Best Russian Language Courses

Selecting the right course or studying material is one of the most important success factors when learning a new language. When choosing between different programs it is always important to evaluate your learning goals, budget, learning style, possible time for studying and etc. Since there are a lot of people interested in learning Russian the choice between different studying material is also quite large.

Bellow you can find a list of programs that offers to teach Russian and are rated highly by most learners of this foreign language. The list is written together with strong and weak sides of each program so that it would be easier to select a suitable course for your learning needs.

#1. Recommended Russian Online Course – Rocket.

rocket-languagesMost learners and reviews online rate Rocket Russian highly because it is a very dynamic course with many features and a lot of studying material. While the main studying content in Rocket comes in a form of audios, there are also quite a lot of written material included for learning Russian grammar & writing and you can also find a separate section for Russian culture too.

Since it is an online program, it is possible to access all studying material in Rocket Russian while on the go and by using different devices. It is also worthwhile to consider Rocket Languages for studying Russian because this course includes various features, games and quizzes for practicing speaking skills (Voice Comparison), learning and repeating vocabulary.

The Main Pros:

  • Rocket Languages offer 6 days free trial lessons for Russian learners, which can be sufficient time to test this course and the main features included in it;
  • Rocket can be a very useful course for busy Russian learners. Audio lessons can be transferred to any device and app allows to study and access studying material whenever you are;
  • Studying material in Rocket program covers all areas of Russian so with this course you can improve your speaking, listening, reading, writing skills and also understand the main concepts of Russian grammar and language structure;
  • Rocket teaches vocabulary and phrases that are essential when traveling to Russian speaking country. Due to this you will be able to prepare for a trip quickly and you will not need to waste time learning unnecessary words;
  • In this course you will find a separate section that provides information about Russian culture. This type of material can be useful for learners who are interested in finding out more about culture and traditions of people who speak Russian;
  • It is quite easy to track your progress with Russian when studying via Rocket program. You will be able to mark difficulty of each workout and also you will be able to see which exercises and parts of the course are already completed;
  • Rocket includes a couple of features that can help to boost learners motivation to study Russian. These features include badges, optional newsletters on your progress as well as leader-board;
  • You will not need to do much guessing when studying via this Russian program. Audios in Rocket come together with transcripts in both Russian and English, there is a separate section in the course explaining grammar and other aspects of Russian language;
  • Recordings in Rocket course and audios are made by native Russian speaker and also you can practice and compare your pronunciation when using Rocket Record tool. All these features allow you to learn good Russian pronunciation when studying via Rocket program;
  • In order to increase retention rate and make learning less monotonic Rocket includes different games, quizzes and workouts. All these activities will allow you practice Russian from different angles and make studying more engaging;
  • If you will ever get stuck when learning Rocket also offers quite a lot of social features. These include e-mail support, ability to communicate with tutor or other Russian learners (in the forum);
  • One quite useful feature in Rocket course is Phrase Finder, which can work similarly as a dictionary. Not only you will be able to find a meaning of phrase or word, but also you will get examples of how it can be used through different examples;
  • If you will decide to purchase Premium Rocket Russian course you will also get additional studying material – Survival Kit. This particular kit includes additional Russian words and phrases so you can expand your vocabulary even further;
  • You can try Rocket Russian Premium course completely risk free for up to 60 days since it is backed up by money back guarantee;
  • If you would consider all features and studying material included it can be said that Rocket Russian is very reasonably priced program. You can purchase it for as little 99.95 USD, which comes with lifetime membership and future upgrades;

The Main Cons:

  • At the moment there is only one level of Rocket course available for Russian learners. This means that this program is more oriented for beginners at this foreign language and more advanced learners might find studying material not sufficiently challenging;
  • As with most online based courses, Rocket teaches how to communicate in Russian and it only covers basics of grammar. So if you are learning Russian for academic purposes you will definitely need supplementary material;
  • Since Rocket is mostly an online based program, you will need an internet connection in order to study Russian via this course. Although it is possible to transfer audio lessons and use part of the studying material while on the move;

Visit the official page of Rocket Russian.

#2. Living Language.

buy-Living-Language-RussianLiving Language courses can be preferred by learners who want to improve all areas of Russian language – listening, speaking, reading and writing. Since Living Language includes quite a lot of explanations on Russian structure and grammar this course can be very useful for learners who are studying this foreign language for academic purposes.

One of the most popular courses from Living Language is Complete edition where studying content consists of 3 books and accompanying audio CD’s. Many learners choose this edition because it is very reasonably priced and yet it includes a lot of studying material to learn Russian. The same course is also available in an online version and it comes with some additional features like app, access to community of Russian learners and e-tutoring.

Strong Sides:

  • It is possible to choose standard Living Language courses (books + audio CD’s) or an online course. So Russian learners can choose a course based on their budget, learning style and wanted features;
  • Living Language pays quite a lot of attention to Russian grammar and provides explanations on sentence structure, which can be a great advantage for learners who want to study all aspects of this foreign language;
  • This course offers studying material in different forms (audios, written material, online quizzes & games, live sessions with a tutor), which makes studying Russian a more dynamic experience and improves the overall learning efficiency;
  • Living Language courses are suitable for Russian learners who are studying this language for traveling purposes. It teaches essential phrases and words that might be needed to get around in a foreign country and also some content is included on Russian culture and traditions;
  • Since Living Language teaches a new language by dividing it into small parts (Building Block Approach) it is not too difficult to follow studying material and progress confidently with Russian language;
  • Living Language offers quite well rated e-tutoring sessions that can be very useful for some Russian learners. Online version course (longer subscription term) contains some free e-tutoring credits or you can also buy these credits separately;
  • Since this course includes studying material in different forms (visual, audios and written content) it can be suitable for both visual and audible Russian learners;
  • Learners who prefer to study Russian while on the go can choose an online version of Living Language course. It is slightly more expensive than Complete edition; however a few subscription plans are available so it can be suitable for learners with different budgets;
  • Some of Living Language courses (Complete) are very reasonably priced (49.95 USD) and they offer quite a lot of studying material to learn Russian so it is definitely worthwhile to consider them;

Weak Sides:

  • Audios in Living Language are not interactive and this course doesn’t offer advanced features for practicing Russian speaking skills. So if your primary goal is to learn how to communicate in Russian, other courses might be more suitable for you;
  • If we would compare online features of Living Language with other Russian programs it can be said that they are less engaging and not as advanced as with other courses;
  • Complete and Essential editions of Living Language come in a form of books so these courses might be very convenient for learners who prefer to study Russian while on the go;

Find Living Language Russian Courses on Amazon.

#3. Michel Thomas Audio Lessons.

Michel-Thomas-Russian-audio-lessonsMichel Thomas courses for Russian learners come in a form of audios and they promote stress free studying where learners do not need to write or try to memorize anything. Instructor of these audios divides Russian into small parts so that learners would be able to understand everything. She also gives some Russian and English language associations, which helps to recall studying material significantly easier.

One quite unique aspect of Michel Thomas audios is that they feature beginner Russian students. These students are learning Russian together with you – they give answers to instructor questions and ask to clarify more difficult parts.

Main Advantages:

  • Michel Thomas offers two parts of this course for Russian language (Total and Perfect) so it is a suitable course not only for complete beginners, but for more advanced learners too;
  • Since almost all studying material in this Russian course comes in a form of audios it is very convenient to study via Michel Thomas while on the go and it can work great for busy learners too;
  • These lessons feature two beginner Russian learners, which makes studying less monotonic and you can also learn from mistakes that these students make. Quite commonly these students ask to clarify more difficult parts so you can get some useful information from that too;
  • Michel Thomas audios are interactive, which means that you will be asked to say different sentences in Russian quite frequently. This will enforce you to speak Russian from day one and also make you more prepared for real life conversations;
  • Instructor of these audios gives clear and easy to understand explanations on Russian language structure as well as grammar. Also sometimes she provides some interesting culture information and vocabulary associations that help to remember new Russian words easier;
  • These lessons introduce mostly essential Russian vocabulary so Michel Thomas course can be useful for learners who are studying this foreign language for traveling purposes;
  • Michel Thomas lessons are recorded at a normal phase and they do sufficient repetition of new studying content so you will not need to repeat them many times;
  • Free Michel Thomas app is available for iPhone and iPad so users of these devices are able to study Russian more conveniently;
  • This course does sufficient repetition on new Russian material so listeners don’t need to re listen to these audios many times. Also computer program that is included together with Michel Thomas audios gives possibility to practice Russian from different angles and helps to improve overall retention rate;

Main Disadvantages:

  • The fact that there are beginner students present in Michel Thomas lessons also means that you will not always hear proper Russian pronunciation;
  • If you are studying Russian for academic purposes studying material in Michel Thomas course will be definitely not sufficient for you. While the main grammar concepts are being explained in the audios it would be quite useful to have more written material too;
  • While there are two parts of Michel Thomas course available for Russian learners, you will not be able to learn too much vocabulary. As most audio based courses, each lesson in this course only introduces a couple of new Russian phrases;
  • The price for Michel Thomas courses is quite high since you would need to spend about 124-150 USD for only part;
  • If you consider yourself as a fast learner, Michel Thomas Russian lessons might be too slow for you due to beginner students and frequent repetition of studying material;
  • It might be difficult to fully immerse into Russian while listening to these tapes since quite a lot of conversations and explanations are being done in English;
  • Even though latest edition of Michel Thomas course includes computer program that can help to practice Russian visually, it can be said that these workouts are not as engaging when compared with other Russian courses;

Find Michel Thomas Russian Lessons on Amazon.

#4. Assimil Russian.

buy-Assimil-RussianAssimil Russian is made by a French based company so this course tends to be more popular in Europe. The main studying material in Assimil comes in a form of book that contains dialogues in Russian and there is also translation provided in English. The book has accompanying audio CD’s too, so that learners would be able to learn how to pronounce Russian words correctly. Active phase of this course also contains some workouts so learners could practice new learned material more often. Learners can also find some short explanations after each lesson that cover the main concepts of Russian grammar & structure.

Main Benefits:

  • Since Assimil course covers all areas of Russian language you can improve your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. Also grammar explanations are provided, which is enough to learn the basics;
  • Most users of Assimil and reviews online rate this course highly, which is a good proof that Assimil method works for most Russian learners;
  • Assimil can work great for both audible and visual Russian learners since it includes studying material in audios and written form;
  • It is possible to learn good Russian pronunciation from Assimil course. There are accompanying audio CD’s included with native speakers that follow the dialogues in the book. The other quite useful feature of Assimil is that letters in the words that need to be stressed out are bolded, so it  is easier to figure out how to pronounce them correctly;
  • While the main studying content in Assimil comes in a form of book it is possible to study Russian via this course while on the go. The book is small in size so it is possible to take it whenever you go and audios can be transferred to your preferred device too;
  • There is not too much guessing involved with Assimil method and learners can progress confidently in Russian while using this course. Transcripts of dialogues are provided in both Russian and English language and you will find short explanations after each lesson;
  • One quite unique aspect of Assimil method is that it teaches Russian through full sentences and it doesn’t take separate words out of the context. This is quite useful feature since you will be able to see how Russian words are being used through different examples;
  • You can learn essential Russian vocabulary and phrases from Assimil because dialogues in this course cover everyday situations;
  • Most learners can complete one lesson in Assimil within 30-60 minutes of time so it can be a suitable course even for busy people;
  • Even though there is only one part of Assimil Russian course translated into English, it is possible to learn quite a lot of new vocabulary in each lesson. Based on Assimil learners who complete this book can expect to achieve B2 level in this language and learn approximately 2-3 thousand of Russian words;
  • It is not too difficult to immerse into Russian language while studying via Assimil. Audios only include target language and there is not too much English in the book too (only translations of dialogues and short explanations);
  • To make written content more engaging some Assimil lessons include cartoons. Also dialogues in Assimil cover everyday and relevant situations so they are quite engaging to follow;

Main Drawbacks:

  • It might be necessary to repeat Assimil lessons a couple of times because each unit introduces quite a lot of Russian words and new content. While workouts are provided after some lessons it is definitely not sufficient to keep retention rate high;
  • It is not possible to try Assimil method prior to buying this course because no sample & free lessons are provided;
  • Even though Assimil includes accompanying audios, they are not interactive. They are useful for learning correct pronunciation of Russian words, but they will not encourage you to speak in this foreign language out load. Also Assimil doesn’t have any features like Speech Recognition & Comparison that are common with other Russian learning courses;
  • There is only one part of Assimil Russian translated into English. There is also additional part available, but you would need to know French in order to study via this course;
  • While Assimil includes explanations on Russian language structure and grammar, this only covers basics. So if you are learning this foreign language for academic purposes you will definitely need supplementary studying material;
  • The price of Assimil Russian is close to 195 USD so there are definitely cheaper courses available to learn this foreign language (Living Language Complete edition – 50 USD);
  • Although Assimil teaches mostly essential Russian vocabulary, it does that by teaching a new language through full sentences. So if you are studying Russian for traveling purposes, other courses can help you learn essential phrases faster;
  • Unlike most online Russian courses, Assimil doesn’t offer motivation boosting or progress tracking features. Due to this you need to have a lot of motivation for studying this foreign language in order to continue with Assimil method;

Find Assimil Russian course on Amazon.

#5. Pimsleur Audio Lessons.

Pimsleur-Russian-coursePimsleur method has helped many learners to speak and understand various foreign languages throughout the years and Russian is no exception. The main studying material in Pimsleur comes in a form of audios so it is a more suitable course for audible Russian learners. Lessons in Pimsleur mostly follow question and answer format and they feature native Russian speakers. Due to this it is possible to learn how to speak in Russian and with good accent when listening to Pimsleur lessons.

At the moment there are 3 parts of Pimsleur available for this foreign language so it can be a useful course not only for complete Russian beginners, but also for a bit more advanced learners.

Main Pros:

  • It is possible to try one Pimsleur Russian lesson completely free. All you have to do is register at the official site of Pimsleur;
  • There are three levels of Pimsleur course available for Russian language so it is a suitable program for even a bit more advanced learners;
  • Pimsleur audios can be very useful for Russian learners who are studying this language for traveling purposes. Not only you will learn some useful culture information, but these audios also teach Russian phrases and words that are essential for getting around in a foreign country;
  • You will not need to relisten Pimsleur audios too many times since new learned Russian vocabulary and concepts are being included in further lessons;
  • Pimsleur course can be very suitable for busy Russian learners since all studying material comes in a form of audios. Due to this you will be able to transfer them to different devices and learn Russian while on the go;
  • Users of Pimsleur course can learn good Russian pronunciation and accent because audios are being recorded by native speakers;
  • The phase of Pimsleur audios is not too fast and they do quite a lot of repetition so it is not too difficult to follow the lessons and progress with Russian language confidently;
  • Since Pimsleur audios are interactive, listeners are frequently prompted to say different sentences in Russian. Not only does this help to enhance learning efficiency, but you will also be encouraged to speak this foreign language from day one;
  • Instructor of these audios sometimes pronounce more difficult Russian words sound by sound so that listeners would learn how to pronounce them correctly;
  • In case you want more visual features while studying Russian, it is worthwhile to consider Unlimited version of Pimsleur that includes game, flashcards and etc;

Main Cons:

  • The main focus of Pimsleur lessons is to teach learners how to speak and understand Russian. While Pimsleur includes some reading content, it is not very useful for learning Russian writing, grammar or reading;
  • Some Russian learners might find Pimsleur method too repetitive and monotonic since each lesson basically follows question and answer format;
  • Each lesson in Pimsleur only introduces a few new Russian phrases so even after finishing all three parts of this course your vocabulary will be still quite limited;
  • Unlike most audio based courses, Pimsleur doesn’t include transcripts of its dialogues. So if you will find some material unclear, you will not be able to look it up;
  • Pimsleur audios are quite expensive when compared with similar Russian courses. Each level of this course costs 120-150 USD; however there are discounts available and separate lessons can be purchased too;

Visit the official website of Pimsleur Russian.

#6. Rosetta Stone Software.

Rosetta-Stone-Russian-softwareRosetta Stone can be a great choice learning program for visual Russian learners. This software includes various image based workouts that are aimed at teaching all areas of this foreign language – grammar, reading, speaking, writing and listening.

Rosetta Stone teaching method is based on immersion completely so you will not find any lengthy explanations or translations into English language. While this approach can work quite well for some learners, complete beginners at Russian will find it difficult to progress with this software alone and supplementary studying material might be needed. It is also worthwhile to mention that Rosetta Stone comes in two different versions – standard software and online course. Online version can be preferred by Russian learners who want more studying features and prefer to learn on the go.

Main Advantages:

  • Rosetta Stone offers both online course and standard software of this course so Russian learners can choose a version based on their learning style, budget and preferred features;
  • There are even 5 different levels of Rosetta Stone available for Russian so learners can achieve higher level in this particular language;
  • Workouts in Rosetta Stone are picture based and they are also very engaging so you will definitely not get bored while studying Russian via this software;
  • Rosetta Stone includes very little English language so it easy to immerse into Russian when learning. In fact it is not even necessary to know English in order to study foreign languages via this program;
  • Workouts in this program include recordings of native Russian speakers so you will always hear correct pronunciation in this foreign language. Also Rosetta Stone includes an advanced Speech Recognition feature that evaluates pronunciation of a learner;
  • It is possible to choose what workouts to do in Rosetta Stone so you can choose what area of Russian language to improve at any given time;
  • This software has advanced tracking so you can always continue studying Russian where you last left. Also exercises are based on point system so it is easy to track your progress with this learning program;
  • Workouts in this course cover all areas of Russian so you can improve your listening, writing, speaking as well as reading skills;
  • In case you will choose an online version of Rosetta Stone you get an access to some very useful studying features like e-tutoring, games (can be played alone or with other Russian learners), app and etc. These features are included with the main software too; however they are free only for a limited time;
  • Immersion type of workouts make it possible to include more new Russian vocabulary in each lesson. So with Rosetta Stone you will be able to expand your vocabulary more when compared to audio based Russian lessons;
  • Rosetta Stone Russian software is risk free for up to 30 days, since it is backed up by money back guarantee;

Main Disadvantages:

  • Immersion type of exercises in Rosetta Stone are not very useful for learning Russian grammar or sentence structure since they don’t include any explanations. So might need some supplementary studying resources if you want to learn all areas of Russian language;
  • At times it might be difficult to tell the exact meaning of Russian word or phrase in the exercise just by looking at the picture. In these cases it would be great to have the option to see translations in English;
  • Rosetta Stone program is designed the same for all foreign languages and there is no culture information included too;
  • This software includes quite a lot of random Russian vocabulary so Rosetta Stone is definitely not the fastest way to learn essential vocabulary for traveling;
  • While online version of Rosetta Stone comes with some great features it is also priced quite high. You would need to spend between 215-305 USD and the subscription lasts only for a year. Of course, if you are short on the budget you can choose standard software, which offers lifetime access;

Find Rosetta Stone Russian software on Amazon.

#7. Babbel Online Course.

babbel-russian-online-courseBabbel program is based completely online and it includes studying material to improve all areas of Russian language (speaking, listening, grammar, reading, writing and some culture information). Since material in this course can be accessed online and by using different devices it is very convenient to study Russian via Babbel while on the move.

For Russian language in particular Babbel offers quite limited studying material so it is more suitable studying program for complete beginners at this foreign language. Since the main focus of Babbel is to teach learners conversational Russian, it mostly teaches essential words and phrases that can be useful while getting around in Russian speaking country.

Strong Sides:

  • If you want to test features included in Babbel Russian program it is possible to do that by registering at official site of this course;
  • It is possible to improve all parts of Russian when studying via this program since Babbel includes studying material on speaking, grammar, writing, reading, listening and there is even some information provided on Russian culture and traditions;
  • Babbel can work great for busy Russian learners since lessons are divided into very small parts (takes 10-15 minutes to complete) and you can access studying material whenever you are;
  • It is possible to learn good Russian pronunciation via Babbel. Recording in this program are made by native Russian speakers and you can also improve your speaking skills by using Voice Comparison feature;
  • Advanced tracking in Babbel allows you to continue studying Russian where you last left and you don’t need to waste time trying to figure out what parts are already completed;
  • Learning Russian via Babbel is never too monotonic because this program includes image based and engaging workouts;
  • By completing the whole Babbel course it is possible to learn close to 2000 Russian words. Based on CERF scale this would be equivalent to A1 level in Russian language;
  • Russian learners who prefer to study with other people will find some social features included in Babbel too. These include forum and ability to contact other learners;
  • If you are learning Russian for traveling purposes Babbel course can work great for you. Not only it teaches essential Russian phrases for getting around, but you can also find some information on Russian people and culture;
  • Babbel course does sufficient repetition so that learners would be able to recall most of new learned material. Also features like Review Manager helps to repeat previous material and increase overall retention rate;
  • Since workouts in Babbel are based on points it is easier for learners to keep track of their progress with Russian language and it also motivates to continue working on particular workout until the highest possible score is achieved. Daily Challenge feature in Babbel (asks questions from already completed lessons) is also quite useful for boosting your motivation to study Russian on a daily bases;
  • While Babbel includes only limited studying material on Russian grammar and structure, it is still quite useful for understanding basics and progressing confidently with this foreign language. Also the fact that there are translations of each Russian word or phrase means that learners don’t need to do any guessing;
  • Lessons in Babbel are divided based on different topics or area of language so you can always choose to do lessons that interest you the most;
  • Due to the fact that Babbel is a subscription based program you can try this Russian course for as little as 9.95 USD (per month). Also it is backed up by money back guarantee so you can try it risk free for up to 20 days;

Weak Sides:

  • Babbel offers very limited studying material for Russian so by completing the whole course you can expect to achieve only A1 level in this foreign language;
  • While workouts in Babbel are useful for learning and repeating vocabulary it is important to keep in mind that this course mostly teaches individual words that are taken out of context. Due to this, some time might be needed until you would be able to build your own Russian sentences from them;
  • In order to study via Babbel program you will need to be connected to via internet; although it is not a large issue these days;
  • Babbel doesn’t offer e-tutoring, which can be quite useful feature if you get stuck on more difficult parts of Russian and need support;