Zhivov is a Russian surname meaning “life,” according to Mr. Vladimir Zhivov. While Russians have no problem spelling and pronouncing the word, it is a difficult name for many native English-speakers.
From “Zivov” and “Zeevov” to “Zhibob” and “Zibob,” our managing counsel’s last name is frequently misspelled… “Zihov,” “Shivov,” “Shibob,” “Shish kebab.”
And how do you pronounce that? (He gets that a lot.) In English, it is pronounced “Zi-vahv.” That is “Zi” as in “Zip.”
Then there’s Mr. Zhivov’s first name.
A surprising number of people have a tough time with the name “Vladimir” despite the many famous Vladimirs. Who hasn’t heard of Vladimir Putin? Lenin, Russia’s famous communist revolutionary was named Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. (Lenin was an alias.) For pop culture fans, the real Dracula was known as Vlad the Impaler. For NHL fans, you have Vladimir Tarasenko, right-winger for the St. Louis Blues. There was even a “Vladimir the Great,” a prince of Novgorod, grand prince of Kiev, 980 to 1015.
Mr. Zhivov is happy to be addressed as Vladimir or Vlad. In fact, he mostly just goes by Vlad. Just don’t call him Brad. (Sometimes people do.)
Really, it’s no wonder that when Vladimir Zhivov makes a dinner reservation, he makes it under his wife’s name, “Tina.”