The Structure of Russian Names

If you have heard the Russian name for several times, whether from your Russian friends, the movies or books you have watched or read, you will be familiar with it. Maybe you already know that the full name of Russian is divided into three parts, these are the given name (имя), patronymic (фамилия), and surname (отчество).

Given name, Patronymic, and Surname

The given name is the first name that parent gives to their child as identity. The patronymic is the first name of father that has a suffix -вич, or -ич (-vich, or -ich) for a man, and -на (-na) for a woman. The surname is the last name which shows the family name.

Let’s look at the examples below for a better understanding of the structure of Russian names.

  • Полина (given name) Сергеевна (patronymic) Гагарина (surname)
  • Владимир (given name) Владимирович (patronymic) Путин (surname)
  • Антон (given name) Павлович (patronymic) Чехов (surname)

From the list, can you guess their father’s first name based on patronymic?

Unlike the European, a respectful way to call Russian is by their given name and patronymic, not by the title and last names. So a respectful way to call the names in the examples is:

  • Полина Гагарина
  • Владимир Путин
  • Антон Чехов

Diminutive of Russian Names

Actually, the Russian names can be confusing when we talk about the short name or diminutive. When we talk to the Russian we just met, we call their first given name. But if you are close to them, you can call them using a diminutive. One person may have several diminutive names. For example:

Diminutives of Women

  • Анастасия (Anastasya) – Настя (Nastya)  and Настёна (Nastyona)
  • Анна (Anna) – Аня (Anya), Нура (Nura), Анечка (Anechka), Аннушка (Annushka), Ася (Asya), Ваня (Vanya), Анута (Anuta), Anutochka (Ануточка)
  • Антонина (Antonina) – Тоня (Tonya), Тося (Tosya), Тонечка (Tonechka), Антонидка (Antonidka)
  • Алена (Alena) – Аленка (Alenka), Ленуся (Lenusya), Лила (Lila), Лялечка (Lyalechka), Ляля (Lyalya)
  • Александра (Aleksandra) – Саша (Sacha), Саша (Sasha), Сашенька (Sashenka), Шурочка (Shura), Саченка (Sachenka), Шурочка (Shurochka), Сашура (Sashura)
  • Екатерина (Ekaterina) – Катя (Katya), Катенька (Katenka), Катинка (Katerinka), Катинка (Katinka), Катлина (Katlina), Киска (Kiska), Катуша (Katuscha), Катянка (Katyenka), Катюшка (Katyushka)
  • Евгения (Evgenia) – Зенья (Zenya), Зенечка (Zenechka), Женя (Zhenya), Дженя (Jenya), Дженекка (Jenechka)

Diminutive names of men

  • Артем (Artyem) –  Тюма (Tyoma), Тюмечка (Tyomechka), Томка (Tyomka)
  • Борис (Boris) –  Боринка (Borinka), Боря (Borya), Боба (Boba), Бориенка (Boryenka), Борушка (Borushka)
  • Дмитрий (Dmitri) – Дима (Dima), Димка (Dimka), Дмитрийушка (Dmitryushka), (Митка) Mitka, Митенка (Mitenka), Митя (Mitya)
  • Федор (Fyodor) – Федя (Fedya), Федьенка (Fedyenka), Федька (Fedka)
  • Игорь (Igor) –  Гарик (Garik), Игорек (Igorek), Игоречек (Igorechek), Игорьок (Igoryok)
  • Григорий (Grigory) – Гриша (Grisha), Гришка (Grishka)
  • Константин (Konstantin) – Костя (Kostya), Костик (Kostick), Котик (Kotik), Костенка (Kostenka), Костуша (Kostusha), Костюша (Kostyusha)
  • Петр (Pyotr) – Петя (Petya), Петенька (Petenka), Петруша (Petrusha), Петрушка (Petrushka)

That is the explanation about structure of Russian names. If you are still curious about Russian names, you can visit popular Rusian names for boys and Russian names for girls. If you are a beginner in Russian language, you can find tips by visiting how to learn Russian for beginners, start to learn common greetings in Russian, and basic Russian words for beginners.

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