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Russian Pod 101 Review

Sunday, December 5th

2021 Russian Lesson Reviews

Russian Pod 101 Review 4.5 Star Rating

Russian Pod 101

4.5 Star Rating
  • 7-day free trial with Premium tools
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • New content added weekly
  • Personalized study plans, guidance and feedback with 1:1 instructors with Premium Plus membership

Innovative Language Learning is the creator of Russian Pod 101 (and over three dozen other language "pods" ), one of the most thorough options for Russian lessons on the market. You can get free lifetime access to their lessons, which span five content levels in Russian alone. It's also one of the only providers that adds content every week, keeping your learning - and your vocabulary - amazingly up to date.

"Limited" time offer? Not exactly.

In order to see what Russian Pod 101 offers, you only have to do two things: enter your email address on the main page and confirm your account with the link you'll get in your inbox. You'll be asked if you'd like to receive the Word of the Day Email (and that's where it'd be helpful if you use your own address), and from there...prepare for a very sales-y pitch of a $1 "fast track to Russian fluency" . We've seen this "limited time offer" pressure with some of the other languages in the Pod 101 family, and honestly we could live without it. It's up to you if you want to take advantage of it, but be aware that your membership will automatically renew at $25/month after 30 days if you don't cancel.

5 levels of Russian lessons

Either way, your next step is to set up your profile. Are you an absolute beginner, beginner, or an intermediate, upper intermediate, or advanced student of Russian? Click on each level to see a brief description of what skills are expected at that degree of fluency (e.g. advanced equals being able to conjugate Russian verbs in the past, present and future tenses).

Very thorough lessons, from listening to grammar

Let's say you're an absolute beginner. When you go to your dashboard, you'll see that you've automatically been assigned to the Level 1 Russian course. You can add pathways or edit them at any time, but just click on the big blue "study" button to get going. It's going to start you off with an assessment of 8 questions; just guess or click on "I'm not sure" because there's no penalty for wrong answers. Your next stop is Self-Introductions and Basic Greetings: you'll get a basic dialogue to listen to, and you can read the transcription in Russian (Cyrillic), the Romanization (how it would be written phonetically in English), and the actual English translation. You'll be able to quiz yourself on what you learned, read through a detailed explanation of the grammar and some of the culture involved in this simple conversation.

Features limited on the free plan

However, not all of those features are included with your free account. When we signed up, we were given a 7-day trial that gave us access to almost everything, but the free plans limit you to just a few lessons across various levels of Russian. There's still a lot you can get at no cost, but you'll definitely feel the push to subscribe here!

Best Russian Lessons


  • Free access to thousands of lessons
  • Basic membership: plans range from $8/month to $96 for two years
  • Premium membership: plans range from $25/month to $240 for two years
  • Premium+ membership: plans range from $47/month to $549 for two years

3 paid membership plans

Here's the scoop on what's included in each of Russian Pod 101's memberships:

  • Basic: $8/month to $98 for two years. This gives you full access to all of the Russian lessons in their library, including the in-depth lesson notes.
  • Premium: $25/month to $240 for two years. Yes, that's a significant price increase, but it comes with a corresponding jump in the number of features. Premium provides you with line-by-line audio dialogue transcripts, HD video, and a ton of study tools that include lesson quizzes, voice recording tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and much more.
  • Premium Plus: $47/month to $549 for two years. Why is it so much more expensive? Because you'll have a teacher assigned to you, who will create a personalized learning plan for you, including assignments and assessments, and who will work on your written and spoken fluency in Russian.

60-day money-back guarantee

If you choose a paid plan with Russian Pod 101, you've got a 60-day money-back guarantee covering your purchase. Consider subscribing at the highest level (Premium Plus) and really putting these Russian lessons to the test: you can always downgrade your membership or cancel it altogether in the first two months, if they don't wind up feeling like a good fit for your learning style.

Almost too much content to choose from

The biggest reason to consider the Premium Plus plan at the outset is to get help navigating the Russian Pod 101 platform. In all honesty, we found it overwhelming: there was just too much to choose from, not just in the lessons themselves but in all of the "extras" on the dashboard. Vocabulary lists for emails? Bonus videos on Core Words and "What to do When Learning Russian Feels Overwhelming" ? Um, yes, it does feel that way! Since you can get your money back after trying Premium Plus for 60 days, it seems like the smartest idea to get yourself set up and learning with the least amount of floundering around.

Still one of the best choices for Russian lessons

Russian Pod 101 is the most comprehensive all-around approach to learning the language. Students from all fluency levels will have more than enough to keep them occupied for a long time, and it's a terrific way to get personalized help from a Russian teacher without ever leaving home. We could live without the sales pitch, and we're still working on not feeling completely buried by the almost-too-extensive content here, but it still earns one of our highest rankings among the options for 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.

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.
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!

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