Russian Culture


Naming Conventions

  • Russian names are structured as [first name] [middle patronymic name] [SURNAME]. E.g. Igor Mihajlovich MEDVEDEV (male) or Natalia Borisovna PAVLOVA (female).
  • Address people using their first name (casual) or first name and patronymic name (formal). The patronymic name is never used alone. For example, one would refer to Igor Mihajlovich MEDVEDEV as ‘Igor Mihajlovich’ formally in person.
  • Titles such as "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Ms." are not used. 
  • The surname is never used to address an individual face-to-face. It is generally only used in formal circumstances (such as in written administrative documents) or when you’re speaking about to the person with other people.
  • Women customarily take their husband’s surname at marriage, although not always.
  • The middle name is patronymic, created by using the child’s father’s name with the suffix “vich” or “ovich” for boys, and “avna” or “ovna” for girls. This means ‘son of’ and ‘daughter of’.
  • An ‘a’ is added to the end of almost all female surnames.


  • Common female names are Anna (Anya), Ekaterina (Katya), Elena (Lena), Irina (Ira), Yulia (Yulya), Maria (Masha), Natalia (Natasha), Olga (Olya), Svetlana (Sveta), Tatiana (Tanya).
  • Common male names are Alexander (Sasha, Shura, Sanya), Dmitry (Dima), Eugeny (Zhenya), Ivan (Vanya), Mikhail (Misha), Nikolai (Kolya), Sergey (Seryozha), Victor (Vitya), Vladimir (Volodya, Vova).
  • Sasha and Zhenya are common names for both men and women.
  • People commonly use diminutives as nicknames to address one another. For example, Lena may become Lenochka or Anya is turned into Anyuta. Male nicknames often shorten the original name. For example, Mikhail becomes Mish or Misha.
  • Ask a Russian’s permission before calling them by a nickname – especially those that shorten their original name. As Russians are more formal in the initial stages of meeting someone, moving on to this basis too soon can be seen as excessive familiarity or even patronising.
  • Close friends may jokingly refer to one another by using a shortened version of their patronymic name. For example, calling Nikolai Ivanovich by "Ivanych". This is the way people called on servants in the 19th century and implies inferiority. It is best not to address people in this way if you have a limited background in Russian as you may not be able to deliver the name in such a way that it is taken as a joke.
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  • Population
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Language
    Russian [official] (85.7%)
    Tatar (3.2%)
    Chechen (1.0%)
    Other (10.1%)
    [Census, 2010]
  • Religion
    Russian Orthodox Christianity (15-20%)
    Islam (10-15%)
    Other Christianity (2%)
    [2006 est.]
    Note: These estimates are of practicing worshipers only. Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers.
  • Ethnicity
    Russian (77.7%)
    Tatar (3.7%)
    Ukrainian (1.4%)
    Bashkir (1.1%)
    Chuvash (1%)
    Chechen (1%)
    Other (10.2%)
    Unspecified (3.9%)
    [Census, 2010]
    Note: There are nearly 200 national and/or ethnic groups are represented in Russia.
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Russian Ancestry
    85,657 [Census, 2016]
Russians in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Russia. However, it should be that there are many people who were born in other republics of the former Soviet Union who also identify as Russian. According to the 2016 census, the number of Russian-speakers in Australia is 50,314.
  • Median Age
    [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (37.0%)
    Female (63.0%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    No Religion (35.3%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (32.8%)
    Christianity [not defined] (9.4%)
    Judaism (8.3%)
    Catholic Christianity (2.8%)
    Other Religion (5.5%)
    Not Stated (5.2%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Russian (78.0%)
    Jewish (4.3%)
    Ukrainian (4.1%)
    Polish (1.6%)
    Other Ancestry (11.9%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Russian (79.9%)
    English (14.5%)
    Greek (0.6%)
    Polish (0.5%)
    Other Languages (3.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 84.5% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (37.1%)
    Victoria (30.9%)
    Queensland (14.2%)
    Western Australia (8.7%)
    Other (9.1%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (55.8%)
    2007 - 2011 (20.0%)
    2012 - 2016 (21.2%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country Flag Country Russia