Learning Russian on Instagram

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Several months ago I saw an interesting Instagram post written by a Russian teacher. Her main point was this: following Russian teachers on Instagram is not a good way to improve your Russian. Instead, you should follow people living out their lives in the Russian language.

I do follow several Russian teachers on Instagram and I think their content is pretty useful. That said, there are only so many times you can look at grammar charts and vocab lists. Once you progress beyond basic Russian, switching out some of the teachers for non-teaching native speakers is a good idea.

Follow people with your hobbies. Follow people living in unusual places. Follow people who are older or younger than you. (I can’t tell you how many Russian words I’ve learned from being IG friends with some of my teenage students. Not that I can use those words. 🤣 ) Follow celebrities and authors. Follow accounts that share daily photos of Moscow / Chelyabinsk / Vladivostok / Tula / Murmansk / Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky / your favorite city. You can also follow hashtags of your favorite things, like #борщ or #матрёшка.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few of my favorite Russian-language Instagram accounts. Click on the photo to go directly to that account.


The animals

This is my favorite account on Instagram. Месси is a small puma living in Penza, Russia. His owners saved him from euthanization and nursed him back to health (you can read the story here). In general, I don’t like the exotic-animal pet craze in Russia but Месси and his owners are the exception.
A Russian cat who lives at a dacha. Also lots of snow photos + the occasional village dog.
A Бульдог Блогер who is always in costume.


Humans with talents

Вика Бельгаева is a young woman from the Irkutsk region who makes hilarious parodies of family life. Two of my favorites: зачем нужна жена and свекровь приехала.
A very talented matryoshka painter in Sergiev Posad.
A 19-year-old athlete doing crazy bar stuff in Lipetsk, Russia.
Disclaimer: this IG account is in English but I still think it’s fascinating. Written by a man who calls himself “The Northest African in the World” and is living somewhere in Yakutia.


Russian architecture & nature

If you’re into old Soviet buildings and mosaics, this is your community.
Nature in Crimea.
Stunning shots of the countryside + Moscow in all seasons.
A nice account to browse at the end the day. 🙂

What do you think about learning a foreign language on Instagram?

Is it better to follow a teacher or a native speaker with an interesting story to tell?

Do you have any cool Instagram recommendations for me?

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