Baby names - Beautiful Russian names - how to pronounce and transcription

When you are looking for baby names, consider Russian names. They are uncommon among non-Russians and extremely beautiful. And they can add your kid some extra income. Sounds unreal and fabled? You bet! Did you know about correlation between name for baby and his future income? There is interesting finding about it discovered by Blake Flannery in his article Best Baby Names To Give Your Baby A Good Start:

Levitt and Dubner (2005) found that rich parents name their children differently than poor parents. Interestingly they concluded that it seems the most popular names originate as less popular names from the upper class, who are also more educated. "There is a clear pattern at play: it starts working its way down the socioeconomic ladder (p.185)."

This means that unusual, original name makes your kid more likely to become a millionaire. Okay, I really don't believe in it very much, but who knows.. Anyway, it's good feeling to know that you gave your baby upper income name, not low income name, right?

Thus, I suggest you to take a look at original Russian baby names. They are beautiful, unique names with awe-inspiring meanings. What about to take name for a boy, which means "who owns the World"? One more good point is that there are many variants of each name, so you can choose really unique name. It means, you can be pretty sure that your kid won't be 3rd Jacob in the class (Jacob is most popular boy name in 2010, according to list of most popular baby names in USA for 2010).

As I said, all Russian names have many variants for different occasions, full name for formal calls, short variants for relatives and friends and also rude and teasing variants. For example, Russian variant for name Ann is Anya (first A is stressed). I like this name, it is strong and soft in the same time. To make it sound stronger, you could use formal variant, which is Anna. Softer variants, which are probably difficult to pronounce are Anechka and Anuta. Teasing one is Anka. It is not really rude, teasing variants are usually used by peers to call each other. To have authentic Russian pronunciation of name you should pronounce first letter A as in the word arm. To find out all authentic pronunciations of Russian names you could use Google Translate, just type the name there, choose translate from English to Russian and click Listen button.

Here I listed popular and easy-to-write names for boys and names for girls. I don't want to bother you with such popular Russian baby names as Evgeniya or Alexey which nobody would be able to pronounce and remember. Please keep in mind that lists below are only my own preferences. But it is based on my deep knowledge of subject, because I am Russian. So I chose names that I think are easy, beautiful and appropriate for English spelling. And they are popular in Russia baby names.

What name do you like most?

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TOP 5 most beautiful Russian names for girls, names meanings and pronunciation

  • Anya

Meaning: God's grace

Formal name: Anna \'aːnnʌ\ (here is chart of International Phonemic Alphabet (IPA) I used to make transcriptions)

Casual name: Anya \'aːnjʌ\

Diminutive name: Anechka \'aːniʧkʌ\

Teasing name: Anka \'aːnkʌ\

  • Sasha

Meaning: People' defender. It is both female and male name.

Formal name: Alexandra \ʌliks'aːndrʌ\

Casual name: Sasha \'saː∫ʌ\

Diminutive name: Sashenka \'saː∫inkʌ\

Teasing name: Sashka \'saː∫kʌ\

  • Lena

Meaning: Specially chosen, bright, shining.

Formal name: Elena. \je'ljænʌ\ This name with second name Beautiful is often used for princesses in Russian fairy-tales.

Casual name: Lena \'ljænʌ\

Diminutive name: Lenochka \'ljænʌʧkʌ\

Teasing name: Lenka \'ljænkʌ\

  • Ira

Meaning: Peace

Formal name: Irina \i'riːinʌ\

Casual name: Ira \'iːrʌ\

Diminutive name: Irochka \'iːrʌʧkʌ\

Teasing name: Irka \'iːrkʌ\

  • Natasha

Meaning: Native, close, dear

Formal name: Natalya \nʌ'taːljʌ\

Casual name: Natasha \nʌ'taː∫ʌ\

Diminutive name: Nata \'naːtʌ\

Teasing name: Natashka \nʌ'taː∫kʌ\

What name do you like most?

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TOP 5 most beautiful Russian names for boys, names meanings and pronunciation

  • Vova

Meaning: who owns the World. This name in its formal version Vladimir was very often used for Russian ancient princes.

Formal name: Vladimir \vlʌ'di:mir\

Casual name: Vova \'vɔ:vʌ\

Diminutive name: Vovochka \'vɔ:vʌtʃkʌ\

Teasing name: Vovka \'vɔ:fkʌ\

  • Dima

Meaning: it goes to ancient Greek time with meaning "who is dedicated to Demeter, the goddess of fertility and agriculture"

Formal name: Dmitriy \'dmi:trij\

Casual name: Dima \'di:mʌ\

Diminutive name: Dimochka \'di:mʌtʃkʌ\

Teasing name: Dimka \'di:mkʌ\

  • Roma

Meaning: Rome citizen

Formal name: Roman \rʌ'mɑ:n\

Casual name: Roma \'rɔ:mʌ\

Diminutive name: Romochka \'rɔ:mʌtʃkʌ\

Teasing name: Romka \'rɔ:mkʌ\

  • Misha

Meaning: who is like God

Formal name: Mikhail \mihʌ'i:l\

Casual name: Misha \'mi:ʃʌ\

Diminutive name: Mishenka \'mi:ʃenkʌ\

Teasing name: Mishka \'mi:ʃkʌ\

  • Denis

Meaning: named after Dionis god of joy and wine-making

Formal name: Denis \dje'ni:s\

Casual name: Denis \dje'ni:s\

Diminutive name: Deniska \dje'ni:skʌ\

Teasing name: none

If you find this article useful, I will appreciate if you let me know! Is the list of names enough or you want more?

More by this Author

Comments 38 comments

novascotiamiss profile image

novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

Interesting. I didn't know 3 of these boys names. I certainly wouldn't have thought that Denis is a Russian name. You learn something more every day. Thanks for sharing this information.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

novascotiamiss, thanks for your interest! Actually most of this names have ancient greek or ancient roman roots :) they came to Russia with Christianization of Rus (Russia) in 988 year and transformed a little to be similar to Russian-sound words. So quite long time passed since it to give us right to call them Russian :) That's the case with Denis name, it came from ancient Greek language to many languages. I also call them Russian, because they are common names used in Russia. Do you think I should write about native Russian names? If so, be ready to see something like Svyatozar (male) :) but also there are many pretty names like Lada or Dana (both female)

novascotiamiss profile image

novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

Svyatozar is definitely one strange sounding name but I definitely like Lada and Dana. What would be the short form of Svyatozar?

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Actually there is no short form for Svyatozar.. You make deep breath and try to utter it LOL Every family invents original short form. But the name has amazing meaning - illuminating light!

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

We have a wonderful Hubber here named Misha. Fun Hub - thanks.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Suziecat7, thanks for reading my first ever hub, I'm so glad you liked it! I follow you and I hope some time I'll be able to write so nice hubs as yours. Do you mean this Misha?

michelemacwrites profile image

michelemacwrites 5 years ago from USA

Very informative and well written hub. Never realised that names like Natasha and Denis were Russian.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi michelemacwrites! Thanks for reading and commenting my hub! Yes, they are very common in Russia. But Natasha name has ancient Latin root and Denis name has ancient Greek root.

taterbugpbj profile image

taterbugpbj 5 years ago

I really enjoyed your hub. Great writing! I love to learn about the meaning of names. I especially love the names Sasha and Anya.

Sun-Girl profile image

Sun-Girl 5 years ago from Nigeria

Interesting article which is properly shared.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

taterbugpbj, thanks for reading my hub! I also love the name Anya, my sister is named so.

Sun-Girl, thanks for your comment!

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

taterbugpbj, thanks for reading my hub! I also love the name Anya, my sister is named so.

Sun-Girl, thanks for your comment!

aallard23 profile image

aallard23 5 years ago from USA

Very good hub!

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

aallard23, thanks for reading!

WallStickerDecals profile image

WallStickerDecals 5 years ago from US

I would love to use russian names for my kids.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

WallStickerDecals, which do you like more? I love Anya and Roma.

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Very interesting hub. We have a friend who's daughter's name is Natasha. I found the meanings of the names very interesting, thanks for sharing!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This is a very interesting hub and I learned a lot. Thanks for the information.

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 5 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. I have one daughter, Alexandra, whom I named after a russian princess. I like the great amount of information in your hub. Well done.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. I was born in 1976 and just before that, a lot of babies were born with hippy-type names. Probably the most infamous example is Frank Zappa who called his children Moon Unit and Dweezil. Now why do this? I think this might be a reason why biblical names remain popular-they are not tied to any particular era and won't automatically give your age away the way trendy names will. I'd like to thinkthis only happened during the hippy-days, but this isn't necessarily true. Actress Rachel Griffiths called her son Banjo. Why?

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi all! Oh, I haven't been here for few days - so nice to see many new comments! Guys, thanks for reading my hub!

cardelean, Pamela99 - thanks for comments!

Deborah Demander, FloraBreenRobison, thanks for congratulations! It was quite surprising but inspiring to see my hub in hubnugget nomination!

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

FYI, your content was stolen and published on Flixya. See this link to see your hub and contact them to have it removed.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

OMG, cardelean, thanks for information! The link doesn't work, I hope they have already deleted it, but I still need to check it properly.

kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Congratulations on the feedback that you received on your article!

I am writing about names as well, but my approach is very different, I have "series" of articles and one that I really wanted to write was "What a beautiful Russian name!"

Most "beautiful" "Russian" names are not Russian. I think the only one that you chose was Vladimir, but I would never call my son Vova - I don't like this particular form. My grandfather was Vladimir, but not Vova - but it is a matter of taste and preferences, of course.

But I don't know when I will write my article - I have too many ideas to take care before this one. However, I will link your article to mine.

One point to share - if a meaning of the name is obscure to its bearer, then the name becomes meaningless. Vladimir is meaningful in Russia, for foreigners it becomes an empty phonetic combination. And usually, the emphasis is shifted.

Helen (Yelena) even though means "Light", but in Greek, so unless you understand Greek, your brain is unresponsive to it - subconsciously you react to the association that are the closest phonetically. Whatever are those for you. And, funny enough, Helen is close to Hel (the Goddess of Death), Hell, and Hello. Hellenic.

But I am going too deep - well, that is me, I do love names.

As far as suggestions go - I have none - we all write differently and maybe it is the beauty of it.

Good luck on HP,

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi kallini 2010. Thanks for your comment. You seem like an expert in names, are you? Are you language specialist? Regarding Russian names - yes, most of modern Russian names have Greek or Latin or Rome origins. It's mainly because of Christianity. When Christianization of Rus (Russia) happened in 988 year, all people in Russia were baptized with new Christian names, which are in use nowadays. It's interesting to know: are all American and Canadian names have American and Canadian origins? Do you know?

I am quite sure - for 99% of people all over the world it is not obvious to find the meaning of their names. For Russians Vladimir name also doesn't mean anything except name. It is just fun to know meaning of your name, that's it.

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Hi, Bobri-do you mean Native Americans and Native Canadian names? If so, then yes they would have American and Canadian origins. Otherwise, North America is too full of immigrants for there to be such a thing as American and Canadian origins.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi Flora, I mean names which are popular in USA and Canada nowadays, like Jacob, John. BTW, do you know that your previous comment here inspired me to write another hub about funny names? Actually I started to write long answer to you, but it went too long, so I made it hub :)

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I'll have to check out the hub! No, popular names are not American or Canadian in origin. I've noticed that you are now followin gme. Thanks and I hope you will enjoy reading my hubs

kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Bobri Dobri,

I am not a linguist, if that is what you mean. I am interested in the subject, that is all.

If you want to read my "Names - an Echo of Love" series, you are welcome.

When I write (if that day will ever come, I hope it will) - "What a beautiful Russian name" then you will see that Christianity robbed Russians of names.

Greek names never became Russian, one thousand of years were not enough. I have a dictionary of "Russian" names and I was a teenager when I bought it - most of them were Greek. Unacceptable - Akaki - I am sorry, but there is no way it will ever become Russian. The whole book is more or less like this. That was a shock then, and the reason...

However, after one thousand of years, most RUSSIAN names became weird (unfamiliar, strange) and fell out of favour. I wanted an old Russian name for my son - it did not happen. We went for Daniel (three, four Daniels per any chosen group). But it takes two to name a child - most people are conservative. My ex was.

When I was a child I started collecting names and I was surprised - I could not understand why we have such a small range of names in use. Precisely - four Mashas, five Iras, four Lenas, five Tanyas...

Long story.

Of course, English and Canadian (no such thing as Canadian - Canada and Toronto is essentially Babylon) - names are all over the place - some come from Judea, Rome and Greece. Of course.

But you, probably, don't know what is suggestive command. Words have meanings, our brains are receptive to the meaning - that is the point of using language after all -

When you say "Love, love, love, love, love, love..." (lyubov) - it is not empty - the brain responds to the meaning of it. That is one of the reasons we call our dear ones - sweetie, sweet pea, darling, love - those are not names (they are essentially names as in name calling).

I don't want to write an article here - but names are very important, they have been studied long enough by specialists and I do pay attention because it is an area of my interest.

If you want, I will let you know - when that particular article "What a beautiful Russian name" sees the light.

Maybe I should do it soon.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Svetlana, thanks for your explanations again and for sharing your point. I think EVERYBODY has right to have his own opinion, even on Russian subject among Russian people as you and me. Even in science topics, especially linguistic and etymology. Despite of you I have linguistic education, and I can tell you that even dictionaries are not always absolutely true (because even among scientists there is often no agreed view on things). For example there are few orthoepical dictionaries, one by Avanesov, another by Shtudiner. They show different pronunciation (emphasis), and they both are well-know, reliable and recognised. The same, or even worse situation with etymology dictionaries, often there is no one agreed point of view there. Language questions are quite difficult, starting from the first one, where to define borders of language (I mean newest and old words, words, used only by small group of people, etc)

Regarding what to call Russian names. I kindly ask you to check the meaning of word 'russian' in dictionary. For example, recognized Ojegov dictionary. You can't blame me or any other people for using word or phrase in it meaning, not in what you mean in it. And it is well-known thing that words can have many meanings in the same time :)

Regarding how name sounds. IMHO Lyubov name is exception to the rule, along with Vera and Nadegda. But I completely agree with you that how words sound effect our perception of it, and it is beautiful subject to explore! But it's more about sounds than meaning, like ggg, gr. rr - will sound loud, like thunder, but m,n,l are much softer, etc. I even have written few science works about it, about 'sounding' (sorry I don't know proper English term) in lyrics (Tyutchev, Fet) and some Russian classic literature works (Fonvizin).

Thank you again for sharing your point. I would be glad to read your hub about Russian names, you have very nice writing style in hubs, not here, unfortunately. And you find really beautiful and appropriate pictures to illustrate your thoughts. Well done!

BTW, what city are you from? ( I mean in Russia)

scott33thomas profile image

scott33thomas 5 years ago from Germany, Colombia, USA, Panama, Mexico, Spain

I love the name of Denis

zem6 5 years ago

I have a question for you I love the name Dimitri and noticed you spelled yours a little different. Is this name still Russian or some different language? I also like the spelling of Dimka but I don't know how to say the pronunciation you provided can you provide that in english spelling for me?

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi zem6. Sorry for late reply, I haven't been here for a while. Dmitry is popular Russian name, but it came from Greek language.. So it probably exists in other languages in other variations. Dimka in Russian is pronounced as DIHMKah.

dredcuan profile image

dredcuan 5 years ago

These are really nice set of Russian names I never imagined that Natasha and Denis are Russian name... Cool, learned something new now!

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi dredcuan! Thanks for commenting!

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

I think in the US, the more common names are for the rich (except entertainers), and the poor tend to come up with unusual names.

Bobri Dobri profile image

Bobri Dobri 5 years ago from Oklahoma Author

Hi, Millionaire Tips, thanks for sharing your thoughts. As far as I have researched, there is study conducted in California in 2005 which proves correlation statistically. But personally, I also doubt it.

babynology profile image

babynology 3 years ago from New York

I would like to share Russian baby names with you here. is single website of baby names, where you can get unique list of baby names with meaning.

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