60+ Popular Russian Last Names | Description, Pronunciation, Meanings
How do you find the perfect Russian last names for your baby? Are you considering a name change?
With so many families and cultural traditions to observe, selecting a name for a baby that reflects both the family and the child’s personality can be pretty challenging.
But it also provides another opportunity to explore the Russian culture, which can be a fun part of the name search.
While some of these names include elements from other languages like Hebrew and Greek, many refer to a characteristic or an occupation. In addition, some Russian surnames also originate from ancestral affiliation.
This list will help you find unique and appealing Russian last names, along with the meaning and origin of each name for your boy, girl and last names.
Also, consider potential nicknames and spellings that might appeal to you more than others. We’ve also included some rare Russian last names that could make an excellent full name.
Check out our compiled 60+ unique Russian last names for your inspiration and your sweet little one.
How are last names given in Russia?
Of course, I can’t discuss how people get their surnames without briefly stating the history of Russian last names.
These last names help to differentiate several persons bearing the same name.
Remember that Russian surnames have various origins which include personality traits, ancestors’ occupations, nationality, climate, plants, and animals.
However, most of these Russian last names come from patronymics (the father or grandfather’s name, character traits, or occupation).
Plus, these last names carry the addition of either a prefix or suffix (meaning “Son of”). Russian family names typically end with “-ov“, “-ev“, or “-in“.
For instance, if a father bears Mikhail, and has a son named Boris, then the child’s name will be Boris Mikhailov. As per patronymics, it means ‘Boris, son of Mikhail’.
Similarly, a father called Ivan with a child named Vasily, the full name would be Vasily Ivanov. Thus, “Ivanov” means “son of Ivan”.
As the Russian population grew, surnames appeared based on characteristics of the land, such as plants, animals, weather, church holidays or saints.
- “Volkov” means “wolf”
- The name “Morozov” means the word “frost”.
- “Bykov” means “bull”
Interestingly enough, a few Russian names changed in an attempt to erase the history of the Soviet Union. City names were changing, and since surnames also come from city names, surnames evidently changed as well.
For instance, the city of Perm changed its name to “Molotov.”
Why do Russian women’s last names end in A?
Russian women’s last names often end in “a” because they mostly originate from the Latin language.
Secondly, the Russian grammar structure offers feminine names with specific endings.
In Latin, there is a special grammatical feature called “gender.” Briefly, it means that you’ll add a special letter to all feminine words.
But for most of the female names, it was – “a”.
The Old Church Slavonic (ancestor of the modern Russian language) used this grammar rule.
Therefore, the modern Russian language also uses this “gender” grammatical structure and adds the “-a” ending to most of the feminine words.
Do Russian wives take husbands’ last names?
Russian wives customarily take their husbands’ last names at marriage, but not always.
If it is a Russian last name, it changes to show gender. That is, she takes the feminine form of her husband’s last name (surname or family name).
For example, Russian male last names that end in “-skij” (ский) changes to “-skaya” (ская) for a woman.
Also, if Anna Alleleuvaya (wife) marries Nikolai Kenin (husband), she becomes Anna Kenina.
Do Russian siblings have different last names?
Not exactly. It’s the same surname or last name but has different forms or grammatical gender.
This happens for all Russian “adjectival surnames”, i. e. those last names ending in –ev, –ov, –in, –sky, etc.
But, you will find some nominal (typically foreign names), which are not gender-specific.
Are Russian last names gendered?
Yes. Russian last name l changes to show gender. If a Russian male last name ends in –skij (ский) it will change to –skaya (ская) for a woman.
Similarly, Russian male last names ending in a consonant will add an “a or ya (а/я)” to show its female version.
See our list of over 60 popular Russian last names below for more information on what each name means, its pronunciation and origin.
60+ Popular Russian Last Names; Description, Pronunciations, Meanings.
Cyrillic Spelling: Абрамов
Meaning: Son of Abram (High Father).
Abramov is the male version while Abramova is the female version. Similarly, Abramoff is a common variant used among emigrants.
These are old Russian last names originating around the 16th century, thanks to a distant ancestor and biblical personnel, Abraham (formerly Abram).
Cyrillic Spelling: Агафо́нов
Meaning: Kindness or goodness.
Agafonova (Агафо́нова) is the feminine form of this Russian surname.
It comes from the name “Agafon”, borrowed from Greek.
Some of the notable personalities bearing this name are Nikolai Agafonov (born in 1947). He is a Russian association football player and coach, and Soviet.
Also, Pavel Agafonov (born 1907), a Russian expert pilot during WWII
Cyrillic Spelling: Агапов
Its female variant is Agapova (Ага́пова).
Agapova comes from the name “Agap,” derived from the Greek verb which means “to love.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Алексе́ев
Meaning: Son of Alexei.
Other Russian last names’ variants are Alexeiev, Alexeyev, Alekseyev, or Alexeev with the same Cyrillic spelling- Алексе́ев.
Furthermore, it derives from the male name Alexey (Алексей).
Similarly, Alekseyeva, Alekseeva, Alexeyeva, and Alexeeva are female forms of Alekseev and its variants.
Cyrillic Spelling: Ангелофф
Meaning: Orthodox priest.
Angeloff is a Bulgarian and Russian alternative spelling of Angelov. It comes from the word “angel” plus the surname suffix “-ov.”
This name and its likes are frequently assigned as religious names to upcoming Orthodox priests in seminaries.
Cyrillic Spelling: Асланов
Meaning: Son of Aslan, lion.
Aslanov is a patronymic Russian last name derived from Aslan, meaning “lion.”
A famous bearer of this name is Hazi Aslanov (1910 to 1945). He’s an Azerbaijani Major-General of the Soviet armoured troops during WWII.
Cyrillic Spelling: Балабанов
Meaning: Hawk or falconer.
As one of the patronymic Russian last names, Balabanov means “son of Balaban.”
It signifies pride, victory, power, and longevity.
Cyrillic Spelling: Баландин
Meaning: A small crater on the moon.
Balandin is a small crater positioned on the far side of the moon.
In addition, it is one of the Russian last names. Some of the notable individuals with this name are:
Aleksei Balandin (Russian/Soviet chemist), Aleksandr Nikolayevich Balandin (Russian cosmonaut), and Aleksandr Balandin (Russian Olympic gymnast).
Cyrillic Spelling: Белов
Belova (Белова) is the feminine variant of Belov.
These are popular Russian last names, derived from Bely. Bely (белый) means “white.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Бельский
Meaning: Someone who hails from the city of Bielsk.
Belsky is of Russian and Jewish roots. Furthermore, it is a habitational name for a person from Bielsk city.
Cyrillic Spelling: Бочаровин
Meaning: Someone who works with copper.
Bocharov (male) and Bocharova (female) (Russian: Бочаро́в, Бочаро́ва) are Slavic occupational last names derived from Bochar (бочар). Bochar means copper.
Cyrillic Spelling: чабан
Known as one of the occupational Russian last names, Chaban refers to someone working as a “Shepherd.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Чернов
Meaning “black”, Chernov is a common Russian last name given to dark-skinned or black-haired people.
Cyrillic Spelling: Чернышевск
Meaning: Village name, Chernyshevo
The first individual to hold this last name was a Russian Philosopher, Nikolay Chernyshevsky. He got the surname based on his birth village, “Chernyshevo.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Чугункин
Meaning: Cast iron
Chugunkin is a common name in Russia, meaning “cast iron.” It also relates to iron-workers or producers of cast iron goods.
Cyrillic Spelling: Давыдов
Meaning: “Someone beloved” or “Son of David”
Davydov is a patronymic surname of Hebrew root.
Cyrillic Spelling: Дми́триев
Meaning: Son of Dmitri or People from Dmitriyev
Those from a town called Dmitriyev in Russia bear this habitational surname.
In addition, it is patronymic from the personal name Dmitri, from the Greek word, “Demetrios.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Доминик
Meaning: “Belonging to the Lord” or “Our Lord”
Dominik is the German and Slavic variant of Dominic. In turn, Dominic derives from the Latin word “dominus,” which means “belonging to the Lord” or “our Lord.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Дроздов
Meaning: “thrush” or “blackbird”
This popular Russian last name derives from the sobriquet дрозд (Drozd, meaning “blackbird” or “thrush”). Its Russian feminine form is Drozdova (Дроздовa). Notable persons bearing this surname include:
Darren Drozdov (American professional wrestler and essayist), Nikolai Drozdov (Russian naturalist and broadcaster), Yuri Drozdov (Russian football player and coach), and Yuri Drozdov (Major General, KGB) – 1925 to 2017.
Cyrillic Spelling: Егоров/Егоров/Eгонов
Meaning: Son of Egor (farmer).
These are occupational Russian last names that mean “farmer”.
Cyrillic Spelling: Елин
It is one of the Russian last names having its roots in English, meaning “Light.”
Elin is a variant of the biblical character Helen, and also of Ellen (Scandinavian) and Helene (Celtic).
Cyrillic Spelling: Эванофф
Meaning: “Son of Evan” or “gracious gift of Jehovah”
Evanoff is a popular patronymic Russian last name, meaning “Son of Ivan” or “Son of Evan.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Фёдоров
Meaning: Son of Fedor (gift of God).
Fedorov comes from the word “Theodore,” meaning “Gift from God” or “God-given.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Галкин
Galkin is a patronymic Russian last name. Plus, it doubles as a common nickname, meaning “jackdaw.”
Derived from Galka (галка), its female version is Galkina (Галкина).
Cyrillic Spelling: Генрих
Meaning: “House ruler”
Genrikh comes from a German personal name “Heinrich,” meaning “house ruler.” Heinrich is a variant of Henry. Some notable individuals with this name are:
- Genrich Altshuller (Inventor and scientist, Soviet engineer, journalist and writer)
- Genrikh Borovik (father of journalist Artyom Borovik, Russian writer, publicist, playwright and filmmaker)
- Genrikh Fedosov (Soviet football player)
Cyrillic Spelling: Голубев
Originating from animals, Golubev means “pigeon”. Golubeva (Го́лубева) is the feminine variant of this Russian last name. Some notable persons bearing this surname are:
- Aleksandr Titovich Golubev (Soviet and Russian intelligence officer)
- Aleksandr Golubev (Russian speed skater)
- Andrey Golubev Kazakh tennis player)
Cyrillic Spelling: Горбачёв
It derives from a word meaning “Hunchback”. The Ukrainian equivalent is Horbanenko and the Belarusian equivalent is Harbachow.
Cyrillic Spelling: Гусев
Gusev stems from animals, meaning “goose.” And Guseva is the feminine (Гусева) version of this Russian last name.
In addition, Husyev or Husyeva is a Ukrainian adaptation of this name.
Cyrillic Spelling: Ибрагимов
Meaning: “Son of Abraham”
Another patronymic name from Abraham means “Father of many” or “son of Abraham”.
While Ibrahimov is another masculine variant of this name, Ibragimova and Ibrahimova are its feminine form.
In addition, it is a popular Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Central Asian, Tatar surname.
Furthermore, its spelling shows the Cyrillic alphabet’s form of the name “Ibrahim,” an Islamic variant of “Abraham.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Ильин
Meaning: “Son of Ilya”
Ilyin or Ilin is also a patronymic Russian last name, meaning “son of Ilya.” And its feminine variant is Ilyina or Ilina.
Cyrillic Spelling: Иванов
Meaning: Son of Ivan (God is gracious).
Ivanov, also known as Ivanoff or Ivanow is one of the most common Bulgarian and Russian last names. This surname comes from the male name Ivan.
Furthermore, the feminine version is Ivanova (Bulgarian and Russian: Иванова).
Cyrillic Spelling: Калашник
Meaning: “Maker of Kalaches” or “Breadmaker”
Kalashnik is a Ukrainian occupational last name, meaning “maker of kalaches”.
In the Russian language, the Ukrainian form morphed into Калашников (Kalashnikov) with the suffix -ов or -ov, meaning “son of” or “belonging to.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Кузнецов
Meaning: A metalworker or blacksmith.
Kuznetsova (Кузнецова) is the Russian feminine variant of Kuznetsov.
In addition, it is one of the most common Russian last names, derived from “Kuznets,” meaning “blacksmith.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Лагунов
Meaning: “Water barrel”
Lagunov, with the female form Lagunova (Лагунова), is an occupational Russian last name with an interesting meaning.
Cyrillic Spelling: Ле́бедев
With its feminine variant, Lebedeva (Ле́бедева), this name comes from Lebed. Lebed refers to a bird name called “Swan.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Ленков
Meaning: “Son of Alexander”
Lenkov implies the “son of Alexander.” Literally, the name depicts “defender of mankind.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Лукин
Meaning: Someone from Laka or Luki
A patronymic word for the personal name Luká. It is also a habitual name for an individual Luka or Luki village.
Cyrillic Spelling: Михайлов
Meaning: “Son of Mikhail” or “gift of God.”
Mikhailov is a common family personal or last name in Russia. For women, they bear Mikhailova as their last name.
Cyrillic Spelling: Ме́льников
Like many Russian last names, Meknikov is an occupational surname. It stems from the word “Melnik,” which means “miller” or “one who mills grain.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Молчалин
Molchalin is one of the interesting Russian last names and it means “silent.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Молотов
It is also an occupational surname. The name means ‘hammer’ referring to someone who works with a hammer.
Cyrillic spelling: Николаев
Meaning: “Victory of the people.”
Nikolayeva (Николаева) is the feminine variant. This Russian last name derives from the male name “Nikolay.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Новиков
While females bear Novikova (Новикова), these Russian last names stem from “Novik”
Novik was a teenager on military service, from a cossack, boyar, or noble, family in Russia of the 16th to 18th centuries.
Cyrillic Spelling: Никитин
Meaning: “Son of Nikita”
Known as one of the patronymic last names in Russia, Nikitin means “Son of Nikita.” Its female variant is Nikitina (Никитина)
Cyrillic Spelling: Орлов
Most noble families bear this last name in Russia, which means “eagle.” Orlova (Орлова) is the Russian last name for females.
Cyrillic Spelling: Островский
Meaning: “Island” or “water meadow”
Ostrovsky comes from Ostrov in different parts of eastern Europe. Those from Belorussian, Ukrainian, Jewish, and Russian often bear this habitational last name.
Cyrillic Spelling: Пастернак
Meaning: “Parsnip” or “Pastinaca sativa”
This last name stems from multiple origins in Poland, Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. The surname depicts a root vegetable “Parsnip.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Па́влов
Meaning: “son of Pablo/Pavel/Pavle”
Pavlov is another patronymic Russian last name, meaning “small” or “son of Pavlo.”
On the other hand, Pavlova (Па́влова) are common Russian and Bulgarian female surnames.
Also, the Ukrainian variant of Pavlov is Pavliv.
Cyrillic Spelling: Петров
Meaning: “Son of Pyotr”
This common Russian last name reflects two meanings: “son of Pyotr” or “stone.”
And the female surname form is Petrova (Петрова)
Furthermore, is one of the most popular Bulgarian and Russian last names
Cyrillic Spelling: Петухова
Meaning: A village in Russia
Petukhov is another Russian last name used to define people belonging to several habitations.
Additionally, it is a village or rural locality in Oshibskoye Rural Settlement, in Kudymkarsky District, Perm Krai, Russia.
Cyrillic Spelling: Плотников
Meaning: “Carpenters” or “people who work with wood”
Plotnikov is one of the Russian occupational last names that means “carpenters” or “people who work with woods.” You can also write it as Plotnikoff.
Furthermore, Plotnikova is the female variant of this Russian surname.
Cyrillic Spelling: Преображенский
Meaning: “of the Transfiguration”
Preobrazhenskaya is the feminine version, while Preobrazhenskoye is neuter. It stems from the Christian feast day of the Transfiguration.
Preobrazhensky is one of the Russian last names popular among clergy members.
Upon entering the church, many clergy members would surrender their lay names and adopt a church alternative.
Cyrillic Spelling: Путин
Meaning: “One who travels along the road”
Putin is one of the most popular family names. It means “One who travels along the road” or “someone who goes along the way.”
Also, its feminine variant is Putina.
Cyrillic Spelling: Рабино́вич
Meaning: “Son of the rabbi”
Rabinovich, also spelt as Rabinovitch is one of the popular Russian last names on the list.
Referring to “Son of Rabbi,” Rabinovich is a Russian Ashkenazi Jewish surname.
Cyrillic Spelling: Распутин
This Russian last name comes from Putin, meaning “Crossroads.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Рыбаков
Rybakov is also an occupational Russian last name, meaning “Fisherman.”
On the other hand, Rybakova (Рыбаковa) is the feminine form of Rybakov.
Cyrillic Spelling: Смирнов
Meaning: Quiet, Peaceful, or Gentle.
Smirnoff has other masculine variants like Smirnov, Smyrnov, and Smirnow.
It derives from an adjectival nickname, Smirnyj and in the archaic form Smirnov. The female form is Smirnova (Смирнова).
Cyrillic Spelling: Семёнов
Meaning: “Son of Simon” or “God hears.”
Semenova is the female form of Semenov. Also, it relates to Simeon and Simon.
Cyrillic Spelling: Чайковский
Meaning: “lapwing bird”
This popular Russian last name means “lapwing bird.”
Pyotr Tchaikovsky is a famous bearer and known for his classical music. Some of his notable works are “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Тургенев
Meaning: “Fast” or “quick”
This surname also comes with a female version, Turgeneva (Тургеневa).
Furthermore, it comes from the word “Turgen,” (Тургенев), meaning “fast” or “quick.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Васильев
Meaning: Royal or Kingly.
It is one of the commonest Russian last names, derived from the Russian name “Vasiliy.”
Cyrillic Spelling: Яхонтов
Meaning: Ruby and Sapphire
For parents that want an ancient and exotic last name, Yahontov is cool. It links with two precious stones – ruby and sapphire.
Cyrillic Spelling: Задачин
Zadachin comes from the Russian word “Udachi” or “Zadachi.”
Cyrillic Spelling: “зима”
Zima comes from a town name in Russia, meaning “Winter.”
Final Thoughts on Russian Last Names
Finding a truly unique name for your baby can be tricky, especially when cultures with rich oral traditions still use many of the same names.
That is why parents are increasingly looking to other cultures, like Russian, to give their baby an original and fresh-sounding name.
We hope that these Russian last names will inspire you to choose a perfect name variation for you or your little one.