This section looks at Russian Nicknames - how to form them (for boys and girls) and which ones to avoid. To go straight to the lists of actual nicknames, follow these links:
Nicknames are a very popular and common aspect in Russian society. Russian people are very affectionate with their family and close friends, and nicknames are just one of the many ways that you will see this. There are some different uses for nicknames that apply to females or males, and it is important to know how they are used.
Nicknames for girls are very common. They are used by parents, husbands, boyfriends, and indeed friends of the girl. There are some common patterns of creating these nicknames, which we will explain in a moment, but in general there are no rules. You can come up with your own nicknames, and often Russian people use similar words that have a good meaning. For example, 'Snezhana' can be called "Snezhok", which means "little ball of snow".
On our page of Russian girls names, we have listed the common affectionate names for girls.
Nicknames for boys, however, are not as common as those for girls, and certainly not in an affectionate form. Parents in Russia raise their boys to be men, and it is not customary for boys to be pampered, or to receive affectionate nicknames.
Boys are often called nicknames by their friends, and often this would be a less polite (and sometimes rude) version of the nickname. For example, 'Vladimir' would often be called "Vovka", but probably not "Vovochka".
For lovers, a woman will sometimes use affectionate nicknames for her husband/boyfriend. Usually it will be to show how proud she is of him, when speaking of him and his accomplishments. Or, she may also use it when she looks at you with a cheeky smile in the hope that you will buy her something nice!
On our page of Russian boys names, we have listed some of the common nicknames for boys.
The most common way to form a Russian nickname is to use the short version of a person's name, and then insert a group of letters prior to the final letter. The most common letters used are -en'k, -echk, -ochk, -ushk, and -yush.
See the following examples:
You should know that some forms of nicknames are perceived as a rude or abbrasive version of a person's name, and so you should avoid using such names. Often the rude version of a name will be the short-name with "-ka" added to the end.
For example, we have shown how 'Vladimir', (whose short name is "Vova"), can be called "Vovka". 'Svetlana', (with the short name "Sveta"), would become "Svetka" in less friendly nickname. Similarly, 'Galina', (with the short name "Gala"), has a less polite version "Galka". Please keep this in mind, and avoid calling your beloved wife or girlfriend, with one of these names!