Any recommendations for easy Russian content?

I’m fully aware and admit I’m just impatient, but it’s my third month now of learning Russian and even though I kinda was very ineffective for big chunks of them trying to do things that I didn’t understand at all. I just struggle to find anything engaging at the beginner levels.

I’ve gone through the mini stories. Once or twice, and now I’m working my way through “Russian from Afar” But it is SOO boring.

The repetition is exhausting and I admit I even need that extra push to comprehend who’s doing what with what or to whom. But I quickly lose steam over this. Does anyone know anything more interesting for beginners? I’m not gonna drop Russian or stop doing Russian from afar and so on. It’s just so mind numbing I’d hope to know if someone has any advice?


I started out searching for slow Russian podcasts and YouTube videos in Russian. Once I started finding things I like on YT, it fed me all sorts of other suggestions. I read once that Russian is the second most used language on the web besides English.

Things I found that I liked (but not always, I have to mix it up and always be in the lookout for more content):

o Russian Podcast (literally that’s the title by Tania Klimova)
o Russian with Max
o Lessons and podcasts from Daria Molchanova
o Amazing Russian (for clear and down to earth Russian language lessons in Russian)
o Easy Russian
o How Janey Learned Russian
o Russian Language School

If I’m up to the challenge or find interesting episodes, I turn to Russian State media, Russian animated shows, and on and on. The material is virtually endless.


After the above content on LingQ (repeating them several times), I moved onto watching Russian with Max on YouTube with Language Reactor. I’ve noticed a signifcant increase in the amount of content I can get through with Language Reactor directly on YouTube instead of studying the content on LingQ, as I don’t have to waste a lot of time selecting the best definition from the list of Community Definitions. To be exact, I’ve watched 166 videos of Russian with Max directly on YouTube with Language Reactor, which accounts for ~48 hours of content. These days I watch Russian with Max on 1.15x to 1.5x, as I’m used to his voice and he speaks kinda slow. If I were to have studied these videos on LingQ, this would’ve been 17,579 New Words, which I would’ve needed to choose the best definition from a list! So you can see why I can cover much more content directly on YouTube instead of spending my time selecting definitions from lists on LingQ.

I’ve watched a few videos from Russian from Afar, but I found he’s quite basic and talks incredibly slow for my level, so I haven’t watched many of his videos.

I’m currently searching for new content to watch too, as I’m getting close to having watched all of Russian with Max’s YouTube videos. I found that I can watch the travel TV series Орёл и Решка with Language Reactor, which is aimed at Russian native/bilingual speakers, without too much difficulty.

I notice it takes a long time to drill in the Cyrillic alphabet. (I’m currently at 550k words read and 150h of listening.) My listening comprehension and aural vocabulary progresses much faster than my reading comprehension, due to the alphabet. Like I can easily recognise cognates when they are spoken, but it’s not as easy, when they are written. Eg. информация is obvious, when you hear it, but when I read it, I have to (sub-)vocalise it to understand its meaning, which takes time. Reading while listening is a great solution to this, hence why Language Reactor directly on YouTube works very well. (Alternatively, you can use @roosterburton’s Video Tools, if you want to connect it with your LingQ data.)


@nfera how do you learn with language reactor as relative beginner, what’s your process?

  • going subtitle by subtitle (“q” activated)
  • re-watching the same video (n-times)
  • saving the sentences to SRS
  • translation (“dual subs”) permanently hidden / visible, or revealed on demand (“e”)
  • or only hover-over dictionary



It’s so amazing that you’re trying to learn this hard language. I was “born” with this and with the Ukrainian language, but now I try to learn French and English. And I am very difficult. I am very delighted that YOU are not learning an easy language for yourself.
I don’t know how this one translated for you, probably a lot of mistakes.
Успехов в изучении!


Look at the Language, Pronunciation, and Kids sections, and sort by percent of known words to find the easiest lessions. Read the first few sentences from some of the lessons and courses. Up to 65-75% new words is ok if you are really interested in the lesson. Only finish a lesson if it works for you. Eventually, you’ll find a course that is interesting and at your level.

1 Like

@bamboozled I just do it the lazy way. I don’t do any SRS, any re-watching, nor subtitle by subtitle (‘q’ activated), nor anything else fancy. I just watch videos with dual subtitles on, reading the Russian subtitles and when I don’t know a word, I glance down at the English subtitle, scanning it, looking for the definition of the unknown word. If you have only one or two unknown words in a subtitle line, you can usually easily find the meaning of the unknown word. If there are several unknown words in a single subtitle line, I probably won’t be able to quickly figure out the definitions of them all before the subtitle changes, so I would need to press the hotkeys to go back a subtitle (‘a’) or repeat it (‘s’) or I may need to hover over the individual words to find their individual meanings. As a general rule though, the sentence translations suffices in 90% of my cases, meaning I can find the definition of the word without even touching the mouse. This is ideal and faster.

The most important part in how I’m using it though is in content selection:

  1. I want content, which has accurate subtitles, obviously, but that’s a given
  2. I want content, which only has one or two unknown words per subtitle line. This is very important. If you have many unknown words per subtitle line, it involves lots of repeating of each subtitle line and using the pop-up dictionary (or, hell, even activating ‘q’). This really slows it down and clearly distracts your attention away from reading the subtitles while watching the video in the background.
  3. I like to keep with the same publisher / YouTube channel for a while, so you get lots of repetition of vocabulary and you get used to their voice/s. Keeping with the same YouTube channel, which discusses the same topic with the same presenter/s, is how I can get away with not having the repeat the same content. Novel content makes it much more engaging and hence better for memory (plus it’s a way to ‘naturally’ filter out rare words).

So, as you can see, the biggest challenge is really content selection.

I am very happy with my experience with Language Reactor. It involves much much less clicks that using LingQ, where you have to click every word to get a pop-up of a list of definitions, then another click to select the best definition, or else the word gets marked as Known. It’s really hard to do this on the fly without pausing, unless there are a very low number of New Words. @PeterBormann goes through the list of New Words before studying a lesson, lingQing them, as far as I’m aware. You don’t have to do that with Language Reactor. I don’t do any clicks with Language Reactor (it’s a hover-over pop-up dictionary). Hell, I barely use the mouse at all. I can really cover much more content this way. Honestly, I’m kinda surprised how fast I’ve moved onto native content (obviously I’m watching easier native content, but it’s still native content).


Seems like your “lazy” strategy based on Language Reactor is working great.

At the moment, I’m still using my tri- or quadrofecta:

  • LingQ (ultrareading)
  • Re-listening (2-3 times)
  • LingQ-to-Anki-SRS (+ Glossika decks)
  • Memrise: short vids + occasionally talking to ChatGPT3.5 on Memrise.
    This works quite well for Dutch on an intermediate level: no pre-reading, fast speed (usually ca. 1.5x), no intermediate plateau.

The main issues remain though:

  • Interferences (German → Dutch)
  • I have to use the language much more because reading / listening alone are simply not sufficient.

That said, I’ll probably test your Language Reactor approach with Romanian (my new L2 love :wink: ).

Happy content bingeing!


The Rooster Lingq extension supports watching YouTube videos like Language Reactor, but interfaces with Lingq to keep your stats and create lessons.

I have not used it a lot. I prefer simply listen to audio. It trains my brain to rely on piecing the language clues together without reference to a dictionary. But if you like a Language Reactor kind of tool and want to have your lessons in Lingq as well, this extension will do that.


I let ChatGTP write me essays on topics that I find interesting. Then I look if I like the content. If so, I will have this essay translated into Russian by ChatGPT and import it into LingQ. In this way, I have already created a lot of texts about animals that typically occur in Russia (polar bears, brown bears, Siberian tigers…). Of course, you could also use Wikipedia texts on interesting topics directly from the Russian Wiki, but their language level is usually quite demanding.

1 Like

How reliable is such a translation? How close is it to native-speaker quality?

1 Like

@vernmartin, I suppose this question was directed at me. ChatGPT’s German is absolutely flawless, so I assume the same applies to Russian. Of course, you shouldn’t expect colloquial Russian, i.e. the kind of Russian you hear from native speakers on the street or among friends. It’s more like a Russian language with which you learn to read non-fiction texts.

1 Like

Well, I’ll keep an open mind. I have yet to trust automated translations. Maybe a failing on my part. Fortunately, there seems an unlimited supply of native Russian content on the web.

1 Like

Not sure about how you feel about popsci/culture, but I hope you’ll take some time to look at the content on this site, I wouldn’t call it easy, but the way that they present various topics is interesting. I really like learning something while acquiring a language, i.e. reading history or self-help books in target language, watching a video about a hobby, etc. This site might spark some interest not only in the language, but in the culture too.

p.s. they have a podcast and youtube too, import to your heart’s content

1 Like