When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

100 Famous Russian Last Names: From the Motherland

Updated
Discover Russian last names from the land of Tsars, bringing centuries of culture and tradition with them.

There are distinct rules governing Russian last names and their use, making it hard to figure out why Russians traditionally have three names and why female and male variations exist.

Our helpful name list has both popular and rare Russian surnames at your disposal. You’ll learn the variations and spellings of each name, how to pronounce them, and find famous namesakes along the way. Once completed, you’ll likely become a true expert in Russian last names in no time!


Gender
Sort by
Style
🕵️ No results found. Clear the Filters?

100 Popular Russian Last Names

Dig into common and unusual Russian surnames with a significant story to tell.

Abdulov

Abdulov derives from Abdulayev, meaning “son of Abdul,” which means “servant of God” in Arabic. In addition to Russia, it also appears in Azerbaijan and Central Asia.

  • Origin: Russian, Arabic
  • Meaning: Son of Abdul
  • Pronunciation: Ahb-DOOWL-ov
  • Variations: Abdulova
  • Namesakes: Osip Abdulov, a Soviet actor and news reader on Soviet radio during World War II. Ilgar Abdulov, an Azerbaijani Greco-Roman wrestler who competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Abdulov is rare worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 390th in Azerbaijan in 2014.
Unique, Old

Agapov

Agapov is based on the first name Agap, which refers to the Greek “agápē.” It’s a beautiful term for “unconditional love” that also came to mean “friendship.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Love, friendship
  • Pronunciation: Ah-GAAH-pov
  • Variations: Agapova
  • Namesakes: Yuri Agapov, a Russian footballer for FC Fakel Voronezh. Pyotr Agapov, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Karelian ASSR between 1959 and 1972.
  • Popularity: Agapoz is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 1,144th in 2014.
Unusual, Common

Andreyev

Andreyev comes from Andrei, a Russian variation of Andrew. Andrei or Andrey originated with the Greek Andreas, meaning “manly.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Andrey
  • Pronunciation: Ahn-DREY-ehv
  • Variations: Andreev, Andreeff, Andrejew
  • Namesakes: Andrey Andreyev, the Soviet head of the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party (Soviet Union) from 1939 to 1952.
  • Popularity: Andreyev is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Traditional, Strong

Antonov

Antonov is one of many patronymic Russian last names based on a personal name. In this case, it means “son of Anton” and derives from the Latin Antonius. Antonov is also common in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Son of Anton
  • Pronunciation: AAN-toh-Nov
  • Variations: Antonova
  • Namesakes: Anatoly Antonov, the current Ambassador of Russia to the United States. Dmytro Antonov, a Ukrainian footballer for Naftovyk Okhtyrka.
  • Popularity: Antonov is extremely rare worldwide, with 51 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in North Macedonia.
Rare, Old

Baladin

Baladin has one of the strangest meanings for Russian surnames, with “small crater on the moon.” It’s also related to the French “baladin,” for a “theatrical dancer” or “stage buffoon.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: A small crater on the moon
  • Pronunciation: BAAL-ah-Dihn
  • Namesakes: Aleksandr Balandin, a Russian cosmonaut and President of the Lendint-Association until 2000.
  • Popularity: Baladin is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Turkey.
Unusual, Rare

Balakirev

Balakirev is made up of the Russian “balakit,” meaning “to babble” or “talk nonstop.” It’s also associated with a Slavic occupational term for a “ceramic worker,” making it more official.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Ceramics worker
  • Pronunciation: Bah-lah-KIY-rev
  • Namesakes: Mily Balakirev, a Russian composer known for the First Symphony in 1897.
  • Popularity: Balakirev is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Occupational, Uncommon

Barinov

Barinov is one of the lesser-known Russian last names for boys relating to a noble. It means “descendant of a boyar,” a high-ranking noble between the 10th- and 17th-centuries.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Descendent of a boyar
  • Pronunciation: BAH-rih-Nov
  • Variations: Barinova
  • Namesakes: Dmitri Barinov, a Russian footballer for the Russian national team. Yuri Barinov, a Soviet cyclist who won the Tour de Luxembourg in 1981.
  • Popularity: Barinov is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 926th in 2014.
Noble, Common

Bobkow

Bobkow is one of the rarest Russian names based on the Russian word for a beaver. The spelling Bobrov is much more common, leaving Bobkow to the realm of antiquated surnames.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Beaver
  • Pronunciation: BOHB-kow
  • Variations: Bobrova
  • Popularity: Bobkow is extremely rare worldwide, with just seven known occurrences in 2014, mainly in Russia.
Unusual, Animal

Bobrov

Like Bobkow, Bobrov means “beaver.” It’s a fun example of somewhat common family names with unique beginnings. Bobrov is also pretty well known in Belarus.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Beaver
  • Pronunciation: BOB-rohv
  • Variations: Bobrova
  • Namesakes: Viktor Bobrov, a Russian ice hockey player for the Calgary Flames. Vladimir Bobrov, a member of the Senate of Kazakhstan from 2012 to 2016.
  • Popularity: Bobrov is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 630th in 2014.
Animal, Common

Bocharov

Bocharov is a Russian occupational surname based on “bochar.” It’s the word for a “cooper,” someone who makes wooden casks, barrels, and other containers.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Cooper
  • Pronunciation: BOCH-ah-Rov
  • Variations: Bocharova
  • Namesakes: Dmitry Bocharov, a Russian chess grandmaster with first place at the Master’s tournament of the 14th Abu Dhabi Chess Festival.
  • Popularity: Bocharov is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 856th in 2014.
Occupational, Common
Names You Might Also Like
Happy black african american woman standing against window grillsBlack Last Names - Beyond Slavery and Their Modern Significance
Little girl dressed as a witch holding a broom and a pumpkin in her hands.Exploring Witch Last Names: Their Meanings, Origins and Popularity
Two Jewish girls looking at the Hanukkah menorahDiscovering the Beauty of Hebrew Girl Names: Meanings and Origins

Bortnik

Bortnik is not a typical Russian patronymic name but instead points to a place called Bortniki in Russia. It also means “beekeepers” and often appears on Belarusian and Ukrainian surname lists.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Beekeeper
  • Pronunciation: BOHRT-nik
  • Namesakes: Olexandr Bortnyk, a Ukrainian chess player made FIDE Grandmaster in 2015.
  • Popularity: Bortnik is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 875th in Belarus in 2014.
Occupational, Unique

Bykov

Bykov is based on the nickname Byk, meaning “bull ox.” As a Jewish-Ukraininan name, it refers to Bykov, a place in eastern Ukraine. Bykov sometimes means “habit” for a third, more general definition.

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Bull-ox
  • Pronunciation: BIY-kov
  • Namesakes: Dmitry Bykov, a Russian biographer of Maxim Gorky. Sergey Bykov, a Russian basketball player for Dynamo Moscow.
  • Popularity: Bykov is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 224th in 2014.
Strong, Popular

Chaban

Chaban means “shepherd” in Russian and may derive from the Turkish “çoban.” It’s used all over Slavic cultures, from Czaban to Čaban, for shepherds everywhere.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Shepherd
  • Pronunciation: Chah-BOHN
  • Variations: Chabaud
  • Namesakes: Jacques Chaban-Delmas, the French prime minister under Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1972. Mykola Chaban, a Ukrainian writer and a Merited Journalist of Ukraine (2007).
  • Popularity: Chaban is rare worldwide and mostly used in Ukraine, ranking 282nd in 2014.
Old, Occupational

Chekhov

Chekhov started as a stereotypical term for someone from Czechia (once Czechoslovakia). It means “Czech” and is most famous for figures from playwright Anton Chekhov to Pavel Chekov on the Star Trek TV series.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Czech
  • Pronunciation: CHEH-kov
  • Variations: Chekov
  • Namesakes: Anton Chekhov, a Russian playwright best known for The Cherry Orchard. Valery Chekhov, a Russian chess grandmaster and World Junior Chess Champion (1975).
  • Popularity: Chekhov is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Old, Famous

Davidoff

Davidoff is one of many Russian last names that first ended in “-ov.” The “-off” addition represents the French interpretation of the names. It relates to the Jewish Davydov and Davidov and may be an Americanized form of Davidovich. Davidoff is inspired by Zino Davidoff, known as the “King of Cigars,” now known for a cologne.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of David
  • Pronunciation: DAH-viy-DOF
  • Variations: Davidov
  • Namesakes: Dov Davidoff, an American comedian appearing on the HBO series Crashing. Monte Davidoff, an American computer programmer who wrote Microsoft Binary Format routines for Altair BASIC.
  • Popularity: Davidoff is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Modern, Uncommon

Devin

Devin comes from the Russian “deva,” meaning “maiden,” but is also a French surname meaning “fortuneteller.” Devin is a Celtic name meaning “poet” that’s based on the Irish “da(i)mhín.”

  • Origin: Russian, Celtic
  • Meaning: Maiden
  • Pronunciation: DEH-vin
  • Namesakes: William A. Devin, the American chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. William F. Devin, the Mayor of Seattle from 1942 to 1952.
  • Popularity: Devin is rare worldwide and mostly used in France.
Unique, Uncommon

Dmitriev

Dmitriev comes from the male Dmitry and can be summed up as “belonging to Dmitry.” Dmitriy originated with the Greek Dēmētrios, a name inspired by the Goddess Demeter.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Of Dmitry
  • Pronunciation: Deh-MIY-tree-Ehv
  • Variations: Dmitriyev
  • Namesakes: Artur Dmitriev, a Russian pair skater and gold medalist at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Andrei Dmitriev, a Russian novelist awarded the 2012 Russian Booker Prize for The Peasant and the Teenager.
  • Popularity: Dmitriev is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 93rd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Dubow

Dubow refers to any place containing “oak trees.” It sometimes appears as Dubofsky in Czech-Slovakian and means “the son of Dub” or “the son of oak.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Place of oak trees
  • Pronunciation: DUW-bow
  • Variations: Dubov, Dubowsky
  • Popularity: Dubow is rare worldwide and primarily used in Somalia, ranking 138th in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon

Egorov

Egorov takes its cues from the first name Egor, sometimes spelled Igor or Yegor. It means “farmer” or “earthworker” and, like other names, is intended for a son of Yegor.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Yegor
  • Pronunciation: Eh-goh-ROHV
  • Variations: Yegorov, Igorov, Egorova
  • Namesakes: Alexandre Egorov, a Russian painter who first designed Russian Tarot Cards. Igor Egorov, a Russian team director with FC Yenisey Krasnoyarsk.
  • Popularity: Egorov is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 42nd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Ermakov

Ermakov points to the “child (son) of Yermak.” It’s famous for the badass name Yermak Timofeyevich, a Cossack responsible for the Conquest of Siberia under Ivan the Terrible.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Yermak
  • Pronunciation: EHR-mah-Kov
  • Variations: Ermakova, Yermakov
  • Namesakes: Pyotr Ermakov, a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary who took part in the execution of the Romanov family.
  • Popularity: Ermakov is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, ranking 225th in 2014.
Unique, Famous
Discover More Unique Name Suggestions
Two cool kids with sunglasses looking toughUnleashing the Power of Cool Last Names for Characters
Mexican siblings having fun outdoorsMexican Last Names: Unveiling Their Cultural Significance and Origins
Sweet African dad holding up his beautiful baby boyExploring the Diversity of African Boy Names

Federov

Federov comes from the first name Feder. It’s associated with the Russian “feodor,” meaning “God’s gift,” and is somewhat similar to the Old English “feder,” meaning “feather.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: God’s gift
  • Pronunciation: FEH-deh-Rov
  • Variations: Fedorov, Federoff, Federolff
  • Popularity: Federov is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Rare, Unique

Golubev

Golubev derives from the Russian “golub,” meaning “pigeon.” It’s one of several Russian last names for boys inspired by animals. Some say it means “dove,” but pigeons feel more down-to-earth.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Pigeon
  • Pronunciation: Goh-LUW-bev
  • Variations: Golubeva
  • Namesakes: Andrey Golubev, a Russian-Kazakhstan tennis player and winner of the 2010 International German Open. Vasily Golubev, the governor of Rostov Oblast, Russia, since 2010.
  • Popularity: Golubev is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 272nd in 2014.
Animal, Unusual

Goncharov

Goncharov is the Russian equivalent of the English surname Potter. It’s based on “gonchar,” the occupational name for a “potter,” still very popular today in Russia and Belarus.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Potter
  • Pronunciation: Gohn-CHAA-rov
  • Variations: Goncharova
  • Namesakes: Ivan Goncharov, a Russian novelist known for The Precipice (1869). Vasily Goncharov, a Russian film director known for Defence of Sevastopol (1911).
  • Popularity: Goncharov is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 105th in Belarus in 2014.
Occupational, Popular

Gorbachev

Gorbachev comprises the Russian root “gorbáč,” meaning “hunchback.” It appears in Ukrainian as Horbanenko and in Belarus as Harbachow but is most famous for the USSR’s last leader. Gorbachev is a prime example of how Russian girl last names work, with Mikhail Gorbachev’s wife known as Raisa Gorbacheva.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Hunchback
  • Pronunciation: Gorbacheva
  • Namesakes: Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Nikolai Gorbachev, a Soviet-Belarusian sprint canoer and gold medalist at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Gorbachev is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 1,274th in Belarus in 2014.
Famous, Nicknames

Gorky

Gorky derived from the Russian Górʹkij, the name of a Soviet city. It may have origins with the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky, known as the “founder of Socialist realism.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Awkward
  • Pronunciation: GOHR-kiy
  • Namesakes: Alexei Peshkov (known as Maxim Gorky), a Russian writer nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Arshile Gorky (born Vostanik Adoian), an Armenian-American painter who was part of the 20th-century Abstract Expressionism movement.
  • Popularity: Gorky is extremely rare worldwide, with 161 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in Iran.
Famous, Rare

Gurin

Gurin is a Belarusian name for someone from the village of Gury. In Russia, it refers to the first name Gura, a nickname for Guriy. Gurin also goes back to the Hebrew “gur,” meaning “lion cub.”

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Lion cub
  • Pronunciation: GUHR-ihn
  • Popularity: Gurin is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 583rd in Belarus in 2014.
Animal, Common

Gurkin

Gurkin comes from the Russian first name Gury, a form of Gurin. Unlike other Russian surnames, Gurkin is also found in Ireland, mainly in County Connacht.

  • Origin: Russian, Celtic
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: GER-kin
  • Popularity: Gurkin is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Rare, Unusual

Gusev

Gusev is composed of the Russian “goos,” meaning “goose.” It appears as Husyev or Husyeva in Ukraine since “g’s” became “h’s” for Ukrainians, Belarusians, and other Slavs.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Goose
  • Pronunciation: GUW-sev
  • Variations: Guseva
  • Namesakes: Aleksandr Gusev, a Soviet field hockey player and bronze medalist at the 1980 Summer Olympics. Pavel Gusev, a Russian editor-in-chief of the Moscow newspaper Moskovskij Komsomolets since 1983.
  • Popularity: Gusev is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 125th in 2014.
Animal, Popular

Ibragimov

Ibragimov is a rich example of a Russian patronymic surname with Muslim origins. It’s based on Ibrahim, the Russian form of the Hebrew Abraham, who became the “son of Ibrahim” to his descendents.

  • Origin: Russian, Uzbekh
  • Meaning: Son of Ibrahim
  • Pronunciation: EE-brah-GIY-mov
  • Variations: Ibragimova
  • Namesakes: Sultan Ibragimov, a Russian boxer and WBO world heavyweight champion from 2007 to 2008. Shaymardan Ibragimov, the second First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR from 1926 to 1927.
  • Popularity: Ibragimov ranked 1,941st worldwide and is mainly used in Uzbekistan, where it ranked 8th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Ivanov

Ivanov represents the top two Russian last names for boys and girls. It ranked 2nd in Russia in 2014, while its female counterpart Ivanova ranked #1 in Russia the same year. Ivanov means “son of Ivan,” the Slavic and Russian form of John, meaning “God is gracious.”

  • Origin: Russian, Bulgarian
  • Meaning: Son of Ivan
  • Pronunciation: Ih-VAAN-ov
  • Variations: Ivanoff, Ivanow, Ivanova
  • Namesakes: Viktor Ivanov, the director of The Federal Narcotics Service of Russia from 2008 until 2016. Ive Ivanov, a Croatian basketball player for Široki.
  • Popularity: Ivanov ranked 431st worldwide, is primarily used in Russia, and ranked 1st in Bulgaria and Belarus in 2014.
Traditional, Popular
More Great Names to Consider
Happy Dutch girl holding a bouquet of tulipsDutch Girl Names: From Amsterdam to the World Stage
A Hispanic mother lying on a blanket in the park with her baby girlHispanic Girl Names: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
Norwegian mother with her children standing in meadow at sunset timeExploring Unique and Popular Norwegian Last Names

Kalashnik

Kalashnik is an occupational surname for a “maker of kalaches,” a traditional bread. Kalaches use the root “kolo,” meaning “wheel” or “to be hungry.” Russian tradition determined the descendants of the Kalashnik had the same name.

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Maker of Kalaches
  • Pronunciation: Kaa-LAHSH-nik
  • Variations: Kalachnik, Kalashnyk
  • Namesakes: Aleksei Kalashnik, a Russian footballer for FC Kristall Smolensk. Volodymyr Kalashnyk, a Ukrainian linguist with the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine since 2006.
  • Popularity: Kalashnik is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia.
Occupational, Uncommon

Kamenev

Kamenev is based on the male name Kamen, meaning “stone.” It’s still most prevalent in Russia but is slightly uncommon today.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Stone
  • Pronunciation: KAA-meh-Nev
  • Variations: Kameneva
  • Namesakes: Lev Kamenev, a Bolshevik revolutionary and the first head of state of Soviet Russia in 1917. Vladislav Kamenev, a Russian ice hockey player for HC CSKA Moscow.
  • Popularity: Kamenev is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Unique, Uncommon

Koshkin

Koshkin centers around the Russian word “koshka,” meaning “cat.” It can also be used for a “cat owner” who adores their pet.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Cat
  • Pronunciation: KOWSH-kin
  • Variations: Koshkina
  • Namesakes: Dmitriy Koshkin, a Kazakh alpine skier who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Mikhail Koshkin, a Soviet tank designer of the T-34 tank during World War II.
  • Popularity: Koshkin is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, ranking 1,342nd in 2014.
Animal, Unique

Kovalchuk

Kovalchuk is more popular in Ukraine than in Russia. Either way, it uses “koval,” meaning “forge” or “blacksmith.” The suffix “-chuk” is a lesser-known way to say “son of” or “apprentice of.” Kovalchuk ranked 15th in Belarus and 31st in Transnistria.

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Blacksmith
  • Pronunciation: Kow-VAHL-chuk
  • Variations: Kowalczuk, Kavalchuk, Kowalchuk
  • Namesakes: Viktoria Kovalchuk, a Ukrainian illustrator known for the book ABC. Olga Kovalchuk, a Ukrainian Paralympic sport shooter and silver medalist at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
  • Popularity: Kovalchuk is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Ukraine, where it ranked 8th in 2014.
Occupational, Popular

Kravtsov

Kravtsov comes from the Slavic “krawc,” a mostly Polish root of “krawiec,” meaning “tailor.” Portnoy is the usual Russian word for “tailor,” but Kravtsov ultimately won.

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Tailor
  • Pronunciation: KRAHV-sov
  • Variations: Kravtsova
  • Namesakes: Vitali Kravtsov, a Russian ice hockey player for the Vancouver Canucks. Sergey Kravtsov, the Minister of Education of the Russian Federation since 2020.
  • Popularity: Kravtsov is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 129th in Belarus in 2014.
Occupational, Common

Kristoff

Kristoff is often associated with the Bulgarian Hristov, based on Hristo. It’s the Bulgarian spelling for Christopher, the classic name meaning “Christ within.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Christ-bearer
  • Pronunciation: KRISS-tof
  • Variations: Kristov, Kristof
  • Namesakes: Romano Kristoff, a Spanish actor known for Jungle Rats (1987). Alexander Kristoff, a Norwegian road bicycle racer who won the Norwegian National Road Race Championships in 2011.
  • Popularity: Kristoff is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Rare, Strong

Krupin

Krupin shows not all Russian family names are long. It originated with the Slavic “krupa,” thought to mean “barley” or “grain,” which celebrates the rich history of Russian agriculture.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Barley
  • Pronunciation: KRUW-pin
  • Variations: Krupina
  • Namesakes: Janet Krupin, an American actress known for the Broadway show Bring It On: The Musical (2011). Vladimir Krupin, a Soviet Russian writer known for the 1980 novel Zhivaya Voda (Aqua Vitae).
  • Popularity: Krupin is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Unique, Uncommon

Kuznetsov

Kuznetsov is another word for a “blacksmith” when using the Russian root “kuznets.” It denotes a “descendent of a blacksmith” and moves between being Russia’s 3rd and 4th most popular surname.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Smith
  • Pronunciation: KOOS-netz-Ov
  • Variations: Kuznyetsov, Kuznetsoff, Kouznetsov, Kuznetsova
  • Namesakes: Yury Kuznetsov, a Soviet-Russian actor and recipient of the Meritorious Artist Award of Russia. Evgeny Kuznetsov, a Russian diver and bronze medalist at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships.
  • Popularity: Kuznetsov ranked 1,092nd worldwide and is mostly used in Russia, ranking 4th in 2014.
Occupational, Long

Laskin

Laskin has multiple meanings, including as a Russian and Belarusian nickname from “laska,” meaning “favor.” It also means “weasel” and is associated with the Jewish given name Laske, based on Elazar.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Favor
  • Pronunciation: LASS-kin
  • Variations: Lasskina
  • Namesakes: Larissa Laskin, a Canadian actress appearing in The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2000). William Laskin, a Canadian luthier who helped found the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans.
  • Popularity: Laskin is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Uncommon, Nicknames

Lebedev

Lebedev derives from the Russian “lebed,” meaning “swan.” The Russian clergy used it since swans are considered a sacred symbol of fidelity.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Swan
  • Pronunciation: LIY-beh-Dev
  • Variations: Lebedeva
  • Namesakes: Valentin Lebedev, a Soviet cosmonaut on the Space Station Salyut 7 in 1982. Aleksey Lebedev, a Russian screenwriter for the animated series Kikoriki.
  • Popularity: Lebedev is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 72nd in 2014.
Animal, Popular
Check Out These Name Lists Next
Two happy little girls looking at each other on the street of Mykonos in GreeceFrom Hypatia to Katerina: Discovering Greek Girl Names
Adorable girl in red jacket standing in the meadow100 Beautifully Rare Last Names: With Mysterious Origins
Happy family walking through the parkCommon Middle Names: A Blend of Modern, Traditional, and Unique Choices

Levin

Levin is based on the Russian “lev,” meaning “lion.” It’s associated with the first name Levi with a suffix added and has become a mainstay of Russian-Jewish last names.

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Pronunciation: Levi, Levina, Levine
  • Variations: LEH-vin
  • Namesakes: Marc Levin, an American filmmaker known for the Brick City TV series, which won the 2010 Peabody Award. Yariv Levin, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister from 2022.
  • Popularity: Levin is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 252nd in Sweden in 2014.
Strong, Old

Levitsky

Like other Jewish-Russian last names, Levitsky derives from the Hebrew name Levi, meaning “joined to.” It dates back to the ancient Levite tribe that brought us the surnames from Levy and Levin to Levitsky.

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Joined to
  • Pronunciation: Leh-VIHT-ski
  • Variations: Levitski
  • Namesakes: Melvyn Levitsky, the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil from 1994 to 1998. Stepan Levitsky, a Russian chess Grandmaster and the 1911 Russian national chess champion.
  • Popularity: Levitsky is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Traditional, Uncommon

Markow

Markow represents a Russian-American spelling of Markov based on Mark, meaning “war-like.” It appeared in America as a name for immigrants with surnames beginning with Markow, such as Markowski.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Dedicated to Mars
  • Pronunciation: MAAR-kow
  • Variations: Markov, Markova
  • Namesakes: Therese Markow, an American scientist awarded the Genetics Society of America George Beadle Award in 2012. Jack Markow, an American cartoonist and the editor of Argosy magazine.
  • Popularity: Markow is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Modern

Maslow

Maslow is an Americanized form of Maslov, which uses the Russian root “maslo,” meaning “butter.” It may have been used as an occupational name for dairy workers and is associated with the Polish Maslowski.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Butter
  • Pronunciation: MAHS-low
  • Variations: Maslov, Maslova
  • Namesakes: Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist who created Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory of psychological health.
  • Popularity: Maslow is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Unique, Rare

Medvedev

Medvedev uses the Russian “medved,” meaning bear. As a Jewish surname, Medvedev is used for someone from Medvedevo in Belarus.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Bear
  • Pronunciation: MEHD-veh-Dev
  • Variations: Medvedeva
  • Namesakes: Daniil Medvedev, a Russian tennis player ranked third in men’s singles by the ATP in 2023. Yukhym Medvedev, the first elected chairman of the Soviet parliament in Ukraine from 1917 to 1918.
  • Popularity: Medvedev is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in Russia, ranking 56th in 2014.
Strong, Popular

Melnik

Melnik comes from the Russian “melit,” meaning “to grind,” and is the Russian word for a miller. It’s used like Miller in English and Müller in German for a person who mills flour for a living.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Miller
  • Pronunciation: MEHL-nik
  • Variations: Melnick, Melnyk
  • Namesakes: Daniel Melnick, an American film producer known for Straw Dogs. Faina Melnik, a Soviet discus thrower and the 1972 Summer Olympics champion.
  • Popularity: Melnik is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 6th in Transnistria in 2014.
Occupational, Popular

Melnikoff

Melnikoff is a longer variation of Melnik, an occupational name for a “miller,” meaning “descendent of the miller.” In this case, Melnikov was adjusted to an “-off” suffix, as many Russian family names were.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of the miller
  • Pronunciation: MEHL-nik-Of
  • Variations: Melnikov, Melnikova
  • Popularity: Melnikoff is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Occupational, Uncommon

Minsky

Minsky is both a Russian and Jewish surname given to inhabitants of Minsk, located in Belarus. It also means “independence” and “innovation.”

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: From Minsk
  • Pronunciation: MIHN-ski
  • Variations: Minski
  • Namesakes: Michael Minsky, a Russian opera singer, and conductor of the Don Cossack Choir Serge Jaroff. Terri Minsky, an American TV writer and creator of the series Lizzie McGuire.
  • Popularity: Minsky is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Rare, Traditional

Molchalin

Molchalin is among the more odd-sounding Russian last names for boys, also found in Belarus and Moldova. It’s super rare and began as a nickname for quiet children, meaning “shy.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Silent
  • Pronunciation: Mol-CHAH-lihn
  • Variations: Molchalina
  • Popularity: Molchalin is extremely rare worldwide, with 49 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in Russia.
Nicknames, Rare

Molotov

Molotov comprises the Russian “molot,” meaning “sledgehammer.” It’s most scary as a “Molotov cocktail,” created in Finland during the 1939 Winter War. Molotov is best associated with Vyacheslav Molotov and is also a bottle filled with a flammable substance that’s lit on fire.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Hammer
  • Pronunciation: MOHL-ah-Tov
  • Variations: Molotova
  • Namesakes: Vyacheslav Molotov, a Russian-Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and 1953 to 1956.
  • Popularity: Molotov is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia.
Famous, Strong
Explore Additional Name Inspirations
Little Scottish boy playing in his roomScottish Boy Names: The Blend of Modern and Traditional
Cute Irish girl in a green hat having fun in the parkExploring the Beauty of Irish Girl Names: Origins, Meanings, and Popularity
Cute Norwegian girl looking at GeirangerfjordUnveiling the Charm of Norwegian Girl Names

Morozov

Morosov is based on the first name Moroz, meaning “frost.” Traditionally, it was an antiquated name for boys born during wintertime and ranked 26th in Russia in 2014.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Frost
  • Pronunciation: Moh-ROW-sov
  • Variations: Morozan
  • Namesakes: Evgeny Morozov, an American writer named one of the 28 most influential Europeans by Politico in 2018. Alexei Morozov, the Russian president of the Kontinental Hockey League.
  • Popularity: Morozov is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 24th in Belarus in 2014.
Popular, Unusual

Nabokov

Nabokov is taken from the Russian “nabokii,” meaning “lopsided” or “falling to one side.” It may not be as known without its most famous namesake, the Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Lopsided
  • Pronunciation: Nah-BOW-kov
  • Variations: Nabokova
  • Namesakes: Vladimir Nabokov, a Russian best known for the 1955 novel Lolita. Yevgeni Nabokov, a Kazakhstani-Russian ice hockey player for the New York Islanders.
  • Popularity: Nabokov is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Famous, Rare

Nikolaev

Nikolaev is a lesser-used spelling of Nikolayev, given to a “descent of Nikolay.” Nikolay is the Russian version of Nicholas, meaning “victor of the people,” and so Nikolaev also means “belonging to Nikolay.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Descendent of Nicholas
  • Pronunciation: NIY-kow-Lov
  • Variations: Nikolayev, Nikolayeva
  • Namesakes: Nikolay Nikolaev, a Russian deputy of the 8th State Dumas since 2021. Nikolay Nikolaev, a Bulgarian footballer for Lyubimets.
  • Popularity: Nikolaev is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 15th in Transnistria in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Novikova

Novikova is one of many Russian girls whose last names are based on “novik,” meaning “newcomer.” It’s also a Jewish name for someone from Noviki in Belarus. Novikova can mean “young warrior” but is best known as a variation on a word used for any foreigner.

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Newcomer
  • Pronunciation: Now-VIK-oh-Vaa
  • Variations: Novikov, Novikoff
  • Namesakes: Elena Novikova, a Ukrainian road cyclist who competed at the 2007 UCI Road World Championships. Ksenia Novikova, a Russian singer with the pop group Blestyashchiye.
  • Popularity: Novikova ranked 1,872nd worldwide, is mainly used in Russia, and ranked 6th in Belarus in 2014.
Popular, Unique

Orloff

Orloff is a more modern spelling of Orlov, a nickname given to someone who was “like an eagle.” The Russian “oryol” means “eagle,” a potent Russian symbol on an Imperial insignia today.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Eagle-like
  • Pronunciation: OHR-lof
  • Variations: Orlov, Orlova
  • Namesakes: Gene Orloff, an American violinist who performed at Carnegie Hall. Nicholas W. Orloff, a Russian agent of the New York KGB during World War II.
  • Popularity: Orloff is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Nicknames, Animal

Ostrovsky

Ostrovsky derives from the Russian “ostrov,” meaning “island,” making it a name for someone from an island. In other Slavic languages, “ostrov” refers to an “island water meadow.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Island
  • Pronunciation: Oh-STRAAV-ski
  • Variations: Ostrovskii, Ostrovskaya, Ostrovska,Ostrovskoy
  • Namesakes: Alexey Ostrovsky, the Russian governor of Smolensk Oblast from 2012 to 2023. Arkady Ostrovsky, a Soviet-Russian composer known for May There Always Be Sunshine.
  • Popularity: Ostrovsky is rare worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 719th in Belarus in 2014.
Common, Unique

Panarin

Panarin is relatively unpopular in Russia but isn’t as rare as the female version, Panarina. It means “bread” when taken from the Latin “panem,” and may be at the heart of the Panera Bread food chain.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Bread
  • Pronunciation: Pah-NAYR-En
  • Variations: Panarina
  • Namesakes: Artemi Panarin, a Russian ice hockey player for the New York Rangers. Aleksandr Panarin, a Russian footballer for FC Fakel Voronezh.
  • Popularity: Panarin is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Rare, Occupational

Pasternak

Pasternak originated from the Latin “pastinaca,” meaning “parsnip.” In Poland, it means “dweller at the sign of the parsnip” or was for someone who “grew and sold parsnips.”

  • Origin: Russian, Polish
  • Meaning: Parsnip
  • Pronunciation: PAHS-ter-Naak
  • Variations: Pasternack
  • Namesakes: Anne Pasternak, the current director of the Brooklyn Museum. Joseph Pasternak, a Hungarian-American producer of films starring Esther Williams.
  • Popularity: Pasternak is rare worldwide and primarily used in Poland, where it ranked 396th in 2014.
Common, Unusual

Pavlov

Pavlov was also used in then-Czechoslovakia and means “the son of Pavel.” Pavel is the Russian form of Paul that began as the Latin Paulus, meaning “small.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Paul
  • Pronunciation: PAAV-lov
  • Variations: Pavlova
  • Namesakes: Ivan Pavlov, a Russian-Soviet physiologist known for the theory of classical conditioning. Valentin Pavlov, the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • Popularity: Pavlov is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 28th in 2014.
Traditional, Famous

Petrov

Petrov is often used in Bulgaria to mean “the son of Petar or Pyotor.” These Slavic versions of Peter still mean “rock” to indicate “belonging to Pyotr (or Petar).”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Peter
  • Pronunciation: PEH-trov
  • Variations: Petrova, Petrokov, Petroff
  • Namesakes: Boris Petrov, a Russian-Soviet painter and prominent member of the Leningrad school of painting. Božo Petrov, the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament from 2016 to 2017.
  • Popularity: Petrov ranked 904th worldwide and is mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 5th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular
Related Names for Your Consideration
Happy Swedish girl playing in the snowSwedish Girl Names: Understanding their Roots and Meanings
Australian kids sitting on the rock holding their flagsFrom Traditional to Modern: A Journey Through Australian Last Names
Father and son playing in the meadow on fine sunny dayExploring the Origin and Popularity of Japanese Last Names

Petukhova

Petukhova comes from Petukhovo, the name of several locations in Russia. Its ultimate meaning is unknown, but it’s currently the name of a settlement in Perm Krai, Russia.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Peh-TUWK-ho-Vah
  • Variations: Petukhov
  • Namesakes: Ekaterina Petukhova, a Russian diver who competed at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships.
  • Popularity: Petukhova is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, ranked 428th in 2014.
Unusual, Old

Polyakov

Polyakov is a pretty complicated Russian word for someone from Poland. It’s inspired by the Belarusian Polyakov family, who came from Poland in 1783. Their name was originally Polyak, meaning “pole.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Polish
  • Pronunciation: POH-Liy-ah-Kov
  • Variations: Poliakov, Polyakova, Paliakova
  • Namesakes: Viktor Polyakov, a Ukrainian boxer who competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Lazar Polyakov, a Russian-Jewish entrepreneur, called the “Rothschild of Moscow.”
  • Popularity: Polyakov is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 134th in 2014.
Unusual, Popular

Popov

Popov is so common that it’s also used in Belarus, Serbia, and Macedonia. It’s based on the Slavic “pop,” meaning “priest,” that’s the equivalent to the Greek “pappas,” meaning “father.”

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Priest
  • Pronunciation: PAH-pov
  • Variations: Popova
  • Namesakes: Alek Popov, a Bulgarian writer known for Mission London (2001). Oleg Popov, a Soviet-Russian clown and circus artist, named the People’s Artist of the USSR in 1969.
  • Popularity: Popov ranked 1,127th worldwide and is mainly used in Russia, ranking 10th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Portnov

Portnov is a Russian occupational surname from “portnoy,” meaning “tailor.” With the added suffix, it also means “descendent of the tailor.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Tailor
  • Pronunciation: PORT-nov
  • Variations: Portnova, Portnoff
  • Namesakes: Aleksandr Portnov, a Soviet diver and gold medalist at the 1980 Olympic Games. Andriy Portnov, a Ukrainian member of the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014.
  • Popularity: Portnov is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Occupational, Uncommon

Prostakov

Prostakov is an almost-unheard Russian surname given to a “simpleton.” It appears in multiple countries but is very rare anywhere it turns up.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Simpleton
  • Pronunciation: PROHS-tah-Kov
  • Variations: Prostakhov, Prostakova
  • Popularity: Prostakov is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia.
Nicknames, Rare

Putin

Putin means “belonging to the way or road” and includes the Russian “put,” meaning “road.” It’s best associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Road
  • Pronunciation: POO-tin
  • Variations: Putina
  • Namesakes: Vladimir Putin, a Russian politician who was prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and 2008 to 2012 and then president from 2000 to 2008 and since 2012. Spiridon Putin, a Russian chef and the personal cook for Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin.
  • Popularity: Putin is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Famous, Uncommon

Rabinovich

Rabinovich is taken from the person named Rabin and is used as a “son of the rabbi.” Some interesting offshoots of Rabinovich appear in Lithuanian as Rabinowitz or Rabinowicz.

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Son of the Rabbi
  • Pronunciation: Rah-BIHN-ow-Vich
  • Variations: Rabinovitch
  • Namesakes: Roman Rabinovich, an Israeli pianist who won the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition. Abraham Rabinovich, an American historian with work published in The New York Times.
  • Popularity: Rabinovich is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Long, Uncommon

Rasputin

Rasputin derives from “rasput’ye,” meaning “crossroads” or “fork in the road.” It also means “tough choice,” but is best known for the dark meanings associated with Grigori Rasputin, meaning “debauchee.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Debauched one
  • Pronunciation: Rahs-PEW-tin
  • Variations: Rasputina
  • Namesakes: Grigori Rasputin, a Siberian-Russian mystic who was close to the Romanov family in Russia. Valentin Rasputin, a Russian writer known for Money for Maria (1967).
  • Popularity: Rasputin is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia.
Famous, Rare

Reznikov

Reznikov began as a Jewish occupational name based on the Yiddish “reznik,” meaning “butcher.” This form of Resnik uses the suffix “-ov” for all the descendents of the butcher.

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Butcher
  • Pronunciation: REHS-nih-Kov
  • Variations: Resnikoff, Reznikova, Resnik
  • Namesakes: Nikol Reznikov, an Israeli model crowned Miss Israel 2018. Stanislav Reznikov, a Russian footballer for FC Chernomorets Novorossiysk.
  • Popularity: Reznikov is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 1,372nd in Israel in 2014.
Unique, Occupational

Rodin

Rodin is based on the Jewish given name Rode and is also associated with the Slavic “rad,” meaning “joyful.” In French, Rodin means “descendant of little Rod,” a nickname for Girard.

  • Origin: Russian, Jewish
  • Meaning: Merry
  • Pronunciation: ROH-din
  • Variations: Roddin, Rodan
  • Namesakes: Auguste Rodin, a French sculptor best known for The Thinker. Nikolay Ivanovich Rodin, a Soviet Air Force colonel and Hero of the Soviet Union.
  • Popularity: Rodin is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 863rd in 2014.
Common, Unique
Similar Names and Their Meanings
Jewish dad fixing his son's clothesJewish Last Names: A Journey Through Lineage, Occupation, and Location
Two cheerful toddler girls playing fly in summer park during sunsetExploring Common Last Names and Their Origins
African dad carrying his son at the parkDeep Dive into African Last Names: A Journey Across Cultures

Romanov

Romanov is the Russian version of the Latin Romanus, which was given to someone “from Rome.” It’s known for the Romanov aristocracy ruling Russia from 1613 to 1917 and is a cool example of noble Russian surnames.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Roman
  • Pronunciation: Roh-MAAN-ov
  • Variations: Romanoff, Romanova
  • Namesakes: Nicholas II Romanov, the last Emperor of Russia from 1894 to 1917. Vladislav Romanov, a Bulgarian footballer for Lokomotiv Mezdra.
  • Popularity: Romanov is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 34th in 2014.
Famous, Royal

Rozhdestvensky

Rozhdestvensky originated as the Russian Rozhdestvenskiy, meaning “crater.” It’s so rare that it didn’t even rank in the top 6,000 names in Russia in 2014.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Crater on the moon
  • Pronunciation: ROZJH-des-Vehn-ski
  • Variations: Rozhdestvenskya
  • Namesakes: Robert Rozhdestvensky, a Soviet-Russian poet in the socialist realism movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Valery Rozhdestvensky, a Soviet cosmonaut and a flight engineer on Soyuz 23 in 1965.
  • Popularity: Rozhdestvensky is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Long, Rare

Rudenko

Rudenko isn’t just used in Russia but is also common in Ukraine and Poland. It’s typically a nickname for someone with “red hair” or a “ruddy complexion,” based on the Slavic “rudy,” meaning “red.”

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Redhead
  • Pronunciation: Ruw-DEHN-kow
  • Namesakes: Antonina Rudenko, a Soviet swimmer and gold medalist at the 1966 European Aquatics Championships. Roman Rudenko, the Procurator-General of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1944 to 1953.
  • Popularity: Rudenko is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 20th in Ukraine in 2014.
Nicknames, Popular

Rybakov

Rybakov means “descendant of a fisherman,” referring to someone who sold fish. It’s composed of the Russian “rybak,” meaning “fisherman,” and was used for their children and grandchildren.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of a fisherman
  • Pronunciation: Riy-BAAK-ov
  • Variations: Rybakova
  • Namesakes: Vyacheslav Rybakov, a Russian science fiction author and screenwriter for Dead Man’s Letters in 1986. Anatoly Rybakov, a Soviet swimmer and silver medalist at the 1974 European Aquatics Championships.
  • Popularity: Rybakov is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 534th in 2014.
Occupational, Common

Samarin

Samarin is a rare geographical name for people from Samara, Russia, known as Kuybyshev. It’s also an Arabic girl’s name meaning “protected by God,” so it has an unconscious angelic meaning as well.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: From Samara
  • Pronunciation: SAA-mah-Rin
  • Variations: Samarina
  • Namesakes: Ivan Samarin, a Russian stage actor best known for performing Gogol’s Revizor. Alexander Samarin, a Russian figure skater, and the 2019 European silver medalist.
  • Popularity: Samarin is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, ranking 1,156th in 2014.
Unique, Old

Savin

Savin is made up of the male name Savin, first the Greek Savas. It’s also associated with the Anglo-Norman Ó’Sabháin, which became Savage today.

  • Origin: Russian, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Sabine
  • Pronunciation: SAH-vin
  • Variations: Savina
  • Namesakes: Sergei Savin, a Russian singer who won the singing competition Faktor A. Anton Savin, a Ukrainian footballer for LNZ Cherkasy.
  • Popularity: Savin is rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 286th in Moldova in 2014.
Unusual, Common

Semenov

Semenov centers around the male name Semyon, which first appeared as the Hebrew Simeon. Simeon means “heard by God in prayer,” while Semenov is designated for any of Simeon’s descendents.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Descendent of Semenov
  • Pronunciation: Seh-MEH-nov
  • Variations: Semenov, Semenoff, Semionov
  • Popularity: Semenov is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 106th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Shesterkin

Shesterkin is an altered spelling for the original form of Shestyokin. Very little is known about it other than it possibly meaning “sensitive” or “leadership.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: Shehs-TER-kin
  • Variations: Shestyorkin
  • Namesakes: Igor Shesterkin, a Russian ice hockey player for the New York Rangers.
  • Popularity: Shesterkin is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia.
Rare, Unusual

Shvets

Shvets is used in Russia and Ukraine as an occupational surname for a “cobbler.” It’s the proper word for a “shoemaker” still used today.

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Cobbler
  • Variations: Shwets, Schwets, Švets
  • Namesakes: Oksana Shvets, a Ukrainian actress named the Merited Artist of Ukraine in 1996. Yana Shvets (known as Eva Bushmina), a Ukrainian singer and member of the girl group Nu Virgos.
  • Popularity: Shvets is rare worldwide, primarily used in Ukraine, and ranked 10th in Transnistria in 2014.
Occupational, Unusual

Sidorov

Sidorov comes from Sidor, a rearranged Slavic form of Isidor. It means “gift of Isis,” but according to Russian naming rules, it becomes “belonging to Sidor” as Sidorov.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Gift of Isis
  • Pronunciation: SIYD-oh-Rov
  • Variations: Sidorova
  • Namesakes: Alexei Sidorov, a Russian journalist, and editor-in-chief for the Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye. Vadim Sidorov, a Russian long-distance runner who won the 1982 Tokyo International Marathon.
  • Popularity: Sidorov is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Russia, where it ranked 87th in 2014.
Strong, Unique
More Name Lists to Spark Your Interest
Arabic girl talking to her mother at homeArabic Girl Names — A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
A Father and his son playing musical instrumentsDive Into the World of Cuban Names: Understanding Their Roots and Meanings
Happy and smiling Gaelic girl playing in the fieldBeautiful Gaelic Girl Names: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Smirnov

Smirnov is based on the Russian “smirnyj,” a nickname meaning “gentle.” It’s the original spelling of Smirnoff, a well-known vodka company, and is one of the most popular Russian surnames around.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Quiet
  • Pronunciation: SMIYR-nov
  • Variations: Smirnova, Smirnoff
  • Namesakes: Pyotr Smirnov, a Russian businessman who founded the Smirnov/Smirnoff vodka companies. Yanaki Smirnov, a Bulgarian footballer for Dorostol.
  • Popularity: Smirnov ranked 1,377th worldwide and is mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 9th in 2014.
Famous, Nicknames

Sobol

Sobol means “sable” in more than one Slavic language, along with “dweller at the sign of the sable.” It was also a nickname for a fur trader and is the basis for surnames like Sobolev and Soboleva.

  • Origin: Russian, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Sable
  • Pronunciation: SOW-bol
  • Variations: Sobolev
  • Namesakes: Jonathan Sobol, a Canadian film director known for The Art of the Steal. Jan Sobol, a Czech handball player for the Czech national handball team.
  • Popularity: Sobol is rare worldwide, primarily used in Ukraine, and ranked 251st in Belarus in 2014.
Occupational, Animal

Sobolev

Sobolev also means “sable” and comes from another Russian last name, Sobol. It was used by a fur trader and referred to as “descendents of the fur trader.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of the fur trader
  • Pronunciation: SOH-bow-Lev
  • Variations: Soboleva, Sobel
  • Namesakes: Felix Sobolev, a Soviet-Ukrainian documentary filmmaker and founder of the Kiev School of Scientific Cinema. Arkady Sobolev, the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations between 1955 and 1960.
  • Popularity: Sobolev is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 339th in 2014.
Occupational, Common

Sokoloff

Sokoloff is the likely Americanized spelling of Sokolov. It consists of the Russian “sokol,” meaning “falcon.” Sokoloff has many variations but also appears as Sokolow in German.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Falcon
  • Pronunciation: SOW-koh-Lof
  • Variations: Sokol, Sokolov, Sokolova
  • Namesakes: Nikolai Sokoloff, a Russian-American conductor and musical director of the San Francisco People’s Philharmonic Orchestra from 1916 to 1917. Vladimir Sokoloff, a Russian actor appearing in Darling of the Gods (1930).
  • Popularity: Sokoloff is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Modern, Animal

Sorokin

Sorokin is based on the Russian “soroka,” meaning “magpie.” It was also a nickname for a talkative person or someone with a white streak in their dark hair.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Magpie
  • Pronunciation: Soh-ROW-kin
  • Variations: Sorkin
  • Namesakes: Vladimir Sorokin, a Russian writer awarded the People’s Booker Prize in 2001. Stanislav Sorokin, a Russian boxer and bronze medalist at the 1964 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Sorokin is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 101st in 2014.
Animal, Popular

Stalin

Stalin is based on “stal,” the Russian word for “steel,” and sometimes means “man of steel.” It was a created surname taken by Joseph Stalin, one of the most infamous rulers in modern history.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Steel
  • Pronunciation: STAH-lin
  • Variations: Stalina
  • Namesakes: Joseph Stalin (born Ioseb Jughashvill), leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953. Udhayanidhi Stalin, an Indian member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
  • Popularity: Stalin is very rare worldwide, mostly used in India, and ranked 1,195th in Panama in 2014.
Modern, Famous

Stepanov

Stepanov derives from Stephen, which originated with the Greek Stephanos, meaning “crown.” It denotes “a descendant of Stepan” and also appears as the Slavic Stepanovs.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Of Stephen
  • Pronunciation: STEH-paa-Nov
  • Variations: Stepanova
  • Namesakes: Vladimir Ivanovich Stepanov, a Russian dancer at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. Alexander Stepanov, a Russian pair skater, and the 2021 Belarusian national champion.
  • Popularity: Stepanov is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in Russia, ranking 45th in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky is the Russian spelling of the Polish Czajkowski. It was first used for someone “who came from Czajkow(o),” a place name in Russia and Poland. As a surname, it uses the root “czajka,” meaning “lapwing bird.”

  • Origin: Russian, Polish
  • Meaning: Lapwing bird
  • Pronunciation: Chaey-KOV-ski
  • Variations: Tchaikovskaya
  • Namesakes: André Tchaikowsky, a Polish composer known for the opera, The Merchant of Venice. Peter Bramall (known as Bram Tchaikovsky), a British musician and a member of the UK rock band The Motors.
  • Popularity: Tchaikovsky is extremely rare worldwide, with 82 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in the U.S.
Rare, Famous

Tolstoy

Tolstoy also means “thick” and “stout” and was a nickname for the noble Tolstoy family. It’s best known due to Leo Tolstoy, one of many famous Russian writers.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Fat
  • Pronunciation: TOHL-stoiy
  • Variations: Tolstoya
  • Namesakes: Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1902 to 1906. Louise Tolstoy, a Russian-Swedish jazz singer appearing in the series Big Brother in 2000.
  • Popularity: Tolstoy is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia.
Famous, Noble

Utkin

Utkin is a traditional form of the Russian “utka,” meaning “duck.” It’s one of many animal names and is only common in Russia.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Duck
  • Pronunciation: UWT-kin
  • Variations: Utkina
  • Namesakes: Dmitri Utkin, a Russian ice hockey player for the Boston Bruins. Dmitry Utkin, a Ukrainian-Russian army officer who founded the Wagner Group, a Russian private military organization.
  • Popularity: Utkin is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 903rd in 2014.
Animal, Unusual
Related Name Ideas
Native American boy hugs his mother in the parkThe Beauty of Native American Boy Names: Tradition and Meaning
Puerto rican little girl leaning on brick wall smiling brightlyPuerto Rican Girl Names: A Testament to Rich Cultural Heritage
Two girls dressed in traditional Romanian costumes having fun during the festival.Romanian Last Names: A Guide to Their Meanings and History

Vasiliev

Vasiliev derives from the given name Vasiliy, the Russian form of Basil. Though intended for sons of Vasiley, it also means “ruler” and “king,” like the original Greek “basileus.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: King
  • Pronunciation: Vah-SIHL-iyev
  • Variations: Vasilyev, Vassiliev, Vassiljev, Vasilyeva, Vasilieva
  • Namesakes: Valeri Vasiliev, a Soviet-Russian ice hockey player for Dynamo Moscow. Sergei Vasiliev, the Russian president of the Guild of Purveyors to the Kremlin since 2009.
  • Popularity: Vasiliev is very rare worldwide, primarily used in Russia, and ranked 485th in Vanuatu in 2014.
Royal, Traditional

Viktorov

Viktorov is a family name for the “descendents of Viktor.” Viktor (or Victor) is a traditional name meaning “conqueror.”

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Son of Viktor
  • Pronunciation: VIK-toh-Rov
  • Variations: Viktorova
  • Namesakes: Maxim Viktorov, a Russian member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. Mikhail Viktorov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Naval Forces from 1937 to 1938.
  • Popularity: Viktorov is rare worldwide, mostly used in Russia, and ranked 1,437th in Transnistria in 2014.
Traditional, Strong

Vinogradov

Vinogradov comes from the Russian “vinograd,” meaning “grape,” or “vinogradnik,” meaning “vineyard.” It’s also used as an occupational name for a vineyard owner or winemaker.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Vineyard
  • Pronunciation: Viy-NOW-grah-Dov
  • Variations: Vinogradoff, Vinograda
  • Namesakes: Pavel Vinogradov, a Russian cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station. Aleksandr Vinogradov, a Russian sprint canoeist, and gold medalist at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.
  • Popularity: Vinogradov is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, ranking 226th in 2014.
Occupational, Long

Volkov

Volkov uses the Russian root “volk,” meaning “wolf.” It’s also used as a Jewish name for people living in Volkovo or Volki, towns in Belarus.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Wolf
  • Pronunciation: VOHL-kov
  • Variations: Volkova, Volkoff
  • Namesakes: Dmitry Volkov, a Russian volleyball player with the Russian men’s national volleyball team. Vladislav Volkov, a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 7 mission.
  • Popularity: Volkov is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 18th in 2014.
Popular, Animal

Vorobyov

Like other Russian surnames, Vorobyov is based on an animal’s name. In this case, it uses “vorobey,” for a “sparrow.” Other than Russia, Vorobyov is only somewhat common in Belarus.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Sparrow
  • Pronunciation: Voh-ROW-biy-Ov
  • Variations: Vorobiev, Vorobyev, Vorobyova
  • Namesakes: Arkady Vorobyov, a Soviet-Russian weightlifter and gold medalist at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Yury Vorobyov, a member of the Russian Federation Council since 2007.
  • Popularity: Vorobyov is rare worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 283rd in 2014.
Unique, Animal

Voronin

Voronin consists of the Russian and Slavic “voron,” meaning “raven.” Some associate it with the Slavic “warnás,” meaning “raven” or “crow.” Voronin was used for men who sailed the seas since ravens were considered a lucky charm for navigation.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Raven
  • Pronunciation: Voh-ROW-nin
  • Variations: Voronina
  • Namesakes: Vladimir Voronin, the third president of Moldova from 2001 until 2009. Serhiy Voronin, a Ukrainian footballer for FC Livyi Bereh Kyiv.
  • Popularity: Voronin is rare worldwide and mainly used in Russia, where it ranked 266th in 2014.
Animal, Unique

Zadachin

Zadachin has little information about its origins other than meaning “optimistic” and “cheerful.” It may also have been given to a “peacemaker” known for their negotiating skills.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Optimistic
  • Pronunciation: ZAH-dah-Chin
  • Variations: Zadachina
  • Popularity: Zadachin is extremely rare worldwide, with 144 known occurrences in 2014, primarily in Russia.
Rare, Unusual

Zhukova

Zhukova derives from the Russian “zhuk,” meaning “beetle” or “bug.” It’s also common in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Bug
  • Pronunciation: Zuw-KOV-ah
  • Variations: Zhukov
  • Namesakes: Dasha Zhukova, a Russian-American magazine editor who founded Garage Magazine. Natalia Zhukova, a Ukrainian chess grandmaster and two-time European women’s champion.
  • Popularity: Zhukova is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in Russia, ranking 84th in 2014.
Animal, Popular

Zima

Zima was first used as a town’s name in Russia. It can mean “cold” in general or be given to “one who worked in the winter.” Zima could also be a nickname for someone with a “cold” disposition.

  • Origin: Russian, Slavic
  • Meaning: Winter
  • Pronunciation: ZEE-mah
  • Namesakes: Alfred Zima, an Austrian boxer who competed at the 1952 Summer Olympics. Madeline Zima, an American actress appearing on The Nanny TV series (1993 to 1999).
  • Popularity: Zima is rare worldwide, mainly used in Russia, and ranked 634th in Czechia in 2014.
Unique, Nicknames

Zolotov

Zolotov is taken from the Russian “zoloto,” meaning “gold.” By using the “-ov” suffix, it added the meaning “belonging to.” Zolotov is used in other Slavic countries but is only common in Russia.

  • Origin: Russian
  • Meaning: Golden
  • Pronunciation: ZOH-low-Tov
  • Variations: Zolotova
  • Namesakes: Viktor Zolotov, the Director of the National Guard of Russia. Andrej Zolotov, a Russian screenwriter and vice president of the Russian Academy of Arts.
  • Popularity: Zolotov is rare worldwide and primarily used in Russia, where it ranked 1,619th in 2014.
Traditional, Unique
Names You Might Also Like
Two happy girls holding flag of the United Kingdom.British Last Names — More Than Just Plain Or Matter-Of-Fact
Vietnamese girl in Ao Dai dress spending time outdoorsEmbracing Heritage: Beautiful Vietnamese Girl Names
A Muslim mother reading a book to her sonDiscovering the Beauty of Muslim Boy Names — A Comprehensive Guide

Russian Surnames FAQs

How Do Russians Get Their Last Name?

As with other European naming traditions, Russian women traditionally take their husbands’ last names when marrying. A woman’s middle name consists of her father’s name plus “ovna” or “avna” as a suffix. Boys will typically use “(o)vich” for their suffix. These suffixes mean “son of” or “daughter of,” as in Romanovich, which means “son of Roman.”

What Are Some of the Rare Russian Last Names?

The rarest Russian surnames tend to be nicknames for personal traits. Molchalin is one of those that means “silent” for a very shy person. In 2014, there were only 49 known occurrences worldwide, mostly in Russia. Others include Gorky, named after the famous park in Moscow, and Krovopuskov – an odd one meaning “to let blood.”

What’s the Most Popular Surname In Russia?

The top Russian surname flips between two versions of the same last name: Ivanov and Ivanova. In 2014, Ivanova ranked 423rd worldwide while ranking first in Russia and 2nd in Bulgaria and Belarus.

The same year, Ivanov ranked 431st worldwide, 2nd in Russia, and was the top surname in Bulgaria and Belarus. They’re both based on Ivan, the Russian form of John, which is also very popular.

Is Romanoff a Russian Last Name?

Romanoff derives from the Latin Romanus, used for a person from Rome. It spread quickly as Romanov and is famously associated with the last of the Romanov family’s royal leaders, Tsar Nicholas II. Romanoff is a direct result of Russian names ending in “ov” being changed to “off” to reflect a French interpretation.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Maryana Vestic

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.
Close