There are several lists of the most common last names. We will use the list of Russian family names by Anatoly Zhuravlev – in our opinion, it the most modern and has the largest coverage. Family names are arranged from the most common to the least common.
This last name is derived from the first name Ivan, which means “God’s grace.”
The family name Ivanov is common in major Russian regional centers, and especially in the North-West of Russia.
The last name Ivanov has a lot of derivatives: Vanin, Vankin, Vanyushin, Ivashov, Ivashin, Ivashkin Ivashutin, Ivashchenkov, Ivanenkov, Ivanischev, Ivankov and so on.
This last name is derived from the Russian name Smyrnoi, which means “meek.”
It is especially prevalent in the Volga region of Russia.
Kuznetsov directly points to the occupation – “kuznets” in Russian is a blacksmith.
Blacksmiths – was a much needed occupation in the old days in every village.
The last name Kuznetsov is most common among Russian family names in the region from Upper Oka to Middle Volga.
In English, there is also a similar last name – Smith.
The last name Popovpoints directly to the occupation of the father – pope (priest). In Russian Orthodox Church priests are allowed to marry and have children, in contrast to Catholics. Russian priests actively use this right: their families are often very big.
This last name is derived from the male first name Vasily. The name Vasily in Greek means “royal.”
It is possible that the “royal” origin of the name is the reason that the family name Vasiliev is most common in large cities of Russia.
DerivativeRussian family names of the name Vasiliev: Vasilek, Vasylyuk, Vasechkin, Vasnetsov, Vasyutin, Vasyuhin, Vashchenko and others.
This is a derivative of the male first name Petr. Petr in Greek means “stone”.
There are other family names derived from the name Petr: Petin, Petreykin, Petrikov, Petrin, Petrishchev, Petrovyh, Petrunin, Petrukhin, Petrushkin, Petrushev, Petrushenkov, Petrykin, Petryagin, Petryaev, Petyunin, Petyushkin, Petyaev and so on.
In English there are also similar last names – Peter, Peters, Pethers, Petre, Petryand so on.
This last name is derived from the Russian male name Sokol. Sokol also means a species of a fast bird of prey.
In Russia there are many last names that are derived from the names of birds.
This last name is derived from a very common male first name Mikhail.
There are many family names formed from the name Mikhail: Mikhaev, Mishin, Mishurin, etc.
This is a derivative of the male first name Fedor (Feodor), which in Greek means “gift of God.”
From this name there are many derivative Russian family names: Fedin, Fedorin, Fedunov, Fedkin, Fedyaev, etc.
This last name is formed from the male nickname Moroz. It is possible that the name Moroz has to do with cold weather – bitter cold that is often seen during the winter months in Russia.
This last name is derived from the nickname Volk. Literally Volk means a “wolf.”
A derivative of the male first name Alexey. The name Alexey in Greek means “defender.”
From the name Alexey a lot of Russian family names are derived: Alexin, Alenin, Alekhin, Aleshin, Lelikov, Lenkov, Lyashev, Oleshin, and others.
This last name is derived from the male nickname Lebed. Lebed means a swan. Names of birds often form Russian family names.
Semenov is derived from the male name Semen (Simeon). Semen in Hebrew means “God that hears.”
Egorovcomes from a male first name Egor (Georgy). Georgy is Greek means a “farmer.” There are many family names derived from the name Egor: Egunov, Egorikhin, Egorichev, Egorkin, Egorkov, Egorushkin, Egorchenkov, Egorshin, Egorychev, Egoriev, Egoshin, Egunov.
It comes from the male first name Pavel. Pavel means “small” (in Latin).
Many Russian family names come from the name Pavel: Pavlishchev, Pavlukhin, Pavlychev, Pavshinand others.
Kozlov comes from a male nickname Kozel, which in Rusian means “goat.” Animals in the Russian language are frequent source of nicknames.
It’s a derivative of the male first name Stepan (Stefan). Stepan in Greek means a “crown.”
There are many family names derived from the name Stepan: Stepanchikov, Stepanychev, Stepichev, Stepulev, Stepurin, Stepyrev and others.
This last name comes from the male first name Nikolay. The name Nikolay is formed from two Greek words “flower” and “people.”
There are many Russian family names that come from the name Nikolay: Nikolaichev, Nikolin, Nikolyukin, Nikulaenkov, Nikulin, Nikulichev, Nikulkin, Nikulov, Mikolaev, Mikulin, etc.
The last name Orlovis derived from the male first name or nickname Orel.
Orel means eagle in Russian. Names of birds in Russiaoften became a source of first and last names.
In ancient Russian mythology, eagle – is the lord of the heavens: strong, healthy and long-lived.
This article contains some materials by V. Nikonov.