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100 Badass Russian Male Names

Updated
Honor the strength in these handsome Russian boy names for your little fellow.

Once deciding to name your baby boy from the abundance of strong Russian boy names, you’ve only just begun. Russian male names can be powerful, cute, and historical while offering formal and informal spellings.

Our fun list of Russian names for boys can help lead you in your quest for the ideal name. Whatever you decide upon, these names cover all the bases. They’ll certainly provide plenty of options for your little guy from one of the most famously powerful empires.


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100 Popular Russian Names for Boys

Akim

Akim is a nickname for Joachim, taken from the Hebrew Yehoyakhin, meaning “raised by God.” It’s also related to the Arabic “hakim,” meaning “ruler” or “governor.” In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, an akim is the head of a local government.

  • Origin: Russian, Arabic
  • Meaning: God will establish
  • Pronunciation: AA-Kihm
  • Variations: Hakim, Akeem
  • Namesakes: Akim Tamiroff(born Hovakim Tamiryants), an Armenian-American actor appearing in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943).
  • Popularity: Akim is rare worldwide and mostly used in South Sudan, where it ranked 311th in 2014.
Religious, Unique

Aleksei

Aleksei comes from the Greek Aléxios, meaning “defender.” It’s a Russian version of Alexander, spelled Aleksander, belonging to a 17th-century Russian czar.

  • Origin: Slavic, Greek
  • Meaning: Man’s defender
  • Pronunciation: Ah-LEHK-Sey
  • Variations: Alexei, Alexie, Aleksei
  • Namesakes: Aleksei Kravchenko, a Russian actor in the 1985 film Come and See. Alexei Kovalev, a Russian assistant ice hockey coach for HC Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League.
  • Popularity: Aleksei ranked 1,997th worldwide and is mainly used in Ukraine, ranking 33rd in 2014.
Traditional, Strong

Anatoly

Anatoly derives from the Greek Anatolius, meaning “break of day.” It also means “pointing to the east.” Anatoly ranked in the top five boys’ names born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2004.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Sunrise
  • Pronunciation: Ah-naa-TOW-Liy
  • Variations: Anatoli, Anatoliy, Anatole
  • Namesakes: Anatoly Chubais, a Russian politician and member of Boris Yeltsin’s administration. Anatoly Filipchenko, a Soviet-Ukrainian cosmonaut in the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 16 missions.
  • Popularity: Anatoly is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 111th in Belarus in 2014.
Traditional, Masculine

Andrey

Andrey also means “brave” and “manly.” It’s taken from the ancient Greek “andreîos” and includes the root “anēr,” meaning “man.” Andrey also refers to a “husband” and is one of the most popular Russian boy names today.

  • Origin: Russian, French
  • Meaning: Man, warrior
  • Pronunciation: Ahn-DRYEY
  • Variations: Andre, Andrej, Andrei
  • Namesakes: Andrey Arshavin, a Russian footballer with Zenit Saint Petersburg. Andrey Amador, a Costa Rican road bicycle racer for UCI WorldTeam Ineos Grenadiers.
  • Popularity: Andrey ranked 85th worldwide and is mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 7th in 2014.
Masculine, Popular

Arkadi

Arkadi is based on the Greek Arkádios, for a person “coming from Arcadia.” Arcadia is a Greek region of Peloponnese named after the mythological character Arcas, son of Zeus. In Greek mythology, Arcadia was also the birthplace of the god Pan.

  • Origin: Russian, Armenian
  • Meaning: Happy land
  • Pronunciation: Ahr-KAA-diy
  • Variations: Arkady
  • Namesakes: Arkadi Kremer, a Russian socialist leader who helped develop Russian Marxism. Arkadi Ghukasyan, the second President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic from 1997 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Arkadi is rare worldwide and mainly used in Armenia, ranking 163rd in 2014.
Unusual, Old

Armen

Armen is a Russian name given to an Armenian. It’s similar to boys’ names like Roman, Dane, or German. Armen also means “soldier” in Armenian and “pleasing” in Greek for your special little guy.

  • Origin: Russian, Armenian
  • Meaning: Armenian
  • Pronunciation: AHR-Mehn
  • Variations: Armin, Armon
  • Namesakes: Armen Nazaryan, an Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler and the first Olympic gold medalist for Armenia in 1991. Armen Sarkissian, the 4th president of Armenia from 2018 to 2022.
  • Popularity: Armen is rare worldwide and primarily used in Armenia, ranking #1 in 2014.
Traditional, Masculine

Arseny

Arseny is the Russian variation of the Greek Arsenius, meaning “manly.” The 5th-century Saint Arsenius was a tutor to the sons of the Roman emperor Theodosios. It’s very uncommon, even in Latvia, where it ranked 2,346th in 2014.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Virile, Strong
  • Pronunciation: AAR-sah-Niy
  • Variations: Arsenii, Arseniy
  • Namesakes: Arseny Roginsky, a Russian historian and head of the International Historical and Civil Rights Society Memorial since 1998. Arseny Bondarev, a Russian ice hockey player with the New Jersey Devils.
  • Popularity: Arseny is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Strong

Artem

Artem is inspired by Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and hunting. It once appeared as Artemios, is a nickname for Artemas, and also means “unharmed” and “perfect health.” You can use this classic example of Russian names for boys and call him “little” Artemi.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Follower of Artemis
  • Pronunciation: Ahr-TEHM
  • Variations: Artemi
  • Namesakes: Artem Borodulin, a Russian figure skater and the 2008 World Junior silver medalist. Ardem Patapoutian, an Armenian-American molecular biologist and Nobel Prize laureate.
  • Popularity: Artem ranked 1,222nd worldwide and is mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 58th in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Avgust

Avgust was once a surname based on the Latin Augustus. It’s made up of “augere,” meaning “to increase,” and also means “sacred,” “holy,” and the month of August. Avgust originally referred to being devoted to an “augur,” a priest who interpreted God’s will through the flight of birds.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Majestic
  • Pronunciation: AHV-Goost
  • Variations: August
  • Namesakes: Tomaž Zupančič (pen name Avgust Demšar), a Slovenian writer specializing in detective fiction. Avgust Tsivolko, a Russian Arctic explorer with the Pakhtusov expedition from 1834 to 1835.
  • Popularity: Avgust is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Slovenia, ranking 414th in 2014.
Formal, Old

Benedikt

Benedikt is based on the Latin Benedict. It’s made up of the Latin “bene,” meaning “good,” and “dicte,” meaning “speak.” It once meant “well-spoken” and also appeared as a Jewish surname taken from Baruch.

  • Origin: Russian, German
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Pronunciation: Beh-nah-DIYKT
  • Variations: Benedict, Benedikte, Benedykt
  • Namesakes: Benedikt Doll, a German biathlete who competed at the Biathlon World Championships in 2015. Benedikt Sigurðsson Gröndal, the prime minister of Iceland from 1979 to 1980.
  • Popularity: Benedikt is rare worldwide, mostly used in Germany, and ranked 110th in Iceland in 2014.
Formal, Traditional
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Boba

Boba also means “man of honor” and “family.” It derives from the Slavic “slobodá,” meaning “freedom” and “liberty.” Boba is a Russian nickname for Boris, so it doesn’t always bring Boba Fett to mind.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Warrior
  • Pronunciation: BOW-Bah
  • Popularity: Boba is rare worldwide and mainly used in Egypt, where it ranked 1,128th in 2014.
Informal, Cute

Bogdan

Bogdan comes from the Greek Theodotus. It’s made up of “bog,” meaning “God,” and “dan,” meaning “given,” and is the most Slavic sounding of Russian male names meaning Theodore.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Given by God
  • Pronunciation: BAOG-Daan
  • Variations: Bohdan
  • Namesakes: Bogdan Ciufulescu, a Romanian wrestler who competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Bogdan Lalic, a Croatian chess player given the title International Grandmaster title by FIDE in 1988.
  • Popularity: Bogdan is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Romania, ranking 19th in 2014.
Traditional, Masculine

Boris

Boris is a short form of the Slavic name Borislav, made up of the Slavic “borti,” meaning “battle,” and “slava,” meaning “glory.” It also originates from the Turkish “böri,” meaning “wolf.”

  • Origin: Russian, Turkish
  • Meaning: Battle glory
  • Pronunciation: BOWR-ihs
  • Variations: Boriss, Borís
  • Namesakes: Boris Becker, a German world No. 1 tennis player and the youngest winner of the Wimbledon Championships title at age 17. Boris Pasternak, a Russian writer best known for the book Doctor Zhivago (1957).
  • Popularity: Boris ranked 1,182nd worldwide, is mostly used in Russia and ranked 61st in Moldova in 2014.
Common, Masculine

Czar

Czar originally meant “Caesar.” It’s sometimes interchanged with the Russian Tsar, both a royal title used by the First Bulgarian Empire. The Czars of Russia took it on, just like your powerful little boy can.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Emperor, ruler
  • Pronunciation: ZAAR
  • Variations: Tsar
  • Popularity: Czar is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines.
Unique, Strong

Damien

Damian comes from the Greek “damao,” meaning “to tame.” It’s also associated with Damia, a name used for the Greek goddess of the harvest, Demeter.

  • Origin: Russian, French
  • Meaning: To subdue
  • Pronunciation: DEY-miy-Ehn
  • Variations: Damian
  • Namesakes: Damien Carême, a French member of the European Parliament since 2019. Damien Lewis, a British filmmaker and a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
  • Popularity: Damien is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in France, and ranked 272nd for boys in the U.S. in 2022.
Masculine, Unique

Damir

Damir uses the prefix “Da-,” meaning “give,” and “mir,” meaning “peace.” It may also be linked to the Turkish name Demir, meaning “iron.” Damir means “long live the world revolution” in the Tatar culture, so it’s badass among Russian men’s names.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: To give peace
  • Pronunciation: Daa-MIHR
  • Variations: Damier, Damyr
  • Namesakes: Damir Bjelopoljak, a Bosnian volleyball player for OK Kakanj. Damir Kedžo, a Croatian pop singer and winner of the third season of Your Face Sounds Familiar.
  • Popularity: Damir is rare worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 14th in Croatia in 2014.
Masculine, Unique

Danya

Danya also means “judgment of God.” In Hebrew, Danya means “arbiter” and “God is my judge.” Danya is a common nickname for Russian names beginning with “D” and also for Bogdan.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Gift of God
  • Pronunciation: DAAN-yah
  • Namesakes: Danya Abrams, a basketball player for the Boston College Eagles in the NCAA.
  • Popularity: Danya is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, ranking 314th in 2014.
Religious, Cute

Denisov

Denisov was first a patronymic surname for “descendants of Denis.” It centers around the first name Denis, which means “god of Nysa.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Denis
  • Pronunciation: DEHN-ih-Sov
  • Popularity: Denisov is extremely rare worldwide, with only 11 occurrences in 2014, primarily in Russia.
Unusual, Rare

Dmitri

Dmitri derives from the Greek Demetrius. It also refers to “a follower of Demeter,” the Greek goddess of agriculture. When Dmitri is spelled Dimitri, it becomes a combination French-Russian name.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Earth lover
  • Pronunciation: Dih-MIY-triy
  • Variations: Dimitri, Dimitry
  • Namesakes: Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist who helped create the periodic table of elements. Dmitri Aliev, a Russian figure skater and the 2020 Russian national champion.
  • Popularity: Dmitri is rare worldwide, mostly used in Moldova, and ranked 960th for boys in the U.S. in 2022.
Cute, Traditional

Dominik

Dominik is both a Slavic and German spelling for Dominic. It comes from the Latin “dominus,” meaning “belonging to the Lord.” In ancient Rome, Dominik (as Dominicus) was a title given to rulers and a master of the house.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Lord
  • Pronunciation: DAO-miy-Niyk
  • Variations: Dominic, Dominick
  • Namesakes: Dominik Hrbatý, a Slovakian tennis player whose world ranking peaked at 12th in 2005.
  • Popularity: Dominik is rare worldwide and mainly used in Poland, where it ranked 82nd in 2014.
Old, Religious
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Edmon

Edmon is an alternative version of the Old English Eadmund. It’s made up of “ead,” meaning “prosperity,” and “mund,” meaning “protector.” Edmon also means “he who defends his heritage.”

  • Origin: Russian, English
  • Meaning: Wealthy protector
  • Pronunciation: EHD-Mahn
  • Variations: Edmun
  • Popularity: Edmon is rare worldwide, primarily used in the Philippines, and ranked 577th in Armenia in 2014.
Traditional, Formal

Efrem

Efrem appears as Ephraim in the Bible, a son of Joseph. It derives from the Hebrew “’ephrayim,” meaning “I shall be doubly fruitful.” Saint Ephrem was a 4th-century missionary bishop who might inspire you to name your baby boy Efrem.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Fruitful
  • Pronunciation: EH-Frehm
  • Variations: Ephraim, Ephraem
  • Namesakes: Efrem Kurtz, a Russian conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic. Efrem Hill, a gridiron football player for the Carolina Panthers.
  • Popularity: Efrem is rare worldwide and mostly used in Eritrea, ranking 59th in 2014.
Old, Unique

Ēriks

Ēriks is based on the Old Norse “ei,” meaning “always” and “ríkr,” meaning “ruler.” It’s used mostly in Russia and Latvia, where the intersection of Norse and Russian cultures often meet.

  • Origin: Russian, Latvin, Norse
  • Meaning: Eternal ruler
  • Pronunciation: EH-Rihks
  • Variations: Erik
  • Namesakes: Ēriks Rags, a Latvian javelin thrower who competed at the Summer Olympics between 2000 and 2008. Ēriks Ševčenko, a Latvian ice hockey player for Metallurg Novokuznetsk of the Supreme Hockey League.
  • Popularity: Ēriks is rare worldwide and mainly used in Latvia, ranking 102nd in 2014.
Old, Strong

Filip

Filip is a Slavic variation of Philip. It’s made up of the Greek “philos,” meaning “friend,” and “hippos,” meaning “horse.” In Croatia, Filip was one of the top popular boy names in the 2000s.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Lover of horses
  • Pronunciation: FIY-lihp
  • Variations: Filipp
  • Namesakes: Filip-Ioan Ugran, a Romanian race car driver who competed in the 2022 European Le Mans Series. Filip Zubčić, a Croatian World Cup alpine ski racer who placed third in the giant slalom standings in 2021.
  • Popularity: Filip is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Poland, and ranked 57th in the Czech Republic in 2014.
Traditional, Formal

Fyodor

Fyodor is one of the Russian nicknames for Theodore. Three czars of Russia were named Fyodor, which also means “divine gift.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: God’s gift
  • Pronunciation: FAYAO-daoer
  • Variations: Fedor, Feodor
  • Namesakes: Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist best known for Crime and Punishment (1866). Fyodor Smolov, a Russian footballer for the Russian national team.
  • Popularity: Fyodor is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 157th in 2014.
Masculine, Religious

Gavriil

Gavril is a Greek and Russian version of Gabriel. It began with the Hebrew Gavrie’l, composed of “gəḇar,” meaning “hero,” and “ēl,” meaning God. Gavriil also means “God’s able-bodied one” or “hero of God.”

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: God is my strength
  • Pronunciation: GAAV-Rihl
  • Variations: Gavril
  • Namesakes: Gavriil Tikhov, a Soviet astronomer and the father of astrobotany. Gavriil Veresov, a Soviet chess player awarded the International Master title in 1950.
  • Popularity: Gavriil is rare worldwide and mainly used in Greece, ranking 289th in 2014.
Unique, Religious

Georgi

Georgi is a Russian and Bulgarian version of George. It also means “earthworker,” taken from the Greek “gê,” meaning “soil,” and “érgon,” meaning “work.” Georgi is also a German surname, meaning “son of George.”

  • Origin: Russian, Bulgarian
  • Meaning: Farmer
  • Pronunciation: GYAOR-Jhiy
  • Variations: Georgy, Georgiy
  • Namesakes: Georgi Parvanov, the President of Bulgaria from 2002 to 2012. Georgi Ivanov, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut.
  • Popularity: Georgi is rare worldwide and primarily used in Bulgaria, ranking #1 in 2014.
Traditional, Cute

Gogol

The Ukrainian “gogol” means “wild duck” and “mallard.” It’s a nickname for a bird-like person and the hero of Jhumpa Lahiri’s 2003 book The Namesake.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Duck
  • Pronunciation: GOW-Gaal
  • Namesakes: Jacques Dezandre (known as Gogol Premier), a French punk rock singer with the 1980s band “La Horde.”
  • Popularity: Gogol is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Nigeria.
Unusual, Uncommon

Gorky

Gorky also means “awkward” and “strange.” Gorky Park is a famous park in Moscow named after Russian writer Maxim Gorky, called the “father of Soviet literature.” It’s the quirkiest of cool Russian boy names with a lot of history behind it.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Bitter
  • Pronunciation: GAOR-Kiy
  • Variations: Gorki
  • Popularity: Gorky is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Ecuador, where it ranked 1,723rd in 2014.
Cute, Unusual

Grigoriy

Grigoriy is the Russian form of Gregory. It also refers to the “grḗgoroi,” known as watcher angels. In the TV series, Supernatural, the Grigori are powerful angels sent to Earth to protect people.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Vigilant, watchful
  • Pronunciation: GREH-gow-Riy
  • Variations: Grigori, Grigory, Gregory
  • Namesakes: Grigoriy Dobrygin, a Russian actor appearing in the 2009 film Black Lightning. Grigoriy Oparin, a Russian-American chess player given the FIDE Grandmaster title in 2013.
  • Popularity: Grigoriy is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, ranking 119th in 2014.
Traditional, Religious
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Grisha

Grisha is a pet name for Gregory, Grigorij, and Georgi. It’s also used in Ukraine and Bulgaria. The “-sha” suffix indicates a nickname. The Grisha Trilogy is a young adult novel series by fantasy writer Leigh Bardugo.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Watchful
  • Pronunciation: GRIH-shah
  • Variations: Gricha, Grischa
  • Namesakes: Georgi (Grisha) Filipov, the prime minister of Bulgaria from 1981 to 1986.
  • Popularity: Grisha is rare worldwide and mostly used in Armenia, where it ranked 182nd in 2014.
Unique, Cute

Hedeon

Hedeon is the Russian form of Gideon. It also means “who cuts down” in Hebrew and “feller of trees.” In the Bible, Gideon is a judge and warrior who destroys his father’s altar to Baal and defeats the Midianites in a great battle.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Destroyer
  • Pronunciation: Heh-DEY-ahn
  • Variations: Haedyn
  • Popularity: Hedeon is extremely rare worldwide, with only 29 occurrences in 2014, mainly in Ukraine.
Rare, Old

Igor

Igor is also common in Brazil, Portugal, and Basque Spain. It came from the Norse Ingvar, which the ancient Norse Varangian tribe brought to Russia.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Warrior
  • Pronunciation: IY-Gaor
  • Variations: Ivor
  • Namesakes: Igor Dodon, the president of Moldova from 2016 to 2020. Igor Luzhkovsky, a Russian swimmer and gold medalist at the 1958 European Aquatics Championships.
  • Popularity: Igor ranked 302nd worldwide and is primarily used in Russia, ranking 30th in 2014.
Masculine, Strong

Ihar

Ihar also means “god of abundance” in Scandinavian. It’s inspired by the Old Norse Yngvi, which also links to Freyr, the god of beauty and fertility.

  • Origin: Russian, Norse
  • Meaning: Army leader, warrior
  • Pronunciation: IY-haar
  • Variations: Ivor
  • Namesakes: Ihar Hurynovich, a Soviet-Belarusian footballer and the FIFA World Youth Championship runner-up in 1979. Ihar Yasinski, a Belarusian footballer for Rogachev.
  • Popularity: Ihar is very rare worldwide, mostly used in Poland, and ranked 1,239th in Belarus in 2014.
Unique, Strong

Ilya

Ilya is made up of the Hebrew “el,” meaning “God,” and “yah,” meaning “Yahweh.” Ilya has many spelling variations and is a very popular name in multiple Slavic countries.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Of Elijah
  • Pronunciation: Iy-LYAA
  • Variations: Iliya, Ilia, Ilja, Ilija
  • Namesakes: Ilya “Élie” Mechnikov, a Russian zoologist, jointly awarded the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Ilya Samsonov, a Russian ice hockey goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • Popularity: Ilya ranked 643rd worldwide and is mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 36th in 2014.
Popular, Religious

Ioann

Ioann is a unique Russian variation of John. It comes from the Hebrew Yochanan. In Russia, Ioann is primarily a name used for the clergy, so it has a regal and holy air about it too.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: Ay-OW-Ahn
  • Variations: Ioan
  • Popularity: Ioann is very rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 1,275th in Transnistria in 2014.
Traditional, Religious

Israil

Israil comes from the Hebrew Yisrael, meaning “God perseveres.” The spelling Israel is much more common worldwide, but this version has Russians and Russian-Americans in mind.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: He who wrestles with God
  • Pronunciation: IYZ-rah-Eyl
  • Variations: Israel, Izrael
  • Namesakes: Israil Bercovici, a Jewish-Romanian dramaturg with the State Jewish Theater of Romania between 1955 and 1982.
  • Popularity: Israil is rare worldwide, mostly used in India, and ranked 575th in Kyrgyzstan in 2014.
Unique, Religious

Iustin

Iustin derives from the Latin “iustus,” meaning “rightful,” “honest,” and “impartial.” Its spelling is found in Slavic culture but is based on Justinus, originally meaning “just.”

  • Origin: Russian, Romanian
  • Meaning: Fair, righteous
  • Pronunciation: Ee-UWS-tihn
  • Variations: Justin
  • Namesakes: Iustin Frățiman, a Romanian historian for the Russian Orthodox Church and supporter of Romanian nationalism. Iustin Moisescu, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church from 1977 to 1986.
  • Popularity: Iustin is very rare worldwide, mainly used in Romania, and ranked 444th in Moldova in 2014.
Unusual, Strong

Ivan

Ivan originated with the Greek Iōánnēs, one of the earliest versions of John. It’s the most popular of Russian male names, based on one of the best-known names. Ivan surprisingly ranked 168th for boys in the U.S. in 2022.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: AY-Vahn
  • Variations: Ivann, Ivon
  • Namesakes: Ivan Franko, a Ukrainian writer of the first detective novels in the Ukrainian language. Ivan Miljković, a Serbian volleyball player with the Serbia men’s national volleyball team.
  • Popularity: Ivan ranked 101st worldwide and is primarily used in Bulgaria and Croatia, ranking 2nd in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Jasha

Jasha is a Russian diminutive of Jakov, based on the Hebrew Jacob. It’s made up of the Hebrew “qb,” meaning “to follow” and “to be behind.” Jasha is so much more warm and welcoming than the old-world Jacob for your little guy.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Pronunciation: JHAE-Shah
  • Namesakes: Jasha Sütterlin, a German cyclist for UCI WorldTeam Team Bahrain Victorious.
  • Popularity: Jasha is very rare worldwide, mostly used in India, and ranked 1,731st in Latvia in 2014.
Old, Cute
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Josef

Josef is the Germanic form of Joseph, taken from the Hebrew Yosef, meaning “God will give.” In the Old Testament, Joseph is Jacob’s son, while in the New Testament, Joseph is the Virgin Mary’s husband.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Jehovah increases
  • Pronunciation: YOW-Zehf
  • Variations: Josyf
  • Namesakes: Josef von Armansperg, the Bavarian Prime Minister of Greece from 1835 to 1837. Josef Odložil, a Czech middle-distance runner and silver medalist at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
  • Popularity: Josef ranked 644th worldwide, is mainly used in Germany, and ranked 3rd in Austria in 2014.
Traditional, Religious

Kirill

Kirill is based on the Greek Kyrillos, taken from “kyrios,” meaning “lord.” Kirill is a variation of Cyril, so it also means “of Cyril” and “ruler” for your tough young fellow.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Lord
  • Pronunciation: Kiy-RIYL
  • Variations: Kiril, Kyrill
  • Namesakes: Kirill Mazurov, one of the Soviet leaders of the Belarusian resistance during World War II. Kirill Starkov, a Russian-Danish ice hockey player for HC Château-d’Oex in the Swiss 2. Liga.
  • Popularity: Kirill ranked 955th worldwide, is primarily used in Russia, and ranked 45th in Belarus in 2014.
Old, Unique

Kolya

Kolya is a Russian diminutive for Nikolai. It hails from the Greek Nikolaos, also meaning “victorious warrior” and “victorious army,” so you get the idea (victory!).

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Victory of the people
  • Pronunciation: KOHL-yah
  • Namesakes: Nikolai “Kolya” Vasin, a Russian music historian known for collecting Beatles memorabilia in the USSR.
  • Popularity: Kolya is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Armenia, where it ranked 367th in 2014.
Informal, Strong

Konstantin

Konstantin is an alternate spelling of Constantine, meaning “firm and stable.” It’s best remembered for the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Konstantin also means “everlasting” for your little king.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Constant
  • Pronunciation: KAAN-staen-Tiyn
  • Variations: Konstantyn, Konstandin, Konstantine
  • Namesakes: Konstantin Tsiolkovsk, a Russian-Soviet rocket scientist who pioneered astronautic theory. Konstantin Vassiljev, an Estonian footballer and captain of the Estonian national team.
  • Popularity: Konstantin ranked 613th worldwide, is mainly used in Russia and ranked 7th in Greece in 2014.
Old, Popular

Kostya

Kostya is a Russian nickname for Konstantin for both boys and girls. The Slavic meaning is “faithful,” which warms it up as your baby boy’s first or middle name.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Constant, Steadfast
  • Pronunciation: KOWST-Yah
  • Namesakes: Kostya Tszyu, a Russian-Australian boxer and gold medalist at the 1991 World Championships. Kostya Kennedy, an American journalist and editorial director at Dotdash Meredith.
  • Popularity: Kostya is very rare worldwide, primarily used in Poland, and ranked 1,231st in Armenia in 2014.
Informal, Cute

Lenin

Lenin also means “one who belongs to the river Lena.” It originated with the name Elyu-Ene, meaning “the large River.” Lenin is most famous as the surname of the Russian leader Vladimir Lenin.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Lover, Russian
  • Pronunciation: LEH-Nahn
  • Namesakes: Lenín Moreno, the 46th president of Ecuador from 2017 to 2021. Lenin Rajendran, an Indian film director and Chairman of Kerala State Film Development Corporation from 2016 to 2019.
  • Popularity: Lenin is rare worldwide and mostly used in Ecuador, ranking 238th in 2014.
Strong, Unusual

Leonid

Leionid is the Russian form of Leonidas, also related to Leon or Leonard. It means “lion-like,” making it the most courageous sounding of Russian names for boys on the list.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Pronunciation: LIY-ow-Nahd
  • Variations: Lenid, Leonide
  • Namesakes: Leonid Desyatnikov, a Russian composer known for The Children of Rosenthal opera. Leonid Yakubovich, a Russian TV host for the Pole Chudes (Wheel of Fortune) game show.
  • Popularity: Leonid is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 70th in Moldova in 2014.
Traditional, Masculine

Lev

Lev means “lion” in Russian and “heart” in Hebrew. It was also a Slavic surname based on the Germanic Löwe used by numerous German Jews.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Pronunciation: LEHV
  • Variations: Leiv
  • Namesakes: Lev Dyomin, a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 15 spaceflight in 1974. Lev “Leon” Trotsky, a Russian revolutionary who helped develop the ideology called Trotskyism.
  • Popularity: Lev is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 187th in Ukraine in 2014.
Informal, Masculine

Ludis

Ludis derives from the Russian and Germanic variation of Louis. It’s super popular in Columbia but not often used elsewhere, except for your famous little general.

  • Origin: Russian, Latvian
  • Meaning: Fame, war
  • Pronunciation: LUW-Diyz
  • Popularity: Ludis is rare worldwide and mostly used in Colombia, where it ranked 504th in 2014.
Unusual, Strong

Luka

Luka is the Russian and Slavic spelling of Luke, taken from the Greek “loukas.” It originally meant “man from Lucania,” a place in southern Italy. In 2021, Luka ranked 115th for boys in the U.S.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Light
  • Pronunciation: LUW-Kaa
  • Variations: Luke
  • Namesakes: Luka Bogdanović, a Serbian basketball player for Joventut Badalona. Luka Bebić, the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament from 2008 to 2011.
  • Popularity: Luka is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Nigeria, and ranked 12th in Slovenia in 2014.
Informal, Cute
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Makari

Makari also means “happy.” It’s based on the Latin Macarius but is very common in India, where it means “sea monster.”

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Pronunciation: Maa-KAA-rih
  • Variations: Makary
  • Popularity: Makari is very rare worldwide, primarily used in India, and ranked 1,270th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Unusual, Religious

Maxim

Maxim traces back to the Latin surname Maximus, meaning “the greatest.” It’s common in many Slavic countries, from Belarus and Bulgaria to Russia and Ukraine. Maxim has ranked in the top 1,000 boys’ names in the U.S. since 2000.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Greatest
  • Pronunciation: MAHK-Siym
  • Variations: Maksym, Maksim
  • Namesakes: Maxim Vengerov, a Russian-Israeli violinist and a UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador. Maxim Litvinov (born Meir Wallach), the Russian People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs from 1930 to 1939.
  • Popularity: Maxim ranked 1,824th worldwide, is primarily used in Russia, and ranked 1,939th for boys in the U.S. in 2022.
Strong, Informal

Melor

Melor also refers to a “member of the communist party.” It’s also the name of a Breton saint who was the son of a Cornish king. Melor is a name caught in a time when Russia and communism went hand in hand.

  • Origin: Russian, Celtic
  • Meaning: Iron man
  • Pronunciation: MEY-Lohr
  • Variations: Mylor
  • Namesakes: Melor Sturua, a Soviet journalist who wrote for Izvestia in 1950.
  • Popularity: Melor is very rare worldwide, mainly used in Malaysia, and ranked 727th in Abkhazia in 2014.
Unique, Strong

Mikhail

Mikhail also means “who is like God.” It’s incredibly well-known among Russian men’s names since it’s the Russian version of the Hebrew Michael.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Gift from God
  • Pronunciation: Miy-KAAIYL
  • Variations: Mikhael, Mikhel, Mikail
  • Namesakes: Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Mikhail Studenetsky, a Soviet basketball player and silver medalist at the 1956 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Mikhail ranked 315th worldwide and is primarily used in Russia, ranking 23rd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Misha

Misha is a pet name for the Russian Mikhail (Michael). You could go further and refer to your Misha as Mishka. It’s a nickname for a bear, taken from the Russian “medved,” so Misha’s packed with cuteness all around.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Who resembles God
  • Pronunciation: MIY-Shaa
  • Variations: Mischa
  • Namesakes: Michail “Misha” Alperin, a Soviet-Norwegian jazz pianist and a member of the Moscow Art Trio. Misha Zilberman, an Israeli badminton player and bronze medalist at the 2022 European Badminton Championships.
  • Popularity: Misha is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 171st in Armenia in 2014.
Cute, Unique

Moisey

Moisey is the Russian version of Moses. It derives from the Hebrew Moše. Moisey also means “liberate” and “save” in Hebrew, from the biblical Moses.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Delivered from the water
  • Pronunciation: MOY-sey
  • Namesakes: Moisey Ostrogorsky, a Russian politician and one of the founders of political sociology. Moisey Kasyanik, a Soviet weightlifter and gold medalist at the 1937 Workers’ Olympiad.
  • Popularity: Moisey is rare worldwide and mainly used in Israel, ranking 1,080th in 2014.
Unusual, Old

Natan

Natan is a diminutive of the Hebrew Nathaniel, meaning “God has given.” It’s the Russian and Slavic form of Nathan, a short for Nathaniel, and is more casual for pious little boys.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God has given
  • Pronunciation: Naa-Taen
  • Variations: Nathan
  • Namesakes: Natan Carneiro de Lima, a Brazilian footballer for Vitória da Conquista. Natan Rybak, a Ukrainian writer awarded the Stalin Prize in 1950 for Pereiaslavs’ka rada.
  • Popularity: Natan is rare worldwide, primarily used in Brazil, and ranked 156th in Israel in 2014.
Masculine, Religious

Nikita

Nikita comes from the Greek Nikḗtas, meaning “conqueror.” It uses the root “nī́kē,” meaning “victory” for your little boy who’s always winning.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Victor, winner
  • Pronunciation: Niy-KIY-taa
  • Variations: Nykita, Nykyta
  • Namesakes: Nikita Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964.
  • Popularity: Nikita ranked 525th worldwide and is mostly used in Russia, ranking 33rd in 2014.
Cute, Unique

Nikolai

Nikolai also means “conqueror of the people.” It’s the Russian form of the Greek Nikolaus, made up of “nikē,” meaning “victory,” and “loas,” meaning “people.”

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: People of victory
  • Pronunciation: Niy-Kaa-LAY
  • Variations: Nicolai, Nikkolai, Nikoli
  • Namesakes: Nikolai Novosjolov, an Estonian fencer and four-time Olympian. Nikolai Fraiture, an American musician and bassist of the rock band The Strokes.
  • Popularity: Nikolai is rare worldwide, mainly used in Uzbekistan, and ranked 508th for boys in the U.S. in 2022.
Traditional, Strong

Oleg

Oleg is a more Norse-inspired version of the Russian Оле́г. It traveled from Scandinavia to Russia by the Varangians. Oleg was taken from the Old Norse Helgi, meaning “sacred” or “blessed.”

  • Origin: Russian, Scandinavian
  • Meaning: Holy
  • Pronunciation: OW-Lehg
  • Variations: Olek
  • Namesakes: Oleg Kononenko, a Russian cosmonaut for Expedition 17 aboard Soyuz TMA-12. Oleg Bodrug, the vice-president of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova from 2013 to 2014.
  • Popularity: Oleg ranked 560th worldwide and is primarily used in Russia, ranking 35th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular
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Ony

Ony is very rare and is also a girl’s name meaning “eagle.” It’s also found in the African-Yoruba language, which may be why it’s most common in Madagascar.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Eagle
  • Pronunciation: OW-Niy
  • Variations: Oni, Oney
  • Popularity: Ony is rare worldwide and mostly used in Madagascar, where it ranked 76th in 2014.
Unusual, Uncommon

Orel

Orel also means “golden” in Latin. It was originally a surname used as a nickname for a “courageous” person. It might have referred to a home displaying the sign of an eagle. There are several places in Russia called Orel, including Lake Orel.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Eagle
  • Pronunciation: AOR-ehl
  • Variations: Orell
  • Namesakes: Orel Hershiser IV, an American baseball player and coach for the Texas Rangers from 2002 to 2005.
  • Popularity: Orel is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Haiti, ranking 1,324th in 2014.
Unusual, Religious

Panas

Panas is based on the Greek Athanasios, meaning “immortal.” It was an occupational surname for a cloth merchant using the root “panna,” meaning “cloth.” Panas is used in Russia, including Ukraine and Poland.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Immortal
  • Pronunciation: PAEN-Ahz
  • Namesakes: Panas Myrny, a Ukrainian writer known for the novel Do the Oxen Bellow, When Their Mangers Are Full? Panas Lyubchenko, the Ukrainian-Soviet Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars from 1934 to 1937.
  • Popularity: Panas is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Ukraine, ranking 128th in 2014.
Unique, Old

Pasha

Pasha is a diminutive of Pavel, the Russian variation of Paul. The original Latin Paulus means “little” and “humble.” Pasha is often given to Russian baby boys born on Good Friday. The term Pasha is also a Persian title used as a surname for Muslim elites in Pakistan and Iran.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Small
  • Pronunciation: PAE-Shaa
  • Variations: Pashka
  • Popularity: Pasha is rare worldwide, mostly used in India, and ranked 542nd in Georgia in 2014.
Cute, Informal

Pavel

Pavel is the Russian variation of the Latin Paul, meaning “humble” or “small.” It originated from the Latin family name Paulus, meaning “modest” for your humble baby boy.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Small
  • Pronunciation: PAAV-Yehl
  • Variations: Pawel
  • Namesakes: Pavel Benetka, a Czech gymnast who competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Pavel Buchnevich, a Russian ice hockey player for the St. Louis Blues.
  • Popularity: Pavel ranked 249th worldwide, is mainly used in Russia, and ranked 7th in the Czech Republic in 2014.
Masculine, Popular

Pushkin

Pushkin is a patronymic surname crafted using the first name Pushka, meaning “cannon.” It was a nickname for a loud person or an occupational name for a gunsmith. Pushkin is very rare as a first name these days, but it is a sure way to stand out.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Artilleryman
  • Pronunciation: POOSH-Kin
  • Popularity: Pushkin is very rare worldwide and primarily used in India.
Strong, Rare

Pyotr

Pyotr is the Russian version of Peter, meaning “rock.” It comes from the Greek Petros, which is a solid foundation for your little rock to stand on.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Rock
  • Pronunciation: Pay-AOW-Ter
  • Variations: Peter
  • Namesakes: Pyotr Fyodorov, a Russian actor known for The Inhabited Island. Pyotr Grushin, a Soviet rocket scientist with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
  • Popularity: Pyotr is rare worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 182nd in Belarus in 2014.
Religious, Traditional

Rahil

Though unisex, Rahil is more commonly a girl’s name based on a Hebrew variation of Rachel. It also means “ewe” and “one with purity.” As a Muslim boy’s name, Rahil means “trainer.”

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Lamb
  • Pronunciation: Rae-HHIHL
  • Variations: Rahel
  • Namesakes: Rahil Azam, an Indian actor appearing in the TV series Hatim. Rahil Mammadov, an Azerbaijani footballer with the Azerbaijan national football team.
  • Popularity: Rahil is rare worldwide and mainly used in Syria, where it ranked 149th in 2014.
Unique, Old

Rodion

Rodion derives from the Greek Hērṓidēs. It’s composed of “hḗrōs,” meaning “hero of the Trojan War,” and “aoidḗ,” meaning “legend.” Rodion’s most famous namesake is a fictional one, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Song of the hero
  • Pronunciation: ROW-diy-Ahn
  • Namesakes: Rodion Azarkhin, a Russian musician with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Rodion Markovits, an Austro-Hungarian writer and a contributor to Magyar literary culture in Transylvania.
  • Popularity: Rodion is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 197th in Belarus in 2014.
Strong, Unique

Rurik

Rurik is the Russian form of Roderick. It also means “red” in Slavic. It’s inspired by the Old Norse Hrǿríkr. This was the name of a 9th-century Varangian ruler who helped establish a strong tradition among Russian boy names.

  • Origin: Russian, Norse
  • Meaning: Famous ruler
  • Pronunciation: RUW-Rihk
  • Namesakes: Rurik Rostislavich, the 12th-century co-ruler of Kiev until 1199.
  • Popularity: Rurik is very rare worldwide, mostly used in Indonesia, and ranked 1,649th in Finland in 2014.
Strong, Masculine
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Ruslan

Ruslan is a Slavic variation of the Turkish “arslan,” meaning “lion.” It may have ancient Iranian origins, but feel free to use Ruslan for your lion cub.

  • Origin: Russian, Persian
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Pronunciation: ROOS-Laan
  • Namesakes: Ruslan Alekhno, a Belarusian-Russian singer and winner of the Russian Pop Idol. Ruslan Provodnikov, a Russian boxer and the WBO junior welterweight champion from 2013 to 2014.
  • Popularity: Ruslan ranked 562nd worldwide, is mainly used in Russia, and ranked 11th in Kazakhstan in 2014.
Old, Strong

Sacha

Sacha also means “defender” in Russian. It’s a Russian nickname for Alexander, taken from the Greek “alexo,” meaning “to defend,” and “andros,” meaning “man.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Helper of mankind
  • Pronunciation: Saa-SHAA
  • Variations: Sasha, Sascha
  • Namesakes: Sacha Baron Cohen, an English comedian best known for his character Borat Sagdiyev. Sacha Bïyan is a photographer for GQ, Vogue, and Marie Claire.
  • Popularity: Sacha is rare worldwide and primarily used in the Netherlands, ranking 612th in 2014.
Unique, Traditional

Sanya

Sanya means “defender of the people” or “protector of men” when used as a nickname for Alexander. It may also be associated with Saniyya, meaning “radiance.” Saniyya is based on the Arabic “sana,” meaning “to shine.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Defender of man
  • Pronunciation: SAEN-Yaa
  • Variations: Saniyya
  • Namesakes: Sanya Dharmasakti, the 12th Prime Minister of Thailand from 1973 to 1975.
  • Popularity: Sanya is rare worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 142nd in Belarus in 2014.
Informal, Cute

Savva

Savva also means “wine” in Hebrew. It’s a short form of the Greek Savvas. Savva also means “captive” or “slave.” Savva is famous for the 12th-century bishop Savva, the patron saint of the Serbs.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Old man
  • Pronunciation: SAH-vaa
  • Variations: Sava, Savas
  • Namesakes: Savva Kulish, a Soviet film director whose 1979 film Takeoff won the Silver Prize at the 11th Moscow International Film Festival. Savva Morozov, a merchant in the fifth-richest Russian family in the early 20th-century.
  • Popularity: Savva is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 325th in Ukraine in 2014.
Unique, Informal

Sergei

Sergei originated with the Roman family name Sergius. It’s related to an Etruscan word meaning “guardian” and “shepherd.”

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Protector
  • Pronunciation: SIYR-Gyey
  • Variations: Sergey, Sergiy, Sergie
  • Namesakes: Sergei Argudyayev, a Russian footballer for FC Spartak Moscow. Sergei Shoigu, the Russian minister of defense since 2012.
  • Popularity: Sergei is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 9th in Estonia in 2014.
Traditional, Masculine

Shura

Shura is a Russian nickname for Aleksandr (Alexander). In Islamic culture, shura refers to a certain type of decision-making, but it’s still a cute way to call your baby boy Aleksander.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Defending man
  • Pronunciation: SHUW-Raa
  • Namesakes: Shura Cherkassky, a Ukrainian-American concert pianist who performed the soundtrack for the 1946 film Deception. Shura Taft, an English-Australian co-host of the children’s show Kids’ WB from 2006 to 2011.
  • Popularity: Shura is rare worldwide, mostly used in Ethiopia, and ranked 600th in Armenia in 2014.
Informal, Unusual

Simeon

Simeon also means “to be heard” and “reputation.” It’s a Russian-used name based on the Hebrew Simon/Simeon, the son of Jacob in the Bible.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God has heard
  • Pronunciation: SIHM-iy-Ahn
  • Variations: Symeon
  • Namesakes: Simeon Tienpont, a Dutch sailor who competed in the America’s Cup. Simeon Willis, the 46th Governor of Kentucky from 1943 to 1947.
  • Popularity: Simeon is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Nigeria, and ranked 1,559th for boys in the U.S. in 2022.
Religious, Old

Stanislav

Stanislav is made up of the Russian “stani,” meaning “strength,” and “slav,” meaning “glory.” It’s very common in Slavic countries among proper Russian men’s names.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Someone who achieves fame
  • Pronunciation: STaan-iy-SLAAF
  • Variations: Stanislaus
  • Namesakes: Stanislav Aseyev, a Ukrainian journalist and founder of the Justice Initiative Fund. Stanislav Pozdnyakov, a Russian fencer and five-time Olympic medalist.
  • Popularity: Stanislav ranked 1,247th worldwide, is primarily used in Russia, and ranked 33rd in Slovakia in 2014.
Strong, Formal

Stas

Stas is a Russian nickname for Stanislav. It’s composed of “stani,” meaning “strength,” and “slav,” meaning “fame,” to make a formal name into something approachable and cute.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Military glory
  • Pronunciation: STAHZ
  • Namesakes: Stas Namin, a Russian musician with the Soviet music group Tsvety. Stas Misezhnikov, the Israeli Minister of Tourism, from 2009 and 2013.
  • Popularity: Stas is very rare worldwide, mostly used in Poland, and ranked 659th in Latvia in 2014.
Informal, Strong

Stepan

Stepan is the Russian and Slavic equivalent for Stephen, meaning “wreath” or “garland. Stepan also means everything from “honor” and “reward” to “renown” for your impressive baby boy.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Crowned one
  • Pronunciation: STEH-Pahn
  • Variations: Stephen, Stipan
  • Namesakes: Stepan Maryanyan, a Russian-Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler and gold medalist at the 2015 European Games. Stepan Chapman, an American speculative fiction writer known for the novel The Troika.
  • Popularity: Stepan is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in Ukraine, where it ranked 56th in 2014.
Traditional, Masculine
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Timofey

Timofey is the Russian version of Timothy. It comes from the Greek Timotheos, meaning “honoring a god.” It’s also related to the Russian surname Timofeyevich.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: To honor God
  • Pronunciation: Tih-mah-FIY
  • Variations: Timofei
  • Namesakes: Timofey Lebeshev, a Soviet cinematographer awarded the Medal For Labor Valor in 1974. Timofey Lapshin, a South Korean-Russian biathlete and silver medalist at the Biathlon Junior World Championships.
  • Popularity: Timofey is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 131st in Belarus in 2014.
Traditional, Unique

Tisha

Tisha is also the Hebrew word for the number nine. It appears in Russian as a pet name for Timothy but is more common as an African-American girl’s name.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Honoring God
  • Pronunciation: TIY-Shaa
  • Popularity: Tisha is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., ranking 1,751st in 2014.
Religious, Cute

Tolya

Tolya also means “rising sun.” It derives from the Greek “anatolē,” meaning “sunrise” and “pointing to the east.” It’s both a nickname for Anatoly and a shorter version of Tolenka.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: From the east
  • Pronunciation: TOWL-Yaa
  • Popularity: Tolya is very rare worldwide and mainly used in India.
Informal, Unique

Urvan

Urvan is a variant of the name Urban. It comes from the Latin “urbanus,” meaning “citizen” or “city dweller,” and inspires our use of “urban” today.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Of the city
  • Pronunciation: EHR-Vaan
  • Variations: Urban
  • Popularity: Urvan is extremely rare worldwide, with only 73 occurrences in 2014, primarily in India.
Unusual, Rare

Vadim

Vadim is made up of the Russian root “volod,” meaning “to rule.” It may also be associated with the Persian “badian,” meaning “anise” or “aniseed.” Vadim is a nickname for Vladimir that can also mean “attractive.”

  • Origin: Russian, Persian
  • Meaning: Powerful ruler
  • Pronunciation: Vaa-DIYM
  • Variations: Vadeem, Vadem, Vadime
  • Namesakes: Vadim Crîcimari, a Moldovan footballer for Dacia Buiucani. Vadim Muntagirov, the principal Russian ballet dancer at The Royal Ballet in London.
  • Popularity: Vadim ranked 1,133rd worldwide, is mainly used in Russia, and ranked 28th in Transnistria in 2014.
Strong, Common

Valentin

Valentin is the Russian spelling for the Latin Valentine, originating with the Roman Valentinus. It also means “healthy,” “power,” and “rule.” Saint Valentin(e) is the most famous of them all.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Strong
  • Pronunciation: Vaa-lehn-TIYN
  • Variations: Valentyn, Valentijn, Valentine
  • Namesakes: Valentin Parnakh, a Soviet musician and a founding father of Soviet jazz. Valentin Teodosiu, a Romanian actor and the voice of channel ProTV since 1995.
  • Popularity: Valentin ranked 1,334th worldwide, is mainly used in Bulgaria, and ranked 1,377th for boys in 2022.
Formal, Common

Vanya

Vanya is a diminutive of the Russian Ivan, the Slavic version of John. In the Bible, John means “graced by God,” the most inviting among Russian male names.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: VAEN-Yaa
  • Namesakes: Vanya Dermendzhieva, a Bulgarian basketball player who competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Vanya is rare worldwide and primarily used in Bulgaria, where it ranked 81st in 2014.
Informal, Religious

Varfolomei

Varfolomei also means “son of Talmai.” It’s the Russian equivalent of Bartholomew, a famous biblical apostle.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of a farmer
  • Pronunciation: Vaar-FAAL-ah-Mey
  • Variations: Varfolomey
  • Namesakes: Varfolomei Remov, a Russian Orthodox bishop and vicar of the eparchy of Moscow between 1921 and 1928.
  • Popularity: Varfolomei is extremely rare worldwide, with only 52 occurrences in 2014, mainly in Ukraine, though it ranked 1,946th in Moldova.
Formal, Rare

Vasiliy

Vasiliy is the Slavic spelling of Basil, based on the Greek Vassilios. It derives from “basileus,” meaning “king.”

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Royal, kingly
  • Pronunciation: VAE-sih-Liy
  • Variations: Vasily, Vassily, Vasili
  • Namesakes: Vasiliy Ulrikh, a Soviet-Russian during the regime of Joseph Stalin. Vasiliy Lomachenko, a Ukrainian boxer and gold medalist at the 2011 World Championships.
  • Popularity: Vasiliy ranked 1,699th worldwide and is mainly used in Russia, ranking 69th in 2014.
Old, Traditional

Viktor

Viktor comes from the Latin Victor, meaning “conqueror.” It uses the root “victoria” for “victory.” Viktor was famously given to saints, popes, and anyone seen as the ultimate winner.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Champion
  • Pronunciation: VIYK-Taar
  • Variations: Victor
  • Namesakes: Viktor Preiss, a Czech actor known for the 2007 film Operace Silver A. Viktor Tsoi, a Soviet singer/songwriter and co-founder of the band Kino.
  • Popularity: Viktor ranked 462nd worldwide, is primarily used in Russia, and ranked 19th in Kazakhstan in 2014.
Strong, Popular
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Vitaliy

Vitaliy is based on the Latin Vitalis, meaning “life-giving” or “vital.” Its nickname became Vitus, also full of life force for your little lad.

  • Origin: Russian, Latin
  • Meaning: Full of life
  • Pronunciation: Vay-TAH-liy
  • Variations: Vitale, Vitaly, Vitalii
  • Namesakes: Vitaliy Pryndeta, a Ukrainian footballer for FC Akzhayik. Vitaliy Krivitskiy, the Ukrainian Roman Catholic bishop of Kyiv–Zhytomyr since 2017.
  • Popularity: Vitaliy ranked 1,246th worldwide, is mainly used in Russia, and ranked 53rd in Belarus in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Vlad

Vlad is a nickname for the Russian Vladimir and Vladislav. It also means “ruler of the world” and “bright and famous.” The most infamous Vlad is Vlad the Impaler, a Romanian leader and the inspiration for Dracula.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Famous power
  • Pronunciation: VLAAD
  • Variations: Vladi
  • Namesakes: Vlad Miriță, a Romanian singer who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Vlad Filat, the Prime Minister of Moldova from 2009 to 2013.
  • Popularity: Vlad is rare worldwide, mainly used in Romania, and ranked 1,675th for boys in the U.S. in 2022.
Strong, Masculine

Yackim

Yackim is a very rarely used Russian nickname for Joachim. It also means “established by God,” but isn’t to be found anywhere.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God raises up
  • Pronunciation: Yae-KIHM
  • Variations: Yakim
  • Popularity: Yackim is extremely rare worldwide, with only one occurrence in 2014, in DR Congo.
Rare, Religious

Yakov

Yakov is a Russian-influenced pet name for Jacob and James. It’s interchangeable with the nickname Yasha as well.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Pronunciation: YAA-Kaaf
  • Variations: Yaakov
  • Namesakes: Yakov Smirnoff, a Ukrainian-American comedian who appeared in the film Moscow on the Hudson. Yakov Estrin, a Russian chess player, and the World Correspondence Chess Champion.
  • Popularity: Yakov is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 102nd in Ukraine in 2014.
Religious, Traditional

Yerik

Yerik only mostly appears in Russian and Kazak, but it’s based on the Hebrew Jeremiah. We may know it better as Jeremy, but Yerik is a very unique way to bring it to your baby boy.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Appointed by God
  • Pronunciation: YEH-Rihk
  • Namesakes: Yerik Asanbayev, the vice-president of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 1991 to 1996. Yerik Utembayev, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Iran, Uzbekistan, Belgium and Luxembourg.
  • Popularity: Yerik is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Kazakhstan.
Rare, Unique

Yevgeny

Yevgeny is the Russian form of Eugene. It’s based on the Greek Eugénios, “high-born” for regal little boys.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Well-born, noble
  • Pronunciation: YEHV-geh-Niy
  • Variations: Yevgeni, Yevgenii, Yevgeniy
  • Namesakes: Yevgeny Leonov, a Soviet-Russian actor who voiced Vinny Pukh (Winnie-the-Pooh). Yevgeny Zamyatin, a Russian science-fiction author known for the 1921 dystopian novel We.
  • Popularity: Yevgeny is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Formal, Rare

Yuri

Yuri is also a Japanese girl’s name meaning “lily.” In Russian, it’s associated with the Greek George, meaning “earthworker.” Yuri is one of those recognizable Russian names for boys partly because of the famous cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Farmer
  • Pronunciation: YUW-Riy
  • Variations: Yury, Yurii, Yuriyj
  • Namesakes: Yuri Korolyov, a Soviet gymnast and the World All-Around Champion in 1985. Yury Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow from 1992 to 2010.
  • Popularity: Yuri is uncommon worldwide and primarily in Brazil, where it ranked 360th in 2014.
Informal, Cute

Zavid

Zavid also means “darling” and “favorite.” It may have English associations but could be a Russian form of David. Zavid is also a character in a fantasy book series called Dark Hunter.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Beloved, friend
  • Pronunciation: ZAH-Vahd
  • Variations: Zaved
  • Popularity: Zavid is very rare worldwide and primarily used in India.
Unusual, Rare

Zhivago

Zhivago uses the Russian root “zhizn,” meaning “life.” It’s an unusual first name but known as a surname that inspired the Russian epic, Dr. Zhivago.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Life
  • Pronunciation: Zhi-VAA-goh
  • Namesakes: Zhivago Duncan, an American artist with works in the Saatchi Gallery in London. Zhivago Groenewald, a Namibian cricketer named among Cricket Namibia’s Elite Men’s Squad in 2019.
  • Popularity: Zhivago is extremely rare worldwide, mainly used in Namibia, and ranked 1,687th in Anguilla in 2014.
Rare, Unusual

Zinovy

Zinovy comes from the Greek Zēnóbios. It originally meant “the force of Zeus” and is a powerful way to welcome your baby into the world.

  • Origin: Russian, Greek
  • Meaning: Life of Zeus
  • Pronunciation: Zih-NOH-vee
  • Variations: Zinoviy, Zinovii
  • Namesakes: Zinovy Gerdt, a Soviet-Russian awarded the People’s Artist of the USSR in 1990. Zinovy Reichstein, a Russian-American mathematician known for the idea of essential dimension.
  • Popularity: Zinovy is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Unusual, Strong
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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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