Top 50 Most Common Russian Names for Girls and for Boys

bracelets with russian names
Bracelets with russian names in Sochi souvenir shop, Russia.

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Russian names originate from many sources, with new names usually appearing during the most important historical periods, including the advent of Christianity to ancient Rus, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Soviet years.

Ancient Slavic Names

Ancient Slavs were very creative in naming their children. First names often described a baby's character or the parents' hopes for their child's future. For example, a loud baby could be named Шумело (shooMYEla)—"loud one," and a baby whose parents wished him to be strong and successful could give him the name of Ярослав (yaraSLAF)—"bright," "strong." Ancient Slavs believed in bad spirits and names reflected that, too, with many names meaning "ugly one"(Некрас - nyKRAS), "mean one" (Злоб - zlop), or "unlucky one" (Неустрой - nyeoosTROY). These were called protection names and helped ward off bad energies and protect the name bearer.

Nicknames were also very popular and aptly described someone's personality. Many names, including descriptive names, protection names, and nicknames, evolved into surnames, many of which are still used in modern Russia.

Christian Names

With the advent of Christianity in the 10th century, most Slavic names were forbidden. Instead, the Church insisted on giving children the names of saints. However, many people continued to secretly name their children the ancient way.

The Revolution and Soviet Names

More new names appeared in Russia in the 20th century after the 1917 Revolution. These usually reflected the new communist ideals, for example, Борец (baRYETS)—"fighter," Идея (eeDYEya)—"idea," or Победа (paBYEda)—"victory." Some names were also abbreviations of famous communist slogans.

Post-Soviet Russia

Contemporary Russians have been adopting foreign names, inspired by movies and music artists.

The following list includes 50 of the most popular Russian first names, their Russian spellings, shortened variations, and meanings.

Girl Names

Name in English Name in Russian Shortened Form Shortened Form in Russian Meaning
Sofia София/Софья Sonya Соня Wisdom (Greek)
Anastasia Анастасия Nastya Настя Ressurection (Greek)
Victoria Виктория Vika Вика Victory (Latin)
Ksenia/Xenia Ксения Ksyusha Ксюша Hospitality (Greek)
Arina Арина Arisha Ариша Russian equivalent of Irina, meaning Peace (Greek)
Yelizaveta/ Elizaveta Елизавета Liza, Veta Лиза, Вета Russian equivalent of Elizabeth, meaning "My God is an oath" (Hebrew)
Adelina Аделина Lina Лина Noble (French)
Irina Ирина Ira Ира Peace (Greek)
Yelena/Elena Елена Lena Лена Light (Greek)
Polina Полина Polya Поля Russian form of Appolinaria, meaning of Apollo (Greek)
Daria Дарья Dasha Даша Queenly (Persian/Greek)
Natalia Наталья Natasha Наташа Christmas Day (Latin)
Svetlana Светлана Sveta Света Light, blessed, holy (Slavic)
Vera Вера Vera Вера/Верочка Verity (Latin)
Nadezhda Надежда Nadya Надя Hope (Slavic)
Galina Галина Galya Галя Bright, calm, healer (Slavic)
Lyubov Любовь Lyuba Люба Love (Slavic)
Aleksandra/ Alexandra Александра Sasha, Sanya Саша, Саня Defender (Greek)
Maria Мария Masha, Marusya Маша, Маруся Rebellion, Sea of Sorrow (Hebrew)
Anna Анна Anya Аня Grace (Hebrew, Greek, Latin)
Angelina Ангелина Gyela Геля Messenger (Latin)
Marina Марина Marina Марина The sea (Latin)
Yekaterina/ Ekaterina Екатерина Katya Катя Pure (Greek)
Ludmila Людмила Lyuda Люда Beloved of the people (Slavic)
Tatiana Татьяна Tania Таня From Tatius (Latin)

Boy Names

Name in English Name in Russian Shortened Form Shortened Form in Russian Meaning
Artyom Артём Tyoma Тёма Dedicated to Artemis (Greek)
Aleksandr/ Alexander Александр Sasha, Sanya Саша, Саня Defender (Greek)
Roman Роман Roma Рома Citizen of Rome (Latin)
Yevgeny Евгений Zhenya Женя Noble (Greek)
Ivan Иван Vanya Ваня God is gracious (Greek/Hebrew)
Maksim/Maxim Максим Max Макс The Greatest (Latin)
Denis Денис Deniska Дениска From Dionysius (Greek)
Alexey Алексей Lyosha Лёша Defender (Greek)
Dmitry Дмитрий Dima Дима Earth-lover (Greek)
Danyl Даниил Danya Даня God is my judge (Hebrew)
Sergey Сергей Seryozha Серёжа Servant (Latin)
Nikolai Николай Kolya Коля Victory of the people (Greek)
Konstantin Константин Kostya Костя Constant (Greek)
Nikita Никита Nikita Никита Unconquerable (Slavic/Greek)
Mikhail Михаил Misha Миша Who is like God (Greek)
Boris Борис Borya Боря Battle (Slavic)
Victor Виктор Vitya Витя Victory (Latin)
Gennady Геннадий Gyena Гена Generous, noble (Greek)
Vyacheslav Вячеслав Slava Слава Glory (Slavic)
Vladimir Владимир Vova, Volodya Вова, Володя Renowned prince (Slavic)
Andrey Андрей Andrusha Андрюша Warrior (Greek)
Anatoly Анатолий Tolya Толя Sunrise (Greek)
Ilya Илья Ilyusha Илюша My God is Yahu (Hebrew)
Kirill Кирилл Kirusha Кирюша Lord (Greek)
Oleg Олег Olezhek Олежек Holy (Old Norse)