20 Simple Russian Phrases You Need to Know

Welcome to the world of the Russian language! Whether you’re planning a trip to Russia or just eager to broaden your linguistic horizons, mastering some basic Russian phrases can go a long way.

Below, you’ll find 20 simple yet essential expressions that will help you navigate conversations and make connections with Russian speakers.

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1.  Здравствуйте – Hello

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re completely new to the Russian language, this is how you say “Hello” to someone in a neutral way. This phrase is used with strangers, adults you don’t know very well, and practically anyone you’re not very close with. It is pronounced /zdrast-vuy-te/, which looks very intimidating. What can you do to pronounce so many consonants together? Split the word into many parts and practise them separately.

2.  Привет – Hi

Now, if you want to greet someone you are already familiar with, things are easier. In that case, you should say Привет, which means “Hi!” and is pronounced /pri–vet/. Yes, as you can see, while mastering the Russian alphabet may be challenging, Russian pronunciation is actually quite simple.

3.  Пожалуйста  – Please

Manners matter, and saying “please” is a universally appreciated gesture. In Russian, it’s Пожалуйста, pronounced /po-zha-loo-sta/. It’s a versatile word that can be used in various situations when making requests or expressing politeness.

4.  Спасибо  – Thank you

Gratitude is a universal language. When you want to express your thanks in Russian, simply say Спасибо, pronounced /spa-see-bo/. It’s a crucial phrase to have in your arsenal, especially if you’re receiving any form of assistance.

Tourist girl in Russia

5.  Извините  – Excuse me / I’m sorry

Whether you need to get someone’s attention or apologize, Извините (pronounced /iz-vi-nee-te/) is the phrase to use. It serves both as an “excuse me” and an “I’m sorry”, making it one of the handiest words in our list of simple Russian phrases.

6.  Да  – Yes

Keep it simple when affirming something in Russian by saying Да (/da/). This word is straightforward and easy to remember, making it a quick affirmative response in conversations.

7.  Нет  – No

Do you need a short and clear way to decline a second helping of a not-so-great meal? Нет (/net/) is the word to use.

Пожалуйста  – You’re welcome

After receiving thanks, respond graciously with Пожалуйста (/po-zha-loo-sta/), meaning “You’re welcome.” It’s a polite way to acknowledge someone’s gratitude, and also a great way to show you’ve really done your homework with your list of simple Russian phrases..

8.  “Как вас зовут?”  – What’s your name?

When introductions are in order, knowing how to ask for someone’s name is essential. In Russian, you say “Как вас зовут?” (Kak vas zovut?) in a formal or polite context. If you’re in a more informal setting, especially with friends or peers, you can use “Как тебя зовут?” (Kak tebya zovut?).

9.  До свидания – Goodbye

Just as important as saying hello is bidding farewell. До свидания (/do svi-da-ni-ya/) is the phrase for saying goodbye in a formal or polite setting. Use it when parting ways with someone you’ve met.

10.  Как дела?  – How are you?

Show genuine interest in someone’s well-being by asking Как дела? (/kak de-la/), which translates to “How are you?” This question is commonly used in casual conversations, and it’s a great way to connect with others on a personal level.

11.   Хорошо  – Good

Respond positively to the inquiry about your well-being with Хорошо (/kho-ro-sho/), meaning “good.” It’s a simple and effective way to show that, even if you’re just beginning to learn the language, you’re making an effort to keep the conversation going without resorting to English.

12.  Извини – Sorry (informal)

In less formal situations, such as with friends or peers, you can use Извини (/iz-vee-nee/) to apologize or say sorry. It’s the informal version of Извините (see above).

13.  Давай  – Let’s go / Come on

Here’s one of our favourite words in our Simple Russian Phrases blog. When you’re ready to encourage action or suggest doing something together, say Давай (/da-vai/). It’s a versatile word that can be used to express enthusiasm or initiate plans.

14.  Сколько это стоит? (Skolko eto stoit?) – How much does it cost?

Navigate the markets or shops confidently by asking Сколько это стоит? (/skol-ko e-to sto-it/) when you want to know the price of something. It’s a good phrase to have at hand whether you’re clothes shopping or just buying food.


15.  Где туалет? Where is the bathroom?

Nature calls, and in those moments, knowing how to ask for the bathroom is crucial. Где туалет? (/gde tua-let/) will guide you to the nearest restroom when needed.

16.  Я не понимаю (Ya ne ponimayu) – I don’t understand

Language barriers happen, but you can bridge them with simple Russian phrases by saying Я не понимаю (/ya ne po-nee-ma-yu/), meaning “I don’t understand.” It’s a polite way to seek clarification or ask for assistance. And, if you’re ready to give up, you can always say “Вы говорите по-английски?” (Vy govorite po-angliyski?) which means “Do you speak English?”

17.   Помогите  – Help

In times of need, use Помогите (/po-mo-gee-te/) to ask for help. Whether you’re lost or facing a challenge, this word will come in handy when seeking assistance.

18.  Красиво  – Beautiful

Express admiration for the beauty around you by saying Красиво (/kra-see-vo/), meaning “beautiful.” Use this word to compliment scenery, artwork, or anything visually pleasing. You can even use it for flirting, as long as you’re respectful!

19.  До свидания  – Until we meet again

End your interactions on a positive note by saying До свидания (/do svi-da-ni-ya/) once again. This phrase serves as a more formal way to say goodbye, expressing the hope of meeting again in the future.

20.   Удачи! (Udachi!) – Good luck!

When you want to wish someone success or good fortune, say Удачи (/oo-da-chi/), which translates to “Good luck!” Whether it’s before an exam, a performance, or any important endeavour, offering this phrase shows your positive intentions and support for the other person’s endeavors. For example, Удачи on your language-learning journey!

Congratulations! You’ve now equipped yourself with 20 essential but simple Russian phrases to enhance your language skills. Practise them, and you’ll be navigating conversations in Russian with confidence in no time.

Would you like to go beyond these simple Russian phrases and start working on your conversational skills? At Language Trainers, we have the perfect course for you.

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