Working on your listening skills in a new language is challenging. While with written language it’s easy to slow down, stop and go back over what you missed, people tend to just keep talking in real-time. That’s why one of the best ways to improve your skills is by listening to podcasts early on in your learning. To help you get started, we found some great Russian podcasts that can help you along in your language journey. And if you want help figuring out the best way to learn with podcasts, check out our guide here.
Beginner Russian Podcasts
Russian Word of the Day with Kira
Russian pronunciation can be very difficult for a new learner. Not only are there a bunch of sounds that English speakers don’t make, but also, the alphabet looks completely different. For someone just starting out, Kira DiMattia’s Russian Word of the Day with Kira is a great resource. It’s like a word of the day calendar, with each two- to three-minute episode slowly bringing you through a single word. There are also YouTube videos that accompany each episode, in case you think it’s better to start with a visual assist. If you want to stick to classic podcasts, though, it’s available on the usual podcast apps.
Russian For Cats
Despite the name Russian For Cats, this podcast is actually for humans. It’s a scripted podcast that is very light-hearted, as the first season is all about a bilingual cat named Nadia. The podcast is largely in English, with a few introductory Russian phrases scattered throughout. It’s an engaging way to start learning the language, and it’ll be easier to learn new phrases when there’s a fun story attached.
Intermediate Russian Podcasts
The concept of this show is pretty much what it sounds like. In each episode of Slow Russian, Daria Molchanova slowly reads a short article in Russian, which can be on topics ranging from her favorite superstitions to the history of Crimea. Then, she breaks down the idioms, grammar and new vocabulary in the story. It’s not updated very regularly, but there are over 80 episodes out so far — each around 20 minutes — providing plenty of listening material for you.
Ракета: Simple Russian
While this describes itself as simple and the episodes are short, this is the first podcast with no English at all. It’s a pretty straight-forward podcast: the narrator just talks about some topic in each episode, whether it be clothing, future plans or hobbies. It’s a quick way to test your comprehension skills with vocabulary that isn’t too advanced. If you get lost, however, each episode has a transcript you can follow along with.
Advanced Russian Podcasts
There are countless advanced podcasts out there, because, frankly, there are countless podcasts out there. One that we like is Arzamas, which is a history and culture podcast that’s all in Russian. The topics they cover are wide-ranging, though, like the one above which looks at the legacy of Salvador Dalí. You can also find stuff on philosophy, history and more. Whatever your interests are, there’s bound to be an episode that’ll catch your attention.
It might seem weird to use an Australian broadcaster as your resource for learning Russian. But hey, why not? SBS Russia is a news podcast that updates very regularly, and it has stories from around the world, from daily news bulletins to the story of Napoleon’s trip to Australia. And while there is a pretty strong Australian slant to many of the stories, there are plenty of international topics (in case you aren’t that interested in learning about Down Under).