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Basic keywords you need to visit Russia

Russia has so much to offer to travellers – may be you want to see the spectacular St. Basil’s Cathedral, ride on the famous Trans-Siberian railway or perhaps you just like vodka! 

Whatever your reason for visiting Russia, one thing is for sure… you will need to understand what the locals are saying! Of course, it is possible to hire an interpreter from a local translation agency. However, there are certain basic keywords and phrases you can easily learn and memorize, without needing a translator.

When you are in Russia, you will need simple greetings, to ask for directions or go shopping. Since Russian uses a cyrillic script, it is difficult to read for non-Russian speakers, so we recommend using a Russian audio application.

Basic words and phrases for greeting and goodbye

The only way to start a conversation is by greeting someone and asking how they are. These words should be known to all tourists!

  • Zdravstvujtye (zdrah-stvooy-tee) – is used for hello
  • dobroye utro! (dohb-ruh-ee oo-truh) – is used to wish a person a Good Morning
  • The easiest and most popular way to ask “How are you?” is Kak dyela? (kahk dee-lah)
  • Spokojnoj Nochi (spah-kohy-nuhy noh-chee) – Good night
  • Do svidaniya! (duh svee-dah-nee-ye) – this phrase means ‘till the next morning.’

Saying thank you in Russian 

  • Spaseeba – is used to thank a person.
  • Pazhalooysta – translates into ‘you’re welcome.’

Apologies in Russian 

  • Eezveeneete  – sorry 
  • Prasteete – excuse me

Words for comprehension 

You basic phrases will only take you so far – you will need to know the Russian for asking a person whether they speak English or not.

  • Vi gavareetye pa angleeskee? – Do you speak English?

Asking for help

An emergency can strike anywhere, and you might need to ask for help from the closest person. A tourist needs to know what the phrase is for asking help in Russian as It can be needed any time.

  • ‘Pamagite pazhalusta’  – can you please help me?

Another important phrase to know is if you lost some important object. Losing your wallet, keys or passport can be a huge headache in a foreign country. 

  • ‘Ya patiryal(a)…’ – ‘ I lost my…’

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