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109 lessons available

Runaway bun

Wanderlust – the inability to stay in one place – may not be a typical Russian affliction, but still, there are many Russians abroad nowadays, on the look-out for a less-boring or a less-dangerous country to settle in. To some, they are reminiscent of the most famous of all Russian fairy-tale characters – Kolobok. Kolobok – a gingerbread man-like character - wanted to break free and move on. But did he get a happy ending? You'll find it out in our lesson. In grammar section, we'll be going away, too: The verbs of motion we'll study today are all about "leaving." ...

Host: Nikita, Tanya

Published: September 12, 2013

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Guests are a-coming

Despite their natural reserve and seeming unfriendliness, Russians are well-known for throwing exuberant parties. The backstage of the festivities can be stressful and chaotic, but the result is always delicious. Our lesson will provide you with some menu suggestions among other things – so you'd better not go through it on an empty stomach! Our grammar continues with the verbs of motion – today it's all about "arriving." ...

Host: Nikita, Tanya

Published: September 05, 2013

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Kings of the road

A car with its flashers on rushes onto the wrong lane, crashing into someone who wasn't paying enough attention and who then is blamed for the accident. This is not a scary road movie, this is Moscow reality. But who's the real culprit? Was it the ambulance, the fire department, or the police? None of them. Our lesson will give you all the answers and prepare you for some surprises on the big city streets. In today's grammar, we move on with the verbs of motion: Now, it's the turn of the verbs with the meaning of "exiting," or "going/coming out." ...

Host: Masha, Nikita

Published: August 29, 2013

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Meeting with a car

Here you are, driving to an important meeting in Moscow. You're almost there – but whose car is parked there, blocking your way? We'll find it out in this lesson, together with the discussion of Russian parking habits and some useful words you have to know when driving or walking along Russian streets. In the grammar section, we'll deal with the verbs of motion again. This time, it's the set of verbs with the meaning of "entering." ...

Host: Nikita, Tanya

Published: August 15, 2013

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Dodging the draft

There are many concerns on a young Russian man's mind, like: "Why did my girlfriend leave me?" or "Where can I get more money?" or "What am I doing with my life?" But very often they are overshadowed by another one: "How can I avoid the draft?" In Russia, military service is compulsory, and not everyone is happy about it. Why it is so, and what can indeed be done to avoid it – this lesson will reveal a couple of open military secrets.In today's grammar we'll revisit the usage of the genitive case with three different versions of the preposition "from."...

Host: Nikita, Tanya

Published: August 08, 2013

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Job Interview

Prepare to get some goose bumps: We're going to a job-interview. Thankfully, it's someone else's future on the line: Let's see whether he's got the necessary qualifications to be a journalist and whether he'll get the position. That'll also give us a chance to find out more about the Russian job market for foreigners. Maybe your job-interview will be the next! In today's grammar we'll be comparing two verbs мочь and уметь - both meaning "to be able to", but in quite different senses....

Host: Masha, Nikita

Published: August 01, 2013

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Grandmas and grandsons

Who's gossiping there on a bench near our house entrance? Of course, it's the grannies – or babushkas. And what would they discuss more gladly than their pride and joy – their grandchildren! Let's listen and find out more about babushkas and their role in Russian family life. In today's grammar section, we'll see how the prepositions в and на function when used with the verb играть – to play....

Host: Masha, Nikita

Published: July 25, 2013

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A friend in need

When you're down, when life sucks, or when your boyfriend has dumped you, nobody can console or support you better than your best friend. True friends might be brutally honest with you, but they'll never let you down and always lend a hand when needed – that's what the notion of true friendship means, and, as you find out in our lesson, Russians take it very seriously.In today's grammar, we'll make friends with the preposition "о" which means "about," and also learn to use the personal pronouns in the prepositional case....

Host: Masha, Nikita
Grammar: about

Published: July 18, 2013

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Planes, Trains, and May Day

May Day, May Day! These words would never cause alarm in Russia: On the contrary, the first days of May are the best time for having fun and travelling around, because the whole start of May is like one long weekend in Russia. In today's lesson, you'll not only find out why this is so, but also get a chance to compare some of the most popular ways of long-distance travelling in Russia.In today's grammar, we'll do some comparison, too: This time it's between the two already known prepositions в and на that can both be used with means of transportation, albeit with different meanings....

Host: Masha, Nikita
Grammar: in_on_by

Published: July 11, 2013

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Being a real man

Men and women – it's a miracle that they can co-exist at all, considering how often they want different things and how many different opinions they have about one another and each other's duties and obligations. Still, it often works out somehow – let's hope that today's dialog heroes also will find a mutual understanding someday.Today's grammar is also about obligations and wishes: We'll be discussing modal words meaning "must" and "want."...

Host: Masha, Nikita
Grammar: has_to, want

Published: July 04, 2013

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Indispensable ushanka

It's not a stereotype: Russians do wear ushankas, or ear-flapped hats, a lot. And confronted with a serious Russian winter, you would, too. But an ushanka is not only great against sub-zero temperatures; it's also a fashion statement. Our lesson will introduce you to different kinds of ushankas – and maybe even help you to make your own choice! In today's grammar section, we're dealing with the plural form of the prepositional case, as well as with some ways to say "also" in Russian....

Host: Masha, Nikita

Published: June 27, 2013

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No more 1990s

Russian business isn't always clean and fair. Why is the businessman in our dialog going crazy? Because his former partner is refusing to pay him back, and is afraid neither of the tax agency, nor even of a legal suit. These businessmen of today! Life was much simpler back in the 90s when a scammer like this one would be simply eliminated.In this lesson, we'll learn more about the inglorious 1990s in Russia and discuss a grammatical construction that helps to express wishes and demands.Picture: A still shot from Alexey Balabanov's Жму´рки - Dead Man's Bluff (2005)...

Host: Nikita, Tanya

Published: June 20, 2013

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Destination Baikal

If you're still undecided about your next vacation trip, how about Lake Baikal – one of Russia's greatest natural treasures of legendary purity and beauty? Admittedly, it's not easy getting there, and it is quite unlike the usual holiday resort with all its comforts – that's why the ultimate question is: Are you ready for an adventure – or would you rather stay on the safe sunbathing side?...

Host: Masha, Nikita

Published: June 13, 2013

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Reading Dostoevsky

Have you read Dostoevsky? Even though many Russians haven't, they nevertheless all agree that he is the most influential and famous Russian writer ever. That is, if one doesn't count his eternal rival, Leo Tolstoy, of course. In today's lesson, you'll get to know both, and maybe choose where your preferences lie: Is it the darkish Dostoevsky or the classier Tolstoy?Today's grammar is dedicated to the prepositional case used after the preposition "о" – "about".Picture: A still shot from Vladimir Bortko's The Idiot (2003) , based on Dostoevsky's novel of the same title....

Host: Masha, Nikita
Grammar: o_about

Published: June 06, 2013

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The troubles of Russian football

One of the best conversation starters with a Russian male (and often female) of any age is football. By football, we mean soccer – the only kind of football as far as Russians are concerned, and the sport nearest their hearts. Our lesson will help you in sharing your football thoughts with Russians – which will immediately warm them up towards you. If you don't happen to bad-mouth their home team, that is. In today's grammar, the focus is on the verbs of motion again: We will compare their different usages in the past tense, as well as learn prepositions used for moving to open spaces....

Host: Masha, Nikita
Topic: sport, football

Published: May 30, 2013

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Sleep, little one, go to sleep

It's beddy-buy time! Well, obviously not for us grown-ups. Instead, let's stay up and learn a famous lullaby loved by generations of Russian kids. It was also used as a cover song of the first Russian kids' TV-show Goodnight, Little Ones. See if you can recognize the melody. In today's grammar, we are fininshing the imperatives: The last imperative ending is -и. Music: Bernhard FliesRussian lyrics: Sophia SviridenkoSinger: Elena Kamburova Picture: A still shot from the Goodnight, Little Ones cover....

Host: Nikita, Tanya
Topic: poem, kids, lullaby

Published: May 23, 2013

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Lada's Last Stand

Bad news awaits us in today's lesson: A car crash is never fun. But wait a minute, are we talking about a Soviet-era Zhiguli here? In this case, a car crash might be a blessing in disguise. Let's find out why in this lesson, and have a look at cars and Russian car industry in particular. We continue with the imperative mood of verbs. Today's grammar is about a form of imperative which ends on the "soft sign" – ь....

Host: Nikita, Tanya
Function: auto_vocabulary

Published: May 16, 2013

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Leaving Moscow

Where is the "real" Russia? Some people firmly believe that the one and only place to live in Russia is Moscow. Others think that Moscow isn't really Russia at all. In today's dialog, we'll witness someone's life choice between these two options, and have a chance to compare the capital and the "province" ourselves.In today's grammar, we'll make some comparisons, too: this time, it's between the accusative and the prepositional case for directions and locations respectively....

Host: Masha, Nikita

Published: May 09, 2013

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