Russian Women Names

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Russian women names articleby Elena Petrova (Elena's Models)

Russian women names sound exotic and exciting and you probably can come up with a few of them you remember from movies: Natasha, Anna, Nikita… 

Well, the last one is actually a Russian male's name! Yes, in Russian the name 'Nikita' is ever only a male’s name. Remember Nikita Khrushchev, a Russian leader of the Cold War times, and his antiques in the United Nations (the infamous show-banging incident?) This is the most famous Russian "Nikita" and no, pretty Russian girls in Russia don’t have this name.

Most Russian women names come from Greek names and often have an analogue name in English:

Elena (Helen)
Natalya (Natalie)
Ekaterina (Kate)
Yuliya (Julia)

Only 3 Russian women names have a special meaning (have the same spelling as a generic word in Russian):

Nadezhda – hope
Lyubov – love
Vera – faith

In Russian, all names can be used with suffices that give the name a special "soft" meaning; it’s not a nickname but a shorter/softer/affectionate form of the name. 

For example:

Russian name ELENA

Full form – Elena
Short form – Lena
Short/soft form – Lenka
Short/affectionate form – Lenochka
Full/affectionate form – Elenochka
Other forms: Lenusya, Lenusik, Lenchik, Lenok, Alyona, Alyonka, Alyonushka, Alyonchik, Alena

All those forms (as above) have the "root" – "len", which changes to "lyon" (pronounced as "l'on") in "Alyona". 

"Alyona" and "Elena" seem to be different names but in Russian, they are considered forms of the same name and many Russian women called "Elena" can be also called "Alyona" by their peers. "Natalya" and "Natasha" is also the same name in Russian.

Generally, suffices add an informal and affectionate meaning to a name; which cannot be fully expressed and quantified; except for the suffice "k" which has a slight "degrading" tone to it; most other forms of Russian women names are rather soft and affectionate.

Top 20 most popular Russian females names:

1. Elena (Lena, Alena, Alyona)
2. Svetlana (Sveta)
3. Olga (Olya)
4. Tatiana (Tanya)
5. Natasha (Natalya, Nata)
6. Marina
7. Irina (Ira)
8. Anastasia (Nastya)
9. Anna (Anya)
10. Oksana (Ksyusha)
11. Yuliya (Yulya)
12. Olesya (Lesya)
13. Victoria (Vika)
14. Ekaterina (Katya)
15. Nadezhda (Nadya)
16. Lyubov (Luba)
17. Lyudmila (Lyuda)
18. Margarita (Rita)
19. Alexandra (Sasha)
20. Valentina (Valya, Tina)

Some Russian women names can be also male’s names, just like in English:

Alexandra (female) – Alexander (male)
Valentina (female) – Valentin (male)

The sort form of “Alexander” and “Alexandra” in Russian is “Sasha” for both.

However, most Russian women names are reserved for women only and cannot be used for a man; and the same with male’s names, they are male only.

This is why it’s quite hilarious for Russian people to watch movies where a woman’s name is “Nikita” or “Mischa” (like Mischa Barton), because in Russian the name “Mischa” is the short form of the name “Mikhail” (English analogue “Michael”) and has no female form.

Russian women names can be spelled differently in English because Russian alphabet is different to the Latin alphabet. For example, Russian woman’s name Tatiana can be spelled also as: Tatyana, Tatjana, Tatsiana etc, all of which will be the same Russian name Tatyana in Russian. 

GENERAL RULE: If two names sound alike, you can bet it is exactly the same name in Russian, for example, Julia and Yuliya – the same name.

Russian women surnames usually have the female ending "ova/eva" on the end, as compared to a male’s ending "ov/ev":

Petrov (male) – Petrova (female)
Invanov (male) – Ivanova (female)
Grigoriev (male) – Grigorieva (female)

All Russians also have a second "patronymic" name, which is a patronymic form of their father’s name with the added "ovna" suffice for women. 

For example:

Pavel (father’s name) – Pavlovna (patronymic middle name for a daughter)
Petr (father’s name) – Petrovna (patronymic middle name)
Vladimir (father’s name) – Vladimirovna (patronymic middle name)

As such, if the father’s name is "Vladimir Pavlovich Petrov" (first name + patronymic name + surname), and the daughter’s name is "Elena", then the daughter’s full name will be "Elena Vladimirovna Petrova" – i.e. the daughter keeps the family surname, and takes the father's first name as her middle/patronymic name.

Russian women only have 1 middle name, and it is always patronymic; they don't have several first names, and every person has 3 names: first, second/patronymic, and surname.

It works like this:

[first name] [the son/daughter of …. patronymic name] [from the family of … surname].

I hope you now have a better understanding of Russian women names and it all starts making sense now.


Russian women names articleABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Elena Petrova is the founder of and Russian Brides Cyber Guide ( She is a former 'Russian mail order bride' with a degree in philosophy and a tongue-in-cheek view on the subject of international marriages. Her agency Elena's Models has clients in 167 countries and is bringing genuine love-seekers together since 1999.




Russian women success story: "We are so happy together!"

Russian names articleI have found my Angel and she filled my hearth with the love I was looking for many years. After I met Elena I understood that my life has just started with amazing happiness in it. We met at the beginning of March and got married last weekend in Ukraine with a great party with the Ukrainian traditions.

We are so happy! Thank you Elena's Models.

Omer and Elena

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