Is Russian Hard To Learn? (9 Things You Can Expect)

Are you interested in learning the Russian language (Ру́сский язы́к)? The first thing you need to know is that it is one of the most challenging languages in the world because of its rules, structures, and peculiarities.

Russian relies on grammatical etiquettes that are different from English, like many European language systems, which may be challenging for English speakers at first. Here are some things you can do to make your Russian learning experience more manageable!

Is Russian Hard To Learn?

The Russian language can be challenging to learn because of its intricate grammar and complex alphabet. It uses different cases, not including vocative, making it hard to tell which case they are in and where words end. Furthermore, it is also considered a Category III language because it requires students to learn extensive vocabulary, Cyrillic alphabet, prepositions, and a broadly different culture!

I will show you nine things to make your Russian learning experience worthy of pursuing, so keep reading!

1. Cultural Language of Russia

Russian, the mother tongue of the Russian people, is a member of the Indo-European language family.

Other than Russia, the official languages of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan are all in Russian dialects. 

Additionally, there are six case forms used in this language: locative, accusative, accusative, dative, nominative, and genitive.

Like German, Russian has many extraordinarily long words (compounds included), which initially seem impossible to pronounce!

2. Most Challenging Languages to Learn

Many people believe that Russian is one of the most challenging languages to master. This is generally true if you don’t know any other Slavic languages.

For that reason, it uses the Cyrillic system, which is made up of characters that are both familiar to us and strange to them.

For example, certain Cyrillic characters may resemble their Latin equivalents, and speakers should know that their sounds can differ.

Because of this, many students have difficulty pronouncing words correctly since word conviction might occasionally be unexpected and not indicated!

3. Russian Belongs to the East Slavic Family

Along with Ukrainian and Belarusian, the Russian language makes up the eastern branch of the East Slavic language family.

Along with its original speakers, around 60 million people also speak Russian as a second language, making it a recognized international language today.

As you start to study this language, keep in mind that their word order is flexible.

Consequently, most sentences can have words added at any point and still make sense!

4. Russian is Classified as Category III Language

According to the American Foreign Service Institute, it takes approximately 1100 hours to study Russian at a category three level of difficulty.

When studying this language, the focus is placed on one syllable at a time, which sticks out more than most English terms.

This means that you must know how to emphasize the critical syllables in addition to learning vocabulary.

In terms of their proper nouns, Russian speech frequently omits the articles. Therefore, it will be challenging to use the pronouns!

5. Cyrillic Alphabet, Verbs, and Structures

Cyrillic Alphabet, Verbs, and Structures

As a beginner, you can start by understanding the dialect’s foundational concepts, like Russian’s Cyrillic alphabet, verbs, and structures.

First, be familiar with the Russian alphabet, which consists of 33 letters and a total of 21 consonants, ten vowels, and two letters without assigned sounds.

In terms of sentence structure, you should be aware that Russians don’t use the verb “to be” in the present tense, which might confuse beginners when constructing basic sentences.

After becoming familiar with the fundamentals, start investing in Russian books and online platforms such as Duolingo, Memrise, and RussianPod101, all for free trials!

6. Speaking Russian Broadens the Social Circle

Meeting new people and establishing a new circle will be much simpler if you speak another language.

Thus, learning the Russian language may assist some students in making new friends or contacts in the workplace. 

Additionally, when traveling, you have the chance to become a local speaker rather than a visitor.

Once you master the language, your perspective on Russia will never be the same!

7. Something To Put on Your Resume

If you work in the hospitality, travel, and tourism sector, a Russian certification language is undoubtedly a skill to highlight on your resume.

Having Russian proficiency on your resume will make you stand out in many roles across all industries. 

Additionally, it will be simple for workers to communicate because nearly 300 million individuals in all of the former Soviet Union nations speak Russian.

After all, yes, Russian is a challenging language. Still, for employers, it demonstrates significant devotion and qualities that businesses highly respect in candidates!

8. Maintain focus in Learning Russian

You won’t be able to speak Russian fluently in 3 months.

However, you can advance to upper beginner status in three to six months if you study for an hour every day.

It might be challenging to keep one’s interest in a topic over time, but remember to stay focused.

Once you master how to balance your time, you should be able to maintain your attention for long enough to get some valuable skills!

9. Russian Language Audio, Online, and Textbook Reserves

Start with audio programs like Russian Uncovered ($297 one-time purchase) and Rocket Russian ($99.95). 

These applications have top-notch audio content for users at every skill level, from novice to professional.

Additionally, you may also use your free time to learn online video platforms like Forvo ($2.99), FluentU Russian ($30), and LingoPie ($12).

Lastly, don’t forget to include textbooks like Russian in 10 minutes a day ($30.20) and The Berlitz Self-Teacher: Russian ($90.95)!

To learn more, you can also see our posts on Czech, Polish, Turkish, and Dutch.


The bottom line is that the Russian language has a lot to offer. With its rich culture and dynamic economy, the country has many attributes people love and adore.

If you’re trying to learn Russian for the first time, don’t let its complicated structure or rules intimidate you. Instead, embrace them as one of the things that makes Russian the unique language it is today!