RUTR 274/374

Professor David Herman

Russian Naming Conventions

 

 

Russian names generally consist the three parts: the first or given name, the patronymic, and the last or family name. The patryonymic is created by taking the given name of a person's father and adding a suffix to it. This suffix means "son of" or "daughter of." Thus the patronymic takes a different form for men than it does for women. The most common men's suffixes are -ovich or -evich while for a woman they are -ovna or -evna.

Russians call each other by first name and patronymic. Often, however, Russians will use a shortened form of the first name, a diminutive that connotes more familiarity. Often friends and children will be addressed in this way. One can think of the patronymic and name being equivalent to "Mr. So and So" in our culture. See this example below:

 

 

 

 

Stephen Arkadyevich Oblonsky

 

 

Stephen = first name

 

Arkadyevich = patronymic

 

 

Oblonsky = family name

 

 

In addition, we know from the patronymic that Stephen's father's first name was Arkady. Using the rule above, his sister's name would then be Arkadyevna. As the custom is to address another with first name and patronymic, she would be addressed Anna Arkadyevna. When Anna marries Alexey Karenin, her full name becomes Anna Arkadyevna Karenina.

 

 

 

Finally, because Russians often take a diminutive of the first name as a familiar name, Stephen Oblonksky is known as Stiva. His wife, Darya Alexandrovna is addressed as Dolly.