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Eastern Slavic naming customs
Eastern Slavic naming customs
are the traditional ways of identifying a person by name in countries influenced by East Slavic languages (Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian: in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine. They are also used in some countries using South Slavic languages, including Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia
Serbia
and Macedonia, as well as some countries using non- Slavic languages
Slavic languages
(Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
and Turkmenistan) because of the expansion of Russia, with its Russification. The full name uses the following standard structure:

Name Example (Cyrillic alphabet) Example (Anglicised form)

First name (given name) Илья́ Ilyá

Patronymic Алекса́ндрович Aleksándrovich

Family name
Family name
(surname) Ежо́в Yezhóv

Contents

1 Given names

1.1 Males 1.2 Females 1.3 Forms

1.3.1 Short forms 1.3.2 Diminutive forms

1.3.2.1 Affectionate diminutive 1.3.2.2 Colloquial diminutives 1.3.2.3 Slang forms

1.4 Early Soviet Union

2 Patronymics

2.1 Derivation 2.2 Historical grounds 2.3 Legal basis

3 Family names

3.1 Derivation and meaning 3.2 Grammar

4 Anglicisation 5 Slavicisation of foreign names 6 Forms of address

6.1 Common rules 6.2 Adjectives

7 See also 8 References 9 External links

9.1 In Russian 9.2 In English

Given names[edit] As in many other cultures, Eastern Slavic parents select a given name for a newborn child. Most first names in East Slavic languages originate from two sources:

Orthodox church tradition (which is itself mainly of Greek origin) native pre-Christian Slavic lexicons

Almost all first names are single. Doubled first names (as in, for example, French, like Jean-Luc) are very rare and from foreign influence. Most doubled first names are written with a hyphen: Mariya-Tereza. Here are common given names: Males[edit]

Russian variant Ukrainian variant Belarusian variant Latin-alphabet transliteration (Russian / Ukrainian / Belarusian) Origin Comments

Ива́н Іва́н Іван, Ян Iván / Jan Hebrew equivalent to John

Никола́й Мико́ла Мікалай, Мікола Nikoláy / Mykóla / Mikalaj, Mikola Greek equivalent to Nicholas, meaning "Victory (of the) People"

Бори́с Бори́с Барыс Borís / Borys / Barys (Bulgar) Fighter

Влади́мир Володи́мир Уладзімір Vladímir / Volodymyr / Uladzimir Slavonic meaning "Lord of the World" / "Lord of Peace"

Пётр Петро́ Пётр, Пятро, Пятрусь Pyotr / Petró / Piotr, Piatro, Piatruś Greek equivalent to Peter

Андре́й Андрій Андрэй Andréy / Andriy / Andrej Greek equivalent to Andrew

Алекса́ндр Олександр Аляксандр Aleksándr / Oleksandr, Olexa / Aliaksandr Greek equivalent to Alexander

Дми́трий Дмитро Дзмітры, Зміцер Dmítry / Dmytro / Dzmitry, Zmicier Greek meaning "of Demeter"

Серге́й Сергій Сяргей Sergéy / Serhiy / Siarhej Latin from the Roman nomen (patrician family name) Sergius, itself from a more ancient Etruscan name

Леони́д Леонід Леанід, Лявон Leoníd / Lieanid, Liavon Greek from Greek Leonidas, meaning "Son of the Lion"

Ви́ктор Віктор Віктар Víktor / Viktar Latin meaning "Conqueror"

Гео́ргий Гео́ргiй Георгій Geórgy / Hieorhij Greek the analogues are Егор (Yegor), Юрий (Yury), equivalent to George

Па́вел Павло́ Павел, Павал, Паўло Pável / Pavló / Paval, Paŭlo Latin equivalent to Paul

Константи́н Костянти́н Канстанцін, Кастусь Konstantín / Kostyantyn / Kanstancin, Kastuś Latin equivalent to Constantine

Кири́лл Кири́ло Кірыл, Кірыла Kiríll / Kyrylo / Kiryl, Kiryla Greek equivalent to Cyril

Васи́лий Васи́ль Васіль, Базыль Vasíly, Vassili / Vasyl / Vasiĺ, Bazyĺ Greek equivalent to Ваsіl

Poма́н Poма́н Раман Román / Raman Latin -

Владисла́в Владисла́в Уладзіслаў Vladisláv / Vladyslav / Uladzislaŭ Slavonic meaning "Lord of Fame"

Вячесла́в В'ячесла́в Вячаслаў Vyachesláv / Viačaslaŭ Slavonic meaning "Growing Fame"

Михаи́л Миха́йло Міхал, Міхась Mihaíl / Myháilo / Michal, Michaš Hebrew equivalent to Michael

Оле́г Олег Алег Olég / Oléh / Alieh Old Norse derivative from Scandinavian "Helgi"

И́горь Ігор Ігар Ígor / Ihor / Ihar Old Norse derivative from Scandinavian "Ingvar"

Макси́м Макси́м Максім Maxím / Maksym / Maksim Latin meaning "Greatest"

Females[edit]

Russian variant Ukrainian variant Belarusian variant Latin-alphabet transliteration (Russian / Ukrainian / Belarusian) Origin Comments

Анастаси́я Анастасія Настасся, Наста Anastasía / Anastasíya / Nastassia, Nasta Greek meaning "The Resurrected One"

Áнна Анна / Ганна Ганна Ánna / Hanna Hebrew equivalent to Anne or Hannah

Еле́на, Алёна Oле́нa Алена Yelе́na, Alyóna / Oléna / Aliena Greek equivalent to Helen; in Russian Alyona can be both a pet version of Yelena and a name in its own right

Ната́лья / Наталия Наталя / Ната́лія Наталля Natál'ya / Nataliya / Natallia Latin equivalent to Natalie

Óльга Ольга Вольга Ólga / Olha / Voĺha Old Norse derivative from Scandinavian Helga

Алекса́ндра Олекса́ндра Аляксандра Aleksándra / Oleksandra / Aliaksandra Greek equivalent to Alexandra

Ксе́ния, Окса́на Окса́на Ксенія, Аксана Kséniya / Oksána / Ksiénija, Aksána Greek in Russian Oksana is a separate name of the same origin

Екатери́на Катери́на Кацярына Yekaterína / Kateryna / Kaciaryna Greek equivalent to Catherine

Татья́на Тетяна Тацяна, Таццяна Tatyána / Tetiana / Taciana, Tacciana Latin derivative from the Latinized name of a Sabine king - see Titus Tatius

Людми́ла Людми́ла Людміла Lyudmíla / Lyudmyla / Ludmila Slavonic meaning "Dear to the People"

Светла́на Світла́на Святлана Svetlа́na / Svitlána / Sviatlana Slavonic meaning "The Shining One"

Юлия Юлія Юлія Yúliya / Julija Latin equivalent to Julia or Julie

Ве́ра Віра Вера Vе́ra / Vira / Viera Slavonic meaning "Faith"; a calque of the Greek Πίστη

Наде́жда Надія Надзея Nadézhda / Nadiya / Nadzieja Slavonic meaning "Hope"; a calque of the Greek Ελπίς

Любо́вь Любо́в Любоў Lyubóv' / Lyubо́v / Liuboŭ Slavonic meaning "Love"; a calque of the Greek Αγάπη

Софи́я, Со́фья Софія Соф'я Sofíya, Sófya / Sofia / Sofja Greek equivalent to Sophia, meaning "Wisdom".

Forms[edit] Being highly synthetic languages, Eastern Slavic treats personal names as grammatical nouns and apply the same rules of inflection and derivation to them. That means that it is possible to create many forms with different degree of affection and familiarity by adding corresponding suffixes to the special auxiliary stem derived from the original name. The auxiliary stem may be identical to the word stem of the full name (the full name Жанна Zhanna can have the suffixes added directly to the stem Жанн- Zhann- like Жанночка Zhannochka), and most names have the auxiliary stem derived unproductively (the name Михаил Mikhail has the auxiliary stem Миш- Mish-, which produces such name-forms as Миша Misha, Мишенька Mishenka, Мишуня Mishunya etc., not *Михаилушка Mikhailushka). Unlike English, in which the use of diminutive forms is optional even between close friends, in East Slavonic languages such forms are obligatory in certain contexts because of the strong T–V distinction: the T-form of address usually requires the short form of the counterpart's name. Also, unlike other languages with prominent use of name suffixes, such as Japanese, the use of derived name forms is mostly limited to the T-addressing: there is no way to make the name more formal than the plain unsuffixed full form, and no suffixes can be added to the family name. Most commonly, Russian philologists distinguish the following forms of given names:

Name
Name
form Example Formation Comments

Full Анна Anna full name stem + case ending -

Short Аня (Anya) short name stem + II declension ending most common for informal communication, comparable to Western name-only form of address (Ann, John), or Japanese surname-only, or surname/name -kun

Diminutive Анька (Anka) short name stem + -к- -k- + II declension ending expresses familiarity, may be considered rude when used between people who are not close friends. Comparable to English diminutives (Annie, Willy) or Japanese unsuffixed names

Affective diminutive Анечка (Anyechka) short name stem + -ечк/очк/оньк/усь/юсь/уль/юль- -echk/ochk/on'k/us/yus/ul/yul- + II declension ending most intimate and affectionate form, comparable to German diminutives (Ännchen) or Japanese -chan suffixes

Short forms[edit]

Marina Tsvetaeva, a Russian poet. The name "Marina" traditionally has no short form.

Руслан (Ruslan), a character in Alexander
Alexander
Pushkin's poem Ruslan and Ludmila. The short form for Руслан (Ruslan) is Руся (Rusya).

Николай II (Nicholas II), the last Russian emperor. In private communication, his wife called him in the German manner, "Nicky", instead of the East Slavic short variant Коля ("Kolya").

The "short name" (Russian: краткое имя kratkoye imya), historically also "half-name" (Russian: полуимя poluimya), is the simplest and most common name derivative. Bearing no suffix, it is produced suppletively and always has the declension noun ending for both males and females, thus making short forms of certain unisex names indistinguishable: for example, Sasha (Russian: Саша) is the short name for both the masculine name Aleksandr (Alexander) and the feminine form Aleksandra (Alexandra). Some names, such as Zhanna (Jeana) and Mark have no short forms, and others may have two (or more) different forms. In the latter case, one form is usually more informal than the other.

Full name (Cyrillic script) Full name (Latin script) Short forms (Cyrillic) Short forms (Latin)

Александр Aleksandr (m) Саша, Саня, Шура, Сашко (укр.), Лесь (укр.) Sasha, Sanya, Shura, Sashko (ukr.), Les' (ukr.)

Александра Aleksandra (f) Саша, Шура, Леся (укр.) Sasha, Shura, Lesya (ukr.)

Алексей Aleksey (m) Алёша, Лёша Alyosha, Lyosha

Анастасия Anastasia (f) Настя, Стася (редко) Nastya, Stasya (rare)

Анатолий Anatoly (m) Толя Tolya

Анна Anna (f) Аня, Анюта, Нюта, Нюша Anya, Anyuta, Nyuta, Nyusha

Борис Boris (m) Боря Borya

Дарья Darya (f) Даша Dasha

Дмитрий Dmitry
Dmitry
(m) Дима, Митя Dima, Mitya

Галина Galina (f) Галя Galya

Геннадий Gennady (m) Гена Gena

Георгий Georgy (m) Гоша, Жора Gosha, Zhora

Григорий Grigory (m) Гриша, Гриць (укр.) Grisha, Gritz (ukr.)

Евгений, Евгения Yevgeniy (m), Yevgenia (f) Женя Zhenya

Иван Ivan (m) Ваня Vanya

Ирина Irina (f) Ира Ira

Константин Konstantin (m) Костя Kostya

Ксения Ksenya (f) Ксюша Ksyusha

Лариса Larisa (f) Лара, Лёля (редко) Lara, Lyolya (rare)

Леонид Leonid (m) Лёня Lyonya

Лев Lev (m) Лёва Lyova

Лидия Lidiya (f) Лида Lida

Любовь Lyubov' (f) Люба Lyuba

Людмила Lyudmila (f) Люда, Люся, Мила (редко) Lyuda, Lyusya, Meela (rare)

Мария Mariya (f) Маша, Марічка (укр.) Masha, Marichka (ukr.)

Михаил Mihail (m) Миша Misha

Надежда Nadezhda (f) Надя Nadya

Наталья Natalya (f) Наташа Natasha

Николай Nikolay (m) Коля Kolya

Ольга Olga (f) Оля Olya

Павел Pavel (m) Паша, Павлик Pasha, Pavlik

Полина Polina (f) Поля, Лина (редко) Polya, Lina (rare)

Пётр Pyotr (m) Петя Petya

Роман Roman (m) Рома Roma

Сергей Sergey (m) Серёжа Seryozha

София Sofia, Sofya (f) Соня, Софа Sonya, Sofa

Светлана Svetlana (f) Света Sveta

Станислав Stanislav (m) Стас Stas

Тамара Tamara (f) Тома Toma

Татьяна Tatyana (f) Таня Tanya

Валентин / Валентина Valentin (m) / Valentina (f) Валя Valya

Валерий Valery (m) Валера Valera

Валерия Valeriya (f) Лера Lera

Василий Vasily (m) Вася Vasya

Виктор Viktor (m) Витя Vitya

Виктория Viktoriya (f) Вика Vika

Владимир Vladimir (m) Вова, Володя Vova, Volodya

Владислав, Владислава Vladislav (m), Vladislava (f) Влад, Влада Vlad, Vlada

Вячеслав Vyacheslav (m) Слава Slava

Елена Yelena (f) Лена, Алёна Lena, Alyona

Елизавета Yelizaveta (f) Лиза Liza

Екатерина Yekaterina (f) Катя Katya

Евгений / Евгения Evgeniy (m) / Evgeniya (f) Женя Zhenya

Юлия Yuliya (f) Юля Yulya

Юрий Yury (m) Юра Yura

Diminutive forms[edit]

Veruschka, a German model, actress and artist. The name "Vera" is Slavic and literally means "Faith". "Veruschka" is one of the typical diminutive variants for the name.

Diminutive forms are produced from the "short name" by means of various suffixes. Unlike the full name, a diminutive name carries a particular emotional attitude and may be unacceptable in certain contexts. Depending on the nature of the attitude, nameforms can be subdivided in three broad groups: affectionate, familiar and slang. Affectionate diminutive[edit] Typically formed by suffixes -еньк- (-yenk-), -оньк- (-onk-), -ечк- (-yechk-), -ушк (-ushk), as illustrated by the examples below. It generally emphasises tender, affectionate attitude and is roughly analogous to German suffixes -chen, -lein, Japanese -chan and -tan and affectionate name-derived nicknames in other languages. It is often used to address children or intimate friends. Within a more official context, this form may be combined with the honorific plural to address a younger female colleague.[citation needed]

Full form of first name (Cyrillic) Full form of first name (Latin) Short form (Cyrillic) Short form (Latin) Diminutive form (Cyrillic) Diminutive form (Latin)

Анна Anna Аня Anya Анечка Anyechka

Виктор Viktor Витя Vitya Витенька Vitenʲka

Дмитрий Dmitry Дима Dima Димочка Dimochka

Ольга Olga Оля Olya Оленька Olyenka

Степан Stepan Стёпа Styopa Стёпочка Styopochka

Colloquial diminutives[edit]

In the Soviet movie Чапаев ("Chapaev") Анка-Пулемётчица (Anka the Machine Gunner) is depicted as a bold, active and resolute girl who takes part in the Russian Civil War, shoulder-to-shoulder with her male comrades-in-arms. In this case, Анка (Anka) is vernacular variant of the name Anna to emphasise "being one of the guys".

Colloquial diminutives are derived from short names by the -к- ("-k-") suffix. Expressing a highly familiar attitude, the use may be considered rude or even pejorative outside a friendly context.

Full form of first name (Cyrillic) Full form of first name (Latin) Short form (Cyrillic) Short form (Latin) Colloquial diminutive form (Cyrillic) Colloquial diminutive form (Latin)

Анна Anna Аня Anya Анька Anʲka

Виктор Viktor Витя Vitya Витька Vitʲka

Дмитрий Dmitry Дима Dima Димка Dimka

Ольга Olga Оля Olya Олька Olʲka

Степан Stepan Стёпа Styopa Стёпка Styopka

Slang forms[edit]

Колян (Kolyan), a character in the sitcom Реальные пацаны (Realʲeniye patsany, The Real Guys). Kolyan shows to viewers the ridiculous sides of gopniks, a special social class of Russian society, which has some common features with London Cockney
Cockney
in their social life.

Slang forms exist for male names and, since a few decades ago, female names. by being produced with the suffixes -ян (-yan), -он (-on), and -ок/ёк (-ok/yok). The suffixes give off the sense of "male brotherhood" that was once expressed by patronymic-only form of address in Soviet Union. Originating in criminal communities[citation needed], such forms came into wide usage in Russia
Russia
in the 1990s.

Full form of first name (Cyrillic) Full form of first name (Latin) Short form (Cyrillic) Short form (Latin) Slang form (Cyrillic) Slang form (Latin)

Анатолий Anatoly Толя Tolya Толян Tolyan

Николай Nikolay Коля Kolya Колян Kolyan

Дмитрий Dmitry Дима Dima Димон Dimon

Владимир Vladimir Вова Vova Вован Vovan

Александр Alexander Саша Sasha Санёк Sanyok

Татьяна Tatiana Таня Tanya Танюха Tanyukha

Early Soviet Union[edit] Main article: Names of Soviet origin During the days of the October Revolution, as part of the campaign to rid Russia
Russia
of bourgeois culture, there was a drive to invent new, revolutionary names[citation needed]. As a result, many Soviet children were given unusual or atypical names[citation needed], often being initialisms.

Ksenya Kimovna Borodina, the TV presenter of reality show Dom-2. Her patronymic, "Kimovna", refers to the name of her father, "Kim", which is atypical for East European languages and is the initialism from the phrase Коммунистический интернационал молодёжи (Kommunistichesky Internatsional Molodyozhi, "Youth Communist International").

Name
Name
(Cyrillic) Name
Name
(Latin) Origin Comments

Вил, Вилен, Владлен, Владлена Vil, Vilen, Vladlen (m) / Vladlene (f) Владимир Ильич Ленин (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin) -

Мэл(c) Mel(s) Маркс, Энгельс, Ленин (и Сталин) (Marx, Engels, Lenin
Lenin
(and Stalin)) -

Баррикада Barricade - Refers to the revolutionary activity

Ревмир, Ревмира Revmir (m) / Revmira (f) Революция мира (Revolyutsiya mira) Means "The revolution of the World"

Гертруда Gertrude Герой труда (Geroy truda) Means "The Hero of Labour"

Марлен Marlene Маркс и Ленин (Marx and Lenin) -

Стэн Stan Сталин и Энгельс ( Stalin
Stalin
and Engels) -

Ким Kim Коммунистический интернационал молодёжи (Kommunistichesky Internatsional Molodyozhi) Youth Communist International

Patronymics[edit] The patronymic name is based on the first name of the father and is written in all legal and identity documents. If used with the first name, the patronymic always follows it. Derivation[edit]

The signature of the Great Prince Dmitry
Dmitry
Donskoy: "by Great Prince Dmitry
Dmitry
Ivanovich".

The patronymic is formed by a combination of the father's name and suffixes. The suffix is -ович (-ovich) for a son, -овна (-ovna) - for a daughter. For example, if the father's name was Иван (Ivan), the patronymic will be Иванович (Ivanovich) for a son and Ивановна (Ivanovna) for a daughter. The standard rules for the suffix have some exceptions like the following:

If the suffix is being appended to a name ending in a й ("y") or a soft consonant, the initial o in the suffixes -ович (-ovich) and -овна (-ovna) becomes a е ("ye") and the suffixes change to -евич (-yevich) and -евна (-yevna). For example, if the father is Дмитрий (Dmitry), the patronymic is Дмитриевич (Dmitrievich) for a son and Дмитриевна (Dmitrievna) for a daughter. It is not Дмитрович (Dmitrovich) or Дмитровна (Dmitrovna) because the name Дмитрий (Dmitry) ends on "й" ("y"); For some names ending in a vowel, the suffix is -ич (-ich) for a son and -ична (-ichna) or -инична (-inichna) for a daughter; The patronymic for Яков (Yakov) is Яковлевич (Yakovlevich, male) or Яковлевна (Yakovlevna, female). In Ukrainian, the female patronymic is more likely to end with -iвна (-ivna) rather than -евна (-evna).

Father's name (Cyrillic) Father's name (Latin) Patronym for son (Cyrillic) Patronym for son (Latin) Patronym for daughter (Cyrillic) Patronym for daughter (Latin)

Анатолий Anatoly Анатольевич Anatolyevich Анатольевна Anatolyevna

Иван Ivan Иванович Ivanovich Ивановна Ivanovna

Владимир Vladimir Владимирович Vladimirovich Владимировна Vladimirovna

Дмитрий Dmitry Дмитриевич Dmitriyevich Дмитриевна Dmitriyevna

Николай Nikolay Николаевич Nikolayevich Николаевна Nikolayevna

Яков Yakov Яковлевич Yakovlevich Яковлевна Yakovlevna

Лев Lev Львович Lʲvovich Львовна Lʲvovna

Илья Ilya Ильич Ilyich Ильинична Ilyinichna

Савва Savva Саввич Savvich Саввична Savvichna

Владислав Vladislav Владиславович Vladislavovich Владиславовна Vladislavovna

Олег Oleg Олегович Olegovich Олеговна Olegovna

Константин Constantin Константинович Constantinovich Константиновна Constantinovna

Historical grounds[edit]

The name Rurik
Rurik
on a Viking Age
Viking Age
runestone. All the kings of Kievan Rus had the patronymic Ruerikovichi.

Historical Russian naming conventions did not include surnames. A person's name had the father's name: Иван Петров сын (Ivan, son of Peter). That is the origin of most Russian -ov surnames. Modern -ovich- patronyms were originally a feature of the royal dynasty (Рюриковичи, Ruerikovichi, Rurikids), which makes the Russian patronym in its original meaning being similar to German von. From the 17th century, the second name with suffix -ович (-ovich) was the privilege given by tsar to commoners. For example, in 1610, Tsar
Tsar
Vasili IV gave to the Stroganovs, who were merchants, the privilege to use patronyms. As a tribute for developing the salt industry in Siberia, Pyotr Stroganov and all his issue were allowed to have a name with -ovich. The tsar wrote in the chart dated on May 29, "... to write him with ovich, to try [him] in Moscow only, not to fee [him] by other fees, not to kiss a cross by himself [which means not to swear during any processions]"[1] In the 18th century, it was the family of merchants to have patronyms. By the 19th century, the -ovich form eventually became the default form of a patronymic. Legal basis[edit] Everyone in Russia, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Belarus
Belarus
is supposed to have a tripartite name. Single mothers may give their children any patronym and this does not have any legal consequences. Foreigners who adopt Russian citizenship
Russian citizenship
are exempted from having a patronym. Now, an adult person is entitled to change patronyms if necessary[2] such as to alienate themself from the biological father (or show respect for the adopted one) as well as to decide the same for an underage child. Family names[edit] Family names are generally used like in English. Derivation and meaning[edit] Eastern Slavic languages, being synthetic languages, use special linguistic tools to form a family name. In Russian, the most common suffixes are -ов (-ov), -ев (-yev) or -ский (-sky), meaning "belonging to". For example, Медведев (Medvedev) implies belonging to a bear, and Разумовский (Razumovsky) implies belonging to the mind. In the 19th and the early 20th centuries, -off was a common transliteration of -ov for Russian family names in foreign languages such as French (like for the Smirnoff
Smirnoff
and the Davidoff
Davidoff
brands). Ukrainian and Belarusian use the suffixes -ко (-ko), -ук (-uk), and -ич (-ych). For example, the family name Писаренко (Pisarenko) is derived from the word for a scribe, and Ковальчук (Kovalchuk) refers to a smith. Some family names have no suffix, e.g. Lebed, meaning swan, and Zhuk, meaning beetle. Double-barrelled family names like Иванов-Петров (Ivanov-Petrov) are rare but allowed. Grammar[edit]

The Coat of Arms of the Романовы (Romanovs), the last Russian royal dynasty. The family name Романов (Romanov) means belonging to Roman (name).

Eastern Slavic languages
Slavic languages
are synthetic languages and have grammatical cases and grammatical gender. Unlike analytic languages like English, which use prepositions ("to", "at", "on" etc.) to show the links and relations between words in a sentence, Eastern Slavic suffixes are used much more broadly than prepositions. Words need the help of some suffix to integrate them into the sentence and to build a grammatically-correct sentence. That includes names, unlike in German. Family names are declined based on the Slavic case system. As with Slavic adjectives, family names have different forms depending on gender. For example, the wife of Борис Ельцин (Boris Yel'tsin) was Наина Ельцина (Naina Yel'tsina). Only family names with neutral grammatical gender stay the same (like those ending with -енко (-yenko)). That change of grammatical gender is not considered to be changing the name that comes from a woman's father or husband (compare the equivalent rule in Polish, for example). The correct transliteration of such feminine names in English is debated: the names technically should be in their original form, but they sometimes appear in the masculine form. The example of Иванов (Ivanov), a family name, will be used:

Grammar case Example of question Masculine form (Cyrillic) Masculine form (Latin) Feminine form (Cyrillic) Feminine form (Latin)

Nominative Who? Иванов Ivanov Иванова Ivanova

Genitive [to bear] Whom? Иванова Ivanova Ивановой Ivanovoy

Dative To whom? Иванову Ivanovu Ивановой Ivanovoy

Accusative Whom? Иванова Ivanova Иванову Ivanovu

Instrumental By whom? Ивановым Ivanovym Ивановой Ivanovoy

Locative (Prepositional) About whom? Иванове Ivanove Ивановой Ivanovoy

Family names are generally inherited from one's parents. As in English, on marriage, women usually adopt the family name of the husband, as in English, or vice versa very rarely occurs. Rarely, both spouses keep their family name. Anglicisation[edit]

Joseph Stalin
Stalin
with his daughter Svetlana. After she moved to the United States, she simplified her name to "Lana", which sounds like other American names. "Lana" is not a frequent short form for the name "Svetlana" in Eastern Europe, which usually uses "Sveta".

When names are written in English, the patronymic is not equivalent to an English middle name. When the name is written in English, the patronymic may be omitted with the given name written out in full or abbreviated ( Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
or V. Putin), both the first name and the patronymic may be written out in full (Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin), both the first name and the patronymic may be abbreviated (V. V. Putin) or the first name may be written out in full with the patronymic abbreviated (Vladimir V. Putin). Slavicisation of foreign names[edit] By law, foreign persons who adopt Russian citizenship
Russian citizenship
are allowed to have no patronymic.[3] Some adopt non-Slavonic patronymics as well. For example, the Russian politician Irina Hakamada's patronym is Муцуовна (Mutsuovna) because her Japanese father's given name was Mutsuo. The ethnicity of origin generally remains recognisable in Russified names. Bruno Pontecorvo, after he emigrated to the Soviet Union, was known as Бруно Максимович Понтекорво (Bruno Maximovich Pontekorvo) in the Russian scientific community, as his father's given name was Massimo (corresponding to Russian Максим (Maksim). His sons have been known by names Джиль Брунович Понтекорво (Jil' Brunovich Pontecorvo), Антонио Брунович Понтекорво (Antonio Brunovich Pontecorvo) and Тито Брунович Понтекорво (Tito Brunovich Pontekorvo). Such conversion of foreign names is unofficial and often optional. Some Turkic languages
Turkic languages
also use patronymics with the Turkic word meaning 'son' or 'daughter'. The languages were official in the countries in the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union. For example, Kazakh ұлы (ûlı; transcribed into English as -ulı, as in Nursultan Äbishulı Nazarbayev) or Azeri оглы/оғлу (oğlu) (as in Heydər Əlirza oğlu Əliyev); Kazakh қызы (transcribed into English as -qyzy, as in Dariga Nursultanqyzy Nazarbayeva). Such Turkuc patronymics were officially allowed in the Soviet Union. Some surnames in those languages have been Russifiec since the 19th century: the surname of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
has a Russian "-yev" suffix, which literally means "of Nazar-bay" (in which "bay" is a Turkic native noble rank: compare Turkish "bey", Uzbek "beg", and Kyrghyz "bek"). The frequence if such Russification
Russification
varying greatly by country. Some ethnic groups use more than one name: one official, another unofficial. Official names have Russian patronymics, and unofficial names are noble or tribal names, which were prohibited after the Russian Revolution. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some people returned to using these tribal or noble names as surnames (Sarah Naiman, a Kazakh singer, has a surname means that she is from Naimans). Some Muslim people changed their surnames to Arabic style (Tungyshbay Zhamankulov, a famous Kazakh actor who often plays role of khans in films, changed his name to Tungyshbay al-Tarazy). Forms of address[edit] Common rules[edit]

The full three-name form (for instance, Иван Иванович Петров Ivan Ivanovich Petrov) is used mostly for official documents. Everyone in Russia, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Belarus
Belarus
is supposed to have three names. This form is also used on some very formal occasions and for introducing oneself to a person who is likely to write down the full name, like a police officer. Then, the family name is often placed first (Петров Иван Иванович, Petrov Ivan Ivanovich). the form "first name + patronymic" (for instance, Иван Иванович, Ivan Ivanovich):

is the feature of official communication (for instance, students in schools and universities call their teachers in the form of "first name + patronymic" only); may convey the speaker's respect for the recipient. Historically, patronymics were reserved for the royal dynasty (Рюриковичи, Ruerikovichi)

The family name alone (Петров, Petrov) is used, much more rarely, in formal communications. It is commonly used by school teachers to address their students. Informally, Russians are starting to call people by their surnames alone for irony. For informal communication, only the first name is used: Иван Ivan. Even more informally, diminutives (several can be formed from one name) are often used. In rural areas, the patronymic name alone (Петрович Petrovich, Ивановна Ivanovna) is used by old people among themselves, but young people sometimes use the form for irony. Also, younger people can use the form for much older people for both respect and informality. For example, a much younger man with a very good relationship with his elder colleague may use a patronymic and the "ty" form, but using first name alone is generally inappropriate. Using a diminutive (like in most informal communication) would nearly always be very impolite.

The choice of addressing format is closely linked to the choice of second-person pronoun. Russian language distinguishes:

informal ты (ty, "you", "thou" in old English); formal вы (vy, "you"); respectful Вы ("Vy", "You") may be capitalized, but plural вы ("vy", "you") is not.

Вы ("Vy") is the plural of both forms to address a pair or group. Historically, it comes from German, under Peter the Great, which uses "du and Sie" similarly. Other than the use of patronymics, Russian forms of address in Russian are very similar to English ones. Also, the meaning of form of address strongly depends on the choice of a V-T form:

Vy or ty Form Male example Female example Use

Using "Vy" Full three-name form Anatoliy Pavlovich Ivanov Varvara Mikhailovna Kuznetsova Official documents, very formal occasions (when necessary)

First name + patronymic Anatoliy Pavlovich Varvara Mikhailovna General formal or respectful form

Surname Ivanov Kuznetsova Formal. Often used by a person of a higher social position (like a teacher talking to a student)

Informal first name + informal patronymic Tol' Palych Varvara Mikhalna Respectful but less formal

Full first name Anatoliy Varvara

Diminutive first name Tolya Varya Friendly but still somewhat formal

Affectionate first name

Varechka Used almost exclusively towards women, showing fondness but still keeping some formality (like to a younger colleague)

Using "Ty" First name + patronymic Anatoliy Pavlovich Varvara Mikhailovna Can used between friends on semi-formal occasions or ironically

Informal patronymic Palych Mikhalna Combining familiarity and respect

Surname Ivanov Kuznetsova Similar in use to a "vy" form but less formal

Full first name Anatoliy Varvara Friendly but with a tone of formality. If the name has no diminutive form (Yegor), also used informally

Diminutive first name Tolia Varya General informal form

Colloquial first name Tolik Var'ka Very familiar form

Slang first name Tolyan Varyukha

Affectionate first name Tolen'ka Varechka Tender, affectionate form

Using a "ty" form with a person who dislikes it or on inappropriate occasions can be an insult, especially the surname alone. Adjectives[edit] Other Eastern Slavic languages
Slavic languages
use the same adjectives of their literal translation if they differ from Russian analogue. All Eastern Slavic languages
Slavic languages
are synthetic languages and grammatical genders are used,. Thus, the suffix of an adjective changes with the sex of the recipient. In Russian, adjectives before names are generally restricted to written forms of communication. Adjectives like Любимый / Любимая (lyubimiy / lyubimaya, "beloved") and Милый / Милая (miliy / milaya, "sweetheart") are informal, and Уважаемый / Уважаемая (uvazhayemiy / uvazhayemaya, literally "respected") is highly formal. Some adjectives, like Дорогой / Дорогая (dorogoy / dorogaya, "dear"), can be used in both formal and informal letters. See also[edit]

List of surnames in Russia Romanization of Russian Russian personal name Slavic names Slavic surnames Ukrainian name Onomastics

References[edit] Specific references:

^ писать его с вичем, судить только в Москве, излишних пошлин с товаров не брать, креста самому не целовать. Собр. Гос. Грам. II, № 196.  ^ Federal Law of the Russian Federation on Acts of Civil Statements, Clauses: 58, 59.  ^ Family Code of the Russian Federation, Article 58.2 "A child's patronym is formed from the father's [first] name unless otherwise [decreed by] national custom". 

External links[edit] In Russian[edit]

Балановская Е. В., Соловьева Д. С., Балановский О. П. и др. «Фамильные портреты» пяти русских регионов[permanent dead link] / Медицинская генетика. 2005.№ 1. С. 2–10. Таблицы и рисунки к статье «Фамильные портреты» пяти русских регионов[permanent dead link] Подробный популярный пересказ Report in the journal «Химия и жизнь» Article in «Коммерсантъ ВЛАСТЬ» № 38 от 26 сентября 2005 г. и реакция на нее авторов работы.

Article in «Коммерсантъ ВЛАСТЬ»"Лицо русской национальности". 38 (641) (Власть ed.). 2005: 54–60.  Commentaries

Комментарии Е. В. Балановской, руководителя работы. Комментарии в.н.с. лаборатории популяционной генетики человека МГНЦ РАМН Олега Балановского. Комментарии н.с. лаборатории популяционной генетики человека МГНЦ РАМН Андрея Пшеничного.

In English[edit]

Paul Goldschmidt's Dictionary of Russian Names; discussion of patronymics; also interesting historical exceptions to the current pattern

v t e

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