Russian baby names you'll fall in love with

To people in the west, Russia often seems like a vast and mysterious territory. The sprawling country is rather exotic and its names reflect that. The Russian language is a complex and rich one and this provides for some truly beautiful names. If you are looking for a unique and gorgeous name that reflects the intrigue of the east, then look no further! These Russian baby names have been hand-picked to give your baby the perfect name that he or she deserves!

Evgeniya

Also commonly spelled as Yevgeniya and Evgenia, Evgeniya is the Russian form of the name Eugenia and can be pronounced as "yev-GYE-nee-yah" or "eev-GYE-nee-yah." The name is ultimately derived from the Greek word "eugenes" which means "well born."

The diminutive form of the name, Zhenya, is also a unique choice as a nickname or a name for your well born baby girl!

People to have this name include the Russian historian and writer Yevgenia (sometimes spelled Eugenia) Ginzburg and investigative journalist Yevgenia Albats.

Anatoliy

This Russian variation of the Greek name Anatolius comes from the word "anatole" which means "sunrise." Pronounced "ah-nah-TO-leey," the name Anatoliy is perfect for your little ray of sunshine! The name has ancient roots, the most famous example being the 3rd century philosopher Saint Anatolius.

Anatoliy (and its spelling variations) is one of the most popular names in Russia and for good reason. Many notable people have had this name, including the scientist Anatoli Blagonravov, artist Anatoli Efimoff, mathematician Anatoly Fomenko, and cosmonaut Anatoly Filipchenko.

Agnessa

Agnessa is a Russian twist on the feminine name Agnes. Pronounced "ahg-NYE-sah," it comes from the Greek word "hagnos" which means "chaste" and is often associated with the Latin word "agnus" meaning "lamb."

While the name Agnes is frequently used throughout the world and has been quite popular since the Middle Ages, its Russian variant is far less common. If you want a name for your baby girl that has a lot of history behind it but that isn't too common, then Agnessa is a great option!

Leonid

Leonid, pronounced "lee-ah-NEET," is the Russian version of the Greek name Leonidas, which comes from the word "lion." Leonidas was the name of a legendary Spartan king who lived in the fifth century B.C., making this ancient name one with a brave and stoic history.

Notable people bearing the name include the playwright Leonid Andreyev, Olympic athletes Leonid Geishtor, Leonid Zhabotinsky, and Leonid Taranenko, artist Leonid Pasternak, and composer Leonid Desyatnikov.

Zinaida

Another Russian variation of a Greek name, the name Zinaida (pronounced "zee-nah-EE-dah") comes from the name Zenaida. The name has a mystical origin, being based off of the name of the ancient Greek god Zeus. If you want a name that conveys power or you are just a fan of mythology, then Zinaida is the ideal name for your baby girl!

The name is also perfect for art lovers as it was the name of the painter Zinaida Serebriakova, who lived and worked in the late 19th to the mid 20th century.

Ruslan

If you are looking for a strong and powerful Russian name for your baby boy, you don't need to look any further than Ruslan! Pronounced "roo-SLAHN," this is an abbreviated form of the name Yeruslan. The name is thought to be derived from the Turkic word "arslan" which means "lion."

The name is strongly rooted in mythology. Yeruslan Lazarevich is the name of a hero in many Russian folktales. Aleksandr Pushkin based the hero of his poem, Ruslan and Ludmila, off of the character of Yeruslan.

Ludmila

Sometimes spelled as Lyudmila, Ludmila is a Russian name meaning "favor of the people." Its popularity dates back centuries; Ludmila was the name of the tenth century duchess of Bohemia who would later go on to be venerated as a saint. The name is a bit long, but it can easily be shortened into the cute nickname of Mila.

Other people who have had this ancient and noble name include the ballerina Lyudmila Semenyaka and chess player Lyudmila Rudenko.

Yulia

Pronounced "Yoo-lee-yah," Yulia (also spelled Yuliya) is a rather exotic sounding Russian variation of the more commonly used name of Julia. The meaning of the name is not certain, but one of the theories is that it is derived from the name of the Roman god Jupiter; this is a great choice for a name if you are into astronomy or mythology!

People with the name Yulia (and Yuliya) include writer and journalist Yulia Latynina, Olympic fencer Yuliya Zhivitsa, and singer Yuliya Savicheva.

Kolya

The Russian boy's name Kolya is the diminutive form of the name Nikolai (or Nikolay). This is a unique alternative to the popularly used name of Nicholas but retains its strong and symbolic meaning of "victory of the people."

The name Nicholas and its many variations have been used throughout history. Is is the name of several popes and two Russian czars. It is also popularly known as the name of Saint Nicholas after whom Santa Claus is based.

While Nicholas is a wonderful name in and of itself, it is quite widely used and is in the top 100 U.S. baby boy names since 1972. Kolya is a good option if you want a more modern take on a traditional name.

Ilya

The boy's name Ilya (pronounced "eel-YAH") is the Russian form of the popular Hebrew name Elijah. The name Elijah dates back to antiquity and is the name of a prophet found in the Bible.

Ilya is the name of a legendary folk hero in Russian mythology, Ilya Muromets. Other notable people called Ilya include award-winning violinist Ilya Kaler and Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine. If you name your baby Ilya, he will have some pretty impressive namesakes to inspire him!

Russian baby names are trending

While you might worry that a Russian name is a bit too strange to give to your baby, Russian names are actually trending right now. Russian names like Mila (which also happens to be the name of the famous actress Mila Kunis) are totally in these days. Other Russian names like Anya and Sasha are also starting to trend, which means that if you give your baby a Russian name, he or she will be in excellent company!