The 25 Most Common Russian Last Names

The Russian language has many nuances. The most common Russian last names and their meanings tell a story. They can represent where a person is coming from. They might also represent a certain character or personality trait.

25. Lebedev

As one of the most popular Russian last names, Lebedev is inspired by the word swan. In time, it also added variations such as Lebedenov.

The name has also been made famous by popular Russian figures. Alexander Lebedev is one of Russia’s richest men today. He has an estimated worth of over $3.1 billion. He now owns the Novaya Gaeta newspaper in the country as well as The Independent and the Evening Standard newspapers in the UK.

24. Smirnov

Popular in the Northern part of the country, Smirnov has its root in the personality of a calm person.

Konstantin Smirnov was a general in the Russian army. He was part of the Ruso-Japanese War (1904) and in command of one of the most heavily guarded fortresses in history, Port Arthur.

23. Alexeyev

The words have a connotation with the first name Alexey. It stands for being able to defend something.

Alexander Alexeyev is one of the most popular Russian sports figures at the moment. He plays hockey for Washington Capitals.

22. Antonov

The son of Antony, Antonov has a Roman origin. The word could be roughly translated as ‘priceless’ or ‘something of rare quality’.

Antonov is a popular name for both individuals and businesses in Russian and in the ex-USSR countries. Antonov is one of the largest plane manufacturers in Ukraine and the world.

21. Preobrazensky

With religious roots, the words mean the embodiment of the Transfiguration icon. It’s highly popular among clergy members.

20. Kuznetsov

Kuznetsov has its roots in the blacksmith’s profession.

Today, the name Kuznetsov is also tied to the Russian military. The aircraft carrier Amiral Kuznetsov is seen on seas across the world. The ship has an impressive length of over 1,000 feet.

19. Oblonsky

Rooted in Ukraine’s region of Obolon, the name is rarely used today in Russia.

Stiva Oblonsky is one of the most famous characters in Russian literature. She is one of the stars in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

18. Gorky

A rough translation of this name would be ‘bitter’. A famous person carrying this name was Maxim Gorky, a Russian poet.

17. Ivanov

The Russian interpretation of John is Ivan. Ivanov is the last name interpretation of Ivan’s first name.

Ivanov is also the name of one of the most popular Russian plays. It’s a 4-act drama by Anton Chekhov. Today, the play is frequently produced internationally, in English.

16. Medvedev

Medved is the Russian word ‘bear’. ‘Medvedev’ last name is the interpretation of the bear also attributed to a person of strong character initially.

15. Mikhailov

Mikhailov is the meaning of the phrase ‘the son of Mikhail’. Today, it is used to name a few Russian neighborhoods and villages. It also has religious roots in the Archangel Michael.

14. Pavlov

Paul is the English variant of Pavlo, which is translated as ‘small’. Pavlov is the last name with first name roots.

Ivan Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. He has contributed to many areas of the field by in the West, he is mainly known for his work on reflexes.

13. Popov

Roughly translated as ‘priest’, Popov is a very common Russian last name.

Alexander Popov is a famous Russian physicist credited among those who invented the radio receiving device. Two-way communication by telegraphy was established by the Russian on Hogland Island first.

12. Zorkin

A common name that described a sharp-sighted person.

11. Zima

The name translates as ‘winter’ and it is also given to a few Russian municipalities. Today, Zima is also the name of multiple lightly carbonated alcoholic beverages around the world.

10. Vasiliev

Vasiliev comes from the Russian name of Basil. A famous person with this name is Ivan Vasiliev, a famous ballet dancer. With worldwide performances, he became a popular name at the American Ballet Theatre.

9. Sobakin

The last name derived from the word ‘sobaka’ which is translated as ‘dog’. Marfa Sobakina was the tsarista of the Tsardom of Russia. She was the central figure in The Tsar’s Bride written by Lev Mei.

8. Kravtsov

The name refers to a tailor or a professional who makes or repairs clothes. It’s rooted in Ukraine.

A famous sports player with this name is Vitaly Kravtsov. He plays hockey for the New York Rangers.

7. Gorbachev

Gorbachev is a nickname that became the last name by repetition. It translates as ‘hunchback’. The most famous Gorbachev was the ex-president Mikhail Gorbachev.

6. Davydov

‘The son of David’ with possible Hebrew roots. Karl Yulievich Davidov is a famous Russian cellist. He was described as the best by the famous Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

5. Borysiuk

The last name with roots in ‘Boris’ which stands for ‘wolf’. Borysiuk is a name that enjoys wide popularity even outside Russia. Today, you can find it in many Slavic countries. Some trace it back to Poland.

4. Arkhangelsky

A person from Arkhangelsk or a name with Biblical roots. If you visit Russia, you’ll even find an Arkhangelsky region in the Republic of Bashkortostan.

3. Abramov

The name means ‘the son of Abraham’ and it has roots in the Bible’s Old Testament. Roman Abramovici is a famous person with this name. He is the owner of the Chelsea FC football team in London and one of the richest Russian men alive.

2. Yahontov

A Russian last name derived from precious stones such as ruby. It’s generally seen as an archaic word today. Sergey Yahontov is a movie and documentary producer, mostly known for the Rodina movie (2015).

1. Goncharov

The last name derived from the name of a profession. ‘Gonchar’ was the name of the village’s potters.

Ivan Goncharov is a Russian novelist known for his Oblomov or A Common Story published work. Oblomov is still widely popular today as it has been translated in multiple languages.