Russian Names consist of a first name, a middle name (called a patronymic name) and a surname.
The names are usually written in that order, as in English, and there is always a middle name (unlike English where this is not always the case.)
The names are used in a very similar way to English, with similar guidelines of formality. The first name is the most common name used, and there are many shorter versions and affectionate nicknames that may also be used if you are close or friendly with the person you are addressing.
See our comprehensive guide to Russian female names and Russian male names, for common russian names. We've also included their meanings, and for those of you looking for a cute nickname for your Russian girlfriend, we have listed some here for you as well!
(See here for information about Ukrainian names.)
Russians are very affectionate towards their family and friends, and this is evident with the many short-names, and affectionate nicknames they have for each other.
Like English names, many names in Russian have a shorter version. For example - the English name Stephen (or Steven), has the short name Steve. Likewise, the Russian name Katerina, has the short name Katya.
The affectionate form is often made by the insertion of the letters -en'k before the last letter. For example, Katya becomes Katen'ka.
Other common letters which are used in a similar way are -echk, -ochk, -ushk, and -yush.
See our detailed information on Russian nicknames.
Patronymic names are derived from the name of the child's father ("patron"). If the child is a boy, the patronymic name will end in either -evich, or -ovich. If the child is a girl, the patronymic name will end in -ovna, or -evna.
For more information about how to form these names and when you must use them to address someone, see our page on Patronymic names.
Russian surnames also (usually) have a different ending for males and females. The most common endings are -ev (-eva), -ov (-ova), -in (-ina), -skiy (-skaya), and -iy (-ya). Read more about Russian surnames.
Ukrainian surnames are quite different from Russian surnames, and most do not vary with gender - see here for more about Ukrainian surnames.