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June 28, 2005 6:54 AM   Subscribe

What do you use for keeping your Russian at an advanced level?

I'm mostly interested in whether there are good audio CDs out there for advanced speakers to mantain their current level or improve. I was fluent when in Russia, but that was two years ago, and I'd like to stay at a competent level for work reasons.

Also for work reasons, I don't have a lot of time, so I'd love something I could rip onto my mp3 player and listen to on the subway.

Any other tools you have used (Good Russian papers online or in NYC, any groups in NYC for speaking Russian, chilling in the Brighton Beach area) would be helpful too.
posted by lorrer to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
As far as general resources, most of the schools with strong Russian pedagogical departments (Harvard, Middlebury, CREES @ London, etc) will have a page of online teaching/maintenance resources. Colby's is within the links for audio files that might fit your needs. Pimsleur goes up to Russian III - about as advanced as second semester coursework in introductory Russian...

Otherwise, try these:

Ekho Moskvy
VOA RFE/RL (Russian)
Radio VSE, tri-state AM radio, mostly talk (like sitting on the D train, really)
NY's own daily quasi-newspaper, Novoye Russkoye Slovo (rejoinder: the Russian is generally regarded as sub-standard - or 'American' - by the native speakers I know). I've bought this regularly at the local bodegas near 6 diff apartments in North Brooklyn and LIC; easy to find. Outside of Brighton you can pick up AiF at the Hudson's in Grand Central and a few other locations - also try joints around the Ukranian part of the East Village (12-7th St., east of 3rd)
St. Petersburg bookstore in Brighton is the Dom Knigi surrogate for the metro area, recommended
Petropol - out of Brookline, MA, from the Russki Imperiya 6xDVD history set to the Brigada DVD release, they have it @ good prices
Russian DVD - decent selection, priced higher than Brighton
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for modern vernacular and a sense of generational usage I usually read blogs and forums, but most are Uzbek/CA related. Arbuz and Planeta Afghanistan are favs, but check out the link list (right-nav) at for others that gel with your interests. Plenty of music out there, try (US-based) - fairly diverse, from Grazhdanskaya Oborona to Krematorii to Zemfir...RussianDVD offers the most Russian hiphop (best at pushing my limits of comprehension) I can find online besides slsk
This week's Time Out has a survey of Brighton that is decent; the restaraunt list is actually quite solid and up-to-date (cross-check with Chowhound)

Hope some of those help. FWIW, I am looking for back issues of the Russian graphic design journal Kak, if anyone can source holla
posted by cottoncandyhammer at 9:29 AM on June 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Lorrer, I can't help you directly, but someone mentioned in the question I asked yesterday evening about Russia/Russian language...

(P.S.- any advice for a newbie?)
posted by fake at 9:30 AM on June 28, 2005

I had such good intentions of keeping up my Russian language skills once upon a time...

My ideas included:

1. Watching movies in Russian. I have about 20 tapes with Russian films on them. Have I watched any? Of course not...

2. Reading Russian fables. I have a collection of Krilov fables sitting on my shelf that has yet to be cracked.

3. Joining a Russian language table at the university or taking a class in intermediate Russian...
posted by achmorrison at 9:31 AM on June 28, 2005


as far as events/community in NYC - the Gogol Bordello shows (and DJ Hutz offshoot) always attract lots of panslavic attention, as do Julia Vorontsova shows (last one was @ Piano's, hipster Rus quotient was high)

subscribe harriman-news@majordomo.columbia edu for Columbia Univ.'s Harriman Institute mailing list - highly recommended

Reed's list of links covers many bases, worth exploring
posted by cottoncandyhammer at 9:43 AM on June 28, 2005

You can get BBC news in Russian, both in text and streaming audio.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:21 AM on June 28, 2005

St. Petersburg bookstore in Brighton is the Dom Knigi surrogate for the metro area, recommended

Second the recommendation; it's one of the things I miss most about NYC. There are two branches; for some reason the smaller one (on the north side of the street, a bit farther east) has better prices on some things, or used to. I believe this is their website. (I got that from here, which is a great reference for buying foreign-language books on the internet.)

One way I keep up is by regularly reading Avva (Anatoly Vorobei's well-written, thoughtful, and funny blog) and looking up everything I don't understand on Google or Yandex (tip: the latter will automatically include all case/number forms of the word you're searching for). Just going to Brighton Beach and hanging out, listening and (if you work up the courage) chatting, is also very useful. And of course making a Russian-speaking friend is more useful still. Udachi!
posted by languagehat at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

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