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Author Topic: Russian Names for your characters  (Read 28785 times)
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« on: September 06, 2006, 02:58:16 AM »

Courtesy of Krasnaya Zarya, with much thanks

Russian names come in what is, essentially, three levels; official, unofficial and affectionate. Very seldom is there deviation from the pattern, and the use of one tier by people that rightly belong on the other is a faux pas to be avoided. Naturally, there will be exceptions to that rule, but they are not trivial. In addition to these three tiers, another variant – slightly derogative, or perhaps patronizing – can also be created by attaching a variant on a suffix. As an example, the name Yevgenia would evolve so;

Yevgenia   Zhenya   Zhenechka and Zhen’ka

•   The first name – in combination with a patronymic – will be used by distant acquaintances, co-workers that are not friends, and anyone considerably younger in age, except certain family members, who would then address said person by the relevant title (aunt, mother, etc’).
•   The second name will be used by friends, teachers, parents, classmates and so on. There used to be an involved ritual for switching to first names only between new friends, however, nowadays it is done mostly by mutual agreement. Anyone from an older generation has an almost immediate right to refer to a person by their shortened name; meeting on a more regular basis than once a year, would already be enough.
•   The third tier name is used almost exclusively by parents, spouses and very close friends, unless used half-jokingly. The use of the patronizing variant is common to children (especially boys) and annoyed adults of the family.

The main ‘real’ name is always the full version; the rest are derivatives.

Male Names

Aleksei = Alyosha, Lyosha
Aleksandr = Sasha, Shurik, Aleks, Sanya
Andrei = Andryusha
Anatoliy = Tolya 
Arkadiy = Arkasha
Artyom = Tyoma
Averiy (almost unheard of, nowadays)
Boris = Borya
Dmitriy = Dima
Eduard = Edik, Ed
Evgeniy = Xhenya (variant of spelling on Yevgeniy)
Filipp = Filya
Fyodor = Fedya
Gennadiy = Gena
Georgiy = Gosha
Grigoriy = Grisha
Innokentiy = Kesha (very rare)
Ivan = Vanya
Konstantin = Kostya
Leonid = Lyonya
Lev = Lyova
Maksim = Maks
Mark = Marik
Mihail = Misha
Nikolai = Kolya
Pavel = Pasha
Pyotr (Petr) = Petya
Rodion = Rodya
Roman = Roma
Ruslan (rare)
Rustam (also rare)
Semyon = Syoma
Sergei = Seryozha
Stanislav = Stas, Slava
Stepan = Styopa
Svyatoslav = Slava (rare in modern usage)
Timofei = Tima, Tim
Vadim = Vadik
Valentin = Valya
Valeriy = Valera
Vasiliy = Vasya
Viktor = Vitya
Vitaliy = Vitya, Vitalya
Vladimir = Vova, Volodya
Vladislav = Vlad, Vladik, Slava (rare in modern usage)
Vyacheslav = Slava (also rare in modern usage)
Yaroslav = Yarik
Yevgeniy = Zhenya
Yuriy = Yura

Meaning of Male Names (added in parenthesis are unofficial and various sundry variants)

ADRIK: "dark."

ALEKSANDR/ALEKSANDER: "defender of man." From the Greek Alexander. Variants include Sanya, Sasha, Shura, Shurik, and Shurochka.

ANDREY/ANDREI: Russian form of Andrew, meaning "manly." Variants include Andryusha, and Andrya. (Also Andrukha)

ARKADIJ/ARKADIY/ARKADI: Probably the male equivalent of Arkadina, a myth name derived from Greek Arcadia, meaning "pastoral happiness." (Arkasha, Arkad’ka)

ARMAN: "protective." (Very rare)

BOGDAN: "gift from God.", (Bogdasha)

BORIS: "fighter; struggle," and possibly a Tartar name meaning "small." (Borya, Bor’ka)

DIMITRIJ/DIMITRI/DIMITRIY: "from Demeter.", also, strong fighter. (Dima, Dimka, Dimochka)

EDUARD: "rich protector." (Edik, Ed)

EGOR: Russian form of George, meaning "farmer."

EVGENI/YEVGENIY/YEVGENI: Russian form of Eugene, meaning "noble." (Zhenya, Zhenka, Zhenechka, also in English can and should be spelled Genia)

FABIYAN/FABIAN: Russian form of Fabian, meaning "bean farmer." Variant Fabi exists.

FADEY: "brave." Variants include Faddei, (Fadeyka).

FEDOR: "gift of God." From the Greek Theodore Variants include Fyodor. (Fedya, Fedyenka,)

FELIKS: Russian form of Felix, meaning "lucky."

FIERS: meaning unknown.

FILIP: Russian form of Philip, meaning "loves horses."

FOMA: "twin." From Thomas.

FREDEK: Russian form of Frederick, meaning "peaceful ruler."

GAVRIL: "worships God." From the Hebrew Gavriel God is my strength (Gavrila)

GRIGORI/GRIGORIY: "watchful." (Grisha)

ILIA/ILYA: "the Lord is God." From the Hebrew Eliyahu, English Elijah.

IVAN: Russian form of John, meaning "gracious gift from God." From the Hebrew Yochannan.(Vania Vanya. Vanechka)

KIRYL/KIRIL: "noble."
NIKOLAI: "of the conquering people."(Kolya, Kolen’ka)

KONSTANTINE: "constant." (Kostya, Kosten’ka).

LEONIDE: "lion." Variants include Lenya, Lev, Levka, Levushka, Lyonya, and Lyonechka.

MAKS: "great." Variant Maksimillian exists.

MATVEY: "gift of God." From Matthew. (Matyash, and Motya, Motka.)

MIKHAIL: Russian form of Michael, meaning "God-like." From teh Hebrew literally “Who is like God”. (Misha, and Mishe)

NIKITA:  Russian form of Nicholas, meaning "victory of the people." Variants include Nakita and Nicolai.

OLEG: "holy." Variant Olezka exists.

PAVEL: "little." (Pasha, Pashka)

PETER/PYOTR: "stone." Variants include (Petya)

ROMAN: "a Roman." (Roma, Romochka)

RURIK: noted ruler.

SEMYON: Russian form of Simon, meaning "God is heard."

SERGEI: "an attendant." (Serge, Seryozha, Seriozhenka.)

STAS: Russian equivalent of Slavic Stanislav, meaning "camp glory." Variants include Standa (Czech.), Stanko (Bulg.), Stanislas, Stanislaus, Stanislaw (Pol.), Stanislov, Stannes, Tanis, and Tannis.

STEFAN: Russian form of Stephen, meaning "crowned with laurels." (Stepa)

VASSILY: "royal." Variants include Vas, Vasilii, Vassi, and Vasya.

VICTOR: "victor." (Vitya, Vitenka)

VLADISLAV: "has glory." Variants include Vladik, and Vyacheslav.

VLADMIR/VLADIMIR: "has peace." “Peaceful” (Volodya, Vladik, and Vladya.)
YAKOV: "supplanter." From the Hebrew Ya’akov “follower” or “holding by heel” (Yasha)

YURI: "farmer." Variants include Yura, Yurii, Yurik, and Yurochka.

Female Names

Aleksandra = Sasha, Shura, Sandra, Ksanka
Anastasiya = Nastya
Anna = Anya
Antonina = Tonya
Anzhelika = Anzhela, Lika
Dariya = Dasha
Galina = Galya
Irina = Ira
Klavdiya = Klava
Kseniya = Ksenya, Ksyusha
Larisa = Lara
Lidiya = Lida
Liliya = Lilya
Lyubov' = Lyuba
Lyudmila (Ludmila) = Lyuda, Mila
Margarita = Rita
Mariya = Masha
Nadezhda = Nadya
Nataliya = Natasha
Nelli = Nellya
Oksana = Ksyusha, Ksana
Ol'ga = Olya
Polina = Polya
Raisa = Raya
Rozaliya = Roza
Svetlana = Sveta, Lana
Tamara = Toma
Tatiyana (Tatiana) = Tanya
Valentina = Valya
Valeriya = Lera
Veronika = Vera, Nika
Viktoriya = Vika, Vita
Yekaterina = Katya, Katyusha
Yelena (Elena) = Lena
Yelizaveta = Liza
Yevdokiya = Dunya, Dusya
Yevgeniya = Zhenya
Yuliya (Yulia) = Yulya
Zinaida = Zina

Meanings of Female Names

AGRAFINA: Russian form of Latin unisex Agrippina, meaning "born feet first."

AGNESSA: "meek."

ALEKSANDRA: "Defender of man." Some variants are Alexa, Sacha, Sandra, Sasha, Sashenka, and Shura.

ALENA: a form of Yelena, meaning "light; bright one." Variants include Aline, Alyona and Olena.

ALISA: Russian equivalent of English/French Alice, meaning "noble; nobility."

ALLA: may mean "conceited." Variant Allochka exists.

AMALIJA/AMALIYA: Russian equivalent of Old German Amelia, meaning "industrious; hard-working."

ANASTASIYA: Russian equivalent of Greek Anastasia, meaning "resurrection; rebirth; she shall rise again

ANGELINA: name of Greek origin, popular in Russia, meaning "angel; angelic." Variant Lina exists.

ANNA: "grace." From the Heg\brew Hanna/Chana (Anechka, Anitchka, Anya, Anyuta, and Asenka.)

ANTONINA: Russian equivalent of French Antoinette, meaning "beyond price; invaluable; priceless."

ARKADINA: myth name derived from Greek Arcadia, meaning "pastoral happiness."

DARYA: Russian equivalent of Latin Daria, meaning "rich; preserver." Variant Dasha exists.

DEVORA: Russian form of Hebrew Deborah, meaning "bee."

EVA: from the Hebrew Chava "life."

EVGENIA: Russian form of Eugenia, meaning "noble." (Zenya/Zhenya.) Variant: Genia

FAYINA:  "free one." Variant Faina exists.

FEODORA: feminine form of Feodor, meaning "gift from God."

GALINA:  "bright one." (Galenka, Galine, and Galya.)

INNA: originally a male name. Meaning unknown.

IRINA: "peace." Variants include Ira, Irena, Irinka, Irisha, and Irochka.

KIRA: "light." (Kirochka)

KLAVDIA: Russian form of Claudia, meaning "lame." Variants include Klasha, Klava, Klavdiya, and Klavochka.

KRISTINA: Czech and Russian equivalent of Eng./Ger. Christine, meaning "Christian," or "anointed."

KSENIYA: form of Greek Xenos, meaning "stranger; foreigner." Variants include Ksana, Ksanochka, and Ksyusha.

LADA: name of a goddess of love, meaning "concord; quiet."

LARISA: "cheerful." Variants include Lara, and Larissa.

LIDIJA: "from Lydia." Variants include Lida, Lidia, Lidiya, and Lidochka.

LILIYA: "lily." Variants include Lilia, and Lilya.

LUDMILLA: "likable." Variants include Luda, Lyuda, Lyudmila, Lyudochka, Mila, Milochka and Lusya.

LYUBOV: "love." Variants include Lyuba, Lyubasha, and Lyubochka.

MARGARITA: Russian form of Margaret, meaning "pearl." Variants include Margarete, Margo, Margosha, and Rita.

MARIA: "bitter." Variants include Manya, Mara, Marisha, Maruska, Marusya, Masha, and Mura.

MARIANNE: "bitter grace." Variant Marianna exists.

MARINA: "from the sea." Variant Marinochka exists.

MAYYA: name of a goddess of spring. Variant Maia exists.

NADEZHDA: Russian equivalent of the virtue, "hope."  Variants include Nadenka, Nadia, Nadie, Nadine, Nadya, and Nadyenka.

NATALYA:  "born at Christmas" or "resurrected." Variants include Nata, Natalia, Natascha, Natasha, Natasia, Natyashenka, and Tasha, and Tasya.

NINA: "grace." Variants include Nino, and Ninochka.

OLGA: "holy." Variants include Elga, Helga, Olechka, Olenka, and Olya.

POLINA: "little." Variants include Pasha, and Polya.

RAISA: "lady governess." Variants include Raechka, and Raya.

SOFIYA:  "wisdom." Variants include Sofia, and Sofya.

SVETLANA: Short form of Lana, meaning "luminescent." Variant Sveta exists.

TAMARA:  "date palm; palm tree." Variants include Tamar, Tamari, Tamary, Tami, Tammy, Tamriko, and Toma.

TATYANA: myth name of a fairy queen. Variants include Tanechka, Tania, Tanichka, Tanya, Tatiana, and Tonya.

TASYA: short form of Natalya, meaning "born at Christmas" or "resurrected."

TONECHKA: Russian short form of French Antoinette, meaning "beyond price; invaluable; priceless." Variants include Antoinetta, Antonella (It.), Antonetta (Swed.), Antonia (Lat.), Antónia (Port.), Antonie (Ger./Czech.), Antonietta (It.), Antonina (Rus.), Antonine, Netta, Netti, Nettie, Netty, Toinette, Toni, Tonia, Tonie, Tony, Tonya, Tonye, and Tosya (Rus.).

VALENTINA: "healthy." Variants include Valechka, and Valya.

VALERIA: "healthy." Variant Lera exists.

VARVARA: Russian equivalent of Greek Barbara, meaning "strange; foreign." Comes from the same root as "barbarian."  (Varya, Varechka)

VASSILLISSA: Russian equivalent of Basilia, the feminine form of Greek Basil, meaning "royal; regal."

VERA: Russian equivalent of the virtue, "faith."  Variant, Verochka, exists.

VERONIKA: Russian equivalent of Greek Pherenike, meaning "bringing victory." Variants include

VIKTORIA: Russian form of Victoria, meaning "victory." Variants include Vika, Viktoriya, Vikulya, and Vita.

YANA: Female Slavic form of John, popular in Russia, meaning "the Lord is gracious."

YEKATERINA: Russian form of Greek Catherine, meaning "pure." Variants include Ecaterina (Rom.), Ekaterina (Bulg./Rus.), and Yekaterin (Rus.).

YELENA: Russian form of Helen, meaning "light; shining light." Variants include Alyona, Jelena, Lena, Lenochka, Lenusya, Yalena, and Yalenchka.

YELIZAVETA: Russian form of Elizabeth, meaning "consecrated to God."

YULIYA: Russian form of Julia, meaning "youthful." Variant Yulenka exists.

ZHANNA: French version of Johanna, meaning "gift from God." Popular in Russia today. Variant Janna exists.

ZINAIDA: name of Greek origin, meaning "daughter of Zeus." Variants include Zina, Zinochka, and Zinulya.


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