It's true, Russian women are among the most beautiful in the world. But there is also no sugarcoating the fact that they have the complete package going for them, combining beauty and brains.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but not when it comes to Russian women. Pair their natural beauty, fiercely independent nature and biting sarcasm together and you have yourself a Wonder Woman. As Nekrasov, a Russian 19th-century poet said it best: “a Russian woman can stop a galloping horse and enter the burning house.”
With all that being said, even if your little girl isn't going to have any Russian genes, then you can at least try to give her the best start in life by giving her a Russian name. Names have power and as daunting as it may be to pick a name, it's one of the most important decisions that we must make as parents. After all, our names are all we have and they have the power to influence someone else’s minds long before meeting us.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect name, then here are 25 Russian names that are easily adaptable to any English-speaking country.
Aksana or Oksana? Technically, the second one is correct in true Russian form, but any which one sounds just as pretty. One convincing factor for anyone in love with this one might be that the Aksana form is actually starting to gain traction as a boys' name in the US. The Oksana form is also technically more popular than Aksana for a little girl, but it really does boil down to being a matter of preference. While some will prefer the "A" spelling, many others will immediately fall in love with the infinite "O" letter. Both names are interchangeable though because although many words and names are spelled with an "O" in Russian, they are actually pronounced with an "A".
In either case, the name means "Praise be to God", but don't let that deter you if you're not religious. See it instead as putting all the favors in your daughter's corner. Some might even choose to spell it Oxana instead, but that's veering away from traditional Russian spellings.
Darya or Daria? Here's another name that really depends on personal preference. While Daria is the more common American spelling, Darya would be the more European/Russian form, but either is pretty in their own way.
The interesting part about this name is that as it's already short, the traditional Russian nickname would actually be a slightly different name considered a more affectionate form: Dasha. Although rarely used, Dolly has also been considered another nickname for Darya.
Although now considered a Russian name, Darya is also considered a Persian royal name and technically, used to be the feminine version of Darius. Those with the name Darya are said to have inherent leadership qualities with unparalleled charisma. In recent years, Darya has been rising in popularity as a baby girl name, but it's still not a name that you would expect to hear a lot.
Meaning "noble", Alisa is another way of writing Alicia or Alice. It can also be spelled Alyssa, Alycia and be shortened to Ali as a nickname.
It's not just a Russian name though: "I named my daughter Alisa Ann in the 70's. Paul Anka remade the song Monalisa back then and I loved the song. Mon means my in French and I loved the name Lisa but wanted it to match with my mother's middle name Ann. So I really thought back then that I alone had made up the name Alisa, and now various spellings of the name are very popular. She has always loved the fact that Alisa means "noble" and loves her grandma's middle name. We both think it's ironic that a popular name now is her name backwards, annalisa. Both names are beautiful. I call her "Lise" most of the time."
The name Alisa also appears to be rising in popularity as a boy's name, much to the bewilderment of most Russians who would only see this name as being for girls. With a SoulUrge number of 11, the little Alissas of the world are said to be spiritually-inclined and have a deep urge to inspire others with positivity.
The suggestion that Dima be used as a Russian-inspired baby girl's name is likely to ruffle the feathers of many Russian, however, it's 100% in line with the recent trend of using a name traditionally used for the opposite gender. It's true that Dima has long been used as a nickname for the masculine name Dimitri, but on its own, it can totally be given to any little girl as well. The significance of the name Dima is sure to enthrall many parents as it means "strong fighter".
In effect, the name Dima has been increasing in popularity as a baby girl's name, but you can rest assured that it likely won't be topping the charts anytime soon. Those with this name are said to have magnetic and compassionate personalities.
A Russian form of Xenia, Ksenya continues to be a popular name in Russia to this day. Although some might consider it a nickname for the previously mentioned Oksana, it's now also a standalone name of its name and can be used with its own nickname: Ksusha, Ksen or less commonly, just Nia.
Although some might argue that the Xenia spelling fits the English pronunciation better, the Ksenya form better fits the recent trend favoring K names.
There have been a couple of famous Russian gymnasts with this name, Ksenia Semenova and Ksenia Afanasyeva, as well as Russian figure skater Ksenia Makarova and even most famously, Ksenia Sukhinova, who won Miss World 2008. It's definitely a name that is much more popular in Russia and not one to be heard of much in English-speaking parts of the world.
If you want to get technical, Sasha is the nickname for the boys' name Alexander and the girls' name Alexandra. But as it has been with most modern names, Sasha is now a name of its own, completely independent from its longer counterpart, but just like it's longer form, it can also be used interchangeably for either a girl or a boy. It might also be great for anyone looking to have a longer name on paper, but shorter one when spoken. Although, don't get upset when your child simply starts writing the shorter version at school! As it comes from the name Alexander, it also shared its meaning: defender of man.
A girl with the name Sasha weighed in: "I know a thousand Brittany's and Jennifer's and Sarah's. I've never met another person named Sasha in my whole life. therefore ive never had to share my name with a girl in my classes ever. I love my name!"
If you name your little girl Sasha, there is a good chance that she will be very creatively-minded and will love to be the center of attention -- in a good way!
Looking for a royal Russian name? Then look no further than Ekaterina. Also known as Catherine the Great, Ekaterina was Russia's longest-ruling female leader as Empress of Russia from 1762-1796. With this in mind, it's definitely not surprising that those with the name Ekaterina are said to "enjoy careers that put them in the limelight". Ask any Russian to come up with a beautiful baby name for a girl and they will also almost certainly say Ekaterina.
Meaning "pure", Ekaterina can be shortened a number of ways, but most commonly as Katya, which can also be used as a name of its own, or simply Ekat (Eh-Kat). It's also considered a Bulgarian and Macedonian form of Katherine.
User Dawson brought up a good point with this name: " I love this name. Much better than the overused Katherines, Katelyns, and Katies that top the charts."
Kira has a few interesting meanings, but it most notably means "leader of the people", "one the people look to" or "beloved" in Russian -- all perfect names for any little girl. According to some sources, Kira also means "light" and it's considered to be the feminine version of the name Kirill or Cyril. In Japanese, kira kira means glittery or shiny. Kirra is also an aboriginal word that means "leaf".
A mama shared her story with us: "Jace Ryan, sat on the couch in the hospital and played with his cars. He kept saying "KY-RUH." We looked at each other, Kira was the perfect name! Kira Jade was what the name we agreed on. Jace Ryan and Kira Jade!!!"
Although Kira started soaring in popularity in 2013, it has been experiencing a steady decline on the charts ever since.
Forget Tomb Raider, Lara is actually the shortened version of Larisa, which has in recent years become its own name. In fact, it started becoming used as an English baby name as a result of Boris Pasternak's character in his book entitled "Doctor Zhivago", which was also made into a movie in 1965.
An anonymous user shared her experience with this name: "I have gotten called "Laura" all my life, and it's funny - my friends are much more militant about correcting people than I am. "It's not Laura - it's LAH-RAH!" I occasionally get "Lair-ah" but that's rare. In some situations (i.e. over the phone) I'll purposely pronounce my name "Laura" to make it easier on people, but it's not a huge inconvenience. I've never felt my name was crazy or unusual enough to be weird, but I was always the only Lara I knew. I often get complimented on it (though, of course, I really had nothing to do with it). I wouldn't trade my name for anything."
Since soaring in popularity in the 70's, it has experienced a rather low popularity turn-out.
Everywhere you might look, Margarita is listed as either a Spanish, Greek or even Persian name. While in Spanish and Greek, the name Margarita is said to mean "pearl", in Persian, it has "Child of light" for its significance. However, it's also a very Russian name as well, especially since the publication of The Master and Margarita, a novel written by Mikhail Bulgakov in 1967.
Although some might be tempted to associate it with the drink, the Russian version of this name has absolutely zero correlation to the Tequila cocktail. As someone with this name aptly pointed out: "Well, Margarita is MY name, and I'm surprised to see that some people who share the same name don't like it. I think you should carry your name with pride! But other than that, yes Margarita is an alcoholic drink, but Margarita is a cocktail full of warmth, charm and wit!"
Just four letters long, Yana is a short baby name full of originality. It can also be spelled Iana instead. Although some might argue that it's a Bulgarian, Urania or even Hebrew name, the fact of the matter is that it's a common name in Russia as well as it takes its roots from the masculine names Ioan and Ivan.
Brandi shared her view of the name with us: "I think Yana is a beautiful name. I think Yana Rose would be a nice combo. I also like the name spelled Yanna as well."
For her part, Megi would use it as a nickname for a longer name: "I would use this as a nickname for Ilyana, Elyana, Eliana, Ileana or Iliana."
In the US, the Yana spelling has been favored recently, but the Iana form is currently on the rise as well.
Meaning "sea-maiden" or "of the sea" in Russian, Marina is a widely used baby girl name that we don't often hear in America. With a SoulUrge number of 11, those with the name Marina are said to have a wild imagination and tend to be visionaries.
Fiona shared with us her initial concerns about naming her daughter Marina: "My daughter is named Marina and as we live in an area famous for sailing I was concerned that people would associate her name with the marina that has the boats in it. This doesn't happen. People associate a name with a person. You don't think of a bird when you meet someone called Robin." Very good point!
It's also said to be a very fashionable name in Japan, seen as a trendy and modern version of the traditional Mariko. Marina was also a character in Shakespeare's "Pericles, Prince of Tyre".
Similar to Melania or Milana, Melena is a popular name in Russia that means "People's love". The first part "mil" is also said to mean "gracious", "pleasant" or "dear". It's also a popular name in Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, and Italy.
Sharon confided: "My sister is called Milena (pronounced mee-leh-na). It's a lovely name, everyone says it's beautiful. We use to call her Mile (mee-lee)."
Little girls with this name are said to be highly compassionate and likely to end up in humanitarian careers focused on helping others. Any task they undertake is done with passion and you will never see a Milena being bored.
Although originally from Ukrainian, Mila Kunis' full name is actually Milena, which goes to show that Mila can also be derived as a nickname for this name.
Meaning in "faith" in Russia, Vera also means "true" in Latin. In Tamil, Vera or more specifically, Veera, means "brave".
Alessandra confided: "This is my great-aunt's name. We pronounced it VAIR-a, with a soft sound, rather than the hard EE sound that's called for in this guide's pronunciation."
Ricki also shared her daughter's pronunciation of the name: "My daughter's name is Vera. We pronounce it vair-a, rather than vee-ra." To be more accurate, the Russian version of Vera more closely resembles "vyair-ah" and "vya-rah".
Interestingly, those with the name Vera are said to be extremely goal-oriented, experiencing a "wealth of creative new ideas". This description couldn't have been more accurate for the famous fashion designer Vera Wang, who not only became Vogue's youngest editor immediately after her graduation, but has since branched out to being one of the most sought after bridal designers.
Lena or Elena? It really depends on your preference, but Elena is technically the name that has been most popular in Russia with Lena being a nickname for the already short name. In terms of origins, this name has roots everywhere from Greece to Italy, Spain along with a slew of other countries and it means light as it's a form of another name: Eleanor.
Someone with this name commented: "This is my name and I absolutely love it!! I haven't ran across too many younger people with my name... they all tend to be 50+, but I don't mind."
More and more, parents are favoring Lena or Elena and it's definitely been given a renewed edge now. Lena is also the name of the 11th longest rivers in the world, located in Eastern Siberia.
Meaning "little", Paulina is a beautiful name that is sometimes spelled Polina as well. It's just as pretty if pronounces as paw-LEE-nah or po-lina, but the former is the usual pronunciation in Eastern-European countries. Book buffs will be happy to remember that Paulina was also a noblewoman in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, dedicated to protecting Hermione's virtue.
Not only is it a very international name, but little girls with this name also tend to get bitten by the travel bug early in life. Although they will love traveling and exploring new places, they will still remain a firm grasp on their own identities and won't be influenced by others easily.
Isabelle explained how she came up with the name for her daughter: "Have never met a Paulina and gave that name to my 9 year old to please both of her great grandmothers, Paula and Pauline. I squished them together to get Paulina. So I have my Paulina Bernice. Bernice came from my Great Aunt Bernice."
A longtime popular name in Russia, the name Tatiana has been used in honor of Saint Tatiana, a third century martyr and is also a feminine form of the Roman family clan name Tatius. Tatiana Romanova was also Tsar Nicholas II's second daughter.
A girl with this name shared with us: "My name is Tatiana. I use to hate it cause people used to make fun of my name when i was twelve. Mostly guys made fun of my name. But now i love it because it's so different from everyone else. Nobody makes fun of me now, and i'm fourteen. People say that they like my name and it's so unique :D"
In Alexander Pushkin's novel Eugene, the name was translated to Tatyana and is another unique baby name. Slightly different, Titania was also a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In fact, girls with this name tend to be full of life, enjoying every moment and being particularly inclined towards the arts.
Pronounced Rye-EEZ-ah, Raisa is a less commonly used name in Russia with Hebrew and Yiddish origins. Meaning "rose", Raisa is possibly also derived from the Greek "carefree" and is similar to the name Ruth, which means "beloved". In general, though, Raisa has many different possible pronunciations, such as rah-EEZ-ah, RAY-zuh or Rah-EE-suh. Raisa Gorbacheva was also Mikhail Gorbachev's wife and first lady to the former Soviet Union.
Among all the names on this list, Raisa is definitely one of the least popular in Russia, which would be particularly perfect for anyone looking for a more unique and obscure baby name. It's not expected to top the charts anytime soon, so it's best to call dibs on it quick! Girls with the name Raisa are said to grow up to very inspirational to others, radiating their own light and enjoying being the center of attention.
A beautiful baby girl name, Vesna is the Russian word "spring" (the season and not the verb). This name is also another rarely used Russian name but there is a good chance that it will spike in popularity in the upcoming years given the recent trend in short baby names, as well as using everyday words as names. In either case, picking a regular word from another language isn't a weird thing to do given that without additional explanations, it would sound like a unique baby name to unknowing ears.
Vesna also has interesting associations in Serbia, as noted by Anna: "The name "Vesna" in Serbia is also connected to the Resurrection of Christ. It would be similar to the Greek name "Evangalia". The one who brings the Good News with a smile. Spring time is associated with the Resurrection."
Nadya is one of those names that straight-away stands out as having Russian origins. Meaning "hope", Nadya is actually a shorter form of "Nadezhda" and can also be spelled as Nadia. However, the longer name isn't as popular anymore, especially as more parents are favoring short names.
Tana wrote: "What a gorgeous name. It will be my first daughter's middle name. She will be Anastasia Nadia N. Her initials will spell Ann, which is my grandmother's middle name. I wanted to honor her without actually using the name Ann, as I think it's very boring."
Sarah for her parts confessed that she was hesitant between two names: "This is a very beautiful name, and I would consider it for a girl if I ever have one. I also think Nastia is a pretty name, too. I love the way it's pronounced, very soft, delicate and sophisticated."
Although a name that originated in Greek from the feminine version of Galen, Galina has since become a widely used name in Russia. Said to mean "calm" and "healer", Galina is also considered a Hebrew baby name that means "God shall redeem".
A mother with this name revealed: "I was born Galina in Belarus. My family moved to the states when I was 10. In school, Americans constantly mispronounced my name and 1 of my teachers started calling me Gail.. and it stuck. I even changed all my documents to reflect the new name. My family and European friends still call me Galya (short for Galina) and I now think I should have kept my original name regardless of mispronunciations. "
Alternatively, the G could simply be interchanged for a K, turning the name instead into the even more unique name Kalina. Any fan of Orange Is The New Black might also find it useful to know that Red's real name is: Galina "Red" Reznikov.
Although some might argue that Irina is a Greek name, it's more predominantly a Russia name. Meaning "peace", Irina is usually shortened to just "Ira", but any other variations can also be used such as Rina or Ina (however these nicknames aren't usually used in Russia for Irina).
Someone with this name shared with us: "My name is Irina and I love it! It's Russian for Irene. My mom picked it out because she lived in Russian for six mouths and wanted a Russian name. My dad wanted to name me Irene so it was the perfect comprise. The only thing that gets irritating is that everyone wants to pronounce is I-rina, with a long i sound. It drives me nuts. A boy in my class (I'm in 6th grade by the way) calls me that all the time and it drives me insane. But I love my name and any little girl would too."
When thinking of a typical Russian name, Anna usually springs to mind right away. But "Anya" is actually the correct way of pronouncing the name "Anna" when talking to someone in Russian. In most English-speaking countries around the world, you will find "Anna" at the top of the list of the most popular baby names for girls. But the same can't be said about Anya, which has actually been dropping in popularity recently.
In terms of significance, both Anya and Anna means gracious. Anya was also the nickname that the protagonist in the movie "Anastasia" went by (another great option for a Russian baby name by the way). If you name your little one Anya, you can expect her to love adventure and making up her own rules as she goes.
Pronounced MEE-shah, Misha has actually long been used as a nickname for the masculine name Mikhail. However, the recent trend in baby naming has been leaning towards a total disregard of the former gender rules, with modern parents naming their kids whichever names they like the most. It doesn't matter anymore if a certain name has only been given to boys for centuries, parents are now naming freely. Just take a page out of Blake Lively's and Ryan Reynolds' book as they named their little girl James.
With that being said, many English-speaking people actually view Misha as being a feminine name, especially because of the actress Misha Barton.
Joanie confessed her view of the name: "Until this year I HATED this name, but one of my new friends is named Mesha (slightly different spelling) and she's a really nice person. It's weird how your opinion of a name can change based on one specific person with that name."
Normally, you would find the longer form of Sveta on most Russian baby names lists: Svetlana. The longer form is just as beautiful as its shorter form, but with the recent trend of short baby names, we're including Sveta instead. Whether short or long, both names mean "luminescent" as svet means "light" in Russian. If you choose the longer form of Svetlana, then Lana could also be a cool nickname.
Little girls with this name are said to grow up to be very good at managing their money and opt for financial stability and security over impulsive spending any time. You definitely won't catch them partying and spending money all night.
Someone with this name shared with us: "I love my name. It's unique and I have always been the only one in all my class with this name."
Sources: Babycenter.com, SheKnows.com, BehindTheName.com, and BabyNameWizard.com.