Russian language in a business context: some advice

Russian language in a business context: some advice
31 May 2016

Russian language in a business context: some advice

I expect that many adults learn business Russian, at least in part, because they need to be able to use this language in a professional context. Because this applies to me, while still in Moscow, I wanted to check what are the available resources which can help foreigners develop some basic communication skills in business Russian.

As a starting observation, I would like to make clear that it is my belief, that anyone who has an advanced level of command of the Russian language does not need any particular learning tools, besides a good dictionary which allows to search for specific technical terms. Good general language skills are indeed sufficient for anyone to express well enough him- or herself both orally and in writing in a professional context. For all the others, which shall represent a non-negligible percentage, taking into consideration the complexity of the Russian language, some extra advice could be of assistance.

With this in mind, I have both searched the internet and went to perhaps the biggest bookshop in Moscow in order to get some idea of what is out there in terms of books and of other materials. What I discovered is that, generally speaking, there are two types of resources available.

Business Russian


First, there are books which teach Russian, the accent being put on situations which people are expected to encounter in a business context [for a selection of these, see the Books list below]. These materials, with one exception, are, in my opinion, very scholastic and theoretical. The real world examples are limited and often the content in Russian is also given in English. I do not believe that this method of putting together two substantially different languages is of any help. People in Russia and in the English-speaking world express themselves very differently because of the cultural element behind the language. Offering translations of something which to me is not to be translated does not help you to progress! If you are at the beginner’s or intermediate levels, my advice is to just focus on general Russian.

Second, there is the general literature on communication, primarily addressed to the native Russian speakers. Here the problem is that the works which have been written in Russian [there is also a wealth of English language books on this topic translated into Russian] are of very academic style. These may be useful for students or for communication experts, but for a busy professional who needs some practical guidance, they are of little help. Still, if you are curious to see how the Russians approach the subject, just have a look under Internet Resources below. If you have enough time and patience to go through these books, you may be able to extract the content which is relevant to you.

On the basis of the above, I am inclined to advise the purchase of Juravlyova’s book [see 1st item on the Books list]. It is entirely written in Russian, contains many useful examples and its tests’ structure [the right answers are provided] makes it more pragmatic and less academic. In short, this is an easily accessible and practical edition in which the unnecessary content is kept to the strict minimum.


Referenced material:

  • Books
    • Тестовый практикум по русскому языку делового общения – Л. Журавлева, изд-во Русский язык (2013)
    • Русский язык для делового общения / Russian for Business [А2, B1, B2] – Л. Котане, изд-во Златоуст (2014)
    • Начальный курс русского языка для делового общения. Кн. 1-2 = Business Russian for Beginners. Part 1-2 – Т. Козлова, изд-во Русский язык (2013)
    • Русский язык для бизнесменов. Учебное пособие – С. Ельникова, изд-во Дрофа (2012)
  • Internes Resources
    • Деловой русский язык – O. Назаренко, изд-во МГУ им. Г.И. Невельского (2008):
    • Деловой русский язык – Т. Латкина, изд-во ИУНЛ ВолгГТУ (2012):
    • Деловой русский язык: учебное пособие – Е. Ращевская, изд-во Костромского гос. технол. ун-та (2012):


This blog was brought to you by Garbis, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz 

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