Can foreign names be used as a basis for patronymics?

If, for example, an Englishman whose first name is Donald becomes a citizen of Russia and has a son there, will that son have the patronymic Доналдович? And does François' son become Франсуасович? Etc.


4 Answers 4



In Russia, almost every document about a person includes a patronymic, so everyone needs it. If your father has foreign name, you still have a patronymic. If your father is unknown, your mother gives you some patronymic soon after your birth. If she doesn't know the father's name, she may give you her own patronymic. If a baby is found, and nobody knows who is his father or mother, they give him some random patronymic.

For example, Harry Kasparov (Гарри Каспаров) has English/American name Гарри. It is not a Russian name. Each of his sons is Гарриевич, and each of his daughters is Гарриевна.

Besides, there are many Russians who are ethnic Georgians, Armenians etc, and their fathers had non-Russian names. All these Russians have patronymics. For example, Абе́л Ге́зевич Аганбегя́н (Abel Aganbegyan), who is ethnic Armenian.


As per comments by Danila Smirnov and Tzakrevskiy, if a child with rights to Russian citizenship is born in a country that does not use patronymics, he/she does not receive a patronymic when applying for the Russian citizenship. However, Danila Smirnov writes:

I just happen to know someone who was born in another country and did not have a patronymic in his birth certificate when he was registered for Russian citizenship. When he got his passport at 14 years, he had a dash in his "patronymic" field. On the other hand, it did cause some problems, so he had to legally change his name to get one.

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    As far as I know: not in the official names. Like, a guy with a powerful mother might be called in this way to emphasise the humour. This is a very informal thing and also a mid-untasteful joke. It never happens in official documents. The other thing is if you want to trace a heritage, typically the kid has the last name of the mother (which "should" be the last name of the father, whose patronymic the kid bears). So, the legacy can be traced into women with same last names as their kids. Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 21:48
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    @oz1cz, only as a joke. In 12 century, there was a Rus prince Олег Ярославич whose mother Настасья was his father's mistress, so he was nicknamed Настасьич. In similar manner, lurk.ru today jokingly calls the web designer Артёмий Андреевич Лебедев "Артёмий Татьянович", because his mother, Татьяна Толстая, was a famous writer. Some russian family names derive from matronymics, but it is not clear (to me) how serious it was. I don't know of any single case when one was officially called by matronymic, even though after the WWII many children were raised without fathers.
    – user31264
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 1:20
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    @Herrgott Sure they can. Although traditionally it is given based on father's name, in absence of a stated father, mother chooses a patronymic which is written in the birth certificate. And it can be anything, really - names are somewhat regulated (since this year), but no regulation on patronymics for children with no stated father exist. The officials that give out certificates generally do not care about what your baby is called, as long as everything is according to their regulations. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 8:29
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    @oz1cz: in fact, if used jokingly, you can safely derive patronymics from almost any masculine word (e.g. "Самолет Самолетович"). Also, in extra-informal situations (usually only between very close friends), one can be humorously addressed by "Батькович/Батьковна" (from "батька", resulting roughly in a 'Daddyson'), e.g. "Ну что, Василий Батькович, пошли чай пить?" Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 8:41
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    @user31264 I just happen to know someone who was born in another country and did not have a patronymic in his birth certificate when he was registered for Russian citizenship. When he got his passport at 14 years he had a dash in his "patronymic" field. On the other hand, it did cause some problems, so he had to legally change his name to get one - so while it is possible (and not required by law at birth) to not have patronymic, having one does make life easier. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 10:44

Well, it depends. If the father is living in Russia/Russian speaking country, then yes, the child can receive patronymic as far as I know. Do not quote me on it, I am only 16. I’m not Russian. I’m Uzbek, родилась и выросла в Узбекистане. :P

Okay, anyways. I have a patronymic, but it sounds like s**t to my ears. My dad’s name is Abdulaziz. So my full name is:

Ирода Абдулазизовна Уразова. What a mouthful…

But really Donald isn’t transliterated as Доналд, but as Дональд. So, you get for a patronymic: Дональдович или Дональдовна.

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    For some reason, the generarive model for many Central Asian surnames, -оев(а), also sounds bad to Russian ear. You are lucky that at least you don't have that.
    – alamar
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 21:38
  • @Alamar lots of -aev(a) and oyev(a) especially here in Uzbekistan 😂😂 Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 16:53

Now that this old thread has been revived, let me chime in :)

From the comments above:

according to Family Codex (article 58), national traditions can override the normal naming convention for patronymics

I don't know of any single case it really happened

I acquired Russian citizenship in 2012, and have no patronymic. The field 'отчество' in my internal Russian passport is literally empty. I do have two given names, which are both put under the field 'имя'.

I have two children, both Russian citizens since birth, although born abroad. We also fell back on that Family Codex mentioned above to specify we do not want our children to have patronymics.

We've never had any issues with this.

To answer the question: you can have a foreign patronymic, but you're not obliged to.


If a foreigner acquires Russian citizenship they do not need to have a patronymic. I know an American man who moved to Russia 25 years ago. During that time he kept his original name.

They can get a patronymic. If a man named John moved to a Russian speaking country for example he can Russify his name and his kids have the patronymic Иванович(овна) or he can use his birth name for patronymics. Джонович(овна). In fact, Viktor Keyru, a Russian basketball player, has a foreign father, he was from Sierra Leone. His patronymic is Джонович, as I mentioned.

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