By Andrew Kaufman, Serafima Gettys, Nina Wieda

When making plans, appointments, and travel arrangements in Russian-speaking countries, you need to be able to state dates and other calendar terms in Russian. Understanding the days of the week and the months of the year in Russian can help you to avoid confusion.

Days of the week

To ask what day of the week it is, says Kakoj syegodnya dyen? (kuh-KOHY see-VOHD-nuh dehn?) (What day is it today?) To answer this question, say Syegodnya plus the day of the week. For example: Syegodnya ponyedyelnik (see-VOHD-NUH puh-nee-DEHL-neek) (It’s Monday today). It’s that simple!

The following are the days of the week in Russian:

  • ponyedyel’nik (puh-nee-DEHL-neek) (Monday)

  • vtornik (FTOHRneek) (Tuesday)

  • sryeda (sreeDAH) (Wednesday)

  • chyetvyerg (cheetVEHRK) (Thursday)

  • pyatnitsa (PAHTnee-tsuh) (Friday)

  • subbota (soo-BOH-tuh) (Saturday)

  • voskryesyen’ye (vuhs-kree-SEHNye) (Sunday)

To say that something happens, happened, or will happen on a certain day, you need to add the preposition v, and put the day of the week. For example, v ponyedyelnik (f puh-nee-DEHL-neek) (on Monday). The only exception is vo vtornik (vah FTOHR-neek) (on Tuesday). The v changes to vo, because the noun for Tuesday is masculine.

If you want to express that something will happen in a week, a month, or a year, use the word nyedyelya (nee-DEH-luh) (week), myesyats (MEHseets) (month), or god (goht) (year) in the accusative case along with the word chyeryez. For example, chyeryez myesyats (CHEHreez MEH-suhts) (in a month).

To say that something already happened last week, month, or year, you say

  • na proshloj nyedyele (nuh PROHSH-luhy nee-DEH-leh) (last week)

  • v proshlom myesyatsye (v PROHSH-luhm MEH-see-tseh) (last month)

  • v proshlom godu (v PROHSH-luhm gahDOO) (last year)

Other phrases used to indicate day in more general terms include

  • dyen’ (dehn) (day)

  • syegodnya (see-VOHD-nuh) (today)

  • nyedyelya (nee-DEH-luh) (week)

  • vchyera (fcheeRAH) (yesterday)

  • pozavchyera (puh-zuhf-chehRAH) (the day before yesterday)

  • zavtra (ZAHFtruh) (tomorrow)

  • poslyezavtra (POHsleh-ZAHF-truh) (the day after tomorrow)

Months of the year

The months of the year aren’t typically capitalized in Russian. Here’s a list of the myesyatsy (MEHsee-tsih) (months):

  • yanvar’ (yeenVAHR) (January)

  • fyevral’ (feevRAHL) (February)

  • mart (mahrt) (March)

  • apryel’ (uhpREHL) (April)

  • maj (mahy) (May)

  • iyun’ (eeYUN) (June)

  • iyul’ (eeYUL) (July)

  • avgust (AHV-GOOST) (August)

  • syentyabr’ (seenTAHBR) (September)

  • oktyabr’ (ahkTAHBR) (October)

  • noyabr’ (nahYAHBR) (November)

  • dyekabr’ (deeKAHBR) (December)

To say a chislo (chees-loh) (date) in Russian, you need to put the ordinal number indicating the day in the form of neuter gender and the name of the month in the genitive case, as in:

  • Syegodnya pyatoye oktyabrya (see-VOHD-nuh PAH-tuh-eh uhk-teebRAH) (Today is October 5).

  • Zavtra dyesyatoye iyulya (ZAHF-truh dee-SAH-tuh-eh ee-YU-luh) (Tomorrow is June 10).

  • Poslyezavtra dvadtstat’ chyetvyortoye marta (POHS-lee-ZAHF-truh DVAHT-tsuht cheetVOHRtuh-eh MAHR-tuh) (The day after tomorrow is March 24).

Saying the year

To say a year, such as 2007, begin with the century, as in dvye tysyachi (dveh TIH-see-chee) (20 [literally: 2,000]) for the 21st century. Then, to state the number indicating the year, use the corresponding ordinal number, as in dvye tysyachi syedmoj god (dveh TIH-see-chee seedMOHY goht) (2007 [literally: 2,007th year]).

Note that although in English, we leave off the word year/s at the end of a date, Russians always include the word year god (goht) (year). The plural years would be gody (goh-dih) (years) or goda (gah-dah) (years).

To indicate when a certain event took, takes, or will take place, use preposition v (f ) (on) + the year in the prepositional case + godu (gahDOO) (year), as in v tysyacha dyevyatsot pyatdyesyat vosmom godu (v TIH-see-chuh dee-veet-SOHT pee-dee-SAHT vahsMOHM gahDOO) (in 1958 [literally: in the 1,958th year]).