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Those Narrow-Minded Russkies:

"A Muscovite with digits in his name has been declared outside the law," reads the headline. The offender, БОЧ РВФ 260602 (I hope this encoding works for you folks) is now six and a half, but the government has refused to give him a birth certificate, which I take it portends more refusals of important documents in the future. The name is an abbreviation for "biological object of a person of the families Voronin and Frolov, [born] 26 June 2002."

I don't get it: They allow backwards Rs and upside down Vs, but balk at at a few digits? For more on U.S. decisions on the subject, see here (though they are about name changes, not initial naming decisions).

Thanks to Victor Steinbok for the pointer.

ECM (mail):
"biological object of a person of the families Voronin and Frolov, [born] 26 June 2002."

Just sorta rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?
3.7.2009 11:52am
Donald Clarke (www):
Along the same lines, here's the story of a Chinese man with the given name of "C" (i.e., a Roman letter, not a Chinese character) and his struggle to have the police issue an appropriate identity certificate.
3.7.2009 11:56am
Sagar:
with a name that includes the biological object's DoB, it will be easier to steal his identity - so may be they are doing him a favor:)
3.7.2009 11:59am
salacious (mail):
What is the word for family in russian? My knoweledge of russian is based entirely on inferences from bulgarian, but it seems that the word for "family" in this name is not semaystvo.
3.7.2009 12:11pm
Steve:
They allow backwards Rs and upside down Vs, but balk at at a few digits?

Classic! I knew the Russian gift for comedy could not have possibly been limited to Yakov Smirnoff alone.
3.7.2009 12:16pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
The word used in the name is рода (roda), which I translated as "of the family." Indeed, "family" would normally be "semya" or "semeystvo"; "rod" might be something like "clan" or "gens" in the ancient Roman sense, but I thought "family" would be the best of several imperfect options.
3.7.2009 12:21pm
WOTV (www):
We have a Jennifer 8 Lee from the NYT. Always have known that we're a more toleran country. But they have better caviar. Who's counting but I prefer caviar.
3.7.2009 12:34pm
amg (mail):
Friends of mine in rural Guatemala wanted to name their girl Bonnie. The registrar of the town told them they couldn't do that because Bonnie was a boy's name. The family did name their male cat Fi Fi, which I was confused about because it was so clearly a dog's name.

Another friend of mine in Guatemala knew a boy who was successfully named "Walmart"--the kid's parents were in awe of Walmart when they were refugees in the 80s. When the returned to Guatemala in the 90s, they named their kid after that striking memory of so many different kinds of toothpaste there were to be had.

On a side-note, Central America has a huge problem with families being unable to register their children because of the cost of travel and the extremely high fees relative to salary.
3.7.2009 2:18pm
jim47:
"I am reminded at this point of a fellow I used to know, whose name was Hen3ry... the 3 was silent, you see."
3.7.2009 3:52pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
"biological object of a person of the families Voronin and Frolov, [born] 26 June 2002."

And I bet he's called every bit of that when he's in trouble. Otherwise it's just "Jack" or something.
3.7.2009 4:35pm
zippypinhead:
Poor kid... can you imagine the nicknames the kindergarten bullies probably call him on the playground?

and I thought "a boy named Sue" was a handicap!
3.7.2009 4:50pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
No Hugo Gernsback fans in Russia? Who could forget that the future holds such names as Ralph 124C 41+ ?
3.7.2009 10:29pm
ReaderY:
No sympathy for the parents. Characterizing ones child as an object is emotionally abusive. A numbered object is worse. The authorities have every right to prohibit such a designation.
3.7.2009 10:57pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
I don't think they're characterizing the child as an object -- it seems more likely they're characterizing the child's body as the child's object. His name is "biological object of a person of the families Voronin and Frolov." The child is the person, the body is his biological object.
3.7.2009 11:01pm
Visitor Again:
We have a Jennifer 8 Lee from the NYT. Always have known that we're a more toleran country.

My former wife and I gave our firstborn daughter the middle initial S without a period, but had a devil of a time getting the authorities in Boston to issue a birth certificate. We explained we did it because she might not like the first name we gave her and this would allow her to pick one she liked since a lot of names begin with S. Finally, after a lot of back and forth over several weeks, in which I pointed to the Harry S Truman example, they relented.

I think it's the bureaucratic intolerance for anything different--anything other than the norm--that accounts for their obstinacy, both here and in Russia.
3.7.2009 11:27pm
Richard Clark (mail):
And who could forget little Bobby Tables.
3.8.2009 12:02am
BZ (mail):
In the 1980's, I had a law clerk who changed his name to reflect his major at Dartmouth, but more to the point here, he was friends with a brother and sister, also at Dartmouth, who were named Seven and Nine. It isn't a new phenomenon.
3.8.2009 10:14am
Satta:
I've almost always seen the name of "Nine" from Dartmouth written with "9" (the numeral). 9 also has another given name, a family name and a professional degree that are expressed in letters rather than numerals.
3.8.2009 4:43pm
Splunge:
I wonder if Russian parents in the United States could give their child for a name some word in Cyrillic -- and insist on those symbols, no transliteration into Roman letters. Suppose the word is composed of those sounds in Russian that have no easy representation in Roman letters?

In a sense, that's what's going on here. I assume if they used the numerals ("two") instead of the numbers ("2") they'd be OK.

Hmmm...what if I just use one Cyrillic letter for a middle initial, like the "Harry S Truman" example cited above? If they allow that, what if I use an astrological or mathematical symbol, e.g. the symbol for pi or Mars or infinity?
3.8.2009 6:19pm
Dan Weber (www):
3.8.2009 9:33pm
A.C.:
Didn't the Romans go in for number names like Septimus and Octavia? Seems like this has been going on a while.

I don't have a serious problem if the number is spelled out and the overall result isn't absurd. You can name a kid Sunshine, November, or Tuesday if you are so inclined, so why not Eleven? But I would beg any parent who wants to do such a thing to pick Margaret or George or some-such for a middle name. That way a child who doesn't share the parents' sense of whimsy can switch to "E. Margaret" in adulthood.
3.9.2009 11:25am
New Pseudonym:

I think it's the bureaucratic intolerance for anything different


I don't know about Russia, but several EU countries have statutes that require names to be selected either from lists of approved names, or to be properly characteristic of the nation, so it may not just be a bureaucrat who is responsible.



Didn't the Romans go in for number names like Septimus and Octavia?


Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quintius, Sixtus, Decimus were all common (I've never heard of a 4 or 9 for some reason.
3.10.2009 9:59am
Guest5555:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7522952.stm
3.10.2009 10:33pm