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Learn Russian for free? There is a better way

Looking to chat with the locals in Moscow? Need a leg up before your semester abroad in St. Petersburg? Or maybe you’re simply looking to beef up your resume. Whatever your reasons for learning the language, speaking Russian has never been a more in-demand skill.

Russian is the ninth most spoken language in the world with around 150 million speakers worldwide, and an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. So teaching yourself Russian doesn’t just give you access to Russia — it also unlocks new worlds in countries all over Europe and Asia. From the picturesque renaissance-era architecture of St. Petersburg to the beautiful Black Sea beaches of Ukraine, speaking Russian gives you a first row seat to a host of new experiences.

Often regarded as one of the most difficult languages in the world, Russian boasts a daunting six grammatical cases in addition to its whopping 33-letter alphabet. So not only do new learners have to navigate unfamiliar (and confounding) Russian characters — they’re also burdened with a mere 1 in 6 chance of correctly spelling each noun in a sentence! Clearly no easy feat. But don’t let the complexity of the language scare you — unlike other “Learn Russian for Free” programs, Babbel’s expertly-designed Russian language lessons and intuive user interface, you’ll be speaking Russian before you know it.

So what’s the best way to teach yourself Russian? Russian grammar book? Language app? With so many different ways to learn a new language, it’s hard to find the one that works best for you. Some bulky language programs cost a lot but deliver nothing more than outdated words and phrases; others offer to learn Russian free but offer very little in terms of authentic, lasting learning.

With Babbel, you’ll learn Russian free of ads, gimmicks or false promises. Babbel gives you the tools you need to speak confidently from the very first lessons. From relevant and engaging courses that inspire and challenge, to individualized learning content that motivates you, Babbel offers the quickest path to speaking Russian.

Slavic Roots

The Slavic language family probably emerged around 1,000 BCE, though it would be nearly 1,500 years before any evidence of the language or its people appeared in writing.

The last significant historian of the Western ancient world, Procopius was fascinated with the diverse minority populations inhabiting the outskirts of the Byzantine Empire. He didn’t call them Slavs in his writings (to Procopius they were the “Antes” or the “Sclaveni”), but they were undoubtedly an early Slavic-speaking tribal people. Written in the 6th century CE, Procopius’ work describes the Slavs as a barbarous yet democratic people, monotheistic with a polytheistic-style god (they made sacrifices to a single “lightning” god); a savage-sounding people who led hard lives and called forests and swamplands their homes.

The Russian Alphabet

For beginners, one of the scariest things about Russian language is the Russian alphabet. Rooted in the 9th century Byzantine Empire, the Cyrillic alphabet — on which the Russian alphabet is based — was created by the Christian missionary St. Cyril to translate the Bible and other ancient texts into the Slavic language. Playing an important role in the “Christianization” of the Slavic population, the Cyrillic alphabet was not only an effective conversion tool for Orthodox missionaries; it also proved a powerful unifying force for Slavic peoples. Since its creation in the 800s, the Cyrillic alphabet has become the writing system of choice for 250 million people in more than 10 countries. From great literary works to Soviet-era propaganda, Cyrillic characters are some of the most widely read in the world.

Though intimidating to the average Roman-alphabet user, the Russian alphabet isn’t as difficult as it looks. And with Babbel’s comprehensive Russian language lessons, you’ll gain practical experience with the Russian alphabet quickly and effortlessly — so fear not, Babbel is here!

By Humans, For Humans

We know that every learner is different, and that’s why we offer individual learning paths depending on where you’re coming from and where you want to go. Utilizing what you already know, we use your native language to help you unlock language even faster. Designed by a professional team of linguists and language teachers, each Russian course is tailored to specific language combinations. And this is important: an English speaker, for example, learns Russian very differently than an Italian speaker does. We apply this method in each of our Russian language lessons. Babbel also capitalizes on these individualized language pairs by building on grammatical concepts shared with your mother tongue, and skipping over mutual words that you already know.

Learn What’s Relevant

We understand that authenticity is key to fully exploring a new language. Unlike superficial free Russian learning programs, with Babbel you’ll learn the words that really matter — the phrases that will help you have real conversations, confidently and effortlessly. After all, we understand that language is more than just an academic subject — it also unlocks new worlds! Plus, you’ll learn to speak Russian by hearing the voices of real native speakers, ensuring that you hear how the language is supposed to sound.

Advanced language learning technology

Teaching and learning is a science, and teaching yourself Russian means understanding and adapting how information is stored in the brain. Cognitive psychology has found that in less than a second, new information sticks to human memory when it is relevant to you. Babbel capitalizes on this by introducing carefully designed sets of content in a way that succeeds to connect. To send information from short-term to long-term memory, Babbel reintroduces words through six memory stages using the technique of spaced repetition. Our data driven review manager moves these words through different patterns that are spaced out for the brain to optimally save new learnings. Whether you learn best by reading, writing, speaking, seeing or listening, Babbel addresses all individual needs for both visual and auditory learning types.

Learn whenever, wherever

Learn Russian free of obstacles — available on the web, smartphone, tablet and Apple Watch, Babbel fits seamlessly into your everyday life. It doesn’t matter where you are and you don’t need hours a day: if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you can teach yourself Russian. In fact, that’s the best way to learn – just ten or fifteen minutes each day. And when you’re done, we’ll save your progress in the cloud and sync it across all of your devices so you can easily pick up where you left off.

Try now a free Russian lesson at