I've been trying to find the stroke order (the order in which components of a character are written, and in which direction your pen goes) (Wikipedia article, but only about Chinese characters) for Cyrillic, but I haven't yet found one. The only non-video image I've found so far is http://typedrawers.com/discussion/433/pointed-pen-calligraphy-guides , but I don't know whether to rely upon it, as it's talking about calligraphy, rather than everyday writing.

Does Cyrillic have a stroke order? (Maybe it doesn't - I assume that because even hiragana and katakana in Japanese has a stroke order, then Cyrillic also has a stroke order) If so, what is the stroke order for Cyrillic?

Ideally, I'd also like to know the stroke order of Үү and Өө, but that's a fairly minor matter.

  • 2
    The link you posted is surely only for calligraphy (and only shows lowercase letters). Normally no one would use four strokes to write the non-cursive letter "а". For handwritten Russian you would almost always use cursive for text of any length, but might occasionally write out single words in block capital letters. See for instance this video at 0:54 for ФОКУСЫ and 1:25 for ГВОЗДИ. If writing block letters with a ball-point pen or a pencil the stroke order is not so important. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 10:19

5 Answers 5


Here is the classic one. I used to do it in my 1st grade. http://xn----gtbdmbeft1bdk.net/%D0%A0%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8/40/415/

Though this one does not contain old Cyrillic.

  • The relevant saying about your last question is "Аз, буки, веди, глаголь, добро, ижица, к попе плётка движется". Means that studying Old Cyrillic alphabet was really hard and kids were often punished for mistakes. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 10:52
  • Great. This is the kind of thing I'm looking for.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 11:09
  • Note that this link is for ball-point pen and it was introduced in 1970ies. Before that time ink pen was used, though I don't know if stroke order had differences before that time. You can google "прописи для перьевой ручки" to find older workbooks.
    – Artemix
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 12:27
  • That's strange - it seems to be missing some letters (not the two I was asking about at the end, but even some of the conventional letters).
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 8:58
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    The letters were arranged in order optimal for studying, in the same way as in abc book. The idea is that kid knows only 2-3 letters, but she/he is already capable of writing real words. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 10:22

The only thing I know from top of my head that you should be able to write most words in full without ever taking pen off paper. Maybe adding some diacritics later. So, there's only one stroke. Start from the first letter, end with the last letter.

We're talking about cursive, aren't we?

  • I'm so ignorant that I don't know whether I should be asking for cursive or not.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 11:14
  • 3
    @AndrewGrimm what people write with pens is usually cursive, where letters are tilted, round and joined together. As opposed to print letters.
    – alamar
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 11:27
  • 3
    @AndrewGrimm That's cursive - static.curazy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/…
    – Abakan
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 15:43
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    @Alex.S In Cyrillic, alphabet curses you!
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 11:41
  • @AndrewGrimm And in Latin, you curse the alphabet? :D
    – Evgeniy
    Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 9:59

If you want an analogy with Chinese characters, the stroke order in Russian handwriting appears to 'follow' just 2 rules for lower-case letters (if divisible into strokes, like у, и): 'from left to right' and 'dots last' (й or ё)'. Unlike with Chinese characters, there's no other stroke order rule like 'from top to bottom', 'outside before inside', etc. Some capital letters (Г, Т, Р) though, have an upper element which doesn't follow strict writing order; I personally would write it as the second stroke in those letters (if it were a Chinese character, that upper element would be strictly the first stroke; same with dots like those over й and ё). Also, in Russian no one will ever write in two strokes the digit "1" (just as one stroke written from left to right), while the similar Chinese radical is written as down-left stroke, then vertical stroke (pie+shu).


By the reasoning in the question, the Latin alphabet, as used for English, has a stroke order, too. If even the Japanese have it, surely the English have it, too.

No, the stroke order as a prescriptive concept has no importance whatsoever in Russian hand-writing. You just do whatever sticks to you naturally. Usually you just write the whole word in one stroke. Descriptively, you might like to study how that happens, but few people would care.

Now, children might of course have — or not have, that ought to depend on the teacher, probably, — some special written aides that help to learn to write. As I recall, my writing aides weren't quite special and only consulted me on the shape of the letters, and so I never cared about the stroke order. For me, the stoke order is a foreign concept.

A letter's shape is just its image (on the background of the line's guiding rulers) and a note where is the letter's universal “way in”, and where is its universal “way out”. One attaches the “ways out” of the previous letters to the “ways in” of the next letters. How to manage that, I surely worked out by myself, as a kid.


Doing a search for "Cyrillic cursive" was more useful than doing a search for "Cyrillic stroke order".

Some of the hits I got were of video animations of writing Cyrillic letters, which is all very high-tech, but kind of distracting and also a bit inconvenient. http://krokotak.com/2012/06/tracing-cyrillic-letters-in-cursive/ is like Надежда Тарашкевич's link, though it has the advantage of being on a single page. Unfortunately, it is missing a few letters near the end of the alphabet such as "Ээ".

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