Common Russian Phrases You Need To Know

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Are you planning a trip to Russia? Whether you’re going for business or pleasure, it’s always helpful to know a few key phrases in the local language.

In this article, we’ll cover some common Russian phrases that you need to know to navigate your way through this fascinating country.

From basic greetings and expressions to ordering food and asking for directions, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll also delve into cultural etiquette and customs, so you can avoid any embarrassing faux pas. And of course, we’ll provide you with conversational phrases and small talk topics to help you connect with the locals.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a solid foundation in Russian language and be well-equipped to communicate during your travels.

So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started on learning those essential Russian phrases!

Greetings and Basic Expressions

Do you know how to greet someone in Russian and express basic phrases? Well, let me help you out!

When greeting someone in Russian, it is customary to say ‘Здравствуйте’ (Zdravstvuyte), which means ‘Hello’ or ‘Good day’ in English.

To say ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good day’ specifically, you can use ‘Доброе утро’ (Dobroe utro) or ‘Добрый день’ (Dobryy den’).

If it’s evening, you can say ‘Добрый вечер’ (Dobryy vecher).

Additionally, it’s important to know how to say ‘Thank you’ and ‘You’re welcome.’ ‘Спасибо’ (Spasibo) means ‘Thank you,’ and ‘Пожалуйста’ (Pozhaluysta) means ‘You’re welcome.’

These basic expressions will definitely come in handy when interacting with Russian speakers.

Introducing Yourself and Asking for Help

Feeling lost in a foreign land? Let’s find out how to introduce yourself and seek assistance in Russian!

When introducing yourself, say ‘Menya zovut’ followed by your name.

To ask for help, use the phrase ‘Pomogite, pozhaluysta’ which means ‘Help me, please.’

Russians are generally friendly and willing to assist, so don’t hesitate to ask for directions or any other kind of help you may need.

Remember to be polite and say ‘Spasibo’ (Thank you) when someone helps you.

If you’re unsure about something, you can ask ‘Ya ne ponimayu’ which means ‘I don’t understand.’

Learning these basic phrases will make navigating through Russia much easier and help you connect with the locals.

Ordering Food and Drinks

Craving some delicious Russian cuisine? Let’s dive into ordering food and drinks like a pro!

When dining in Russia, it’s important to know how to navigate the menu and place your order with confidence. Start by getting the server’s attention with a polite ‘izvinite’ (excuse me).

To order food, use the phrase ‘Ya by xotel(a)…’ (I would like…) followed by the name of the dish. If you’re not sure what to choose, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations – Russian cuisine is full of delightful surprises.

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When it comes to drinks, try the traditional Russian beverage called ‘kvas’ or opt for a glass of ‘vodka’ for a real Russian experience.

Remember to thank the server with a sincere ‘spasibo’ (thank you) after enjoying your meal.

Now, go ahead and savor the flavors of Russia!

Asking for Directions

Navigating the streets of Russia becomes much easier when you can confidently ask for directions. When you find yourself needing to find a specific location, don’t hesitate to approach a local and ask for help.

Begin by saying ‘Извините’ (izvinite), which means ‘Excuse me.’ Then, you can ask ‘Где находится…’ (Gde nakhoditsya), followed by the name of the place or street you’re looking for.

To understand the response, be familiar with the words for ‘left’ (налево, nalevo), ‘right’ (направо, napravo), ‘straight’ (прямо, pryamo), and ‘here’ (здесь, zdes). Additionally, knowing basic numbers will be useful when asking for distances or addresses.

Remember to thank the person by saying ‘Спасибо’ (Spasibo) before continuing on your way.

With these phrases in your arsenal, you’ll confidently find your way around Russian streets.

Shopping and Bargaining

Looking to get the best deals while shopping in Russia? Learn how to bargain like a pro and score some amazing discounts!

When shopping in Russia, it’s important to know how to haggle and negotiate prices. Start by greeting the seller with a friendly ‘Zdravstvuyte’ (Hello) and then ask ‘Skol’ko stoit?’ (How much does it cost?).

Remember to always start with a lower price and be prepared to walk away if the seller doesn’t agree. Use phrases like ‘Eto slishkom dorogo’ (It’s too expensive) or ‘Mozhno skidku?’ (Can I have a discount?).

Don’t be afraid to negotiate and make counter offers. It’s also helpful to know numbers in Russian so you can easily understand the prices.

With some practice and confidence, you’ll be able to navigate the Russian markets and get the best deals!

Transportation and Getting Around

Need to get around in Russia? Mastering transportation and navigating the city is crucial for a seamless travel experience.

When it comes to transportation in Russia, there are several options available to you. The most common mode of transportation in major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg is the metro, which is known for its efficiency and extensive network.

With its beautifully designed stations, the metro is not only a convenient way to get around but also a sightseeing opportunity in itself.

Another popular option is taking a taxi, either a traditional cab or using ride-sharing apps like Yandex.Taxi. It’s important to note that traffic can be heavy in Russian cities, so it’s always a good idea to plan your trips accordingly.

Lastly, if you prefer a more scenic and leisurely way of getting around, consider taking a river cruise or a leisurely walk to explore the city’s hidden gems.

Numbers and Counting

To make the most of your trip in Russia, it’s crucial to have a firm grasp on numbers and counting. Whether you’re buying souvenirs at a local market or trying to navigate public transportation, knowing the numbers will greatly enhance your experience.

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In Russian, numbers are quite straightforward and follow a consistent pattern. To count from one to ten, you’ll need to learn the words ‘odin, dva, tri, chetyre, pyat’, shest’, sem’, vosem’, devyat’, desyat’.’ Beyond ten, the numbers become slightly more complex, but with practice, you’ll quickly become proficient.

It’s also important to know how to ask for prices, which can be done by saying ‘Skol’ko stoit?’ meaning ‘How much does it cost?’

Having a solid understanding of numbers and counting will undoubtedly help you navigate through your Russian adventures with ease.

Weather and Seasons

Embrace the beauty of Russian weather and seasons by learning how to effortlessly describe them in everyday conversations. Whether you’re planning a trip to Russia or simply want to engage in small talk, knowing how to discuss the weather is essential.

In Russian, you can start by using phrases like ‘Какая погода?’ (What’s the weather like?) or ‘Сегодня холодно’ (It’s cold today). To talk about the seasons, you can say ‘Лето’ for summer, ‘Осень’ for autumn, ‘Зима’ for winter, and ‘Весна’ for spring.

Additionally, you can mention specific weather conditions such as ‘Дождь’ for rain, ‘Снег’ for snow, or ‘Солнце’ for sun. Mastering these common Russian phrases will not only make your conversations more interesting, but also help you connect with locals on a deeper level.

Making Reservations and Booking Accommodation

Discover the secrets to securing your dream accommodation in Russia by mastering the art of making reservations and booking.

When traveling to Russia, it is essential to know how to communicate your accommodation needs effectively. Start by learning these common Russian phrases:

  • ‘Я хотел бы забронировать номер’ (I would like to book a room)
  • ‘Сколько стоит проживание?’ (How much is the stay?)
  • ‘У вас есть свободные номера?’ (Do you have any available rooms?)

It is also crucial to be aware of the different types of accommodation available, such as:

  • ‘отель’ (hotel)
  • ‘гостиница’ (guesthouse)
  • ‘хостел’ (hostel)

When making a reservation, make sure to provide your name, dates of stay, and any specific requirements you may have.

By mastering these phrases and understanding the booking process, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay in Russia.

Cultural Etiquette and Customs

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural traditions of Russia by familiarizing yourself with the dos and don’ts of etiquette and customs.

When visiting Russia, it is important to be aware of certain cultural nuances to ensure a respectful and positive experience. Russians value punctuality, so it’s essential to arrive on time for any social gathering or appointment.

When greeting someone, a firm handshake is customary, and it is polite to address individuals by their full names until given permission to use a nickname.

Additionally, it is customary to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home, and it is considered impolite to show the soles of your feet.

Respect for elders is highly valued in Russian culture, so it is customary to offer your seat to an elderly person on public transportation.

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By adhering to these cultural practices, you can show your appreciation for Russia’s rich heritage and traditions.

Conversational Phrases and Small Talk

Engage with the vibrant culture of Russia by mastering conversational phrases and small talk that will help you connect with the locals and create meaningful interactions.

When visiting Russia, it’s important to be prepared with common phrases to initiate conversations and make a good impression. Start by learning basic greetings like ‘Zdravstvujte’ (Hello) or ‘Kak dela?’ (How are you?). Russians appreciate politeness, so don’t forget to use ‘Pozhalujsta’ (Please) and ‘Spasibo’ (Thank you) when appropriate.

To keep the conversation flowing, ask open-ended questions like ‘Chto vy delali v etot vecher?’ (What did you do tonight?). Remember to listen actively and show genuine interest in the answers.

By mastering these conversational phrases and small talk, you’ll be able to navigate social situations in Russia with ease and connect with the locals on a deeper level.

Expressing Gratitude and Politeness

To truly appreciate the vibrant culture of Russia, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the art of expressing gratitude and politeness in conversations. This will enable you to connect with the locals on a much deeper and more meaningful level.

Russians place great importance on showing appreciation and respect. Incorporating these phrases into your speech will undoubtedly leave a positive impression.

When someone does you a favor, it is customary to say ‘Spasibo’ (thank you) or ‘Bol’shoye spasibo’ (thank you very much).

To express gratitude for a meal or hospitality, you can say ‘Blagodaryu’ (I thank you).

Additionally, it is polite to use ‘Izvinite’ (excuse me) or ‘Pozhaluysta’ (please) when asking for assistance or making a request.

By mastering these phrases, you will enhance your cultural experience and forge genuine connections with the friendly people of Russia.

Useful Travel Vocabulary and Phrases

Navigating through a foreign country can be a breeze when you’ve got some handy travel vocab and phrases up your sleeve. In Russia, knowing a few key phrases can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Start by learning simple greetings like ‘privet’ (hello) and ‘spasibo’ (thank you), which will help you connect with locals and show your appreciation.

When asking for directions, use phrases like ‘Izvinite, gde nahoditsya…’ (Excuse me, where is…) to easily find your way around.

It’s also useful to know phrases like ‘Skol’ko stoit?’ (How much does it cost?) when shopping or dining out.

By familiarizing yourself with these essential travel phrases, you’ll be able to communicate effectively and confidently during your Russian adventures.


In conclusion, knowing common Russian phrases is essential for any traveler or language enthusiast. These phrases will greatly enhance your experience in Russia.

From greetings and basic expressions to ordering food and drinks, asking for help, and navigating through a shopping experience, understanding these phrases will be invaluable.

Additionally, understanding cultural etiquette and customs will help you connect with locals on a deeper level.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to Russia or simply want to expand your language skills, start practicing these phrases today.

Immerse yourself in the rich Russian language and culture.

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