to one of the podcasts we mentioned above.
If you haven’t found your favorite on our list…
Don’t worry, nothing is lost. Try looking for Trending podcasts in your app or search for your favorite topics using a keyword. Be it business, marketing, books, raising a child, or gardening, there is something for everyone. And please remember to share your favorite podcast with us in the comments; other readers will surely benefit from your advice too!
Translation: Veronika Báthoryová
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The author of this blog post is Barbara Pecková, a professional translator and member of the Language Mentoring team since 2017.
Language Mentoring provides a complete guide for learning any language using simple and often free resources on the internet and in bookshops. It was founded by polyglot, language mentor and author of this website, Lýdia Machová, in 2016. She's learned 9 languages by herself and she adds another one every other year. Her philosophy is that everybody can learn a language regardless talent, age or other qualities – if they know how to do it.