The purpose of this article is to establish the methodological feasibility of teaching Russian phraseological units to foreign students at the initial stage and patterns in the presentation of phraseological units in modern textbooks on Russian phraseology for foreigners. The following research methods were used: questioning students in the first and third years of a linguistic university in order to identify the level of proficiency in Russian phraseology; content analysis of modern textbooks for phraseology for foreigners; analysis of the selection of phraseological units included in the textbooks. The study showed the need to include phraseological units in the requirements for proficiency in Russian as a foreign language at all stages, including the initial stage, in compliance with the principles of continuity, consistency and methodological expediency, the subjectivity of the phraseological units selection, reflecting the creative author’s position, the lack of common selection criteria and compulsory minimums of phraseology for different levels, as well as a standard in the methodological presentation of phraseological units. In addition, in the course of the research, insufficient “communication” of modern textbooks on phraseology for foreigners was established. The research contributes to the methods of teaching Russian as a foreign language, the theory of learning material selection for teaching a foreign language. It creates prerequisites for the development of the issues of selection, the systematic organization of phraseological units, the creation of common methodological requirements for communicative-oriented teaching of Russian phraseological units that can be used by the authors of textbooks and teachers in practice.