It's both!

When people address each other in Russian, they use different forms and combinations of first name, patronymic and surname depending on how formal or close they are to the person being addressed.

Most of Russian names have a variety of forms. The full form of my first name - Anna - can be used in formal relationships, official situations and documents (passport, birth certificate, contracts, etc.). Like English names, many names in Russian have a shorter version. For example, the English name Steven has the short name Steve. The short version of my name is Anja (yes, I know it is of the same length as the full form ;) My short name can be used in informal situations, by acquaintances, friends and family members. There are also affectionate forms of my name, which include but are not limited to Anuta, Annushka, Anechka and so on. These are mostly used by my parents, grandparents and close friends.

To know more about Russian names, click here.

Other short forms you might have encountered:
- Dima (for Dmitrii)
- Masha (for Maria)
- Misha (for Mikhail)
- Vova (for Vladimir)
- Sasha (for Aleksandr/a)