How to Learn Russian: Native Resource Guide

Russian is considered to be one of the most difficult languages to learn. Pronunciation is difficult for English speakers at first, and grammar rules have quite a few exceptions. To get to an advanced level of Russian, it’s estimated to take about 1100 hours. Compare this to the 600 hours for French or Spanish and you’ll quickly understand you have a challenge ahead of you.

But, good news! Incorporating the language more into your daily life will help speed up the learning process. Check out the list of movie, TV show, podcast, and news source recommendations below to get more practice in and to start picking up on more conversational vocabulary and grammar. These resources will be particularly helpful if you’re still getting accustomed to comprehension and pronunciation.


In this 2014 crime drama, a man living in a coastal town goes head to head with the corrupt mayor after finding out that his house is going to be demolished. The film has been critically praised and draws parallels with the Book of Job from the bible.

The Postman’s White Nights
In this 2014 drama, a postman is a remote village’s only point of contact with the outside world. The people in the village live as if they’re in the Neolithic Era, with no government, social services, or jobs.

Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession
In this comedic sci-fi film, an apartment complex manager and petty burglar accidentally travel back in time to the period of Ivan the Terrible after a time machine malfunctions. Meanwhile, Ivan the Terrible is sent to the present.

Leto is a musical drama about a love triangle between a rock and roll musician, his protege, and his wife in 1980s Russia.

This film only has a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, so we can’t attest to how good it is, but a Russian superhero movie sounds entertaining.

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

TV Shows

To the Lake
This one might be a little too on the nose right now, but we’ll recommend it anyway. To the Lake follows Anna and her boyfriend Sergey as they flee to a lake in Russia’s far north after a deadly virus hits Moscow. It’s based on a best-selling novel by Russian author Yana Vagner.

The Method
Watch this one if you like serial killer crime dramas. It follows a young graduate after her idol takes her on as a mentee. Needless to say, things get weird.

The Red Queen
The Red Queen takes place during the Cold War era and follows the life of Soviet supermodel Regina Zbarskaya.

Russian Beauty
This soapy show follows how Katerina Panova became the face of Soviet fashion in the ’60s.

Life of a Mistress
In this period drama, Polina finds out she’ll be auctioned as property after the death of her benefactor.


Taste of Russian
This podcast is for intermediate learners and is geared towards improving your listening and speaking skills. The first 36 episodes are free.

Slow Russian Podcast
This one is great if you’re a beginner and want to work on your listening skills.

Advanced learners, this one's for you. This podcast covers a wide variety of scientific topics.

Prefer history to science? Try this one instead.

Photo by Jean Colet on Unsplash


Mix some Russian into your usual news routine to stay up to date on current events while you practice your language skills.

RIA Novosti

Удачи! Good luck!