In today’s news environment, there’s plenty of media out there intermittently obsessed with all things Russian. However, this sort of coverage cannot satiate the appetite of Russian enthusiasts for in-depth exploration of Russian culture, history, and politics. So here are the top podcasts out there for Russian enthusiasts. They’re not listed in a particular order – rather they are all top notch in their respective fields. Enjoy!
Russophiles Unite! is the number one Russian movie podcast in the world. Its host, Ally Pitts, continues to delight with his infectious enthusiasm for both well-known and below-the-radar Russian films. Each episode, Ally hosts a guest who gets to pick the film. They discuss it, then watch it, and then discuss it some more. This show format is a great fun for introducing yourself to new movies and recapping ones you’ve already watched.
Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh presents an excellent weekly podcast, providing insightful commentary on Russian and Eurasian politics, culture, and history. His episodes feature fascinating interviews with academics, journalists, policy makers, and pundits, all of whom provide some special perspective on Russian affairs, past and present. Sean showcases a wide array of topics, from in-depth explorations of Central Asian Soviet history to a genealogy of Russophobia in America.
Spanning hundreds of episodes along with hundreds of years of Russian history, this podcast is a decade-long tour de force that history buffs will love. It’s also an inspiration to Russian enthusiasts who wish they’d explore their interest in Russian culture more. Mark Schauss, the man behind the podcast, is an internationally known lecturer on environmental and nutritional health issues. He podcasts on the side, furthering his interest in Russian history and delving into his family’s heritage.
Hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), a prominent Washington D.C.-based thinktank, Russian Roulette takes a lively look at Russian and Eurasian current affairs. Discussions take place with a wide array of experts, ranging from politicians and journalists to professors and NGO leaders. In recent episodes, Heather Conley talked about the Belarus protests with Lithuania’s Foreign Minister and FIU’s David Kramer, and Jeffrey Mankoff got the scoop on how Coronavirus is affecting Kazakhstan from RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service. For followers of international security in the Eurasian arena, this podcast is essential listening.
American, Kevin Rothrock, is Managing Editor of the Russian-themed, English-language newspaper, Meduza. He’s been delighting Russia watchers since 2017 with his weekly personal podcast, The Russia Guy. On it Kevin interviews movers and shakers particularly in Russia-related journalism. He also presents Meduza’s own podcast, The Naked Pravda, where he connects Meduza’s top reporting with the wider community of Russia-related experts, activists, and reporters. There really is no better way than Kevin’s conversations to hear from such a vibrant cross-section of Russia experts.
The Eastern Border is a witty and insightful blast into the Soviet past. Host, Kristaps Andrejsons, explains what it was actually like to live in the Soviet Union. Inevitably, present day politics comes up from time to time, but really the focus of the podcast is everyday life and culture in the Soviet Union and how that changed with its collapse.
The Word’s Worth is a wonderful podcast from The Moscow Time’s Arts Editor, Michele Berdy. Michele’s episodes are a treasure trove of insights into Russian language and culture. Non-fluent Russian speakers especially get a lot out of her captivating explanations of Russian language nuances. The podcast actually consists of Michele reading aloud her written column. That’s perfect, as it makes her delightful episodes easier to refer to when you need to recall a specific word or phrase.
Presented by Steve Gutterman of RFE/RL, The Week Ahead In Russia podcast is the most efficient way there is to catch up on the main Russia-related news of the week. The podcast’s quarter-of-an-hour episodes come out every Monday and are a great way to begin your Russian news week. Steve has on a rotating panel of guests who always have interesting takes on the significant developments and upcoming events of the week.
In Moscow’s Shadows only started in April 2020, yet has already firmly established itself as one of the best Russian affairs podcasts. Mark Galeotti, the presenter, has a lot to say, bringing to bear his considerable experience in academia, consulting, and writing. The podcast is a platform for Mark to discuss not just what’s going on in Russia, but also for him to illuminate certain corners that aren’t getting the light and attention they deserve.