Consular assistance in Russia

Russia is currently at war in Ukraine. Are you in Russia and need consular assistance? Find your country’s embassy in Russia on EmbassyPages.

Home Living in Russia House & Home The top 10 must-have apps in Russia
Last update on May 03, 2022
Written by Sarah Fairman

Ease into your new life in Russia with these handy apps. From transport to language learning, you’ll feel at home in no time.

Whether you arrived in Russia this morning or you consider yourself an honorary Muscovite, there are always ways to make your life easier. Perhaps you want to get to work more quickly, brush up on your Russian, or even organize your finances. Thankfully, there are apps to help with all of this – just install them on your Russian mobile phone. So start streamlining your life with these Russian apps.

1. Yandex.Metro

So you’re in your new city, but how will you find your way around? Thankfully, there are many Russian and international transport apps you can use. They’re like an interactive map, showing you the best route to get to your destination. Even more impressive, they can show you the best public transport options and keep you up-to-date on delays, maintenance, and more.

Arbatskaya Metro Station

When it comes to the famous Russian metro, Yandex.Metro has you covered. With metro maps for eight Russian cities (including Moscow and Saint Petersburg) and even a few from outside the country, you won’t get lost underground. It includes maps and displays the best route, which carriage to use, and how long your journey will take.

Other must-have public transport apps in Russia:

2. Babbel

One of the best ways to settle into your new life in Russia is to learn the language. It’ll help you with everything from reading the labels at your local Russian supermarket to applying for a mortgage. And if that’s not exciting enough, it’ll also help you make new friends. If you’re ready to give Russian a go, why not download an app to help you?

Two people looking at their phones in Russia

Using an app is a quick and easy way to get started with learning a language. Usually, you’ll begin by taking a placement quiz and then get to grips with the basics. Babbel, for example, is an online language-learning app designed by language teaching experts. With this app installed on your phone, you’ll be able to learn some Russian in as little as five minutes a day, with a range of courses that you can tailor to your unique language needs. It’s a low-pressure, convenient way to get started with the Russian language.

Other must-have language apps in Russia:

3. Avito.ru

One of the (very few) downsides of moving abroad is that it can cost a lot. You’ve got to pay for flights or train tickets for yourself and anyone moving with you. That, plus the cost of relocation, means you’re probably keen to find some bargains once you’ve arrived. However, it takes a while to get to know your new home town, find the best value shops, and navigate the sales. One way to save money is by shopping second-hand or online.

A vintage market in Saint Petersburg

If you’re looking for a website and app which can save some rubles, why not check out Avito.ru? It’s the second-largest online classifieds site in the world, offering low prices on second hand goods. And if you need more in your life than shopping, you can also find jobs, real estate, personal ads, and much more. Unfortunately, the app and website are only available in Russian, but it’s good language practice, and you might even snap up a bargain.

Other must-have shopping apps in Russia:

  • OZON.ru – started as an online bookstore, now one of the biggest online stores in Russia
  • Wildberries – Russia’s largest online retailer
  • Yandex.Market – a shopping site from Yandex

4. WhatsApp

When you arrive in Russia, one of the first things you’ll do is tell your loved ones that you’ve arrived safely. Nowadays, you probably won’t call or text – especially as it’ll cost you a fortune if you haven’t yet bought a Russian SIM card. So what are your options? An instant messaging app is one of the best ways to keep in touch with your loved ones when you’re far away. You’ll also be able to use it to gossip with your new Russian friends and tell those back home all the interesting facts you’ve learned about your new country.

A couple texting in Moscow

WhatsApp is Russia’s most popular messenger app. In fact, you probably have it on your phone already, as it’s the world’s favourite mobile messenger. If not, it should definitely be on your download list. WhatsApp is useful for sending instant messages, sharing videos and pictures. You can also create group chats and make voice calls via an internet connection.

Other must-have messenger apps in Russia:

  • Telegram – Russia’s second most popular messaging app, with a focus on privacy and encryption
  • Viber – messenger app with more options for group chats, games, and external calls

5. Delivery Club

Russia can get very, very cold. So it’s no wonder that Russian cuisine is hearty and warming. When you need to relax after a long day at work during the Russian winter, what could be better than ordering a tasty meal to your home? If Russian food isn’t your thing, in larger cities, you’ll find all kinds of options, including Georgian food, Central Asian dishes, fast food, and more.

Food delivery drivers in Krasnodar

Delivery Club is Russia’s most-used food delivery app. It’s available in a whole load of Russian cities, so even if you’re above the Arctic Circle in Murmansk, you have no excuse not to order a pizza. In recent years, Delivery Club has expanded its range, so you can get cosmetics, medicine, and other household products delivered direct to your home.

Other must-have food delivery apps in Russia:

  • Yandex.Eda – delivers groceries and meals in cities across Russia

6. Velobike

Getting around Moscow and other Russian cities is relatively straightforward, as there are plenty of public transport options. But if you’re looking for more flexibility and sustainability, Russia has the answer. Despite the climate and traffic, cycling has become increasingly popular in recent years. And you don’t have to fork out for a top-of-the-range road bike – Moscow, for example, has bikes for hire. So why not get fit while traveling around the city?

A girl operating a Velobike in Moscow

If you’re moving to the Russian capital, be sure to download Velobike, the City of Moscow’s bike-sharing app. As you get a feel for your new home, you’ll soon notice bike stations are dotted throughout the city. Happily, this means you can pick up a bike almost anywhere and cycle to your destination. The Velobike app allows you to register and pay from your phone, as well as find docking stations and route suggestions.

Other must-have mobility apps in Russia:

7. Wise

You might want to open a bank account when you move to Russia. It gives you the freedom to sign up for mobile and internet contracts and allows you to pay your bills more easily. However, moving your money from one country can be challenging. But fear not. You can overcome the stress of transferring money with an international transfer app.

Close-up of someone putting rubles into a wallet

If you’re sending money to Russia, Wise is a good bet. Although they currently don’t offer transfers from the country, their services can come in handy when you’re setting up your new life in Russia. As well as low-cost transfer fees, they offer a speedy service when sending money from a foreign bank account to a Russian one.

Other must-have financial apps in Russia:

  • Sberbank – Russia’s largest bank, with an app that allows you to manage your money, pay bills, and exchange currencies
  • Monito – compare transferral services and find up-to-date information on the cheapest ways to send money

8. Gosuslugi (Госуслуги)

If you’re staying in Russia for a long time, you’ll probably need to use government services at some point. This is the case if you’re looking to apply for permits such as a Russian driving license, or if you want to find out about Russian labor laws. Dealing with Russian bureaucracy might seem like a daunting prospect, but a recent app is here to make your life a little easier.

Russian government app (gosuslugi) with a birth certificate

Gosuslugi (Госуслуги) is the Russian government services portal. The mobile app lets you see all of your public services in one place – from doctors’ appointments to social security. You might need to provide a few documents to set it up, but it will save you from spending hours in queues at government institutions.

Other must-have administrative apps in Russia:

  • Gboard – download a Russian keyboard and you’ll be able to type in Cyrillic – useful when searching for addresses or inputting data.

9. RZD (РЖД)

If you want to get out of the city, there’s a lot of Russia to explore – and there are many ways to do it. The most romantic is undoubtedly the famous Trans-Siberian Railway that crosses this vast country, which is popular with visitors and locals alike. However, there are many more travel options in Russia, from trains and planes to buses and ferries. It can be tricky to figure out which transport option to use, which route to take, and where to buy tickets. But help is at hand.

Rostov-on-Don railway station
Rostov-on-Don Railway Station

Whether you’re zipping between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, or voyaging cross-country to Vladivostok, getting the train in Russia is a real adventure. You can make your life easier by downloading RZD for passengers – the Russian railway app. It lets you view train timetables, plan routes, and book tickets. You’ll also be clued up on delays and changes, as it provides regular updates and information about stations.

Other must-have Russian travel apps:

  • BlaBlaCar – Find rideshares and book bus tickets online.
  • Tutu.ru – Discover long-distance travel options online including flights, train tickets, buses, and tours.

10. Okko

If you’re looking for something to watch on the small screen, and Russian TV isn’t hitting the spot, why not download a streaming app? Once you have your home internet connection, you’ll be able to access a wider variety of options than standard Russian TV channels. From football matches to international films, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Girls looking at phones outside in Moscow

Okko is one of Russia’s major streaming platforms, which also has a handy mobile app. When you sign up, you’ll be inundated with Russian series and films. However, they also offer a range of international movies – some are dubbed into Russian, but others are available in their original language. Sports fans will also find plenty of international fixtures to stay entertained.

Other must-have Russian entertainment apps:

  • Ivi – extensive selection of Russian films and TV, great for language practice
  • Netflix – this global streaming service is also available in Russia