Photo Russian First Names

Many of the centuries that swept over Russia, created a lot of Russian names.

Russian Nicknames

In pagan times it was believed that the one who knows the namehas a certain power over aperson. Therefore, in everyday life people used nicknames.

  • Maloi – the youngest.
  • Kosoi – with vision problems.

Old Russian First Names

Old Russian names were either native Russian or Slavic.

  • Rusin – a man’s name, derived from the place of residence.
  • Mescherin – a man’s name, derived from the place of residence.

Common Slavic old compound names were widely used as well:

  • Yaroslav – a man’s name, “strong and glorious.” This is one of the few that was allowed in the church calendar.
  • Dobroslav – a man’s name, “the one famous for kindness”
  • Vsevolod – princely man’s name, “owning everything.”

Christian Names

With the Christianization of Russia in 988, thanks to the Orthodox Church new Russian first names began to appear – ancient Greek, Latin and old Hebrew.

Part of the Old Russian nameswas included in the list of the church names.

Before the reign of Peter I both Old Russian and church nameswere used.

But Peter I banned Old Russian names to be registered. Although, from the 14th century the use of Old Russian nameshas been declining.

Before the October Revolution of 1917 Russian first names were given to newborns in accordance with the Church order.

  • Georgiy – a male name of Greek origin, “farmer.”
  • Margarita – a female name of Greek origin, “pearl.”
  • Pelageya– a female name of Greek origin, “sea”.
  • Marina – a female name of Greek origin, “sea”.
  • Fedor – amale name of Greek origin, “gift of God.”
  • Ivan – a male name of old Hebrew origin, “God forgives.”
  • Fekla– a female name of Greek origin, “the glory of God.”
  • Sophia – a female name of Greek origin, “wisdom.”
  • Panuftii– a male name of Coptic origin, “belonging to God.”

Russian First Names of the Soviet Period

Abandonment of the church calendar has caused a sharp expansion of the list of names which were given to children. There were three main areas directions:

  1. Children were named after famous foreign revolutionaries.
  2. Newborns were given Old Russian names.
  3. Parents gave children new names inspired by the October Revolution of 1917.

A few examples from the Soviet period.

  • Klara – a Latin female name, “light”, popular in Germany. In Soviet Russia it became popular thanks to the German revolutionary Clara Zetkin.
  • Svetozar – a male Old Slavic name, “illuminating light.”
  • Miloslava – Old Slavic female name, “glorious with grace.”
  • Damir – the abbreviated name derived from the revolutionary slogan: “Long live the world revolution!”

The Most Popular Today Russian First Names

The analysis by the publication Smartnews of the most popular names in 50 regions of Russia allowed creating a list of the most popular names of 2013.

Boys’ names:

  • Artem
  • Alexander,
  • Maxim,
  • Dmitry,
  • Kiryll.

Girl’s names:

  • Anastasia
  • Daria,
  • Maria,
  • Viktoria,
  • Polina.


фото-фотобанк Лори


We are glad to discover Russia together with you!

We put our heart into the project. Join us on Facebook or Twitter: