Russian Names

Natalya, Anaanya, Anastasia are all common names in Russia. But their contribution does not end just with these names. A typical Russian name is divided into three parts; the given name, the patronymic, and the family name. But rather than calling people by their given name, they are referred by diminutives. For instance, Anastasia is called Nastya or Tasya. A single name can sometimes have as many as twenty different variations. While some variations can be used generally by everyone, there are some that are reserved only for friends and family, and it would have considered rude to address people by these names.

Also, there are some names that sound like a woman's name to the western ear, but they're used by men. For instance, Nikita is used as female name all over the world, but here in Russia, Nikita is a popular male name.

Names are often inspired by Christian beliefs and taken from the Bible. When it comes to male names, Alexander, Vladimir are popular. Most names end with a 'Slav' or glorious. Thus you have a Stanislav and a Borislav.

The patronymic name is the family name and often derived from the father's name that's added with a suffix. Thus, the name is suffixed with a son of / daughter of.

The family name on the other hand, is a surname and often sounds feminine. There are some names that are not inspired by the Russian culture; they take from eastern European countries like Ukraine, Polish and German.

Here are some of the most commonly used Russian names of men and women:

Male Names:

Anton Boris
Stepan and
Female names:
Yana and

As earlier said, different names have different variations and these are appropriately used by the right people. They also have their own traditions surrounding their names.

Since most Russians are named after saints, the namesake not only gets to celebrate his / her birthday, but also gets to celebrate on the day appointed for the saint. In fact, they even receive gifts from friends and family during these days. While this was a very popular tradition in the 20th century, communist influences caused this tradition to lose its sheen. But today, with the end of communism, this tradition is slowly taking roots, with people taking an interest to celebrate these days.

So the next time you watch a Russian movie or read a book do not be surprised by the different variations of the same name, because Alexandra, Sasha and Sashenka are variations of the same name!

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