Table of contents:

Common Russian names that only seem traditional: Ruslan, Lyudmila and others
Common Russian names that only seem traditional: Ruslan, Lyudmila and others
Painting by Akim Karneev

Many names on the Russian ear seem to be the most common, dear and traditional. And other names seemed common and even old man's some time ago. Moreover, both those and others came into use relatively recently - either were recently invented, or simply were not allowed for use.

Igor and Oleg

Now in Russia there are a lot of both, and the name is perceived as traditional - after all, it is found in the history textbook, both in stories about very old times, and in stories from the twentieth century. But in fact, in Russia, children were not called that. So, only two precedents are known in the nineteenth century, when children received these names, that is, they were baptized like that (it was during baptism, in church papers, that the child was officially registered under some name).

The first Oleg appeared in the imperial family, so the church ceded, although there are no saints with that name. But for the baptism of another, non-royal, child by Oleg, the priest was reprimanded, and the church warned its members about the forbiddenness of this name.

What's the matter? In Russian history, there was no saint who was officially called Oleg. There is a known saint who bore such a name in the world, but he was baptized by Levontius - it was this name that the church considered as real. Theoretically, only Saint Olga could be the patron saint of Olegs.

The same story is with the name Igor. The only Saint Igor, Prince of Kiev of the XII century, from the point of view of the church was George - by baptism. So the first official Igor appeared in Russia only in 1894, in the imperial family. It is difficult to say whether he was also baptized by Igor or whether his parents took advantage of the opportunity to register their son past the church that appeared for atheists, but there were no other Igor's until the twentieth century. The church had softened the rules for baptism only by our time, and Igor (and Oleg) had their own name days, according to the pagan, not baptismal, naming of saints.

In the forties, for the sake of propaganda, the rise of national self-awareness, the authorities began to often turn to images from the history of Ancient Russia. The future Russian Great Russians at that time obeyed the princes of Kiev, among whom Oleg and Igor were among the most legendary. It is not surprising that since the beginning of the constant pedaling of the theme of Ancient Russia, the popularity of both names has increased. The peak of this popularity came in the sixties, when many works of art from fans of Slavic pre-Christian history appeared in the public space.

Prince Igor and Oleg Konstantinovich Romanovs in their youth

Lyudmila and Svetlana

What could be less strange than a Russian girl called Luda or Sveta? These names are familiar and understandable by ear. However, they came to ordinary life from literature. The first is due to the popularity of Pushkin's poem Ruslan and Lyudmila, the second is from Zhukovsky's ballad Svetlana.

They began to use the name Lyudmila almost immediately, although not everyone decided to call their daughter that way. But there were no problems to formalize it officially - after all, among the saints of the past there was Lyudmila Cheshskaya, a princess-martyr, killed by her pagan daughter-in-law. The day of her memory has entered Russian omens as the day when summer turns to winter - "On Lyudmilin's day, geese fly away - they drag a winter on their tail."

But Svetlana was invented by the Russian German Vostokov out of his head, probably in the likeness of the Bulgarian Milana.Even after the name became popular thanks to Zhukovsky, who used Vostokov's idea, they did not name the children. Ships, establishments, even horses could be called Svetlana, but without the corresponding holy girl they could not get such a name.

So the first to call their daughters that way were members of the Communist Party after the revolution: Tukhachevsky, Bukharin, Molotov, Stalin and the lesser-known Bolsheviks. Since there were no girls Svetlana under tsarism, the Bolsheviks clearly perceived him as fundamentally innovative, avant-garde, separated from the previous regime.

Still from the film Ruslan and Lyudmila

Ruslan and Timur

The name Ruslan is strongly associated with Russian heroes. Firstly, because at the root there is a combination of letters "Rus", and secondly, because that was the name of the hero of Pushkin's poem "Ruslan and Lyudmila", which begins with an introduction with the words "Russian spirit" and "Smells of Russia." In fact, Ruslan is a Turkic name, a form of the name "Arslan" (which means "lion"). It is not surprising that the parents of the nineteenth century, inspired by Pushkin, having decided to name the child in a heroic way, learned in the church that this was by no means impossible: non-Christian naming. So Russian Ruslans appeared only in the twentieth century, and the name is still more popular in Kazan and other Tatar cities than among the Russian population.

Turkic in origin and the name Timur. It means "iron" and was worn by several Turkic-speaking rulers (and probably also by many simpler men). In the twenties, probably because of the meaning of the name, some Bolsheviks called their sons that. Timurs, for example, were the children of Arkady Gaidar and Mikhail Frunze, and the son of an American communist who moved to the USSR, Eugene Dennis.

The name became popular among Russian parents after the publication of Gaidar's story "Timur and His Team", but the name never became widespread. Nowadays, it is most often found in Tatarstan and the North Caucasus.

In Gaidar's book, Timur, by the way, is most likely a Tatar

Yuri and Egor

For a long time these names were not considered independent. They were only a way of pronouncing the same Christian name - George. The fact is that the "g" in this name was pronounced by the Greek priests very softly, almost disappearing: it turned out something like Eory. In the pronunciation of the elite, it turned into Yuri, in the peasant - into Yegor, and then into Yegor. So by name it was possible to immediately understand whether a person was of noble origin: Yuri could not have been a serf or a tradesman, and the prince could not be called Egor.

After the revolution, Georgy, Yuri and Yegor became separate names, because they began to be officially documented: both said and written. The independent name Yuri entered the calendar only in 1992, when the lawyer Yuri Novitsky, who was shot in Petrograd, was canonized.

Yuri Novitsky, holy lawyer

Lada and Rada

In the nineteenth century, a number of armchair scientists, trying to build the Slavic pantheon without fail according to the ancient Greek model (other structures were not recognized at that time), put a goddess named Lada in the place of Aphrodite. Moreover, it is difficult to say whether such a goddess once existed. There are three mentions of an idol or deity named Lado or Allada in the old texts, as well as two mentions specifically of the male god Lado in the texts of the 15th and 17th centuries. Now, it seems, the most popular version is that the word "lad" originally referred to men unambiguously (in the meaning of "husband" it is in "The Lay of Igor's Host." the first frets appear. The peak of the name's popularity came in the sixties, after the song "No need to frown, Lada" poured out of all the radio outlets.

But the name Rada, it seems, really existed before the general Christianization. Already by the root it is clear that it is associated with the word "joy". In Soviet times, it was given to children by several categories of people. Lovers of pre-Christian Slavic culture, starting from about the sixties - times.

Fans of Maxim Gorky in honor of his gypsy heroine, in the twenties - two. There are three fans of the film Tabor Goes to Heaven, based on Gorky's stories, starting in the seventies. Fans of Indian mystical culture or Blavatsky himself (also known as Radda Bai), in the eighties - four.

This is the topic how children were given names in Russia, and which were forbidden for commoners, is not exhausted, and there were much more nuances.

Popular by topic