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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

SAY WHAT? :Child's Name Can Influence Future Destiny




An American journalist complained a couple of years ago that there is a significant lack of first names in the Russian language. All Russian men, he said, are named Andrei, or Vladimir, or Boris; all women are either Yulia, or Galina, or Larisa.


Indeed, the list of names from which future parents can choose is not exactly overwhelming. I can't say the name section of the morphological dictionary is short, but most of the entries are rather unacceptable in modern Russia: Imagine a 2-year-old boy whose name is Germogen, Akaky or Pankraty, or a girl named Akulina, Glikeria or Feoktista.


I remember agonizing over the name section of this dictionary several weeks before my son was due. After my boyfriend and I read the list aloud twice, it turned out that there was only one name we liked. Our son's name is Fyodor.


Ostensibly, you can call your child any old name. Children born to American hippie parents are often named Krishnas or Ambers or Daisies. In Russia, the weird names were at their peak after the Bolshevik Revolution, when ne wborns became Vils (acronym for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin), Marlens (Marx plus Lenin), and Eliktrifikatsiyas (electrification, an indispensable component of communism according to, well, Lenin).


As I said, you can call your child any name, especially if you don't give a damn about how the name will affect the future of your progeny. I recently wrote a story about a mother who did not care about her newborn son's future to such an extent that she disposed of him by sticking him in a plastic bag and throwing him into a dumpster in Irkutsk, Eastern Siberia. She did so on March 26, the day Vladimir Putin won the presidential election. It must have been pretty cold to wear nothing but a plastic bag in Siberia in early spring.


The doctors of the local clinic where the baby was taken after being rescued from the dumpster did care about his future. The day the election results were announced, they named him after the winner; a doctor told me they hoped having Vladimir Putin for a name would change the boy's life for the better.


It did. As of last week, V.P. Jr has received nearly $1,000 in gifts from across the nation. He also received invitations to live with over 100 adults who are willing to adopt a baby with such a lucky name. There are four other newborn orphans at the hospital, but no one sent any gifts to them or asked to adopt them, the doctor said: Their names just aren't lucky. Their names are so insignificant, in fact, that the doctor who takes care of the babies couldn't even recall them in our telephone conversation.


I bet none of them are named Michael Jackson or Marilyn Monroe.


Earlier this month, a Kazakh boy was born and also given a remarkable name: His parents named him Bill Clinton.


Maybe they thought Bill Jr. would see his now poverty-stricken nation prosper. Maybe they thought he would become a famous adulterer, just like his American prototype. I doubt they thought he might simply become a nervous nobody who has been mocked and tortured by mean, strong boys during high school for his funny name.


Whatever Bill's future holds for him, he is lucky. He has parents who did not throw him into a dumpster just hours after he was born.