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When you first start learning Russian (or any foreign language, for that matter), you have a lot to deal with all at once: the alphabet, the pronunciation of new sounds (and for Russian, tongue-tying consonant clusters!), lots and lots of vocabulary, and, of course, grammar.
Especially when it comes to a language like Russian, learners tend to place a large focus on studying grammar–with all of its complexities and irregularities.
But once you get a good deal of vocabulary and grammar under your belt, it’s best to change strategies by studying grammar less and exposing yourself more to comprehensive input. Otherwise, you’ll find that you know grammar rules inside and out but have disappointing language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking).
Of course, until you reach a more advanced level, you will find it difficult to understand and enjoy literature and movies or TV shows meant for native speakers. In the meantime, in order to push yourself through the intermediate plateau and see meaningful progress, you need to listen to and read materials designed for learners.
I’ll offer recommendations for intermediate reading materials in another blog post. But now let’s take a look at ten fantastic channels (in no particular order) available on YouTube that put grammar (for the most part) to the side and offer interesting content on a range of topics for intermediate listening practice. These are all channels I watch on a regular basis (or listen to like podcasts on my evening walks) and have helped me tremendously. I hope you enjoy them too!
You can’t not love Max with his infectious, positive attitude and energy.
Max takes you on strolls in town and on walks in the forest, sits with you in his home, and invites you along on vacations, all while talking to you about various, interesting topics.
His girlfriend, Julia, has more recently joined him as a regular on his channel, providing excellent practice listening to dialogues between Russian speakers.
- Key words and phrases often appear on-screen.
- Subtitles are available in Russian, English, and sometimes other languages.
- There are over 200 videos on Max’s channel. He has been publishing content regularly for over three years.
Max also has a fantastic weekly audio podcast called Comprehensible Russian Podcast.
You can become a premium member on Max’s website www.RussianWithMax.com, where you can access transcripts of the podcast episodes (along with audio downloads, vocabulary lists, and bonus materials) and PDF transcripts of the YouTube videos. Max also offers membership options on Patreon.
Nika is a YouTuber and founder of the Ru-Land online Russian language school.
In some of Nika’s earlier videos and those aimed at beginning students, she speaks in English. But more recently, she has made the decision to teach primarily in Russian, which makes excellent listening practice for intermediate-level learners.
On his YouTube channel Russian Progress, polyglot Artëm Nazaroff shares tips for learning Russian and soon feels like a good friend as you hang out with him on his adventures.
Artem has a variety of videos on YouTube, including video versions of his podcast of the same name. He often interviews friends, family members, polyglots, and other Russian teachers. He shows you different cities and places he visits, as he walks or bikes around.
- Subtitles are available in Russian (and sometimes English and other languages).
- There are over 140 videos on Artem’s channel. He has been publishing content for three years.
You can access a lot of content on his website www.RussianProgress.com
The main way to access exclusive bonus content and support Artem’s project is by becoming his patron on Patreon.
Tatiana primarily offers bite-size lessons on vocabulary usage, all in Russian.
Tatiana has a weekly podcast accessible via premium subscription through her website www.RussianPodcast.eu (a.k.a. Dacha Club), where she also has an awesome blog with parallel Russian-English texts and vocabulary lists.
In addition to her podcast, Tatiana offers valuable content on her YouTube channel for intermediate learners, mostly at her desk teaching the difference between words that learners often confuse and lessons on usage, with less emphasis on grammar. Sometimes she interviews friends or other Russian teachers.
- Most of Tatiana’s videos have subtitles or at least key words on-screen.
- There are over 200 videos on Tatiana’s channel. She has been publishing content for five years.
Anastasia (Nastya) is Russian language teacher from Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Anastasia’s videos are completely in Russian, suitable for intermediate learners. She has several series, including a Vlog (on different topics), Conversations (interviews with exceptional learners of Russian and others), Dictations, and Grammar Time.
- Most of Anastasia’s videos have Russian subtitles.
- There are over 200 videos on Anastasia’s channel. She has been publishing content since 2014.
You can support Anastasia’s channel through Patreon and other links in the descriptions under her videos.
Culture • Language • Travels
Most of Dasha’s videos are entirely in Russian, ideal for intermediate learners. She features videos on culture (especially Russian food), vocabulary, places in Russia, and interviews.
Ira, the Russian grammar guru!
Even at the intermediate level, there’s still a lot of grammar to learn or, at least, to review. Ira does an amazing job explaining grammar concepts and rules on her whiteboard. But her lessons also make excellent listening practice as she only uses Russian. She also has some non-grammar videos (vlog-style travel videos and Q&As).
Street interviews with Russians
Like Easy Russian, Moscow Streets features street interviews with people. The difference is that Moscow Streets is not intentionally designed for learners of Russian, rather it aims to give insights to popular opinions among Russians. Still, since English subtitles are provided, this channel makes excellent listening practice for intermediate-level students.
Professional Russian language teacher, Anna, takes you on a deep dive of Russian culture, geography, and history.
In my opinion, Anna’s videos are a bit more challenging than some of the other channels listed above, so I would recommend them to upper-intermediate students. She is very good about putting key words with English translations on the screen, and although she speaks clearly and slowly, the key vocabulary is more advanced and very specific to geographical/historical concepts.
I’d like to share with you some of my favorite channels on Youtube that have helped me get through the elementary level or that I wish I had known about when I was an elementary learner.