10 “most” Russian names

What names do you consider to be primordially Russian? Suppose the list will be something like this: Ivan, Marya, Dmitry, Tatiana, Alexander, Anastasia, Nikolai, Anna, Fedor, Elena. You will be surprised, but all these names are actually borrowings from different languages.

  1. The Russian language borrowed the name ” Ivan” from the Hebrew language, this name is translated literally as ” God regretted “.
  2. The name ” Marya” (Mary) also comes from the Hebrew language, it is derived from the name of Maryam.
  3. The name ” Dmitry” is derived from the name of the ancient Greek deity Demeter, who was responsible for fertility.
  4. The name ” Tatiana” has ancient Roman roots and comes from the family name Tatiev.
  5. The name ” Alexander” is of ancient Greek origin, it consists of two roots, which literally translate as ” protect ” and ” man “.
  6. The name ” Anastasia” came from Ancient Greece and means ” bringing back to life . 
  7. The name ” Nicholas” is also of ancient Greek origin, it means ” conqueror of nations .”
  8. The name ” Anna” comes from Hebrew culture and means “favor.”
  9. The name ” Fedor” is of ancient Greek origin, it means ” God’s gift “.
  10. The name ” Elena” also comes from Ancient Greece, most linguists trace it to the name of Helios, the sun god. In their opinion, “Elena” means ” sunshine “.

You can see that most of these names are borrowed from ancient Greek, and some from Hebrew. This is due to the fact that many personal names came into Russian culture after the adoption of Christianity. The change of religion entailed an acquaintance with church texts that were written in Greek (New Testament and the Gospel), and the study of Hebrew culture (the Old Testament was written in Hebrew) through Greek.

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