Top Russian Movies and TV Shows on Netflix

Richard WessMarch 3, 2023

Netflix’s selection of Russian movies and shows may be exactly what you need if you’re interested in Russian culture and history, learning the Russian language, or are simply looking for a change of pace from your normal streaming diet.

In recent years, Netflix has made an effort to add a more regular rotation of Russian content. While what’s on offer may change with Netflix’s programming calendar, there are usually a solid dozen or so high-quality Russian offerings.

As of March 2023, here are the top Russian movies and TV shows available for streaming on Netflix. And to further explore Russian film and TV, please also check out Russian Film Hub –  the internet’s definitive encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet cinema.

Major Grom Plague Doctor Russian TV Show

Major Grom: Plague Doctor (2021)

Watch on Netflix

Major Grom: Plague Doctor is an action packed TV series based on the popular comic book series of the same name. The story revolves around Igor Grom, a major in Saint Petersburg’s police force, who is known for his fearless and relentless pursuit of justice.

When a mysterious masked vigilante known as the Plague Doctor starts killing corrupt officials and businessmen, Major Grom is assigned to investigate the case. During his pursuit of the villain, Major Grom comes to realize that the Plague Doctor and he share a common goal of ridding St. Petersburg of its endemic corruption.

Silver Skates Russian film

Silver Skates (2020)

Watch on Netflix

Silver Skates is a historical romance set in Saint Petersburg in the 19th century – and indeed this film is worth watching just for its stunning wintertime depiction of this beautiful city. The film tells the story of Matvey, a poor but talented young man who makes a living by delivering ice to the city’s wealthy residents – skating around the frozen rivers and canals of the city.

One day, Matvey meets Alisa, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, who is fascinated by his skating skills. The two soon develop a romantic connection, despite coming from very different backgrounds.

While his relationship with Alisa blossoms, Matvey gets caught up with the wrong crowd and allows himself to get roped into a plot to rob Alisa’s family. However, he soon realizes the terrible and ruinous mess he’s gotten himself into, and amid deceit, betrayal, and love, he must to try his best to extricate himself from his terrible position and prevent a disaster.

To the Lake Russian TV Show

To the Lake (2020)

Watch on Netflix

To the Lake is a sci-fi TV show, also known as Epidemiya, based on the viral novel Vongozero by Yana Vagner.

The story is based on a journal Vagner kept during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It follows a family of a doctor named Sergei who attempt to flee a deadly plague in Moscow and travel to a remote lake. They are among the first to recognize the severity of the disease, and so hope to survive far from the city. However, along they way they meet a host of characters and obstacles that threaten their very lives. A tense watch, To the Lake is an excellent show and fascinating way to revisit the pandemic mindset.

Dovlatov Russian film

Dovlatov (2019)

Watch on Netflix

Dovlatov is a biopic film based on the life of Sergei Dovlatov, one of the most celebrated Soviet writers during the 1970s and 1980s. Dovlatov is directed by director, Alexey German Jr, son of the genius director, Alexey German.

The plot of the film follows Dovlatov over the course of just six days in 1971, a period where he faces multiple personal and political struggles. We see how he manages a strained relationship with his ex-wife and comes to terms with his career not becoming what he hoped it would. Meanwhile, despite the brilliance of his writing, Dovlatov faces harsh censorship, and publishers refuse to publish his work due to its political undertones.

Dovlatov’s portrayal of political censorship and struggles of everyday life sheds a fascinating light on the Soviet Union during this period as well as the artists who demonstrated great resilience amid this oppressive system.  

Better Than Us Russian TV Show

Better Than Us (2019)

Watch on Netflix

Better Than Us is a sci-fi TV series set in a near-future Moscow, where advanced robots known as “anthropomorphic” or “humanoid” robots have become a ubiquitous part of society.

The series follows the story of the Varlamov family, whose lives are changed when they acquire an advanced humanoid robot named Arisa. As the family becomes more attached to Arisa, they discover that she is not like other robots. Arisa appears to be capable of emotions and empathy.

However, Arisa’s uniqueness puts a target on her back from a whole host of criminal organizations, government agencies, and other bad actors. The Varlamov family resolves to protect Arisa the best they can, and also grapple with moral dilemmas concerning the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Sparta 2018 Russian TV Show

Sparta (2018)

Watch on Netflix

Sparta is a TV series that explores the mysterious, murky world of a video game that combines everyday life with a virtual world. The game seemingly has no rules, which leads to grisly results.

The film’s story takes place in St. Petersburg, where a police captain has to investigate why a teacher jumped out of a window in front of his students. To find out why, the captain will have to enter the new reality created by the game, Sparta.

Masha and the Bear TV Show

Masha and the Bear (2009)

Watch on Netflix

Masha and the Bear is a wildly popular animated TV series that follows the adventures of a young girl named Masha and her best friend, a friendly bear. The show is a worldwide phenomenon, known and loved by hundreds of millions of children around the world for its universal themes, loveable characters, and fun stories.

In every episode of Masha and the Bear, somehow the mischievous Masha manages to find herself in chaotic, hilarious situations. Despite that, she is always able to resolve her troubles thanks to her bear friend’s kind and patient guidance.

There are five seasons of Masha and the Bear available on Netflix. In addition to that, there are several related spinoffs, including:

Secret Magic Control Agency Russian Film

Secret Magic Control Agency (2021)

Watch on Netflix

Secret Magic Control Agency is an adventurous animated film that follows the story of two sibling secret agents who protect the world from magical threats. Think of this film as a modern cartoon reboot of a classic fairy tale.

When the evil witch, Baba Yaga, threatens to take over the kingdom, the siblings, Hansel and Gretel, start working with the Secret Magic Control Agency (SMCA) to stop her. Along the way, they encounter mythical creatures, travel through enchanted forests, and visit dark, dismal dungeons. They must keep their wits about them and use the power of teamwork, if they are to defeat the powerful Baba Yaga and her murderous minions.