The Russian language, above being beautiful and culturally rich in its own right, is a sure way to improve relations with a huge population of interesting people and massive business opportunities. It is not a language that is commonly taught to English-speakers, so this guide will help you to learn the language.
A number of beginner’s courses for Russian exist, such as the Teach Yourself format. These can be bought online or in most bookshops. They are a good starting point that give a lot of fundamental information. Penguin’s Russian Course is especially comprehensive. This is an academic approach, however, and will not teach you to actually use the language. These are good for teaching Russian text, words, though. For Russian phrases, private study may be enough - for instance if you want to say "I love you" in Russian, this becomes "Ya tebya looblu". Russian video and audio samples can also help.
There are many computer-based tools available to study Russian. Websites like Livemocha.com and Busuu.com provide language lessons, drilling vocabulary and grammar. They also offer a large selection of languages, so you can, for instance, learn Ukrainian alongside Russian lessons and see the differences. The lessons are limited, and do not test you creatively for practical use, but are a good starting point. Paying a subscription at such sites enables you to get more features. Such websites will also offer Russian to English translation.
Interactive language learning websites usually offer opportunities to speak Russian to native speakers. Communicating via email and talking on Skype is a useful way to practice the language, and people are often very eager to help. Find pen-friends and learn Russian online from native speakers.
Private lessons can be found on classified listings such as Gumtree.com. One-to-one teaching sessions, with a Russian tutor, in person or online, is sure to help you master Russian fast. Local language schools will also offer evening Russian classes, usually once or twice a week, which are good for a group atmosphere. Alternatively, an intensive Russian course in a native country is an excellent way to learn. Learn in St Petersburg or Kiev, for one or two weeks of intensive study, and pick up the language in no time.