People look for baby names in the strangest of places, and given that Russia seems to be in the news a lot at the moment there will be one or two prospective parents looking towards the land of many bears for inspiration.
But how do you go about choosing one of the many Russian monikers for your baby? Well, that will depend on what exactly your hopes are when they strike out into the world to make their fame and fortune. Here are a few professions and the Russian names you may decide are ideal for a new arrival:
If you’re hoping your child may take up a paint brush, your inspiration may be Wassily Kandinsky (Васи́лий Канди́нский). The Russian painter is credited with painting the first purely abstract works. Does that mean his pictures didn’t actually exist? For a girl, perhaps you could choose Zinaida, after Zinaida Serebriakova (Зинаи́да Серебряко́ва), who was among the first female Russian painters of distinction.
Everyone wants to be a footballer, even if they won’t admit it. Millions of dollars a week for kicking a ball about? Oh, go on then. Russia’s most-capped player is Viktor Onopko (Виктор Онопко), though he was a goalkeeper and that’s no fun. The women’s star player is currently Elena Morozova (Елена Морозова), a striker. That’s much more like it.
There is a strange dearth of Russian actors who make it big in Hollywood. Anton Yelchin (Анто́н Ельчи́н) is making a name for himself – perhaps your child could be named after the man who plays Chekov in the new Star Trek movies. Russian actresses seem to find an easier route to fame and Natalya Rudakova (Наталья Рудакова) is well on her way to becoming a big star.
Now this is one field the Russians excel at, and at the top of the tree is probably Ivan Pavlov (Ива́н Па́влов) thanks to his famous experiments with dogs. Pavlov managed to prove that dogs get angry when a man eats their food, a discovery the human race can certainly be proud of. For a female scientist, a fine choice of role model would be Vera Popova (Вера Попова), the famous 19th century Russian chemist.
Not that you have a single hope of seeing your child wrest power from the clutches of the man currently in the job, but for a certain type of person Vladimir Putin (Влади́мир Пу́тин) is definitely someone to look up to. Unfortunately if your child is a girl you have very little immediate chance of seeing her hit the heights in Russian politics – in fact she might be better off aiming for First Lady, like Lyudmila Putina (Людми́ла Пу́тина). Everyone knows she’s the one who wears the trousers anyway.
With a Russian name there’s a chance your child may actually grow up speaking Russian, so you’ll probably need to do this job yourself. To find out how much you have to learn before you can properly communicate with your own offspring, how about taking our Russian level test to gauge the standard of your русский?