Russia's most popular social media platform is vKontakte, pictured here.

Russian MiniLessons: Social Media

Published: October 21, 2020

There are many different things you can do on социальные сети . One of the first things you do when creating a social media account is to set your настройки безопасности и конфиденциальности, then обновить фотографию профиля and редактировать профиль. When you meet someone new, you may want to добавить их в друзья on Facebook or ВК, or фолловить/подписаться on Твиттер. On the other hand, if you’ve lost touch with someone, you may want to удалить из друзей or отписаться that person, or if they’ve really offended you, you can заблокировать его/её. Социальные сети are also a great way to установить деловые контакты/налаживать связи с людьми.

In Russia, the most popular social networking site is ВКонтакте, often abbreviated as “ВК.” Many Russians may also have a Facebook account, but ВК is by far the more dominant site. You can do all the same things on ВК as on Facebook; you can опубликовать что-то, “лайкнуть” публикацию/фотографию, написать комментарий, or поделиться публикацией/фотографией. It’s also possible to отметить/упомянуть кого-то на фотографии or to скачать фотографию that you like. If you take a lot of pictures, you may want to создать альбом for them. ВК has also long allowed users the possibility to добавлять видеозаписи и аудиозаписи. This has led to several lawsuits against it by media claiming that the company is enabling people to illegally share copyrighted music and even full-length feature films.

Russians also use Твиттер, where you can делать пост на Твитер or твитнуть. Another popular site is Одноклассники, where you can search for old classmates. This site is slightly more popular among older generations than Millennials. The idea for the site came about because Russians once typically went to school together in the same class from kindergarten through graduation. Today, however, Russians are much more mobile and thus the site has less appeal for younger Russians.

Whatever site you prefer, when you входить в систему/залогиниться, you’re taken to the home screen, which often contains the лента новостей. From here, you can обновить/опубликовать статус or check your уведомления. Someone may have пригласил тебя играть в какую-то игру, or you may have a личное сообщение from someone. In writing a message, you may want to прикрепить документ/фотографию, or add in a few смайлики.

Many terms related to computers, technology, and social media have come to Russian directly from the English. This had been somewhat controversial among Russians who view this as an invasion on their language. Many have proposed Russian equivilents for the adopted English words – such as those in the graphics below.

About the author

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life,, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an PhD from West Virginia University in Political Science. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource.

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Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs

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