Russian Names for Boys
Russian names for boys range from the familiar (Nikolai, Ivan, Vladimir), to the under-the-radar (Matvei, Leonid, Rodion), to the utterly unknown (Timofel, Innokenti, Yelisei).
Along with Nikolai and Ivan, other Russian boys’ names that have featured in the US Top 1000 in recent years include Valentin and Dimitri. Baby boy names popular in Russia include Mikhail — the Russian variation of Michael — Kirill, Maksim, Lev, Roman and Alexei.
All of these Russian boys’ names share a certain special power and energy — the Russian "strong man" image in baby name form, if you like. Whether you’re looking for a Russian boy name to honor your heritage, or you’re simply drawn to the strong sounds and striking looks of Russian baby names, you’re sure to find something to love in our long-list of Russian names for boys, below, organized by their popularity on Nameberry.
A note on Russian usage: most boys' names ending in -sha, -ya and -ka, like Sasha (from Aleksandr), Kostya (from Konstantin) and Vovka (from Vladimir), are diminutive forms in Russian, and are not usually given as names in their own right.
Description:This concise one-syllable name, has two possible derivations and two positive meanings associated with it. In Hebrew, it means "heart", while in Russian it means "lion". So strong and simple Lev has both a soft and a fierce side.
Origin:Russian from Greek Demetrius
Meaning:"follower of Demeter"
Description:Dimitri is a Slavic variation of the Russian Dmitriy, a name that comes from the Greek Demetrius. Demetrius was derived from Demeter, the name of the Greek goddess of fertility and farming. Among the possible spelling variations are Dmitri, Dmitrii, Dmitriy, and Dmitry.
Origin:French from Greek
Meaning:"to tame, subdue"
Description:Converting Damian to Damien – or Julian to Julien or Lucian to Lucien – adds a certain je ne sais quoi to names. But most people in English speaking areas will still pronounce this the same as the -an ending form. The French pronunciation is more like "dah-mee-u(n)".
Origin:Russian variation of Nicholas
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Russian forms, like Russian supermodels, are hot these days. This is a strong, worldly way to make Nicholas new; it was chosen for his son by Barry Bonds, Jr. Nikolai also comes with several attractive nickname options, including approachable Nik, spunky Niko, or even hip Kai. A traditional nickname for Nikolai in Russia is Kolya.
Origin:Russian variation of John
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Though some might find it a bit heavy-booted, Ivan is one of the few Russian boys' names to become fully accepted into the American naming pool.
Origin:Russian variation of Elijah
Meaning:"the Lord is my God"
Description:A rare example of an a-ending boy's name that sounds masculine, Ilya has a large measure of creative Slavic charm. >p>Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is the central character in Goncharov's novel "Oblomov." Unfortunately, he spends most of his life in his bathrobe and slippers.
Meaning:"he [God] has heard"
Description:Could Simeon be the next Gideon? Parents seeking a less simple form of Simon might consider this biblical appellation that was chosen by Wynton Marsalis for his son. Simon is actually the Greek substitute for Simeon.
Origin:French, German, Russian, Czech, Scandinavian variation of Valentine
Description:Romantic name used throughout Europe, though sure to lead to pronunciation problems here. Though it's never been too widely used in the US, it's quite popular in Switzerland, France, Austria, and Romania.
Description:Alexei could well join the legion of Alex names popular in the US. There are countless opportunities to liven up Alexander, and Alexei (or Alexey) is one of the most straightforward and appealing.
Meaning:"great ruler, peaceful ruler, ruler of the world"
Description:Vladimir is a cultured and deep-rooted Slavic name associated in this country with cultural figures including piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz and the author of Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov.
Origin:Russian diminutive of Alexander
Description:The energetic Russian nickname name Sasha is being used increasingly on its own, though since the prominence of the First Daughter, more than 90% of the American babies named Sasha are girls. Sacha Baron Cohen bears one of the alternate spellings.
Description:Alternative form of Basil that might suit the adventurous.
Origin:Scandinavian, Russian, and Eastern European variation of Victor
Description:The Viktor form of this classic name is widely used throughout Europe and is rising in the US as well.
Origin:Russian variation of Michael
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:One of the most familiar Russian names in the West, thanks to ballet great Mikhail Baryshnikov and state head Mikhail Gorbachev.
Origin:Russian variation of Theodore
Description:This variation of Theodore is familiar here mostly via the great Russian novelist Dostoyevsky. It was also the name of three early tsars of Russia.
Origin:French variation of ancient Roman family name Sergius
Description:Old saints' and popes' name that went to France in the 1920s with the Russian Ballets Russes; in its Russian form, Sergei, it retains an artistic, almost effete air.
Origin:Old Norse via Russian
Description:Musical association with Igor Stravinsky, but also Dr. Frankenstein's right-hand man.
Origin:Russian variation of Paul
Description:Pavel may be widespread in the former Soviet Union, but it has a somewhat impoverished image here.