Plenty of sites online promise the world in how long it takes to learn Russian. Or any foreign language really. But can you really become fluent in Russian in 4 weeks? Or half a year? Or even in 2 years?
In short: no.
You cannot become fluent in Russian in less than 2 years. Unless your native language is Slavic, you have experience with learning a foreign language, or can dedicate 2+ focused hours per day.
For all other people, it will likely take a couple of years. That’s okay, because fluency it’s not a on/off switch.
If you spend 30 minutes per day for a week, you can say a couple of basic phrases, such as hello, my name is and goodbye.
If you spend an hour per day for 30 days, your Russian will be good enough to introduce yourself and say basic phrases about yourself.
With an hour per day for 3 months, you’ll know plenty of vocabulary and grammar to have basic conversations. Enough to travel around in Russia.
If you spend an hour per day for a year, your Russian will be good enough to have conversations about most topics. You won’t be discussing Russia’s role in world politics, but you can talk about yourself, your work and hobbies.
Important here is to spend focused hours. If you play around on your phone while frantically clicking on words on Duolingo, that’s not going to help a lot.
But if you sit down for an hour and listen to Russianpod101 lessons with focus, that’s going to teach you plenty of new words and grammar. And by intensively listening to the audio, you improve your Russian listening skills too.
So how long does it take to learn Russian?
It depends. The more hours your spend, the better your Russian will be. If you want to be fluent in Russian, you can look at around 1100 hours. That’s 3 years of 1 hour per day. For basic conversations it’s around 100 hours – 3 months of 1 hour per day.