Unusual Soviet Names
Russian language, culture, history, traditions

Unusual Soviet names

In this article, we would like to tell you about the unusual names that were popular during the Soviet Union time. A list of names which boys and girls used to be given became significantly larger after the 1917 Revolution and until the collapse of the Soviet Union.  At that time people used to give […]

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Unusual Soviet names

Russian language, culture, history, traditions

Unusual Soviet Names

In this article, we would like to tell you about the unusual names that were popular during the Soviet Union time. A list of names which boys and girls used to be given became significantly larger after the 1917 Revolution and until the collapse of the Soviet Union.  At that time people used to give their children the names in honour of famous leaders, revolutionary events, as well as geographical locations, and symbols.

At that time, Soviet parents’ creativity and imagination were completely boundless. Today, we can roughly divide all these names into several groups. Let’s have a look at what unusual Soviet names were given to newborn children during the USSR time.

Seasons and Geographical Names

Children were often named after the month they were born in, for example: Dekabriy and Dekabrina (December), Sentyabrina (September), Noyabrina (November), as well as Fevralyn (February), and Aprelyna (April). The luckiest ones were born in October and named Oktabryonok.

Unusual Soviet Names

Names of mountains, rivers, and cities also inspired parents. Therefore, they named their children the following names: Kair (Cairo), Neva (the Neva river), Parizh (Paris), Gyimalay (the Himalayas), Altaj (the Altai), Ural (the Ural), and Avksoma which means Moscow but spelt backwards.

Natural Resources and Flowers

Children born in the Soviet Union can be easily called Dub (oak), Beryoza (birch), Olha (alder), Azalya (azalea), or Gvozdika (carnation).

Technology and Sciences

The USSR actively developed science, so many parents borrowed their children’s names from science. For exampe: from athematics – Algebrina and Gipotenuza (algebra and hypotenuse), from physics – Om(Ohm), Elektrina (electricity), from chemistry – the names of minerals and chemical elements: Rubin (ruby), Granit (granite), Radiy (radium), Geliy (helium), Volfram (wolfram), etc.

Unusual Soviet Names

Slogans

Slogans were very popular during the USSR time. So, people named their children after them. These were mainly names-abbreviations. For example:

Dazdraperma: Da zdravstvuet pervoe maja (Glory to the 1st of May).
Dazvsemir: Da zdravstvuet vsemirnaja revoljucija (Glory to the World Revolution).
Dalis: Da zdravstvujut Lenin i Stalin (Glory to Lenin and Stalin).
Damir: Dajesh mirovuju revoljucuju (Give the World Revolution).
Kukucapol’: Kukuruza – carica polej (Corn is the Tsarina of the fields).

The USSR Professions and Revolutionary Ideology

For example, the name Avtodor originated from the abbreviated name for “The Association for Promotion of the Development of Automobilism and Improvement of Roads”.
Vojenmor – a shortened version of the word combination “military sailor”.
Revdar – a shortened version of the word combination “revolutionary gift”.

Majority of female names originated from male names, but with the letter “a” added at the end. However, there were a few original names. For example:
Kommunera – from “communist era”.
Layila – from “Ilych’s electric bulb”.
Prazdnosveta – from “holiday of the Soviet power”.
Pobeda – the name borrowed from a common noun.
Donara -from “daughter of people”.

Unusual Soviet Names

Famous Leaders, Revolutionary Activists, and the USSR Heroes

Majority of new names were coined from the first letters of the name and surname of famous people. For example:

Vaterpezhekosma: Valentina Tereshkova – pervaja zhenshhina-kosmonavt (Valentina Tereshkova is a first woman cosmonaut).
Dzerzh – from F. Derzhinsky’s surname.
Kollontay – from A. Kollontay’s surname, a party and state person.
Jurgoz – Yury Gagarin orbited the Earth.
Zamvil – from “V.I. Lenin’s deputy”.

Names in Honour of Lenin

The name of the famous leader Vladimir Lenin served as a basis for many Soviet names, such as Varlen – Lenin’s great army, Vidlen – Velikie idei Lenina (Great ideas of Lenin), Vilich – from Ladimir Ilyich Lenin, Leljud – Lenin ljubit detej (Lenin loves children), and Ninel’ –  Lenin (“Lenin” read vice versa and with soft sign).

Unusual Soviet Names

Borrowed Names

It used to be popular to name children after foreign heroes who were related to the revolution, art, or science. There were quite many girls with the name Andzhela (after Angela Davis, an American human rights activist). Boys were named Dzhon (after John Undike, an American writer), or Ravel (after Maurice Ravel, a French composer).

Every time has its own trends for fashion, hairstyles, as well as names. We hope you enjoyed the article and learned about the names which were really popular in the Soviet Union.

Unusual Soviet Names

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