Books to help you learn Russian

Books to help you learn Russian
23 April 2020

Let me guess. For some reason, you decided to learn Russian, maybe for work, maybe as a new hobby, maybe to impress your friends. Whatever it might be, I have no doubt you found yourself at some point in a bookstore, surrounded by books trying to convince you of how easy it is to learn Russian, if only you used their method. Bad news: it will be more difficult than what they tell you. But if you make the right choice, you will enjoy it. So, here are some tips to facilitate your choice.

I love Russian

This series of books created by teachers of Russian for foreign students is perfect to acquire a strong base in grammar and vocabulary. It engages all your senses thanks to a bright and well-illustrated layout, accompanied by audio material:  you will be able to learn Russian either in a group class, but also on your own. You won’t be overwhelmed by the grammar: the book uses so-called communicative approach when the objective is to make you speak despite the panic and mental blocks. The “interface” is clear and you only learn as much grammar as you can take. First, you see a comics or listen to dialogue with new words/expressions and then you analyze it to create your own rules. Other cool features: a self-evaluation page at the end of each unit together with a lesson glossary. I also loved the QR codes in each lesson that take you to audio material that you can access on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone. First, you don’t have to scroll for ages looking for the exercise you need – the QR code takes you straight to the right page. Second, you can listen to the audio all over again, in a car, while jogging, doing dishes, and really consolidate the lessons material and boost your learning comprehension. The books are available in different levels (A1; A2; B1.1 and B1.2) at an affordable price. I’m still on A1 but I’ve heard from my fellow schoolmates that A2 and B1 are as exciting as A1 with even more audio and authentic texts. The books are relatively recent (2014-2020) and there are no awkward Soviet and babushka-style dialogues. It’s very up-to-date and some topics contribute to a heated argument in a class. The series also have key books for those who study on the own.

Here is the link:

Чистая грамматика (Russian Edition)

This textbook is completely in Russian, from the beginning on. Great for gradual revision/consolidation of grammar. It starts with the case system and moves on to verbal aspects etc. This very complete book will be very beneficial for a student learning alone, as it teaches up to 5’000 new vocabulary words, and is completed with commentaries explaining new rules.

You can purchase it on Amazon:Чистая-грамматика-Russian-Е-Ласкарева-ebook/dp/B0184KH8FW 

Le Russe tout de suite! or Easy Russian Phrase Book 

“Le russe tout de suite” is a French book. It is very easy and practical book to help you if you are in Russia for a shorter period, or at the very beginning of your trip in order to help you to get the basic conversational tools. With no particular stress on grammar or vocabular, it simply helps you to avoid the “sign language” step. The best equivalent in English I found was the “Easy Russian phrase book”, which I found has the same aims and functioning. Being both very affordable and with a small format, they are perfect to carry with you and help you in every situation. Here you will find them on amazon:

Прогулки по русской лексике с кроссвордами

This book focuses on the lexica: providing keys and style subtilities, it is very complete thanks to its many exercises and complementary explanations. By purchasing this book, you will acquire knowledge on Russian word composition, antonyms, synonyms, borrowings, stylistic layers of vocabulary and word compatibility.

You can find it here:




Posted by Kim Schierke

My name is Kim, I’m 21 years old and I just graduated from International Relations at the University of Geneva. I have always been fascinated by Russia, because of its language and its culture. During my studies, this interest has kept on growing and I even ended up writing my thesis about it. Learning the language, therefore, comes as an evidence.

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