Russian TV Shows to Help You Learn Russian
After mastering the Cyrillic alphabet and learning some of the basic grammar, you’re ready to start taking in Russian media.
Some people start with the world-renowned literature of Tolstoy or the operatic story Evgeniy Onegin. While classic literary works and the poems of Pushkin are great in their own right, they aren’t the best for learning more every day vocabulary. However, watching TV is one of the best ways to pick up on Russian as it’s spoken by most people and learn about Russian culture at the same time.
Watching Russian TV Shows Online
If you have any interest in learning Russian through TV, we’ve got great news for you. The business model for television in Russia is a bit different and as a result a lot of Russian media companies openly post their properties on the web. That means that Russian language learners have lots of free and easy to find material they can you can use to practice your listening comprehension! Most of the suggestions below are available on YouTube. If you’re looking for a way to create Russian lessons with YouTube videos, here’s how to do it with LingQ.
How to Import Russian TV Shows from YouTube into LingQ
Download the LingQ extension (Chrome, Safari, or Firefox) for your browser and head over to YouTube. Once you’ve selected a video, simply click the LingQ extension and hit the import button. Within seconds, LingQ will import the video’s content (audio, transcript) and create an interactive lesson that you can read and listen to. It’s that easy.
LingQ will turn your favorite content into easy-to-read interactive lessons that you can study on your desktop and mobile device.
Keep all your favorite Russian content stored in one place, easily look up new words, save vocabulary, and review. It’s a game changer!
Lastly, if you can’t find content on YouTube, there are a host of other resources that can be imported into LingQ, such as Netflix, news articles, and videos from streaming sites. Check out our guide to importing content into LingQ for more information.
Russian TV Shows and YouTube Channels to Help You Learn Russian
Simply watching a Russian language series and letting yourself get invested in the characters is one of the best ways to learn new vocabulary while also enjoying the experience. So were going to start with a few YouTube channels were you can freely watch some
This show is a personal favorite of mine and taught me a lot about the Russian language and the lives of chefs. Following a large cast of characters with very strong personalities, Кухня is a workplace comedy about a high-end restaurant.
Кухня is one of the most popular shows in Russia in recent years and got so big there are even remakes in multiple countries across Europe. The series has a fairly wide appeal since there are lots of characters to like (or dislike) and so many beautiful shots of food and food preparation. It does have some over the top reactions and plenty of melodrama, but don’t take that as a negative since all of the буффонада (slapstick) makes the plot easier to understand.
(Ералаш) Erelash by Cornell University
Coming from a word meaning ‘mishmash’ the programme Ералаш is an old children’s show.
While it may seem a bit outdated at times, it’s an invaluable resource for learning Russian. Cornell University took several episodes of the show and added subtitles in both English and Russian. Additionally, a lot of the more difficult Russian expressions will have explanations for English speakers. An ideal place for new Russian learners who want to practice their listening skills, learn new vocabulary and learn more about Russian culture overall.
Russian TV Series (YouTube Channel)
The Youtube Channel logically named Russian TV Series offers dozens of different series available for free to any curious Russophiles. Many of series on this channel are Мелодрамы (melodramas) and state as much clearly in their headings. However if you’re a fan of исторические драмы (historical dramas), we really recommend the series Экатерина.
HTB/NTV (YouTube Channel)
This Channel focuses less on melodramas and more on miniseries. That means that you can usually get a complete story in under 10 episodes. The miniseries offered are normally more focused on action, crime and drama. One of the best parts of using this channel to learn Russian is that most of their videos have subtitles available in Russian.
Watching Russian Live Streams
If you want to really challenge yourself, we recommend watching Russian TV live. A lot of the larger Russian TV networks have live streams that you can watch completely for free.
For any of these, you just need to look for the word эфир which roughly translates to “broadcast”. Anything labeled прямой эфир (direct broadcast) or в эфир (on air) will take you to live feed and you can enjoy. This is a great way to watch the news. Additionally, since it’s a live broadcast, you’ll also get some exposure to real Russian рекламы (commercials, advertisements), which will expose you to some more of Russian life you might not have known about. Here are some links:
- Россия 1 (Russia 1) http://live.russia.tv/channel/82
- Первый канал (Channel 1) https://www.1tv.ru/live
- НТВ (NTV) https://www.ntv.ru/#air
John Melnyk is a freelance writer and translator from Florida, USA. He has a masters degree in Linguistics and Communication and is currently working on his first novel.