I'm a non-native speaker of Russian, and my given name is Andrew. Is it more normal to call myself "Эндрю", which according to Wiktionary is the transliteration of my name, or "Андрей", which is a cognate (ie an etymologically related word)?

2 Answers 2


If you call yourself "Андрей" you'll have tons of questions from everybody whether you have any Russian ancestry. It's typical for non-native speakers of Russian to call themselves with their real names, "Эндрю" in your case. Still, I knew a Vietnamese guy named Ha Hai Tan who called himself "Толя" (it's short from "Анатолий"). When I once asked him why he chose "Толя", he said, "Well, Tan – Толя, they sound very similar." ))

Well, call yourself with your real name "Эндрю" if you'd like to avoid such questions and surprised looks, or choose "Андрей" if you want them, or if you decided to convert to Russianhood.

And actually, "Эндрю" is not a transliteration of "Andrew", it is a transcription with the Russian letters.

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    You can also be radical and say "Меня зовут Эндрю, но вы можете называть меня Андрей". (My name is Andrew but you can call me Andrey"). Feb 5, 2017 at 9:57
  • 4
    It is quite common for people of Eastern origin, especially Chinese, to use Western names when communicating with Westerners. In Russia it is also quite common for people from ex-USSR Central Asia (e.g. Uzbeks) to use Russian names. Probably this is because the pronunciation of Eastern names may be quite hard for foreigners. But European names are well-known in Russia and generally expected to be used as-is.
    – Spc_555
    Feb 5, 2017 at 15:08
  • @VasilyAlexeev - The Ukrainian names are also in most cases substituted with Russian ones, and vice versa: Петро : Пётр (e.g. the czar Петро І, the president Пётр Порошенко), Текла : Фёкла, Пилип : Филипп, Євген : Евгений, Олена : Елена, Самійло : Самуил, almost all of them. Note, Ukr. и is pronounced as Rus. ы, Ukr. е as Rus. э.
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 5, 2017 at 15:36
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    @VasilyAlexeev - Sorry, but that's relevant to your comment, not to the OP's question.
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 5, 2017 at 18:29
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    @VasilyAlexeev It's true that Chinese tend to use a lot of western names especially in English-speaking countries but I find it really displeasing in general. Why not use your own real names when you have them? When I was in Chile, I initially said a westernized name but then they all asked me “but what is your real name?” I think the difficulty of pronunciation isn't the real issue, since by this logic, Indian names which are in many cases much harder to pronounce should be even more anglicized, but that didn't happen.
    – xji
    Feb 5, 2017 at 22:16

I would use the name you are most comfortable with. Andrew is easy to pronounce (as opposed to, say, Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa), so the majority of Russians won't have a problem with it. Your name is part of your identity and I don't see, why you should adapt it.

  • 5
    You don't have to change your name, but you change how people call you. My name is Vladimir, in my country people call me Vláďa, in English people call me Vlad and in Russia they called me Voloďa or even Vova. No problem at all. And so Andrew can be somewhere Andrew, somewhere Andy and elsewhere Андрей.And so Andrew can be somewhere Andrew, somewhere Andy and elsewhere Andrej. Feb 6, 2017 at 10:27

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