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Russian Baby Girl Names

Russian Baby Girl Names
Russian baby names for girls, long a style backwater, are coming into their own as a fashionable choice. Many of the top supermodels of recent years have been from Russia, Ukraine, and other parts of Eastern Europe and have imported their Russian names along with their willowy beauty. And a recent First Daughter had not one Russian name but two: Sasha Obama's nickname would usually be a short form in Russia for Alexandra, but her proper name was the classic Russian girls' name Natasha.

Along with Sasha and Natasha, other Russian girls’ names in the US Top 1000 include Anastasia, Izabella, Kira, Marina, Tatiana, and Valentina. Other intriguing Russian names for girls include Dominika, Mika, Viveka, and Zoya.

On television, the show The Americans introduced US audiences to Keri Russell's character Elizabeth, whose original Russian name is the extremely exotic Nadezhda. Here are some of the most appealing Russian baby girl names.

AnastasiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
  • Meaning:

    "resurrection"
  • Description:

    Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.

VeraHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian
  • Meaning:

    "faith"
  • Description:

    Vera was the height of fashion in 1910, then was for a long time difficult to picture embroidered on a baby blanket. Now, though, it has come back into style along with other old-fashioned simple names such as Ada and Iris.

MilaHeart

  • Origin:

    Slavic, Russian
  • Meaning:

    "gracious; dear"
  • Description:

    Mila is a given name with Russian and Slavic provenance. It began as the diminutive form for names such as Ludmila, Milena, and Milica. Mila can be a nickname for any name containing the element mil, meaning "gracious" or "dear."

SashaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian, diminutive of Greek Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Sasha, largely male in Russia--and also spelled Sascha and Sacha--is an energetic name that has really taken off for girls here, chosen by Jerry Seinfeld (using the alternate Sascha spelling) and other celebs. The Barack Obamas use it as the nickname for their younger daughter, whose proper name is Natasha. But in line with a trend toward softer-sounding boys' names like Asher and Joshua and thanks to Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen, Sasha also still has life as a boys' name too--it's popular in France for boys and girls almost equally.

MarinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from the sea"
  • Description:

    This pretty sea-born name was used to dramatic effect by Shakespeare in his play Pericles for the virtuous princess who says she is "Call'd Marina, for I was born at sea."

ValentinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valentina is a more romantic and artistic ballerina-type successor to Valerie; a pretty, recommended choice. Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek and husband Francois-Henri Pinault named their daughter Valentina Paloma.

NadiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian, Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "hope; tender, delicate"
  • Description:

    Nadia, an accessible Slavic favorite, has a strong run of popularity in the US in the early 2000s, partially thanks to the character on Lost called Nadia but actually named Noor, but it's since slumped down the rankings. An earlier inspiration was Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who won the 1976 Olympics.

MikaHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful fragrance"
  • Description:

    Mika is a Japanese girls' name that translates easily to English. As a male name, it's a short form of Mikael, the Scandinavian and Finnish form of Michael. Both are spelled and pronounced the same.

NatashaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian diminutive of Natalya
  • Meaning:

    "birthday of the Lord"
  • Description:

    Natasha, an appealing, still unusual name, entered the American mainstream post-Cold War but seems to have peaked in the eighties, replaced by the more straightforward Natalie. As is common for Natashas the world over, the Obamas shorten their Natasha's name to Sasha.

TatianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Latin family name
  • Description:

    Tatiana was derived from Tatius, a Sabine-Latin family name of unknown origin. Titus Tatius was the name of an ancient king who ruled over the Sabines, an ancient Italic tribe who lived near Rome. The Romans used the name Tatius even after the Sabines died out and created the short forms Tatianus and Tatiana. The names were eventually disseminated throughout the Orthodox Christian world, including Russia.

LaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian, diminutive of Larissa or Larisa
  • Meaning:

    "citadel"
  • Description:

    This is an alternative to Laura or Lauren made romantic by Dr Zhivago, and badass by video-game heroine Lara Croft.

OdessaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian place-name
  • Description:

    Odessa, a Ukrainian port city, was given its name by Russia's Catherine the Great, who was inspired by Homer's Odyssey. It would make an original and intriguing choice.

KiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian feminine variation of Cyrus
  • Meaning:

    "throne"
  • Description:

    Though such cognates of Kira as Keira, Kyra, and Ciara are evermore popular throughout Europe and in the U.S., this Cyrus relative has a different root. Variations include Keera, Kiera, Kierra, Kirah, Kiri, Kiria, Kiriah, Kiro, Kirra, Kirrah, Kirri, Kirya, and Kyra.

LiliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian
  • Meaning:

    "lily"
  • Description:

    One of a group of pretty double L names, Lilia is more unusual and distinctive than some others. Truly cross-cultural, the lilting Lilia is heard in the Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, and Hawaiian communities and would be a good choice for a child born to parents of different ethnicities.

AngelinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, Italian, Spanish, Russian diminutive of Angela
  • Meaning:

    "angel"
  • Description:

    The gorgeous Angelina Jolie has promoted the star power of her name and changed Angelina's image from delicate to intense, from older Italian mama to stylish multi-cultural child. Kids might relate to the dancing mouse in the series of charming children's books, Angelina Ballerina, or to the Harry Potter character, Angelina Johnson Weasley, a member of Dumbledore's army.

NessaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "headlands, promontory"
  • Description:

    Like its cousin Tessa, Nessa -- a shortening of Vanessa or Agnes or Anastasia among other possibilities -- is an attractive nickname that can stand on its own.

IrinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Irina is a Russian ballet-inflected classic, one of the Three Sisters in the Chekhov play. While some Americans will pronounce this like Irene with three syllables, the pronunciation used throughout Europe, where it's widely used, starts with a short i as in it or if and a strong emphasis on the second syllable.

SoniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian and Scandinavian variation of Sophia
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • Description:

    Early European import, well known in the 1940s via Norwegian skating movie star Sonja Henie, that has sailed back across the Atlantic, despite the rising popularity of other Russian names.

AnjaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian variation of Anna
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Anja is one of the most internatioanl of several versions of Ann/Anna now being imported, also including Anya and Annika.

KarinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian, German, Polish, and Russian variation of Carina
  • Description:

    This sweet and loving name, favored in recent years by a mix of Hispanic-American parents and Bob Dylan fans, was chosen for her daughter by TV actress Melina Kanakaredes.