Alex(ei) at The Russian Dilettante has an interesting question:
…the names of a few major Russian authors are clearly non-Russian in origin, so that transliterating them from Russian into English mechanically, according to the standard rules (assuming their existence), does not seem the best method. Should we write Gertsen or Hertzen; Fet or Foeth; Khodasevich or Chodasiewicz; Blok or Bloch; Mandelshtam or Mandelstam; Shvarts or Schwartz?
I’ll add Gippius or Hippius, Veller or Weller, Dombrovski or Dabrowski (which should have an ogonek on the a to make it nasal), and Okudzhava or Okujava. Personally, I use the Russianized forms (though I sometimes slip and write Mandelstam), but I welcome all ideas on the subject.
And while we’re on Russian names, let me mention the hypothesis that Putin is a byform of the ancient aristocratic name Putyatin of the Tver district (like Pnin of Repnin); in the words of Pravda, “this means that Vladimir Putin is related to nearly all the royal families of Europe.”