Names with a Russian Twist

Posted on: June 7th, 2017\""by Ruth Fitzpatrick

Russia has an immense wealth of cultural, athletic, artistic and political history and consequence that its people, diaspora and descendants are rightly proud of. And, more importantly for us here at Namelist, they also can hold claim to a wealth of untapped names just ready to be used here in the US! While the likes of Vladimir and Evgeniya probably haven't much cross-cultural appeal to most Americans, here's a list of names we've compiled which we think have major star power.

Girls Names

Alya An Arabic name meaning 'heavens, highborn, exalted', Alya is also one of the many common Russian pet form of Alexandra. This patchwork of heritage gives it an exotic, multicultural and multinational twist. Accessible and with few opportunities to misspell or mispronounce, we think this name has everything it needs to make it big in the US!

Larissa A cute, mellifluous Russian name which means 'citidel'. With the consistent popularity in the States of similar sounding names like Melissa and Clarissa, Larissa would be a really strong and unique choice for your special little girl.

Darya There's an element of chic, tomboyish charm about the name Darya. While the alternate spelling of Daria is probably more familiar to the American public at large, we think Darya looks more exotic and feminine. It means 'kingly' in Russian, and has the additional meaning of 'the sea' in Persian.

Ania A Russian variant of the always popular Anna, Ania breathes fresh life into the classic. Ania has an additional layer of flair and playfulness which the original perhaps doesn't, while still looking and sounding pretty in its simplicity.

Zaneta Zaneta sounds totally unique and alluringly exotic. It's the Russia variant of Janet, but it sounds infinitely more fashionable and flashy than the original.

Unisex Names

Misha While most prospective American parents might initially think of this as exclusively a girl's name, it definitely has major appeal for any gender. Misha is most commonly used in Russia as the diminutive of Mikhail, while here in the States it would probably make us first think of actress, Mischa Barton. It's a strong, powerful name with a cuddly side.

Sasha Another traditionally male Russian name which has entered the US and overwhelmingly been given to newborn girls. It's a nickname for Alexander, and has a number of interesting and refreshing variants such as Sasho, Sascha and Sacha.

Boys Names

Danil With the more commonplace variant, Daniel, firmly sitting in America's top 15 baby names for the last four decades, new parents might be looking for an alternative. This Russian name is simple, accessible and stylish.

Alexei The Russian variant of Alexander sounds super cool and I playful without losing its power. It still has the same significant connotations with the classic: it means 'defending men' and has the lofty association with the hugely successful ancient King and expansionist, Alexander the Great. Alexander was 2016's 11th most popular name among American parents, and with the continued unwavering popularity of Hamilton, we can see it making even greater gains in the near future. With this in mind, a unique variant might be just what you need to make your little Alexei stand out from the crowd!

Karlin The Russian for Carl, Karlin has a lyrical tone to it and is much less blunt sounding than the original. Its -lin ending might give it a slightly feminine feel, but we think it is a really interesting option with a lot of potential.

Leonid This powerful but poetic sounding name is the Russian variant of the perhaps too exotic Leonidas. Weightier than Leon though slightly less mellow than Leo, Leonid definitely has a bite which could make it an unusual choice here in America.

Zavid Like Danil, Zavid gives a jazzy alternative to one of America's perennial favorites. Pronounced ZAY-vid or zah-VEED, this Russian name actually has an uncertain original, and though it looks like it must be related to David, that connection hasn't been established. Definitely a unique choice.

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