TheKateClapp (Ekaterina Trofimova)

  • 7.12 million subscribers 
  • Years active: 2008-present day

We cannot omit perhaps one of the first Russian YouTubers from this must-know list. Though she might not be out there in the top now, she still has millions of followers and has to be recognized as one of the pioneers in both lifestyle and comedy vlogging. She was one of the first to start recreating tags used by English-speaking YouTubers, thus practically paving the way for everyone willing to film their daily makeup or morning routine, decorate their homes on camera, or simply make vlogs about their lives. You might not hear her name mentioned often, but when you do, you’ll know you’re talking to true YouTube fans – and now you’ll be able to join the discussion. 

vDud (Yury Dud)

  • 9.76 million subscribers
  • Years active: 2017-present day

He might not be to everyone’s liking, but there is no denying his impact on the new Russian media. Yury Dud is a former sports journalist who started his YouTube channel in 2017 and introduced a whole new genre of long-form interviews with actors, musicians, and various other public figures. He often asks provocative questions in a refreshingly straight-forward fashion, which might be part of his appeal to wider audiences. Before he came to the stage, it was nearly impossible to imagine this genre would ever be as popular as it has grown to be – his interviews are rarely much shorter than 2 hours – and now his videos hit thousands of views hours after release. He has also given rise to a number of channels in the same genre, but none of them have reached the same level of recognition. 

Anton Ptushkin 

  • 5.38 million subscribers
  • Years active: 2018-present day

Currently one of most popular travel bloggers in the Russian-speaking YouTube world, Anton Ptushkin is an acclaimed Ukrainian journalist. Having participated in several TV projects, he gained extensive experience in creating travel content as a co-host of Oryol i Reshka (Heads and Tails), a popular Ukrainian show where hosts visit different locations for a weekend. After leaving the show, Anton started making his own extended (typically hour-long) travel vlogs filmed, edited, and produced all by himself. Perhaps this independent and honest approach together with a wide scope of locations (Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Canada, Japan, etc.) are the factors that make him so popular and appealing to various audiences. 

R-rated language warning: cursing is not uncommon on the two channels that follow, so you should consider that before running the videos featured below. 

BadComedian (Evgeny Bazhenov)

  • over 5 million subscribers (the exact number has been hidden since 2019)
  • Years active: 2011-present day

Sometimes (perhaps, half-jokingly) referred to as the main cinema critic on the Russian YouTube vlogging scene, Evgeny Bazhenov made his name by being explicitly (and by that I also mean profanity) vocal about the problems in mostly Russian-produced films. Some say his reviews are movies in themselves, as they can be quite lengthy, always feature little skits to make a point, and include increasingly complex editing. His videos do not come out often, but when they do, you are automatically legitimized to ask your friends if they have watched the latest one. It’s hard to put a finger on the exact reasons behind his popularity, but part of his appeal for me and something that partly redeems his use of R-rated language is that apart from analyzing films and criticizing every questionable detail in them, he also offers ideas on what could’ve been done differently. Next time when your Russian groupmates mention a disappointing movie they’ve seen, impress them by asking if they’d like BadComedian to review it. 

+100500 (AdamThomasMoran) 

  • 10.6 million subscribers
  • Years active: 2010-present day

Even though this comedy show is no longer the talk of the town these days, it was once immensely popular – with its episodes avidly discussed between classes or lectures. Based on Equals Three (=3), a popular show made by the American YouTuber Ray William Johnson, +100500 consists of funny compilations of videos from the internet and reactions to amusing situations from its irreplaceable host Maksim Golopolosov. Another show often mentioned in conjunction with +100500 is This is  Хорошо, which 1) is the same in its essence and 2) also was one of the spearheads of Russian YouTube, pioneering the later-popularized genre. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of such videos, so I can’t wholeheartedly recommend you watch them, but if you do venture out there – beware of possible profanity and some obscure local meme-related humor. 

Get to know more of Russia’s popular culture with our stories on Russian pop and iconic singers, and follow the Russian Monday tag for even more insights.