Most Popular Girls’ Names in Russia


Many single foreigners who ask dating advice are confused with Russian names because most of them sound very unusual. Indeed, the Russian language is one of the richest in the world; its history is long and exciting. And it is quite difficult to master.

Our clients are curious about how exactly they should address their prospective matches. What does a particular name mean? How does it impact a woman’s character? Surely, you need to learn the basic information about Russian girl names to make your communication smoother. Likewise, this knowledge helps you impress your lady during a conversation. So let’s have an insight right now.


The origins of Slavic names

In the times of total paganism, Slavs named children after their personal qualities or some circumstances of their birth. Later, when Vladimir the Great and some of his predecessors gradually brought Christianity to Kievan Rus, their language was strongly influenced by Greek.

As a result, traditional Russian names mostly combine old-Slavic features with Greek and Latin. If we dig deeper, we will notice that many Christian names came from other places and languages like Hebrew, Armenian, Coptic etc.

During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, the visibility of Russia on the international arena increased. Many western names (popular in the French, German and English languages) and their spelling were adopted by native Russian speakers. This tendency continued until the end of the XIX century so the overall picture got even more complicated.

In the Soviet era, people struggled to give their children names that would reflect certain events in the country or copy the names of prominent Communist leaders. That was weird enough but still entertaining; you can search for some examples on the Internet.

11 most popular Russian girls’ names

First, take a look at these Russian girl names and their meanings. I’ll also tell you what nicknames are typically used for all of them so you will able to call your love interest in a less official manner.

Anastasia. Surely, this is one of the most common Russian names. Year by year, it is given to lots of newborn girls. Borrowed from Greek, it means “resurrection”. A usual nickname for it is Nastya.

Anna. It is a Greek form of a Hebrew name meaning “God’s favour” or “grace”. Did you know that it is actually the most popular female name in the Christian world? In Slavic countries, they use a nickname Anya.

ukrainian_3Maria. Another name coming from Hebrew. By all means, it is favoured by Christians and belongs to common Russian names. It has quite different meanings like “wished for child”, “rebellious” or even “bitter”. Girls bearing it are shortly called Masha.

Aleksandra. It’s not a secret that this name originates from Greek and is translated as “the protector of humans”. Girls it is given to are strong, proactive, confident and bold. Common nicknames are Sasha or Alexa.

Svetlana. A very nice name originated from Greek. It means “luminescent” or “shining”. By the way, the word “svet” is literally translated from Russian as “the light”. As for nicknames, you can call your girl either Sveta or Lana.

Tatiana. We know that it comes from Latin but its meaning is rather unclear. Most sources tell it means “praiseworthy”. In Russia, it became extremely popular thanks to famous Eugene Onegin by A. Pushkin – Tatiana the eldest daughter in the Larins’ family. As a rule, ladies who bear it are addressed as Tanya.

Olga. Derived from a Scandinavian name Helga that means “saint”. First of all, it became widely used thanks to Princess Olga, a famous ruler of Kievan Rus. Modern girls are usually nicknamed Olya. It was also the name of the younger sister of Pushkin’s Tatiana so I put them together for the good reason.

Irina. Apart from being widespread in the Slavic world, it is still among the most favourite Greek names.  Maybe, because it simply means “peace”. You can nickname your Russian friend Ira.

Ekaterina (also Yekaterina). As you might have guessed, it is a Russian form of Catherine. Translated from Greek as “chaste” and “pure”, it always belonged to popular Russian names. Here, it mainly associates with Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. Informally, you can call your girl Katya.  

Elena (or Yelena). Like most of the names we mention here, it was borrowed from the Greek language and means “a torch” or “fair”. Inspired by Helen of Troy, Slavs often used it in their folk tales. The short form for this name is Lena.

Natalya (or Natalia). This beautiful name comes from Latin and has two major meanings, “natural” and “born on Christmas Day”. In Russian culture, it received appreciation thanks to the character of Natasha Rostova – one of the prominent heroes of War and Peace by L. Tolstoy.

7 Names that have recently become popular

Just like any other language, Russian constantly evolves and borrows foreign words. Its lexicon including Russian female names gets richer. On the other hand, old-fashioned Slavic names are now coming in vogue too.

Karolina. The Slavic form of Caroline, an old French name meaning “the queen”. It is now considered to be one of the most beautiful Russian girl names.

Snezhana. The word “sneg” in Russian means “snow” so a girl called like this allegedly comes “from the land of snow”. This name is Slavic; according to some sources, it originates from Bulgarian.

Monika. One of the pretty Russian girl names originated from both Greek and Latin. It can be interpreted as “unique” or “solitary”.

Arina. Some specialists judge it to be an alternative form of Irina so it has the similar meaning – “high”, “enlighten”. Other researchers claim it comes from Hebrew, Hindi or even Arab.

Ukrainian-womenEva. This name doesn’t actually need a long intro since anyone raised in the Christian world knows it. In Hebrew, it means “life” so parents in Russia and the nearby countries love to give it to their daughters. 

Veronika. As far as we know, this name was derived from Berenice (Greek) and then brought to Latin. The two main meanings it has are “truthful” and “victory bearer”. As for nicknames, either Vera or Nika are acceptable.

Milena. Although this name can be found in other European languages, it officially belongs to Russian names with Slavic origins and means “dear” or “sweet”.

Final thoughts

As you can see, modern Russian names for girls aren’t that different from common names used throughout Europe, North America or Oceania. It is okay since we all go global. Yet there are plenty of peculiarities you should learn to enrich your knowledge of Slavic culture.

There is an amazing secret I should tell you about the art of flirting: people do love hearing their own names. You need to sometimes use your conversation partner’s one. It enables her to feel the stronger connection with you so the atmosphere becomes more intimate.

Armed with the info provided above, you can easily address a girl by her name and be sure you do everything right! 

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