Russian middle namesAs with many things that are 'Russian,' neither child nor his parents has much choice in picking the name. It is purely patronymic and generally predefined at the time when the child is born or even rather conceived. The name is derived from the child's father's first name. The 'father' is usually the husband at the time of birth. If no husband is available, any first male name provided by the mother as a substitution for the father's name will suffice. Usually in such cases people go for the biological father's or a close male relative's, often a grandfather's.
Later in live the middle name can be changed if the child gets adopted by a step father. Theoretically, changing it back to the biological father's name is also possible, but that rarely happens as the very fact of the existence of biological parents in adoption cases are feverishly denied by the people in the know and the state. It is actually a felony in Russia to disclose any adoption information. If the disclosure does happen, the child may change the middle name when he reaches 16 years old, the age to get the official identification papers, like internal passport.
How do the names form? First of all we need to identify the father's first name. Let's say it is 'Andrei.' The next step is to remove the very ending of the name. That will give us 'Andre.' The last step is to append the suffix signifying the child belonging to the bearer of that male name. There are two suffixes that are used for baby boy names ('-evich' and '-ovich'), and two suffixes that are used for baby girl names ('-evna' and '-ovna'). The type of suffix used depends on the father's name. In our example above the boy middle name is 'Andreevich,' and the girl middle name - 'Andreevna.'
If the defining male name ends with a consonant, like it does in 'Vladimir,' the process slightly changes. No ending is removed from the name. Only a suffix is added. In this case it is '-ovich' for a baby boy middle name and '-ovna' for a baby girl middle name. In this scenario the derived names are 'Vladimirovich' and 'Vladimirovna.'
When the father's name ends with 'ii,' like in 'Grigorii' or 'Vasilii,' both i's are removed, the final consonant becomes soft, and the rest of the name gets appended with the suffix '-evich' or '-evna' depending on the gender of the child. The middle name turns out to be 'Grigorevich' or 'Grogorevna.'
Here are several examples of Russian middle names for boys and for girls.