I'm curious about the origin of Anatoly Borisovich's family name. Is it derived from Чуб? Or, perhaps, do Чубайс and Чуб have a common origin? Is anything at all known about it?

1 Answer 1


Googling this name finds many web pages that claim that Chubais is a Latgalian surname referring to a "small, malicious house spirit". (Latgalians were a very small ethnic group that have assimilated with Latvians for the most part.) For example https://persona.rin.ru/view/f/0/11502/chubajs-anatolij-borisovich

Фамилия Чубайс - латышского происхождения.

The surname Chubais is of Latvian origin.


Чубайсы - выходцы из Прибалтики, и первоначально фамилия произносилась как Чубайтес. В Россию были приглашены Петром 1 , да так потом здесь и остались.

Весьма интересна этимология фамилии Чубайс.

Оказывается, у великороссов и латгальцев чубайс (чубысь, чубась, бесенок рыжий) - маленький зловредный домовой дух

Chubais are from the Baltics, and the surname was originally pronounced Chubaites. They were invited to Russia by Peter I, and they stayed here.

The etymology of the surname Chubais is very interesting.

It turns out that among the Great Russians and Latgalians, chubais (chubys, chubas, red-haired imp) is a small, malicious house spirit

Also https://russian7.ru/post/chubays-chto-na-samom-dele-oznachaet-yeta-f/ (in Russian) and many others.

However, some other web pages, for example, https://pikabu.ru/story/feyk_pyitayushchiysya_vyiglyadet_dokumentalno_podtverzhdennyim_7351753 (in Russian) ; http://www.bolshoyvopros.ru/questions/3259379-chto-znachit-slovo-chubajs-v-slavjanskoj-mifologii-i-u-latgalcev.html say that this etymology is fake because some of these pages cite a dictionary that doesn't exist, and attribute it to a joke by the late comedian Zadornov.

I came across an interview with Igor Borisovich - Anatoly Borisovich's older brother. He said the following about their surname:


— Игорь Борисович, ваша фамилия какая-то нерусская, откуда ее корни?

— Да, фамилия часто вызывает вопрос: белорусская она, еврейская или прибалтийская? Ее корни из Прибалтики, она искажена, в оригинале она звучала по-другому. Как — никто не знает. Есть разные варианты — и Чобатас, и Чубет. Но зато точно знаю, что все Чубайсы, все без исключения носители этой фамилии, — родственники. Мой троюродный брат специально исследовал этот вопрос. Однажды на конференции в Петрозаводске ко мне подошла женщина и представилась: г-жа Чубайс. Мы стали выяснять, и оказалось, что мы с ней дальние родственники. Это довольно редкая фамилия, она досталась мне от отца.

  • Igor Borisovich, your surname is kind of non-Russian. What's its origin?

  • Yes, my surname often raises the question: is it Belarusian, Jewish or Baltic? Its roots are from the Baltics, it's distorted. The original it sounded different. How, no one knows. There are different variants - both Chobatas and Chubet. On the other hand, I know for sure that all Chubais, all the bearers of this surname without exception, are related. My second cousin specifically researched this issue. Once, at a conference in Petrozavodsk, a woman came up to me and introduced herself as Mrs. Chubais. We started looking into it, and it turned out that we were distant relatives. This is a rather rare surname — I inherited it from my father.

  • 1
    Fascinating. Chubais is a bit like Pyotr Aven, then. Thank you for your answer. May 16, 2022 at 23:27
  • If you start looking into Russian Federation nomenclature you will find out they're universally a bit like Chubais in this regard.
    – alamar
    Mar 5 at 12:39

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