If you’re a fan of cool nickname names, you’ll find Russian baby names a treasure trove of possibilities. Some of them have already entered the American mainstream–Sasha and Mischa (both unisex), Talia, Katya–but there are many more Russian baby names that are less familiar but equally appealing, as are some of the full names.
Russian nomenclature in general is quite unique, in that each person has three personal names: a Christian name, a middle patronymic taken from the father’s given name, and a surname that reflects gender, so that a son of Ivan would have the last name Ivanovich, while a daughter would use Ivanovna. At birth, a child is given a formal name known as a “passport name,” but usually is called through childhood by his or her pet name. It is at the age of 16 that a person begins to be addressed by the formal first name and patronymic, so that, for example, Piotr’s daughter Olenka would overnight become Olga Petrovna. The nickname often survives well into adulthood though–as in the case of Misha Baryshnikov, for example.
The list of Russian baby names below follows the name with its most common pet forms–many of which have an abundance of wintry charm.