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Russian is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, and the largest native language in Europe. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages, the others being Belarusian and Ukrainian (and possibly Rusyn, normally considered a dialect of Ukrainian).

Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards. Today Russian is widely used outside Russia. Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also a necessary accessory of world communications systems (broadcasts, air- and space communication, etc). Because of the status of the Soviet Union as a superpower, Russian had great political importance in the 20th century. Hence, the language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Michel Thomas ( by Michel Thomas)  No memorizing, no text books, no drills, no homework!
Russian from the Michel Thomas range is another language recorded after his passing. The post Michel Thomas courses are very good and while they don't have the wit and humour of the original MT European courses (French, Italian, German & Italian) they are none the less extremely effective for beginners to grasp the language and more importantly construct the sentences YOU want to say. Keep an eye out for the Michel Thomas should be your first stop to learn Russian.
 

Complete Russian ( by Daphne West) 
The latest edition from the Teach Yourself range. This course is in colour and each chapter is based upon a theme with associated conversations. The chapters progress at a good pace to ensure that, by the end of the course you have a reasonable fluency in the language. For those who do not have the time to study too long there are quick introductions and a summary of the key principles involved in the lesson, but we strongly recommend you work through no more than one full chapter a week, so you understand fully before moving on. This course needs to be followed chapter by chapter. Complete Russian focuses mainly on conversation and is designed to take you to B2 Level of the Common European Framework for Languages

The author Daphne West has been teaching Russian for over 20 Years and she is a recipient of the Pushkin Medal for her contribution to its teaching.

 

Russian Course
This book by publisher Penguin is a standalone basic Russian course which will teach you the essentials of the language. Starting with the alphabet and moving onto structures, tenses, vocabulary and conversational basics, it is a very well produced course and is best for studying before taking any further level of Russian. It would also be good as an accompaniment to any Russian course you are already doing. There is no audio CD or Mp3, it is just the book.

There are plenty of revision exercises along the way which I strongly recommend you do. In short, it's comprehensive, well laid out and progresses gently. This is definitely a 5 star rating.

 

Russian Stories (Dual Language)
Although this site focuses on language course evaluations, you will always need to do more in the way of study to really gain mastery of a language. I have been very impressed with the Dual Language books coming onto the market. Reading and conversation are essential in any language learning and these dual language books can help you absorb structure and vocabulary almost subliminally. The stories are all written by renowned writers of the day and the translations lie exactly opposite where you are reading, so a quick glance to the right hand side of the book and you are back on track with what's going on in the story. It isn't just Russian that these books are good for but all the other languages too.

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Ultimate Russian (Living Language)
This is a great course from the renowned language teachers at Living Language with the usual high quality teaching. This course is for complete beginners and will lead you to an intermediate stage of proficiency setting you up nicely for further study on the Advanced Level.

Over 40 exercises which present real life exercises based on culture and conversation giving that extremely important "authentic" feel to the course. The audio is in two sets, the first is a listen and learn format of teaching and the second set is a revision practice on all that you have learned on the first one. But there is no reading and writing with it so you can do this part during your daily commute. The course takes at least 3 months to complete.

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Pimsleur
Only the first 1-5 lessons of Level 1 are linked here. You should try these as samples to see if it fits your learning style. There are 3 Levels in total for Pimsleur's Russian. Pimsleur start you off immediately speaking and responding in Russian. These courses are excellent but they are expensive and you may not be suited to this way of learning. These are all audio courses and teach conversational Russian, by using them for 30 minutes each day. There are 3 levels and each level comprises of 30 half hour length lessons, each level building on the previous one. No explanations regarding verb conjugations though, but there is an English speaking host who guides, prompts and gives you not much more than word meanings. However it is an extremely effective method and has been used extensively within Govt and educational establishments. The price is however quite high ~200 per level. You can read about the method here. Download more detailed information on course content here (PDF)

 

 

Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone do a very good package for learning the Russian language. As said before the environment asks that you match up words or phrases to the relevant pictures. It is an effective learning method and you will achieve a strong level of fluency with it. If you want a good start in Russian and can afford it then Rosetta Stone is a good move. Our reviewers found that the course presents Russian in a friendly easy going manner and doesn't crowd you mind with too much to start with.
 

Complete Russian (Learn in Your Car) ( by Henry N Raymond) 
Complete Russian by Henry N Raymond is an exceptional value learning package for Russian. You get 9 CD's (60 mins each) as well as a DVD for explaining the culture of Russia and their customs. New material in this second edition includes a variety of internet and digital media/technology terms. It includes: Level 1 - introduction to key words, numbers, phrases, sentence structure, and basic grammar; Level 2 - more challenging vocabulary, more grammar, more complex sentences generate confidence in your ability to comprehend and converse; and Level 3 - expanded vocabulary, advanced grammar and complex sentences to expand your conversational skills. This course was very well received by our reviewer and follows on nicely from either the Michel Thomas or Rosetta Stone course.
 

Earworms ( by Marlon Lodge) 
The Russian version of the Earworms range seemed to have been produced rather poorly since the Russian comes before the English translation!. You have an English man speaking to a Russian woman. The translations of the questions are set to the backdrop of rhythmic beats, designed to stay in your mind like a catchy song. This would have been better if they got the speaking the right way round.
 
 
Recommended Study

 

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