The staff of the Moscow ZAGS - an administration which can be compared to our Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages- are raising the alarm. Because more and more parents want to give new and unusual names to their children. The public servants have to register names like Zharopolka, Svetozara of Leokadiya which sound very strange to Russian ears.
Svetlana Tamosjneva, head of the ZAGS in Tverskaya ulitsa says that there are no legal objections to the parents' wishes in terms of namegiving. But in such cases she tries to start a conversation with the parents. She warns them for the problems the child can have when it will have children of its own, because its name will be used to form the patronymicum of their grandchildren.
Old Slavic names are very popular these days, among other things because of the popularity of Alexander Pushkin's fairy tales. Елисей (Yelisey), from the prince of The story of the dead princess and the seven knights is just one example.
Anna Malysheva, grandmother of two sisters named Aglaya and Stephany, doesn't feel comfortable with it. She thought that her daughter was joking when she announced their names. Apparently the little sisters are already known in the entire region because of their names.
The ten years old Erna Lopoechova is often asked questions about the origin of her name. Mama Elena was reading a Scandinavian epic when she was pregnant. The girl wants to change her name. It sounds too odd to her.
Anyway, if she wanted to be baptized, she should change names, or have Erna as her second name. In such situations, the orthodox church usually proposes names of holy saints which sound more or less similar to the given name like, for example, Diana for Darya.
Psychologists are worried too. Children can have problems later due to trauma's in their childhood. The attention given by others to their names is much too hard to bear for children, according to psychologist Dmitri Zima. Psychologists advise parents who want to give names like Rogneda or Nobel, to give a normal name to their child, and to take a dog with the strange name.
Well, if the Russians consider Erna as a strange name, I wish them a lot of success by the time that the wave of names like Harmony, Peace, Zen, Zorro, Thorgal or, may God forbid it, Kevin arrives there too.