My official name (on research papers, in the passport, etc) is Alexei A. Efros. The first name is pronounced with the stress on the second E (alexEi). However, as anyone who read Tolstoy will know, we Russians have a battery of other nicknames in addition to the official name. Most people call me Alyosha. In Russian Alyosha is short for Alexei in the same way as Bob is short for Robert in English. "But how can this be a nickname if it's actually longer than the real name?", I hear you cry out in desperation! Well, I suppose that this is one of these great mysteries of the Russian soul. :) Plus, in the Cyrillic alphabet, Alyosha is actually 2 letters shorter.