The Russian Language Program at Cornell University has produced several excellent online resources for learners of Russian. Mini-Videos for Learners of Intermediate Russian consists of 91 excerpts from the comedy show “6 кадров”, accompanied by vocabulary help and transcripts. The Anthrax Diaries is a 30-minute documentary about the Soviet biological weapons program, with transcripts and English translations. Lora’s Dialogs is a beginner’s course with short dialogs (audio recordings), transcripts, grammar notes, and substitution exercises. A Collocational Russian-English Dictionary of the Human Body is an interactive on-line dictionary that lists thousands of phrases for describing the appearance, movements, moods, injuries, etc. of human beings. Additionally, there are several pages that accompany Russian films with transcripts, key vocabulary, and summaries: Папа, Благословите женщину, Водитель для Веры, and Олигарх.
Отрезал.РУ is an online dictionary of Russian idioms, sayings, film quotes, and other language chunks that provides historical background on these phrases as well as their meaning. Advanced students of Russian can use this website as an aid while reading texts, or, alternatively, browse the entries to learn new expressions like белая ворона or to find out when to use the phrase зубы заговаривать.
The School of Russian and Asian Studies contains many excellent resources for students learning Russian and those who are interested in studying abroad in Russia and Eurasia. Their Russian Mini Lessons provide cultural background knowledge and vocabulary on a variety of topics: religion and folklore, politics and military, village life, business, love and friendship, birth, health and safety, science and technology, and others. The lessons introduce readers to key words, phrases, and idiomatic expressions related to the topic. Use this resource to add new vocabulary to your vocabulary log, or simply to beef up your knowledge on Russian culture.
Коммерсантъ developed a series of tests designed to assess immigrants’ level of Russian cultural knowledge. Test-takers fill in the blanks to complete proverbs, idiomatic expressions, quotes from music and films, and other phrases well-known to most native speakers of Russian. Try taking the test, then research the questions you answered incorrectly to learn more about their meanings and origins.
Transparent Language’s Russian Blog is one of the most useful and best written Russian language blogs on the Internet. Posts are written in English but contain Russian words and phrases with translations, detailed explanations, and stress marks. Topics cover a wide variety of cultural and linguistic issues: Russian poetry, Soviet cartoons, pop music, cuisine, history, grammar, fairy tales, idioms, literature, and much more. Subscribe to the RSS feed or signup for the email list to receive blog posts as they are published (every few days). Record any interesting words or phrases in a vocabulary log, and read further about post topics you find interesting.
A Book of Russian Idioms Illustrated contains almost 600 Russian idioms accompanied by drawings, literal translations, explanations, and English equivalents. You can use it as a dictionary, to gain deeper understanding of the idioms you come across in reading, or use it to discover new idioms and expand your knowledge of idiomatic Russian. Keep track of the idioms you’re learning in a vocabulary log.