Going to Russia sounds challenging for many people, and the reason does not deal with getting visa, but more like with some unconditional fears and worries about how they are going to be there. Some think that people speak only Russian, and they are generally scary and unfriendly.

I am here to assure you are wrong. Firstly, Russians are generally nice and friendly, and ready to help in case you need anything. They might not know your language, that’s true. But even without proper language skills, you’ll understand each other. You just will, believe me.

In case you still want to express your thoughts and wonders in the language of the country you travel to, check this list of words and phrases. Hopefully, they will make you feel comfortable communicating in Russian. These are just basics, and if you want to learn more of the language, I recommend downloading some language app, like Duolingo.

Greetings & Goodbyes

Привет – [privet] – hi, hello
Здравствуйте – [zdrastvu’te] – hello (formal)
Добрый день – [dobry den’] – good afternoon
Добрый вечер – [dobry vecher] – good evening
Доброе утро – [dobroe utro] – good morning
Пока – [paka] – bye
До свидания – [do svidaniya] – goodbye (formal)
Увидимся – [uvidimsya] – see ya!


Да – [da] – yes
Нет – [net] -no
Спасибо – [spasiba] – thanks
Пожалуйста – [pazhalusta] – please/ you are welcome
Нет проблем – [net problem] – no problem
Как дела? – [kak dela] – how are you?
Хорошо – [harasho] – good
Плохо – [plokha] – bad
Нормально – [narmal’no] – okay
Отлично – [ahlichna] – excellent?
Я хочу – [ya khochu] – I want
Я не хочу – [ya ne khochu] – I don’t want

Asking for directions

Где – [gde] – where
Куда – [kuda] – where to
Откуда – [atkuda] – where from
For instance:
Где магазин? – [gde manazin] – where is a shop?
Где отель? – [gde atel’] – where is a hotel?
Где туалет? – [gde tualet] – where is wc?
Куда ты идешь? – [kuda ty idesh] – where are you going?
Откуда ты? – [atkuda ty] – where are you from?

Food and drinks

Вода – [vada] – water
Еда – [eda] – food
Мясо – [myasa] – meat
Рыба – [ryba] – fish
Овощи – [ovachi] – vegetables
Фрукты – [frukty] – fruit
Чай – [tchai] – tea
Кофе – [kofe] – coffee
Сахар – [sakhar] – sugar
Соль – [sol’] -salt
Перец – [perets] – pepper
Сливки – [slivki] – cream
Молоко – [malako] -milk
Хлеб – [khleb] – bread

In case you go for a guided tour around Saint Petersburg, you won’t need any Russian, as the whole communication will be in English. Extra advantage of Saint Petersburg is that there are many signs and all possible brochures, menus, papers in English. There will be no communication problem, so don’t worry and just plan a nice exciting trip to Russia!