Russian Phrases For Dummies
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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-n'uh d'ehn'?) (What day is it today?) To answer this question, say Syegodnya plus the day of the week. For example: Syegodnya ponyedyel'nik (see-VOHD-N'UH puh-nee-D'EHL'-neek) (It's Monday today). It's that simple!

The following are the days of the week in Russian:

  • ponyedyel'nik (puh-nee-D'EHL'-neek) (Monday)

  • vtornik (FTOHR-neek) (Tuesday)

  • sryeda (sree-DAH) (Wednesday)

  • chyetvyerg (cheet-V'EHRK) (Thursday)

  • pyatnitsa (P'AHT-nee-tsuh) (Friday)

  • subbota (soo-BOH-tuh) (Saturday)

  • voskryesyen'ye (vuhs-kree-S'EHN'-ye) (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 ponyedyel'nik (f puh-nee-D'EHL'-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-D'EH-l'uh) (week), myesyats (M'EH-seets) (month), or god (goht) (year) in the accusative case along with the word chyeryez. For example, chyeryez myesyats (CHEH-reez M'EH-s'uhts) (in a month).

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

  • na proshloj nyedyele (nuh PROHSH-luhy nee-D'EH-l'eh) (last week)

  • v proshlom myesyatsye (v PROHSH-luhm M'EH-see-tseh) (last month)

  • v proshlom godu (v PROHSH-luhm gah-DOO) (last year)

Other phrases used to indicate day in more general terms include

  • dyen' (d'ehn') (day)

  • syegodnya (see-VOHD-n'uh) (today)

  • nyedyelya (nee-D'EH-l'uh) (week)

  • vchyera (fchee-RAH) (yesterday)

  • pozavchyera (puh-zuhf-ch'eh-RAH) (the day before yesterday)

  • zavtra (ZAHF-truh) (tomorrow)

  • poslyezavtra (POH-sl'eh-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 (M'EH-see-tsih) (months):

  • yanvar' (yeen-VAHR') (January)

  • fyevral' (feev-RAHL') (February)

  • mart (mahrt) (March)

  • apryel' (uhp-R'EHL') (April)

  • maj (mahy) (May)

  • iyun' (ee-YUN') (June)

  • iyul' (ee-YUL') (July)

  • avgust (AHV-GOOST) (August)

  • syentyabr' (seen-T'AHBR') (September)

  • oktyabr' (ahk-T'AHBR') (October)

  • noyabr' (nah-YAHBR') (November)

  • dyekabr' (dee-KAHBR') (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-n'uh P'AH-tuh-eh uhk-teeb-R'AH) (Today is October 5).

  • Zavtra dyesyatoye iyulya (ZAHF-truh dee-S'AH-tuh-eh ee-YU-l'uh) (Tomorrow is June 10).

  • Poslyezavtra dvadtstat' chyetvyortoye marta (POHS-lee-ZAHF-truh DVAHT-tsuht' cheet-V'OHR-tuh-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 (dv'eh 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 syed'moj god (dv'eh TIH-see-chee seed'-MOHY 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 (gah-DOO) (year), as in v tysyacha dyevyatsot pyat'dyesyat vos'mom godu (v TIH-see-chuh dee-veet-SOHT pee-dee-S'AHT vahs'-MOHM gah-DOO) (in 1958 [literally: in the 1,958th year]).

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Andrew Kaufman, PhD, is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia. He holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University, and he has recognized success as both a published scholar and an innovative, award-winning teacher of Russian language, literature, and culture at some of the country’s top universities. To learn more about Dr. Kaufman, please visit his website at

Serafima Gettys, PhD, earned her doctorate degree in Foreign Language Education from Gertzen State Pedagogical University, Leningrad, USSR. She is currently a Coordinator of the Foreign Language Program at Lewis University, where she also teaches Russian. Prior to coming to Lewis University, she taught Russian at Stanford University. Gettys is also a member of a number of professional language associations.

Nina Wieda is a doctoral student in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University in Chicago. A trained linguist with an MA in Social Sciences, Nina also has a book of poetry published in Russian, and a number of scholarly articles on Chekhov and contemporary drama published in English.

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