My name is Ilana, and over the years, many Russians have told me I have a Russian name. I am not Russian. Is Ilana a Russian name? I couldn't find it as a Russian name on Google. (I did find that "Ilona" is a Hungarian name, maybe that's related? )

Also, I really like Russian nicknames. Is there a Russian nickname for Ilana?

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    Russian or not, but the name of the paramount beautiful princess in the Romanian fairy tales is Ileana Cosânzeana [iˈlʲäna kosɨnˈzʲäna].
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 1:12
  • does that have a nickname?
    – codi6
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 1:23
  • @YellowSky Ileana is a different name of different origin - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileana
    – shabunc
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 11:38
  • If first letter of this name sounds as "Ай" so name is Айлэна, that very close to Belarussian Алена, Алёна or Russian Алёна, Алёнка, Алёнушка. Often Алёна is called Елена (Лена) in Russia.
    – elena_m
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 13:53
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    "Илана" is not a Russian name by any definition (but wouldn't sound very exotic either). However, if your name is pronounced "Илэна", your friends may be confusing it with "Elena", which is not Russian by origin, but very popular in Russia.
    – Alexander
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


In short, no, it's not a Russian name.

It depends on what we consider Russian or non-Russian. Technically speaking there's very few names with Slavic roots in Russian. Let's limit list by female names and it would be: Надежда, Любовь, Вера, Владислава, Людмила and Светлана - and that's basically it. "Светлана" by the way has extremely interesting origin - it was coined by a poet in XIXth century.

Should we count Александра, Анастасия, Дарья, Мария, Ольга, Марина non-Russian then? Well, of course they are Russian names, since de-facto Russian parent use often this names.

What about Прасковья, Евдокия, Алевтина, Офелия - are they Russian? I mean nowadays it's not that easy to find Агриппина. However of course they are Russian.

What about Ilana specifically? It's a Hebrew name that's used predominantly in Jewish communities - to my knowledge not extremely popular but not exotic as well. There's no statistically significant (here's some open data on name distribution in Moscow if one is intrested) tradition in Russian or even Jewish Russian communities in Russia to give this name at birth.

This name, by the way, should not be confused with Ilona - a name of uncertain origin which is used predominantly in Hungary, Poland and and Czechia - but not in Russia.

Lastly, Лана suggested in the other answer provided actually is a short form of Светлана.

To conclude - this name is as Russian as, say, Роберта. Somebody can name their child Илана and the child honestly won't find any difficulties of bearing that name - yet another exotic name, not a big deal - Russia is multinational country where people got quite used to any exotic combinations. In fact, I've just realised that without googling I can name at least one Russian Ilana - Илана Юрьева from "Уральские пельмени" show.

As of the nickname part I believe you are confusing nickname and diminutives, diminutive can be a nickname but nickname is not necessarily a diminutive. So the form for Ilana would be whatever Russian speaker will come up with - we are very productive in that aspect. A (definitely uncomplete) list would be - Ланчик, Ланусик, Иланчик, Иля, Илечка and so on an so on.

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    > If you check the list of famous women named Ilona you'll find mostly Polish, Hungarian and Czech women and that's not a coincidence - in Russian this name is not used. It's not really true. Илона is rare but still be used as Russian name. For example, I can remember Илона Давыдова, who's English courses were widely known in the '90s for ads.
    – artptr
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 18:00

In my opinion, in Russia it will be easier to call you Илона or Лана.

There is also the Russian name Елена [yelena] , most likely your friends had it in mind.

  • Elena is not Russian name. It is Greek name. Ἑλένη = light. And also Лана is closer to Светлана, Милана. But Елена (Лена) sometimes is called Алёна in Russia, not Лана.
    – elena_m
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 10:29
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    @elena_m Елена is Russian name because it used by Russians. It's a Russian name of non-Slavic origin.
    – shabunc
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 11:28
  • @shabunc , thank you! i wanted to say the same as you (just about non-Slavic origin).
    – elena_m
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 9:32

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