russian names

Have you ever paid any mind to Russian names? Chances are you’ve heard many of them, even if you didn’t know about their origin.

If you’re expecting a baby and are looking for name ideas, Russian baby names might be a choice you’d like. And no, don’t worry! You don’t need to spell them with the Cyrillic alphabet – you can take the name you like, and use your own! 

If you want to learn a little bit more about Russian names, don’t miss the following lines!


Russian names: A bit of history 

Before the arrival of Christianity to the country, Russian names were very different than they are today. In the pre-Christian era, the most common names were Slavic or originated in the culture of Russian ethnic minorities. Nowadays, the most common names are considered to be Christian Orthodox.

This change, though, it is not isolated in Russian culture. If you’ve read some of our articles in the baby names by origin series, you’ll have read similar bits of history all around: it happened with British names, for instance: Welsh names, Irish names, Scottish names and so on.

Today, old Slavic names are less and less used, while the popularity of names borrowed from other languages increases. That seems to be one of the latest trends in names, as we have seen it in other cultures besides the Russian.


Russian names and their diminutives

In Russia, it is very common to prefer diminutives over given names to refer to people. Diminutives aren’t used as short forms, since they are not always shorter – diminutives are formed with terminations such as ochk-, -echk  or –ushk, and they usually imply feelings of affection. Careful with them, though! Diminutives ended with a –k termination can often be considered as pejorative.

There is one last fun fact about Russian names, and it’s that sometimes, the same name can have different initials or even different stems – while still being the same name! For instance, Irina and Arina are variations of the same name, and so are Cyprian and Cupryan. There are, of course, other slighter variations in spellings, especially in the terminations of the names.


Well, now that you know a bit more about the nature and history of Russian names, it’s time to discuss a few of them! As always, here you have CaptainMums’ selection of Russian names for boys and for girls.