Russian names guide:
We’ll begin with Russian female names:
Александра – Alexandra (Саша – Sasha, Саня – Sanya, Олеся – Olesiya, Леся – Lesya)
Алиса – Alisa (лиса – Lisa)
Алла – Alla (Аля – Alya, Аллочка – Allochka) primarily Arabic/Muslim but not always.
Алёна – Alyona (associated with Elena, лёна – Lyona)
Анастасия – Anastasiya (Настя – Nastya, Ася – Asya, настя – Nastya, Стася – Stasya)
Анна – Anna (Аня – Anya, Аннушка – Annushka)
Ангела – Angela (Ангел – Angel, Анжелa – Anzhela, Анжелина – Anzhelina)
Антонина – Antonina
Богданa – Bogdana (More often used as a guy’s name, Богдан, meaning “given by God.”)
Валентина – Valentina (Вал – Val. Валя – Valya, Валенкa – Valenka, Valyusha, тина – Tina)
Валерия – Valeriya (English: Valerie. Лера – Lera) Very popular Russian singer, often called the Russian Madonna.
Варвара – Varvara (Варя – Varya) This is the name of another pretty Russian singer. Like to hear her name spoken correctly? It is the very first thing you’ll hear on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG862kN9muA
Вера – Vera (Веруша – Verushka) is related to our next name…
Вероника – Veronika (English: Veronica. Also see Vera above.)
Виктория – Viktoriya (English: Victoria. Викa – Vika, Вита – Vita) Our Vika is at www.funrussian.com
Галина – Galina (Галя – Galya, Гала – Gala)
Геннадия – Gennadiya is rare today. Feminine form of Геннадий.
Дария – Dariya (Дашa – Dasha)
Диана – Diana
Екатерина – Yekaterina (English: Catherine/Kathy/Cathy. катя – Katya, Kate, , катюшка – Katushka)
Елена – Yelena (Elena, Лена – Lena-Lenchik)
Елизавета – Yelizaveta (English: Elizabeth. Лизавета – Lizaveta, Лиза – Liza)
Ева – Yeva (Hewbrew & English: Eve. See Yelizaveta above)
Евгения – Yevgeniya (Женя – Zhenya)
Жанна – Zhanna (Жанночка – Zhannochka, Жаннка – Zhannka)
Зинаида – Zinaida (Зина -Zina, Aида – Aida, Aя – Aya, Aяyшкa – Ayuskha)
Инга – Inga
Инна – Inna
Ирина – Irina (Ира – Ira, Арина – Arina, Ариша – Arisha) spoken as E-rena.
Карина – Karina (English: Karen. Кара – Kara, рина – Rina) Karina Dobrotvorskaya publishes Condé Nast in Russia.
Кристина – Kristina (English: Christine/Kristina) Popular singer Кристина Орбакайте gave birth to a daughter early this year.
Ксения/Оксана – Kseniya/Oxana (Ксюша – Khusha)
Лариса – Larisa (Лара – Lara) Well known name in book/movie “Doctor Zhivago.”
Лидия – Lidia (Лидa – Lida, Лидочка – Lidochka)
Любовь – Lubov “Lubovf” (Лубёв – Lubyovf, Люба – Luba) means “Love/charity”
Людмила – Ludmila (Люда – Lyuda, Люся – Lyusya, Любочка – Lubochka, Мила – Meela) Made famous by Mendeleyev’s MIL, also by a current RUA female member.
Маргарита – Margarita isn’t just a drink, but a character from “[i]The Master and Margarita[/i].”
Марина – Marina is a common name. Popular enough for Russian singers like Марина Хлебникова, Марина Журавлёва, and artist Марина Абрамович.
Мария – Mariya or Maria (Маша – Masha, Маруся – Marusya, Маня – Manya)
Надежда – Nadezhda (Надя – Nadia)
Наталья – Natalya (English: Natalie. Наташа – Natasha, Таша – Tasha, Ната – Nata)
Нина – Nina
Ольга – Olga (Оля – Olya)
Полина – Polina (Поля – Polya, Лина – Lina)
Раиса – Raisa is not so common today. Name of the wife of Mikhail Gorbachev.
Русланa – Ruslana (Female form of Ruslan) Lovely Ukrainian singer Русланa performs a moving version of the Christmas song “Silent Night.”
Софья -Sofiya (English: Sofia/Sophia. Соня – Sonya) means “wisdom” and also name of the capital of Bulgaria
Светлана – Svetlana (Света – Sveta, лана – Lana) The name means “shining light”
Тамара – Tamara (Тома)
Татьяна – Tatyana (Таня -Tanya, Yana)
Федорa – Fedora is rare these days. Fedor is the male form.
Юлия – Yulia (English: Julia. Ульяна – Ulyana/Juliana)
Here are some Russian names for men:
Адам – Adam
Алексей – Aleksei (Alex in English, Алёша – Alyosha, Лёша – Lyosha, Лёха – Lyokha)
Александр – Alexander (Сашa – Sasha, Саня – Sanya, Шура – Shura, Шурик – Shurik, Санёк – Sanyok, Сашок – Sashok)
Андрей – Andrey (Andrew, Andy)
Анатолий – Anatoli (Толя – Tolya, Толик – Tolik, Толян – Tolyan)
Aнтон – Anton (Anthony)
Аркадий – Arkadiy
Арсений – Arseniy
Артур – Arthur
Артём – Artyom
Богдан – Bogdan (The first 3 letters spell God, Бог, means “given by God.”)
Борис – Boris (Боря – Borya)
Вадим – Vadim (Вадик – Vadik)
Валентин – Valentin (Вал – Val, Валyшa – Valyusha)
Василий – Vasily (Basil, Вася – Vasya)
Виктор – Viktor (English: Victor/Vic. Витя – Vitya)
Виталий – Vitaly is another name slowly fading from use. Виталия – Vitaliya is the female form.
Владимир – Vladimir (Володя – Volodya, Вова – Vova) “vla-dee-mir” is how to speak it. The female form, only rarely used, is Владимира – Vladimira.
Вячеслав – Vyacheslav (Слава – Slava)
Геннадий – Gennady (Гена – Gena) First name of the current leader of Russia’s Communist party.
Георгий – Geogriy or George (Юрий -Yuri, Гюргий – Gurgiy/Gurgen, Юра – Ura, Жора – Shora, Гоша – Gosha) and another form of this name is Григорий – Gregory (Гриша – Grisha, Гришка – Grishka, Игорь – Igor is spoken as E-gor)
Герман – German (English: Herman) Spoken as “Gher-mahn” and name of Mendeleyev’s close cousin and “witness” (best man) at wedding.
Глеб – Gleb is not as popular these days. This name however is important from the earliest times of Russian history.
Даниил – Daniil (Hebrew: Daniel)
Давид – David (Hebrew: David)
Демьян – Demyan (Демя – Demya)
Денис – Denis (English: Dennis) Almost sounds like “Denise” if you say it correctly.
Дмитрий – Dimitry (Дима – Dima, Митя – Mitya, Митька – Mitka)
Дорофей – Dorofey (This just happens to be the name of Prime Minister Medvedev’s cat.)
Евгений – Yevgeniy (Женя – Zhenya) A name heard in the movie “The Irony of Fate.”
Иннокентий – Innocenty (кешa – Kesha) “Innocent” is so very rare these days. Last famous person with this name was the actor Иннокентий Смоктуновский.
Илья – Ilya (Hebrew: Elijah. Илюша – Ilyusha, Илюха – Ilyukha)
Илларион – Illaron (English: Hilaron) Name of Metropolitan Hilaron, second in hierarchy of Russian Orthodox Church, he is based in New York.
Ипполит – Ippolit is not so common today, but was a character in the movie “The Irony of Fate.”
Иван – Ivan (spoken as E-vahn; Ваня – Vanya) For gawd’s sake don’t mess up and call some guy a banya!
Кирилл – Kirill as in the current Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Константин – Konstantin (Костя – Kostya, Костик – Kostik)
Лаврентий – Lavrenty is a name you may remember since Lavrenty Beria was head of the Secret Police during the Stalin years.
Лазарь – Lazar (Hebrew: Lazarus) Orthodox Metropolitan Lazarus helped reunite the Russian Orthodox Church after the fall of the CCCP.
Леонид – Leonid (Лёня – Lyonya) Name of a former Soviet leader.
Лев – Lev (Лёва – Lyova)
Максим – Maksim (English: Max. Макс – Maks)
Михаил – Mikhail (English: Michael/Mike. Миша – Misha, мишка – Mishka, микка – Mikka)
Николай – Nikolai (English & Dutch: Nicholas/Nick. Коля – Kolya, Никa – Nika, Никитa – Nikita)
Никон – Nikon is often associated with Orthodoxy. In the 1600’s Patriarch Nikon had authority equal to the Tsar. He lived primarily at the New Jerusalem monastery, a historic site today. His power was his downfall however and he was eventually deposed by an alliance of the Tsar with other religious leaders.
Олег – Oleg is still a common name. Prince Oleg was ruler of the Rus’ people from 882 to 912.
Осип/Иосиф – Osip/Iosif (Hebrew & English: Joseph/Joe) Rare these days, but a famous poet and a brutal dictator had these names.
Павел – Pavel (Hebrew & English: Paul, Паша – Pasha, Павлик – Pavlik)
Пётр – Pyotr (English: Peter. Петя – Petya, Петечка – Petechka what a female would call her boyfriend or son named Peter)
Платон – Platon (Origin: Plato) Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the two Yukos Oil owners, are the most prominent political prisoners today in Russia.
Poмaн – Roman (Рома – Roma)
Рycлан – Ruslan is a very traditional name.
Семён – Semyon (Hebrew: Simon)
Серафим – Serafim (Old Orthodox; female form is Серафима) Not only the name of a famous Russian saint whose icons are found in almost every Orthodox home, Серафим is also the name of a Russian rock and roll performer.
Сергей – Sergei (Серёжа – Seryozha)
Cтaниcлaв – Stanislav (English: Stanley/Stan. Стас – Stas, Слава – Slava) Popular Russian singer.
Степан – Stepan (English: Stephan) In rare use today.
Тарас – Taras (Ukrainian) The national poet of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko, who lived from 1814 to 1861 is often considered to Ukraine as Pushkin is to Russia.
Тихон – Tikhon (Old Orthodox) Тихон is not only the name of cousin Gera’s cat, but Saint Tikhon was the first Archbishop to be called from America to return to Moscow and become the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1917. Sadly, he was murdered by the Communists in 1925.
Федор – Fedor is rare today. Female form is Федорa. Fedor Dostoevsky authored “The Idiot.”
Филипп – Filipp (English: Phillip) Popular Russian singer Филипп Киркоров, Phillip Kirkorov, makes great music!
Яким – Yakim (Hebrew and Old Orthodox: Joachim)
Яков – Yakov (Hebrew & English: Jacob/James. Яша – Yasha)
* Some names share nicknames as in Aleksandr/Aleksandra, Evgeniy/Evgeniaya, etc.
Q: What do 95% of the above names have in common?
A: They’re saint names, the names of Russian saints and are given to a new baby as the first name at the time of birth for their baptism. In some cases the family priest assists with the name, usually picking the saint day nearest to the date of the baby’s birth.
Now listen to this song by the sexy group “Fabrika” and see which names/nicknames you can recognize:
Next, lets visit Marina Orlova at “Hot For Words” to find out about some Russian last (family) names: