This study sought to determine which phonetic, lexical and syntactical aspects of learner speech in Russian most affect the intelligibility and comprehensibility of native Russian-speakers. It also investigated strategies used by native-speaking teachers of Russian and Russian host families to facilitate comprehensibility of learner speech in Russian. The respondent group was made up of 51 native Russian-speakers, and a control group of 20 native Russian-speakers was also used. Participants in the study were eight L-2 American speakers of Russian of beginning, intermediate, advanced and superior proficiency levels. This study revealed the salience of L-2 pronunciation by speakers of all proficiency levels for L-1 listener intelligibility. In addition, non-nativelike L-2 pronunciation by speakers of all levels resulted in the greatest incomprehensibility for L-1 listeners. Finally, inter-active strategies used by Russian teachers and host families to clarify or improve poor L-2 pronunciation or grammar knowledge are most effective when learners are highly motivated, have low inhibition and make a concerted effort to communicate with their L-1 interlocutors.