Five Russian Podcasts for Intermediate and Advanced Students
If you’re like me, you love podcasts. You listen to them on your way to work, at the gym, or even over a cup of tea. Edifying, intellectually engaging, and often humorous, podcasts are not only a great way to optimize your free time, but also a crucial tool to help improve listening your skills. What better way to supplement your coursework than listening to Russian podcasts, where you hear the language as it’s actually spoken?
Podcasting is developing quickly in Russia, with high-quality content reaching wider audiences each day. The following podcasts are excellent windows into contemporary, relevant discussions happening across the country. While the speed of естественная речь (natural speech) may be daunting at first, after just a few hours of listening a week your confidence will improve.
Blitz and Chips
Take a group of close friends, pick an interesting topic from popular culture (e.g. weight and body image, Kanye West, Rick & Morty, the boundaries of humor), roll the mic, and you get Blitz and Chips. This podcast, produced by Grisha Prorokov, follows the обсуждение (discussion) formula: each of the over 150 episodes consist of about 90 minutes of lighthearted joking, serious discussion, personal narratives, and debates. It’s like eavesdropping in a beer bar without the background noise. Plus, since the hosts are all fluent in Western culture, their Russian is colored with English words, like камон (come on) and шеймить (to shame). This is a great podcast to listen to during an aerobic workout.
History lovers rejoice! Arzamas’s six seasons of intriguing and well-researched history lectures are your new best friend. With topics ranging from “The History of Russian-American Relations” to “The Blockade of Leningrad” to “What is Modern Dance?”, there’s something for everyone. These podcasts are educational but rather dense, so do take your time, and don’t listen in bed (you might fall asleep).
Как Жить (How to Live)
Meduza’s Как Жить is a Q&A format show hosted by Galina Timchenko, Yekaterina Krongauz, and Lika Kramer. The hosts are not experts in psychology, but rather successful, well-educated and well-spoken women who share and discuss their responses to such relevant yet intimate questions as: “How to cope with boss-phobia?”, “I’m a lesbian. Should I come out to my parents and friends even though I know they might not accept me?” and “How should I respond to people who remind me that I’ve gained weight?” Episodes last about 40 minutes.
Дело Случая (A Matter of Chance)
How are ethics changing in the contemporary world? A Matter of Chance investigates in 40-minute episodes on topics such as “All the Ethical Problems of Black Mirror” and “Can a True Artist be a Jerk?” This one’s another podcast from Meduza editor Yekaterina Krongauz, this time in collaboration with former war correspondent Andrei Babitsky.
В смысле (What Do You Mean?)
Dmitry Kolezev, a self-described hobbyist podcaster, investigates historical and contemporary issues, such as “The Execution of the Romanov’s” and “Why Conspiracy Theories are so Attractive.” So far, the show consists of just one season of 12 episodes, each between 15-30 minutes long. Since the episodes are so short and information-rich, they are often worth listening to a couple of times.