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Baby Names of Russian Descent

Photograph by Getty Images/Flickr Select

BORIS

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked

Meaning: Fight, battler

Forget "moose and squirrel"; the cartoon spy from "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" isn't a great representative of the name Boris. "Frankenstein" star Boris Karloff and hunky actor Boris Kodjoe are much better examples of this strong name done right.

TATIANA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #577

Meaning: Fairy princess

It has an ethereal meaning, but Tatiana sounds like the name of a mysterious vixen. This name dates way back to the Roman family name Tatius and has evolved into a popular Russian name since.

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MIKHAIL

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked

Meaning: Who is like God?

As far as Russian names go, Mikhail is a heavy hitter. It's been given to two czars, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. This name might sound exotic to American ears, but it's simply the Russian version of Michael.

KIRA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #350

Meaning: Farsighted; Young

When meeting a Kira for the first time, you'd be unlikely to guess that this name is the Russian female version of Cyrus. Some Russian names have hard, harsh sounds. By contrast, Kira is light and delicate.

SASHA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #569 (girls)

Meaning: Defender of men

Despite the fact that Sasha doesn't break the top 1,000 most popular boys' names in the U.S., it's commonly given to Russian boys. In either country, this name is fitting for a boy or a girl – in fact, it's the Russian nickname for both Aleksandr and Aleksandra.

SVETLANA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked

Meaning: Star

Svetlana is sleek, European and elegant – at least, the name is. Your little Svetlana is bound to be messy and noisy for many years before you start to spot any elegance.

SERGEI

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked

Sergei comes from the Roman family name Sergius, and it's been a traditional Russian name for centuries. Sergius may have meant "servant." Its exact meaning is unknown, though you may want to teach your little Sergei that definition once he's old enough for chores.

ANYA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: #472

The Russian form of Anna has all that name's sweet simplicity as well as a little bite. Perhaps that's why this name was chosen for a sharp-tongued and strong-willed character on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

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DMITRIY

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked

Dmitriy began as the Russian form of a Greek name – Demetrius – but you'd be hard-pressed to think of a more classically Russian name today. This name is one of the most common names given to Russian boys today.

GALINA

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Not ranked

Like so many other Russian names, Galina was originally derived from Greek; specifically, from the name Galenos. It's not well-known in America and it's not hard to pronounce or spell, so this might be for you if you're looking for a Russian name that's not trendy or complicated.

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