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The Best Russian Lessons

What's the Best Way to Learn Russian?

If you're interested in learning the language, you likely already realize that it's going to be more challenging than some. First off, Russian uses a completely different alphabet, Cyrillic, from what you're using right now to read in English. Training your mind to recognize the new symbols and the sounds they make (or to make different sounds using letters that look similar between Cyrillc and the Roman alphabet) can take some time.

You'll also have to master a grammatical system that's quite different from English. Do you know the difference between the nominative case and the dative case? It's okay if you don't - because of the six cases used in Russian, we only use three in modern English.

Thursday, February 9th

2023 Russian Lesson Reviews

LinguaLift Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

LinguaLift takes a personalized approach to helping people learn Russian across six levels of fluency. An affordable subscription gives you access to help from tutors and a customized learning plan, and the first three lessons are free to use if you want to give the service a try. You might need to pair LinguaLift with an app for extra practice, especially for speaking Russian, but these lessons are the most approachable, comprehensive and enjoyable ones on the market today. LinguaLift earns our highest rating.

italki Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating

Learning Russian on paper is fine, but most students would love to be able to speak it fluently too. italki is the best way to do both. You can choose from informal lessons with "community" tutors to in-depth sessions with professional instructors - with over 1,000 experts to choose from! If you're brave enough to work one-on-one with a tutor, this should be the first option you consider for Russian lessons.

Russian Pod 101 Review 4.5 Star Rating

Russian Pod 101

4.5 Star Rating

Russian Pod 101 will quite literally overwhelm you with the amount of content they offer in their Russian lessons. You can use a lot of it for free, but you'll get the most out of your account with one of three paid plans. The top tier includes customized lesson planning and feedback from a professional Russian teacher! If you can get past the overly sales-pitchy first few pages and wind your way through all of the many options, you'll have plenty to learn from Russian Pod 101.

Rocket Languages Review 4 Star Rating

Rocket Languages

4 Star Rating

If you're a complete beginner to learning Russian and you don't want to commit to an ongoing subscription plan, Rocket Languages' Russian lessons are a decent place to start. You'll get almost 150 hours of lesson time that includes plenty of reading, writing, listening and even cultural information, all for a one-time cost of less than $150 (or less than $100 if Rocket is offering a promotion). More advanced students won't get what they need with Rocket Russian, but newbies should give it a try with a free guest account.

Busuu Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

For beginners and more experienced students alike, Busuu is a great choice for Russian lessons. The no-cost Basic membership gives you access to nearly 150 lessons across levels A1-B2, and subscribing to one of Busuu's paid plans gives you access to their full range of features. Just watch out for your account's automatic subscription renewal date, because you've only got a 14-day refund policy on the Premium and Premium Plus plans. Overall, you've got nothing to lose by giving Busuu a try.

Memrise Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

For a little over 10 years, Memrise has been one of the most popular app-based ways to learn a language, including Russian and many others. Video clips introduce you to the language exactly how it's spoken by locals, starting with recognizing Cyrillic letters and basic sounds. Using Memrise's Russian lessons feels easy, natural and fun, and their free account offers enough access to help you decide if you want to subscribe. Memrise is a good option for studying Russian in a low-stress way.

Babbel Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

Babbel usually gets ranked near the top of the stack when it comes to language learning platforms, but their Russian lessons don't measure up as well. You'll get a limited amount of access in your free account; noticeably absent are Roman alphabet transliterations and speaking exercises. Babbel also doesn't go beyond a beginner level, but on the positive side you'll have over 100 lessons to work through. This isn't a terrible way to start learning Russian, but it's not quite our favorite either.

Mondly Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

Mondly offers a fun way to get started with your Russian learning journey or to practice some of the basics you already know. This program is mostly app-based (but you can use it on desktop too), and you'll get lots of repetition of key words and phrases, plus opportunities for practicing real-world conversations. There's plenty of free content, but the premium features require a low-cost subscription or a one-time fee for lifetime access. Mondly doesn't offer the most robust Russian lessons we've seen - no explanations of grammar or in-depth cultural insights here - but it's a good option for basic learning and practice.

Rosetta Stone Review 3 Star Rating

Rosetta Stone

3 Star Rating

For many languages, Rosetta Stone's immersive approach isn't a big leap. But with a language like Russian that uses a completely different alphabet from English, these lessons tend to make students feel overwhelmed right from the start. You can take advantage of a 3-day trial to see if it works for you, but unless you already have some familiarity with Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet, Rosetta Stone won't likely be your first choice.

Living Language Review 1.5 Star Rating

Living Language

1.5 Star Rating

If you ever tried to learn Russian in the past, you might already be familiar with Living Language: they've been around for decades. However, their methods for teaching Russian haven't kept up with the times: the platform is outdated, the company has dropped some of its more popular features (like eTutoring), and there's no refund policy. You'll have a better experience with a more up-to-date provider of Russian lessons.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Feeling discouraged? Don't be! Russian is ranked as a Level III language by the US State Department, marking it merely as a "hard" language and not as difficult as Level IV languages like Arabic or Chinese. Whew! And with the right type of Russian lessons, you could find yourself reading, writing, understanding and speaking the language more fluently than you imagined.

So, what makes a Russian language program the "right type" ? Some of that depends on you. Do you learn best by reading detailed explanations of grammar or by learning useful words and phrases in context? Do you like your learning to feel like playing games or do you prefer a more straightforward, traditional approach? If you're not sure about the answers to any of those questions, that's fine: most Russian lessons have a free lesson or give you limited access to the platform so you can try it for yourself. Put a few providers to the test and see which ones keep coming to mind - or which approach helps what you've learned to "stick" the best!

Generally speaking, there are a few factors that can make a particular system for learning Russian better than another. Those include:

  • Ease of Use. How intuitive is it to move through each lesson, and from one topic to another? Is it clear what you're supposed to learn next? The more comfortable you are with the app, materials, or however the Russian lessons are delivered, the more likely you are to stick with it and keep making progress.
  • Value. Some Russian lessons involve a monthly or yearly subscription, while others have a one-time cost. How much will you get for what you pay? Will you have enough content to keep you busy for as long as you intend to study the language? Does your paid membership or one-off fee add a significant number of features or materials beyond what the service may offer for free?
  • Refund Policy. If you purchase a long-term subscription or pay for an entire program upfront, can you get your money back if it doesn't live up to your expectations?
  • Reputation. Have other people been successful using the service to learn Russian?

TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top resources for learning Russian online. We're confident that this information will help you choose the Russian lessons that will boost your fluency in no time!

The Best Russian Lessons Compare Russian Lessons Compare Russian Lesson Reviews What are the best Russian Lessons Best Russian Lesson Reviews

Russian Lesson FAQ

A lot! Estimates range from 150-250 million people around the globe who speak Russian as their first language. It's one of the six official languages designated by the UN (along with Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, English, French and Spanish), the most spoken native language in Europe, and the most geographically widespread language in all of Eurasia. Russian is the official language of Russia (of course), Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and widely used in most of the former USSR nations.
Yes, but with few exceptions, Russian speakers all understand each other. People often refer to the "literary language" of Russian, used in all major cities throughout Russia. Beyond that, you'll find regional accents and vocabulary - but the type of Russian you'll learn in any class will be the commonly-accepted one.
We'll be honest: it's challenging! From the Cyrillic alphabet to grammatical differences, Russian is quite different from English, and we don't really borrow enough vocabulary from Russian for it to be familiar as we learn it. It's not quite as hard as Arabic, Japanese or Chinese (according to the US State Department, anyway!), and if you work diligently and consistently, you should be able to learn as much Russian as you like.
You have to start by learning the Cyrillic alphabet. It's got 33 letters, some of which are familiar from our Latin alphabet, and some that will be completely new - and most of which won't be pronounced the same as what you use in English! From there, basic vocabulary will help you with day-to-day needs like asking for directions or buying things in the market, but shape your learning according to how you plan to use Russian (on vacation, in business, and so on).
Unless you live in a college town, it might be your only option! Russian lessons aren't easy to come by in person, so going with an online platform ensures that you can learn when and where you like, for as long as you wish. They're also much more affordable than college tuition!
If you're studying Russian online, you will need to enable the language on your computer. Search for the steps you'll have to take on your operating system (PC or Mac). Otherwise, there are online Russian keyboard sites where you can copy-paste characters one by one (but that will get a little tedious).
They're quite affordable. You can choose between two options: monthly subscriptions or one-time purchase. Most month-to-month plans are less than $25/month, while one-off Russian lesson packages are anywhere from $50 to $700. All of the Russian lesson programs we found were much cheaper than paying for a semester of college tuition!
That varies. For monthly subscriptions, you may be able to cancel your recurring payments without a refund of what you paid previously. If you buy a package of Russian lessons (online, CDs), you may be protected by a 30- or 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to understand the terms of any Russian language platform you're considering before you make your purchase, and take advantage of any free lesson samples or trial periods the service offers.
The Best Reviews of Russian Lessons