I was considering changing the name of my two Leon characters to Lev—Amy’s scuzzball, morally degenerate, pedophilic, abusive father, and a young boy who is the son of the couple who originally takes her, Ginny, Boris, and Ivan into hiding outside of Moskva in April 1917. But there is another similar Russian name, Leontiy. I’ll just change Leon to Leontiy, and Amy’s patronymic from Leonovna to Leontiyevna.
As for intellectual Nikolas, I decided to insert this brief paragraph right after Boris has relayed the news about Nikolas in the first section of the first chapter:
Amy’s stomach clenches at the thought of her dear friend Nikolás being sent to a labor camp. Nikolás is a bookish intellectual, kind of scrawny in spite of his moderately tall height, and a lover, not a fighter. He’s been going by the Greek form of his real name, Nikoláy, since he was twelve years old and fell in love with the ancient Greek philosophers. The poor fellow will probably be eaten alive in Siberia.
We already know Nikolas is a bookish intellectual, who prefers reading and philosophical debates to things like going out dancing and attending parties, so why not explain away the non-Russian name as stemming from his deep-seated interest in Greek philosophy? I suppose I could find/change Nicky to Kolya, even though the much-younger Nikolay is also sometimes called Kolya. There are a few characters who are called Katya (Amy’s mother, Catherine, one of the orphanage girls, and starting in the second book, one of Amy’s future daughters), in addition to Kat, Kittey, and the very minor characters Katalina and Kitya, who only appear once, when they’re taking Amy’s party into hiding.
I’m still leaning towards changing Catherine into Katrin, though changing Amy into Lyubov or Lyuba is still too big of a leap for me to make in my mind. There is the similar Amaliya (though I believe that’s a name that was adopted into Russia instead of being historical or native-born), but I like how her name literally means “love.” It’s a story about love, and how it takes her so long to finally get and keep her one true love because of how she feels she doesn’t deserve Ivan’s love because she’s too used to being hurt and abused by a man. All you need is love indeed.