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Why do Russian women seek for husbands abroad?

If you ask women this question, the answers will be:

  • I want my children to be happy and have a secure future, and it's impossible with the current situation in Russia.

  • There are not enough men in Russia to find a partner.

  • Russian men are terrible.

All the statements are true to a great extent. But at the same time none of them gives you a real reason. The real and fundamental reason why women look for a life partner abroad is that they are not happy in their love life and cannot find a suitable partner in Russia. It's that simple!

A married woman, even if she is struggling with everyday surviving and not happy with Russian family model, won't divorce her Russian husband to look for a foreign husband.

Russian women want to love and be loved. Security and a better life go as a part of the package.


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Are Russian women different from American women?

Yes, they are a bit different. They don't have a different type of character, and they also love shopping and chatting. They are human beings and they are definitely not perfect. The main difference is that they are much more patient and can tolerate things that Western women will never be able to bear. They are more considerate and dependable. They are partners, not competitors.

Another important difference is that Russian women (and Russians in general) have very low self-esteem. While Western women think that they are goddesses and able to cope with anything on their own, a Russian woman will rarely leave a bad (really BAD) husband because of the fear that she won't find another one. For many years the state and men have been oppressing them, and they don't think much about themselves.

Russian women are well groomed, stylish, educated and intelligent (as are Russians in general) but they pay less attention to sport, diets, etc. Nevertheless, they are rarely overweight - they still walk a lot because they don't have cars, and don't eat junk food, which is considered expensive. They do not have to make an effort to live healthy - it just comes natural.


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Do Russian women speak English?

Most of the ladies who apply to dating agencies can at least read and understand English. They all study English at school for 7 years (Grades 5-11). English is a compulsory subject at universities and colleges and one will not be able to get her degree without completing a 3-year course of English through her tertiary education. In bigger cities like Moscow and St Petersburg more people speak English well than in regional cities.

About 20% of women speak English well, and other 30% can communicate on a decent level; others who never used the language in their life forget it with the time and can only read and translate - but the base is there, so they are usually able to start speaking English fluently in 6-8 months when live in an English speaking country.


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What would a Russian lady think of living in a small town?

The majority of Russian ladies seem to be rather cosmopolitan. The reason is that in Russia living in a small town or village is a nightmare. There are very poor life conditions, dirtiness, no entertainment, no goods to buy, even TV reception may be not available. Russian ladies do not know and understand the difference between small towns in Russia and abroad, and they just have this instinctive fear towards small towns.

My advice is to use the following tactics when writing your letters to ladies:

  1. Do not apply to women from Moscow or St. Petersburg. These cities have completely different conditions of life from the rest of Russia. Some foreigners told me that Moscow and St. Petersburg were not Russian cities, they are rather European. Women there have better chances to meet foreigners as many agencies organize tours with socials to those destinations, and ladies are becoming spoilt and demanding.

  2. Tell more about your town, its entertainment, restaurants and cafes, TV reception and other attractions, weather conditions etc. - everything that you like there. Do not try too hard - you must just say how nice the place is and why you like to live there. If you stay there because one can make very good living, mention it. Send a nice picture featuring you city in summer - with flowers or a lake, or anything nice and warm. Tell her where you can go for better entertainment like opera or theatre, and how far the place is.


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Would Russian women be interested in interracial marriages?

They simply do not think about them. The majority of Russian women won't consider an interracial marriage. As you know, there are no people of African origin in Russia, so ladies do not put the requirement about race on their lists. For them it's natural that they consider themselves applying only to men of their race.

There are native inhabitants of Asian race in Russia (Bashkir, Bouryat, Koreans and others), and this type of interracial marriage was not uncommon in the past and still takes place. They don't talk about interracial marriages, it's not an issue there. Russians are proud that they don't have racial problems.

There is no prejudice towards such marriages. They don't condemn somebody else's marriage to a person of a different race. At the same time women seldom will consider it as a personal option.

According to my questionnaire, about 85% of ladies would like to meet a white man; 10% will consider a man of Asian origin, and 5% don't mind about a race of their future partner.

Will you loose time pursuing marriage to a lady from Russia if you are not white?

It depends. For Russian ladies, if you look white, you are white. They do not separate Hispanic and whites. They are afraid of Arabs, but mostly because of differences in religion (Russians are Christians). They adore mulattos, especially of the lighter color. American and Europeans would have much better chance then a colored man from Africa.

Quite a few ladies will consider a man of Asian origin as an option, though you've got less chances than a white guy, and you will have to try harder. I also know about successful relationships black/multiracial men had with ladies from Russia. So, it is possible, but be prepared for rejection from some women because of your race.

I had many Asian clients, and a black client, too. They had received fairly good response to their ads, and established good contacts with nice ladies.


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Is it true that approximately 80 percent of Russian women smoke?

No, it's not true. Some of Russian women do smoke but not more than 5-10%. In the large cities like Moscow or St Petersburg, the percentage can be probably about 15%.


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Is it true that Russian ladies come to your country and leave shortly after the marriage?

It may happen. Not that often as media say, but it is a fact of reality. The biggest danger of the myths the dating agencies spread is that they make men hope that a young beautiful Russian lady will love an old unattractive American guy just because he lives in a better country and can guarantee her security. 

Some 50-year-old men dream about a 18-year-old girl, find her, marry, and then say that Russian women just want to get into the country. They would have never been in such a situation if pursued marriage to a woman 35+.

In Russia some people don't live decently, and some women are ready to do anything to live a better life. Once in a relationship with a foreign guy, a woman feels happy to be loved and cared for, and is grateful for changing her life for the better. She may even feel in love when it's just a temporary intoxication.

Russian women are used to sacrificing themselves for children, and if she has a child, she can agree to almost anything to ensure that he is safe, will always food on the table and money for education.

A woman can be unhappy in her marriage and still feel lucky to have a better than average life standards. Russian woman is entitled to feel happy if her husband does not drink and has a good job; nobody talks about love, it's not important. If a woman has a rich husband (a person owing a car, an apartment, and earning more than $400 a month), people will think she is crazy or stupid if leaving him for love.

But good standards of living are everything only for the poverty-ridden. When women are in a country like USA, their attitude changes very quickly. Love and rewarding sexual life are important conditions of happiness. A lady was probably not going to divorce her older husband from the very beginning, but at a later stage she starts to feel miserable and realizes that she plugged herself into a worse situation than she was previously in. It's two different worlds, not just two different cultures.

A professor from an American university told me that he met a couple of men on board a plane to Russia who flew there for a "marriage tour". He characterized them as "bad". He said they were arrogant, obviously had problems with health, and were drinking too much. One of them complained that he was previously married to a Russian woman but she left him a year after the marriage. The professor said he felt sorry - for the woman, because she had stayed with this man for the whole year. He said that he would have run away from him in a couple of days if he were her. And this guy was intending to find another lady for marriage in Russia - again, 20-30 years younger.

This is where the stories about Russian women looking for nothing but Green Card start.
It's important that you both love each other, otherwise your marriage won't work. A woman can say "I love you" when she doesn't, it's just another Russian women's feature. They are not able to refuse when a man insists. You must not fool yourself. You will always feel if it's a true feeling.

I don't believe that any woman would like to get married to just divorce her husband in 2 years (the necessary time for receiving Green Card), if she can get married for love.

Russians are surprisingly non-materialistic when it's about true love. You may think that I am not consistent saying that, but the truth is that Russians are not consistent. They think with their hearts and feelings. They can have beliefs but act in the opposite way because of feelings. They will follow their decisions made by mind until true feelings get involved. (It's why sometimes westerners think that Russians are irrational. They are rational but in their own way.)
A successful marriage can only be based on love and mutual respect whether it's a Russian woman or a Western one. Your foreign citizenship can make you more attractive to Russian ladies but it can't make your marriage more successful. Russian women make good wives - that's true, but only if she wants to be your wife.


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Can a woman visit me first?

There are many different types of visas a person can get for coming to USA but for a single young woman the only one she can get easily is a fiancée visa. All the other visitors' visas are very difficult to obtain including the tourist visa. If a lady has very good income (more than $500 a month), some property in Russia and a child staying behind, and SHE CAN PROVE IT, she will probably be able to get a tourist visa. If she does not meet the criteria, she can't hope to get the visa. She will be refused a visa 99% of the time, and it will make it much more difficult for her to apply for a visa next time.

If she tries any trick with the consulate, she may be blacklisted. I have heard about cases where women came to USA with a different type of visa (student's or another) and were turned back by INC representatives right at the airport.

If you have not met in person before, it will be impossible to get the only type of visa she should use for coming to you - the fiancée visa. If it's a problem for you to travel that far, you may consider a possibility to meet somewhere else - on one of the islands where she does not need a visa (Caribbean or any other close by).

Some men still write to me and ask again:

"You stated that is difficult for a Russian woman to visit the US and Canada. I checked the information page for US visas and it seemed pretty routine to get a tourist visa for the US. An invitation, proof of property, employment, children in Russia, and return trip ticket. Did I miss something?"

They probably think that the procedure is the same for a guy from, for example, France, and a single woman from Eastern Europe. I can tell you that US embassy is very concerned about single women from Eastern Europe visiting States on tourist visas. Very often they don't return. Too often.

So you can try to apply for a tourist visa, and discover for yourself what thousands of US men already know - for an unmarried woman from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan etc a tourist visa is more than very difficult to obtain. Some men even talked to the Embassy, and they confirmed she can apply for a tourist visa. The lady does, it takes 3-6 months to collect all necessary papers, then they wait 2-3 months again for decision, and eventually the visa is refused. It will frustrate your lady up to the limit, and she will be about to give up. Better believe me!
The correct way of bringing a woman into US (Canada) is a fiancée visa that requires your personal meeting before the time.


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What are the costs to have a Russian girl travel to US?

To have a Russian girl travel to USA will cost the price of return air ticket - of course, if you manage to get a visitors visa for her that is almost impossible (see above). You may find out about the price for a return ticket from Moscow at any travel agency.

A return ticket to Moscow from a Russian city where a girl is staying will cost US $40-200. To go from Russia to the US will cost also about $500-1000, depending on the company and tariff.  There may be some discounts or specials for tickets from US if it's not a pick season, but not from Russia. They seldom offer specials on tickets in Russia.


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What are the possible arguments or problems with government when visit Russia?

It's not a Soviet Union and the times of cold war. The government doesn't care about foreign tourists anymore, they have too many things to think of.


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Is it essential to learn the Russian language before visiting to Russia?

I guess I repeat myself, repeat myself, repeat myself... BUT you guys ask the same things again and again.


I was the perfect example. Russian reality makes a person think she is worth nothing. I am only starting to believe that I am beautiful, intelligent and talented. Many people told me about it, and I guess there should be a bit of truth, as so many people can't be mistaken. It looks like I am curable but it will take time.;-) OK, it's all lyrics.

For a girl your relationship is not real until she meets you in person. My colleagues from local Russian agencies told me that only about 5% of men who write letters to girls ever visit Russia. It's why girls need to be told that you are serious, that you are planning to visit Russia and when, that you are really interested in her. She will hardly believe in it, but at least she will feel more secure that you are not just wasting her time.

Many girls told me they were dumped by their foreign friends. The girls refused other guys, and then their virtual boyfriends said "Sorry", they found a girlfriend in USA or corresponded with several ladies and decided on another.

It's why I say that when you think you have found your one and only, tell her straight away about that and try to see her as soon as possible. You don't have to rush into marriage, but as long as you know the person good enough, you must go and see her. Usually the guy who first meets a lady, will get her.


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What are the personal qualities that are important for Russian women in a man?

Wonder what women themselves would answer to this question?

We asked our female clients to name 3 most important qualities that would attract them in a man. Here are the answers:

  • Tatyana (22, never married, no kids, university student): reliable, decent, caring
  • Natasha (28, never married, no kids, college, babysitter): strong, attentive, kind
  • Lousine (34, never married, no kids, university, teacher): sincere, open-minded, knows what he wants
  • Irina: honesty, being gentleman, generosity
  • Mignatueva: manliness, ability to love, self-criticism
  • Carlygash: loving children, open-minded, hardworking
  • Lidia: loyal, dependable, intelligent
  • Rosa: honest, decent, dedicated

So, as you can see, it differs from person to person. (But I can assure you that no one is looking for a dubious, deceptive, dishonest, greedy and cruel man!) And women, as well as men, are trying to see those qualities, first of all, in photos...


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What do they think about men who are divorced?

Divorce in Russia is not considered as something one should be ashamed of. Most Russians marry early, in their early 20's, and at this age people are still forming and it often happens that they move in the opposite directions. As a result, divorces there are not rare. Being never married at the age of 30 is very unusual, and would raise eyebrows - it means, something is wrong with this person.

Russian women are surprised that many foreign men are never married in their 40's or even 50's. What is worrying them, it's if everything's alright with those men - mentally, physically and sexually. In Russia there is no problem for a man to marry if he wants to, and the fact that a man has not been married may be a sign of disorder.

So Russian women don't see anything wrong if a man is divorced. For them it's more natural when a divorced man says he is not happy with American (western) women, and this is the reason why he looks elsewhere. If you never been married, how do you know that you don't like western women's position towards marriage?

Of course, 3 divorces are something that can make a woman worried. So I would not recommend to tell about it in your first letter or personal ad. You can simply say that you are divorced, and this will satisfy women's curiosity. On the introduction stage she is not interested in your reasons for divorce or what your former wife was like. She is more interested in you as a person. She will seldom ask any questions about your previous marriage.

When you know each other better, you can tell her that you have been married 3 times before, but I would also advise to limit your information about previous marriages. This information cannot help you to build new relationship. Rather tell her which lessons you learnt from this experience - for example, you learnt to be more tolerant or that you never will be able to change another person if she does not want to change. No need to discuss unfaithfulness of your partner or how you were hurt by that because you loved her so much - most likely, your lady will feel somewhat intimidated. Or she will pity you - I don't think this is the type of feeling you want her to feel towards you.


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Writing to several women vs. writing to only one.

Basically all dating sites will recommend you to select a few women, and correspond with them simultaneously. Nevertheless, many men tend to select one woman and write only to her. Is it right or wrong?

Let's have a look WHY men decide to write to only 1 woman.

The main reason is that he BELIEVES that she is the right woman for him, and because he liked her picture/s. Pictures play the most important role in it. I have seen many letters written by men who say "I was swept off my feet by your beautiful picture" or something like this. Can one make a reliable opinion about a person's appearance based on her (very often) single picture - leave alone her personal qualities?

According to my experience, NO. Women select the best photos for publications. On many of them they look different than in normal life - not everyone dresses up and wears two-hours worth of make up every day! Some photos are just good shots, and sometimes it's hard to believe that a woman on the other photo is the same person. When an agency receives those selected photos, they in their turn select the best one or two pictures, basing their choice on what men want to see.

Going further, in most cases it's impossible to make an opinion about lady's personality basing on her photo. A person who looks kind, open and naive on her picture may be tyrannical and bossy in real life, and a woman who looks "mean" may be the most gentle and warm person you ever seen but she is afraid of camera. A lot depends on photographer. Usually photos made by the same master have many similarities - poses, make-up, even the expression of the eyes. I work with many local agencies, and some agencies always send sexy photos, the others - "soulful" photos, while third send pictures where women look very distant. It is because they use the same photographer for their shots, and not because all their women have the same type of personality.

It is also impossible to say that the woman is more traditional if she has more clothes on, or vice versa, more liberated if she shows her legs. Poses and clothes are also dictated by a photo-master - and sometimes the weather when the shot was made.

Nevertheless, men tend to make their minds about a woman basing on 1 or 2 photos they have seen on the Internet. They create her "dream image" in their minds, and stick to it. I have heard from many agencies that for the fist meeting with a man they advise their women  to have EXACTLY the same make-up, hairstyle and type of outfit as they had on their photos, otherwise men feel disappointed.

Regarding women's questionnaires. They are of course very formal, and many agencies don't even bother to include in the catalog all information that they received from a woman. Many do not inform visitors about ANY requirements that a woman has to a prospective partner. How would a man know if this woman will consider HIM as the right man for her? Even if he fits the requirements that are listed, she might have a couple more that she forgot/did not want to list, leave alone the personal things as appearance etc that can push her off.

In the meantime, a man falls in love with his "dream image". He comes back to this lady's profile day after day, week after week, and - eventually - decides to request her address, and write her a letter. He only buys 1 address. He writes in his letter how much did he like her picture and how beautiful she is, and that he only writes to her; he believes She is his Soul Mate and One-and-Only for him.

This is THE MOST STUPID THING one can write to a woman.

First of all, she is turned off by his stating "how beautiful she is". Russian and western understanding of the word "beautiful" are very different. While on the west it generally means "good-looking", in Russia "beautiful" means you at least have been chosen a beauty queen on a couple of occasions, or work as a photo model. (At first I did not feel comfortable when everybody here referred to me as "beautiful" while in Russia I only considered myself "attractive" - I would hesitate to use even "very attractive". Now I am getting used to the idea that I am beautiful but it took me nearly 2 years to come to terms with it.) So when he says her "You are so beautiful", she thinks he is mistaken about her appearance, and actually does not have the right impression of her. (And she knows she sent her best pictures and that she does not look like this every day.)

The second thing is his writing only to her. Some men probably think that saying to a woman they only write to her will help them to score in woman's eyes. This is absolutely wrong. Being a normal woman, which means being naturally practical, she cannot understand how a man can make a judgment about FUTURE WIFE based on a picture and short questionnaire. For women, men's falling in love with a picture sounds absolutely crazy. If you correspond only with her she will think you are a sucker - because women want something that is not easy to get, a difficult prey. To be happy they want something that is of value for other girls too, not something no one needs - "Lots of girls were after him, but he chose ME!"

Dating agencies advise one to correspond with a few women not because they are after numbers (want to sell you more addresses), or undervalue the importance of honesty. Of course one must be honest. Say honestly to a woman that you have other correspondents, too (she suspects so anyway) - so she will be eternally delighted when you eventually tell her that She is "One-and-Only" - she will know you are honest with her, as you were honest from the beginning about the other girls in your correspondence.

You will be surprised but saying that you have other correspondents as well can even INCREASE your chances! Because all other guys want to ensure her how much they liked Her and serious about Her - and the woman has her doubts if it's for real, because as we discussed earlier, she feels she does not correspond their image 100% (she definitely does not think she is "so beautiful").

If you have a few correspondents, and say you are serious about MARRIAGE and finding the RIGHT PARTNER, then she will see you are not a looser, that you are really serious and act accordingly. Because you cannot be sure she is THE ONE if you don't know her and just have seen a picture on the Net - or if you think you can, you are a dreamer in her eyes.

What is the best way to tell a woman that you have more than 1 correspondent?

I think it must be something like this: "I am now corresponding with a few ladies that I hope may be compatible with me. But only time will tell. So I can only hope we will be able to keep our correspondence - but in any case, if you or me decide we are not right for each other, then let's promise that we will let each other know. OK?"

What she gains from it is that you are: 

  1. Honest;
  2. Serious; 
  3. Know what you want and not a dreamer; 
  4. You respect her because you think she can choose somebody else too;
  5. If you are still writing to her, she may be confident you are still interested.

She will try hard to win you, because this is a challenging target that seems to be worthy of her efforts!!

So you must decide for yourself, if you want to pursue dreams or you want something for real. You can lock yourself into the cage of "dream image" or you can stay open to all opportunities. The decision is yours.


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Russian women and immigration scams. How can you know the difference?

"All they want is Green Card" is the typical position of narrow-minded people who have labels for everything, and prefer to believe rumors instead of thinking.

Stories about immigration scams in relation to Russian women are for brainwashed people who don't understand the difference between being a single immigrant struggling with jobs, who has to start her life from scratch in an unknown country, without family and friends, and a woman who is happily married to a citizen, and has a nice secure life - even from the cynic point of view, one must be absolutely stupid to choose the first option, and Russians are anything but stupid.

United States is the country built by immigrants, and thousands of new immigrants arrive every year. People are so used to illegal immigrants from Cuba, Mexico and other nearby countries that for them it's no difference, if a person is from abroad, she is just looking for a way to get in.

Meanwhile, the situation with Russian women seeking marriage abroad is very different.

First of all, most of them are well educated and professional people, who have good jobs and careers in Russia. They have something to loose. For them, it's a big decision to move to an unknown country. Don't forget, they do not have a clear idea of what to expect or what life in USA is like. They have seen some things on TV, but it's the same type of knowledge you have about Russia - very incomplete and exaggerated. They do not think it's a paradise where the roads are paved with gold. And they usually don't have friends or acquaintances who have been there, and know what it's like "from first hands".

When they decide to move to USA to marry a citizen, they have to give up everything they had - family, friends, career, leaving behind the only life they ever knew, and many of them have had quite a good life (according to Russian standards).

And they have nobody here - no friends, no family, no one except the future husband. For Russian people who grew up in the situation of total dependence when one can make a success of her life only in cooperation with family and friends, it's a big challenge. They are not used to independence (it's why Russian wives make excellent partners), and see the future husband as the only source of security and protection.

The biggest fear a Russian woman has when marrying a foreigner is that her foreign husband will leave her, and she will have to come back after she gave up her life, job, home and friends in her native country. Many don't sell their flats because they are afraid they won't have a place to stay if they have to come back. They don't even think they will be able to cope on their own in the strange country. It's why they often prefer marriage to older men while in Russia women usually marry men of their own age - they want to make sure a future husband will not leave her one day for a younger woman.

(I have to admit, that after selling my car and other stuff in Russia, I left money to my parents, with the condition that they wouldn't spend some amount in the case if it does not work out, and I have to come back.)

I believe that scams for immigration purposes are untypical for Russian-American marriages. It may probably happen if your bride is young, very career oriented and adventurous, and she has nothing to loose at her native country. 

Possible warning signs: she expects you immediately send her to college, she has a few friends/relatives that live not far away from the place you live, she does not want to have children in marriage in the nearest 2-3 years, or she has good qualifications, and wants to start working as soon as possible. And she must be very young - under 25 years old, without children. If you have a few warning signs, this MAY BE a situation of an immigration scam (it still does not mean it is).

Women of the age 25+ are never that adventurous to opt for an immigration scam. They don't have those guts, and don't even think about it.

So if your "wife to be" is not crazy about starting immediate career in the States, she is not after Green Card. She is after love, marriage and security.


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What Russian women think about men in military?

No, serving in military will not influence your chances with Russian women.

For years being married to an officer was considered in Russia as a very good match. Parents were very proud if their daughter married a guy from military. It was a very stable and well paid job promising a good career, and officers usually were pictured as people of honor.

In contrast to USA, Russians never considered Americans as enemies. The politics of Soviet Union were "We only want peace in the whole world" and "Workers of all countries, join your efforts!" The media were talking negatively about capitalistic governments but the ordinary people were always pictured in a positive way.

After Perestroyka, Russia eventually decided to move from the socialistic way of economy back to private property and free market, and western countries became a permanent spot of interest. Many Russians never had a chance to travel abroad, and are very curious how the things are going on the west. 

And you must not forget hardly understandable for foreigners the respect and hospitality that Russians show towards them. If they find out that you are a foreigner, you may be offered to skip a queue or treated in priority order, especially in regional cities where foreigners are not seen often. This is not because you are American; they would treat any foreigner in the same way, whether he is an Indian from India or black guy from a small African country. They call it "the law of hospitality": a guest, especially if he came from far away, is a gift from God.

Combining all the things together - curiosity about the west, respect to military officers and "the law of hospitality", you may be confident that being in military might even add to your advantage, and you will never have problems neither with women nor with the Russian authorities, or infamous KGB. Usually serving in military means that you are in excellent physical condition and secure - this is exactly what women are looking for.

I have had many clients from military and police, and they all had very good results, which proves the point.


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What are the reasons of divorces in Russia?

The divorce rate in Russia is not as high as in USA but for a divorced woman (and for any woman over 25) it is very difficult to find a new partner, especially if she has children; that's why there are so many divorced women looking for partners abroad.

Also many women who had terrifying experience in their marriages are afraid to have a new marriage with a Russian man. Of course not all Russian men are bad, I personally know some very good men (they have all been happily married since their early 20's). But being an unfaithful abusive husband who does not do any housekeeping work and still leaves the role of breadwinner to his wife is a usual thing in Russia. Women hope foreign men are different.

I believe the main reason of divorces in Russia is the fact that people marry too early. At the age of 22 most people are already married! So people marry while they are still in the rapid developmental stage, and may grow apart with years. One of the partners may strive for personal education while the other is not interested in (or unable to pursue) self-growth, their systems of values grow different, etc. Most Russian marriages are marriages between two people that have yet reached their true potential - and probably never will, because they immediately start family which takes all their time.

Alcohol, physical abuse and unfaithfulness are named among the most common reasons for divorce - but in my opinion they are the consequences of early marriages when existential frustration finds its exit in asocial behavior.

At the same time, very often a woman stays in an abusive relationship because she fears to stay alone for life (as I said, it is very difficult for a divorced woman to find a husband) and also she cannot support children on her own. Many ex-husbands in Russia don't pay maintenance and never want to see their children. As the Russian saying goes, "Yes, I know my husband is bad but at least I know how bad he is; the other one can happen to be worse." So a woman will usually stay in relationship as long as she can bear it. Divorce is truly the last means.

Probably in bigger cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg divorce culture becomes more westernized but in province women prefer to stay married as long as they can.

Being divorced is not a shame in Russia but traditional man's and woman's roles in marriage still persist, therefore for a woman it is easier to be married because she struggles when on her own. For example, there are no services that will repair a chair or hammer a nail in a wall: she has to ask one of her male friends/relatives, or do it herself. Other services that are available (such as tiling or painting) she most often cannot afford, and again has to do it herself, or ask some man for a help. It does not seem to be a huge problem but if you cannot afford to buy a new thing when the old one is broken (and as you know earlier or later things break), it becomes tiresome. The same is applicable to men: lack of kitchen utilities (they are not affordable for an average man) makes housekeeping a daunting task, and it's easier when there is a woman to take care of it. I believe there are some marriages in Russia that have grown into "marriages of convenience" of this type. In a situation like this a western couple would probably divorce while Russian couple stays married.

So all stories about "traditional family values" of Russians are true: they still follow (actually, forced to follow) the traditional family model. Western people prefer to be independent; Russian people prefer and feel more comfortable/secure being dependent. Therefore divorce culture in Russia is different from the west.

We also asked our female clients their opinion on the subject of divorces. This is their answers:

It is true that there are many divorced women in Russia. Unhappy families all have their own reasons to be unhappy, while happy families are similarly happy... I will tell you why my marriage fell apart. One of the main reasons why I divorced my husband was his egoism and irresponsibility. It is very difficult to live with a person that you cannot rely on, who is guided by his "this minute" wishes forgetting about responsibility towards his family. Many families in Russia had fell apart during the difficult years of economical cataclysms. My family was not an exception. Usually in difficult times families get closer and overcome the difficulties together. My ex-husband decided to don't bother about caring of his children and family. And simply put all problems on my shoulders, selecting "everyday holiday" for himself: entertainment, cheerful companies and alcohol. This never ending drinking lead to degradation of his personality. Our marriage lasted 11 years, and the last 1.5 years were a nightmare. (Irina, mother of 3, Moscow)

I think that one of the main reason for divorces in Russia is the following: men think that their main responsibility is reproduction, and the other questions of creation and maintaining family life has nothing to do with them. (Marina)

I think the main reasons for divorces are:

  • Sexual passions leading to unfaithfulness;
  • Differences in personal growth of spouses that lead to the situation when the other one become boring;
  • The spouses don't know or don't fulfill their obligations towards each other. (Anonymous)

Our Russian women are too patient and ready to bear anything: unfaithfulness, mental and physical abuse, negligence... Only the ones who have at least a drop of pride and self respect are able to decide to divorce. (Tatiana)

In my opinion the reasons are: lack of attention to the "weak gender"; neglect to the spiritual and personal world of his wife; alcohol abuse; irresponsibility. (Irina)

In my opinion, the percentage of divorces is so high due to the fact that Russian women got an opportunity to travel abroad. Why? Before that, they thought drunk, rude and lazy men to be an accepted norm, spread all over the world. Now they've just got a chance to see that this kind of male creatures was a product of a Soviet upbringing mostly :)) (Irene)

I think there are many reasons: lack of appreciation; mental degradation, and bad genetics by male's line. Lack of desire and skills to overcome temporary difficulties in relationship in family. Overestimation of his person. Doing low or mean deals and easily step over the offended, going forward without a glance back, without thinking of the future. And of course political and economical instability and and disrespect to the rules. (Natalia)

I am sorry if Russian women seem to be too bitter about Russian men and; of course it is only the personal experiences of the authors.


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Do Russian women has any myth about foreign men, particularly Americans?

Well, there aren't too many particular myths about foreign men but mostly about foreigners in general. Most of those myths were formed by a famous Russian comic Mikhail Zadornov (whose picture was once published by an American tabloid instead of the picture of the former Russian minister of economics Mikhail Zadornov - they probably were going to make a joke about the state of Russian economy?), who described in a few stories what the is  difference between foreigners and Russians. They are very funny, and the public laughed out loud all the way.

Myth 1

Foreigners are stupid; they do not see ways to skip things or a roundabout.

Actually it's based on Russian's total disrespect to any law, and vice versa, western total respect to the laws. For example, for Russians it's very funny that one weights his fruit himself in a shop, and puts a label on the packet. What a Russian will do: he will put one apple in the packet, weigh it, put another 20 in and go to a cashier. No one checks if the labels are correct!

Myth 2

Foreigners are amazed by cash; they have never seen 2000 US Dollars cash.

Russians use cash for all payments, and for them there is nothing special in having 10,000 dollars in cash in a back pocket. If having 500 dollars in your wallet you say that you are worried to loose such a big amount, they will think you live in poverty. Zadornov has a brilliant story about a Russian who went to Versace  boutique to buy presents for his friends and bought 20 ties, US $ 200 each, cash - the shop assistant was shocked and fell in love with the guy.

Myth 3

Foreigners are always smiling, without any reason.

In Russia to have a smile on your face you must have a reason, otherwise they will think you are laughing at them. It's why Russians don't smile. They also do not greet shop assistants, cashiers, drivers etc. They do not ask each other "How are you?" the first thing when meet or on the phone. Smiling without a reason indicates the person's mental disorder, there is even an old saying: "Smile without a reason is a sign of silliness".

Myth 4

Americans are loud and arrogant.

I think the roots of this myth are in American's independence and confidence. Russians, even the ones who have high status, are never that confident. Americans are sure they are doing the right thing; once they make a decision, they follow it without hesitation and unnecessary delays. Russians are not used to confidence, and for them it looks like arrogance. 

Also Russians are very sensitive if you criticize their country; they know it's a mess, but it's THEIR COUNTRY. Do not show your disgust if something is not that clean and sterile as you are used to. Rather smile. Russians, for example, routinely use serviettes to clean glasses, forks and spoons in a cafe; and this is the way to go if you discovered somebody's lipstick on your glass. Alternatively, you can politely ask a waiter to exchange the glass, but do not request to change all glasses and plates on the table and bring you "the clean ones". Take a napkin and clean your plates and glasses; bring sterilizing liquid with you; but do not think that somebody will go out of his way to help you; and if you insist, you'll look scandalous and - arrogant. Russian services are very self-sufficient, clients basically just interrupt them with their perfect work.

Myth 5

Foreign men are looking for free housekeepers to look after them and their kids. Many of them are not what they say they are, some are sexual maniacs or have psychiatric problems.

This myth is based on a few stories about foreign marriages that hit the news - like American media, Russian media rarely have anything good to say about the subject. So do not talk about sex in your letters, say that you are not looking for a maid but a partner, say that you are healthy, and explain why you decide to look for a wife abroad. Just like you think it's strange when a beautiful intelligent woman is not capable to find a partner in Russia / Ukraine / Belarus, women are also concerned why such a wonderful man, who is educated, goal-oriented, hardworking and faithful is alone. Russian men try to pursue sexual relationships with any woman they see on their way, it's a part of the "real man" image. They seem to be so interested in having sex with as many females as possible, women do not believe that a man can survive without sexual intercourse for more than a month, and definitely he will go mad in 1 year if didn't have sex during the time. If you are over 18 years old and a virgin, they will think there is something terribly wrong with you, and will avoid you. Keep such a confession for your honeymoon :-))

Myth 6 - The only positive myth that makes 1000's Russian women look for somebody far away from their homeland.

Foreign men are honest, stable, serious, faithful, kind, reliable, they almost don't drink, do not abuse their wives, and love kids. Life abroad is stable and secure.

Actually , Russian women do not look for something special in a man: he must be just NORMAL. It means, he has some education, a stable job, wants to make a career and doesn't drink. This is already good enough! Being too handsome or talented may even decrease your chances - women will feel that they are very plain, and do not deserve 


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Could you please give any advice for men over 50 with Russian women?

So you're over 50 and you're beginning your search for a wife from the former Soviet Union. Perhaps I can give you a few suggestions and a little insight into who you should be looking for and what they are looking for from you. These comments are based on my own experience and conversations I have had with others in the same situation.

I took the route that many of you are taking; writing letters to women whose listings are on web sites too numerous to even count. My luck was terrible. They simply did not respond. It was disappointing, to say the least. I began to wonder what was wrong with me. I think I have a lot to offer. I'm not movie star handsome, but my face won't stop a clock either. I'm not overweight. I have all my hair and teeth. I have a good personality and sense of humor. I shower every day. It was puzzling, to say the least. I gave up. It just wasn't worth the frustration and disappointment. I soon found, however, that one of the problems was that a lot of those listings are out-of-date or fake. Maybe it wasn't my fault after all. I soon realized that the younger guys might find wives that way, but not those of us over fifty. There must be a better way.

I decided to put my own listing on some sites and see what might happen. Perhaps two or three women might be interested. I was looking for quality, not quantity, anyway, so numbers wouldn't matter. I submitted my biography to three sites in Russia and Ukraine. During the past three months I have received sixty-five responses, thirty from my listing on one site alone. No, make the sixty-eight. Three more just arrived. About three or four new letters arrive each week. The response is far more than I ever expected. Overwhelming is a better word. Even better than that, I received not only quantity, but quality as well.

I am searching for a woman aged 38 to 45. The women who have responded so far range from a 20 year-old college student to a 45 year-old doctor. Are the responses coming from women to whom I would like to write and consider as potential mates? You bet. They are all intelligent, interesting, and gorgeous. They are everything any red-blooded American man would want in a wife. Have I written back to any of them? Sure. Wouldn't you? But how does this thing work? How do you find the right person?

First, know exactly what you want in a wife. And guys, be realistic about what you are searching for and be honest about yourself. You have to be suspicious about a much-too-young woman being interested in you. Will I write back to the 20 year-old? Yes, but only to thank you for her interest and tell her that she is outside the age range I selected. She seems to be sweet, but I have a daughter ten years older than she is and we would have virtually nothing in common. Is she looking for a free ride to the United States and is willing to do anything to get it? Perhaps, but I'm not interested in finding out. And do you really want someone that young? For one thing, you could never keep up with a twenty-something woman. She would wear you out in a month. I don't know about you, but I'm looking for much more from a life-long partner. I want a friend, companion and an intellectual equal, not just a playmate. Yes, the physical part would be great, but what do you talk about after the novelty has worn off?

Most of my responses are from women aged about thirty-two to forty-three. A little under my range, but who could resist writing to that 33 year-old living doll with those fantastically gorgeous eyes who lives in St. Petersburg? My only hesitation about her is that she's from one of the two cities that I said I would not consider: St. Petersburg and Moscow. Too big. Too westernized. I live in a town of 100,000 people. Small by Russian standards. Would a St. Petersburg girl be happy in a mid-size American town? That's something I will have to know before anything really serious can be considered. Think about where you live and where she lives. Would she be happy in your town? Learn about her city before you get too far into the relationship.

You absolutely must offer them something unique and interesting. Telling them you're from the USA and that you have a house, an automatic dishwasher, and a car won't do it. They won't be impressed. In fact, they'll be insulted. They are not for sale to the person with the most "stuff." And besides, we all have that same stuff. It comes with the territory. They won't be impressed with your possessions, so don't mention them until you get to know the woman. I have a good salary, big house with a pool, garden, all the modern electronic goodies, and five cars. None of the women I'm writing to know about any of it. It's not important to them and it won't be important to the women to whom you will write. Tell them about yourself, but don't brag about your possessions.

Remember that your competition is from around the world, me and other guys in the USA, Canada, Germany, England, Australia, Sweden, Italy, South Africa, and just about every other country you can name. They have a lot to offer too, so don't think that just because you're from the good-old USA that you have an advantage. You don't. They want to marry a person, not a country. They want to marry a good, decent, kind and caring man with whom they can feel safe, secure and loved. They want a happy family life. They want a man who is "financially secure." They want candle lit dinners and "home coziness." If you can't convince them that you can provide those things, then, my friend, you have lost already. And for Heaven's sake, never mention sex in any of your letters unless they bring it up first. Don't be a fool. If you want to scare them off, that's the sure way to do it.

Don't rush your relationship. Some web sites tell you that if you don't visit the woman in her home country within two to three months, she'll look elsewhere. Nonsense. Sometimes it takes six months to a year before she's ready to take the major step of inviting you to visit her. The web sites that tell you otherwise are probably selling those horrendous package tours (hey, it's Tuesday, we must be in Kiev. I have to meet forty women this afternoon!) How can you possibly choose a wife under those circumstances? You couldn't pay me to sign up for one of those. I'll travel to Russia or Ukraine or Moldova on my own, thank you. I'm luckier than most because I know the language, but even if I didn't I would try to muddle through and you should too.

That beautiful Russian woman that you think you love is as nervous about this thing as you are, probably more so, and she wants to be absolutely sure of what she's getting into because once she takes the step of inviting you to visit, there will be no turning back. Generally, a visit leads to marriage and she knows it. She'll take her time in making that fateful decision. You're asking her to leave behind the only life she has ever known. You're asking her to leave her friends and family. You're asking her to move to an alien culture where she won't even know the language. Yes, she probably studied English in school, but that was twenty years ago. How is your high school Latin? Same thing. She probably has forgotten more English than she ever learned and now you're asking her to come to a country where virtually no one will speak her language. Good grief, man, she probably won't even know how to use a credit card or a checkbook. Could you survive if someone asked you to move tomorrow to Ekaterinburg? Probably not. Let her set the pace.

And let me tell you right now. Don't ever treat her as though she's stupid. She probably has a better education than you. She knows more about life and how to survive hardship than you will ever have to know. Keep in mind that we are all smart, but in different subjects.

Don't be buffaloed by the words she uses in her letters. Elena Petrova, a Russian woman who now lives in Australia, has on her web site a glossary of terms used by Russian and Ukrainian women and the definitions. Be familiar with those terms on Elena's site at I guarantee that the women who write to you will use all those terms and if you don't know the meanings, you're going to be thoroughly confused. "Intelligent," for example, means much more in Russian than it does in English. It means that you are not only smart, as in educated, but it means also that you have some class, that you're a cut above the rest of the competition. If she says she thinks you're intelligent, that's one of the highest compliments she can give you. Thank her for it. If she tells you that you're handsome, thank her for that compliment, too, even if you know she's spreading it thicker'n butter on toast. If she says you're intelligent AND handsome, well, my good man, you're in. Hang on to that one.

You don't have to be the world's best writer to get her attention. Just be honest and open in your letters. I did that and one woman told me that my letters were as fascinating and special to her as were the letters she had received from her now-deceased mother. Wow! Did that ever make my day. She also says my letters are the most romantic she has ever received. I don't think they're especially romantic, but I simply tell her how I feel about her. Maybe that tells you something about the letters she gets from the competition. But, guys, don't tell her those things in your first letter or she'll know that you're lying. Get to know her a little so you can make an honest statement.

Some sites will tell you to avoid women who are looking for a "generous" or "well-to-do" man. Don't believe that. Those terms have totally different meanings to them than they do to you. Watch out for the word "rich," though. If you're not rich, forget about her. Elena's site tells you what "financially secure" really means. Don't let that term scare you. It doesn't mean what you think.

Use words and phrases in your letters that she can easily understand. Remember, she's probably using a translator who might not be much more fluent in English than she is, so don't use colloquialisms or modern jargon. You understood what I meant above by the word "buffaloed." She won't. Her dictionary will tell her that buffalo is a noun, not a verb. I live in Oklahoma and I know that if I use the word "y'all" it'll drive them crazy trying to figure it out. They might misinterpret what you're saying and then you'll have to explain what you really meant. And watch out for the mis-translations in her letters to you. I got a letter a few weeks ago where the translator used the word "tactless" which the woman used in describing herself. The woman, of course, meant "tactful." It was the translator's mistake, not hers. Try to use some common sense when you read her letters and don't get upset by mistakes like that one. I especially like the word "careful" when they describe the kind of man they want. They mean, of course, "caring," but the word careful can have a totally different meaning to some Americans. And it won't hurt to learn some Russian and throw in a few phrases that have meaning to you and her, but make sure you spell the words correctly and mean what you say because she'll believe everything you tell her in Russian.

Above all else, fellows, be totally honest with her. If you lie to her, she'll find out sooner or later and if she has a big brother, you could be in terrible trouble. Boris doesn't take kindly to people lying to his sister. If you're not interested in her, tell her. Don't drag it out. You might be her knight in shining armor and if she's beginning to fall in love with you, you'll break her heart and that will make you the biggest cad on this side of the Atlantic. Not only that, she'll think you represent all of us and she'll hate all American men. She might be MY dream woman and you'll have to answer to me if you ruin my chance at happiness. Better to get it over with as soon as possible and let her look for someone else.

However, if she's the woman you've been searching for all your life, tell her so. The only thing she has to compare you with, other than the letters from those others guys (who are probably lying and she'll find that out soon enough), are the men who live in her hometown. Now don't get me wrong. I like the people in the former Soviet Union. They are good people, but Russia is a rough place. The culture is unlike any you have ever known. Russian men can be your best friends, but the culture doesn't permit them to treat women like you and I have been taught. To have a husband who doesn't drink, doesn't beat his wife, is faithful, and who works at a steady job is a rarity. When they divorce, the husband takes off for another country and never helps her, never helps support his children, and has little if any contact with them. I can't count the number of men from the former Soviet Union I've met who say that they left their wife and kids behind. They're proud about being scumbags and they don't care what happens to the family they left back in Moscow. The good ones in her hometown are already married and she doesn't have much of a selection from which to choose. That's why she's looking overseas.

She doesn't necessarily want to leave her homeland, but she often has no choice if she wants to have even a modicum of happiness. To have a man tell her she's beautiful (and she probably is, but no man at home has told her that since she was eighteen), and to offer her a good life with a secure future, sharing, respect, love and understanding is a dream-come-true for her. No man ever put her on a pedestal before. She's not used to it, but she'll love it. Don't let her down.

Could she be lying to you, telling you things that she knows you want to hear but not meaning any of it? Maybe, maybe not. Some decisions have to be made on faith alone and that's the chance you'll have to be willing to take. We have those kinds of women in this country. We've all met them during our lives. We know how they act and how they talk, so use your intuition and common sense. Don't get carried away by your enthusiasm about meeting that stunningly beautiful woman from Donetsk and throw out all caution. She has probably been honest with you and you have nothing to worry about, but think before you act, that's all. Yes, there are scam artists out there, ready to
take your money and give you nothing in return. I haven't been taken yet, but it might happen eventually. What do I do to protect myself? For one thing I ask for the woman's mailing address in my first letter to her, and I send her my mailing address to show her that I really exist and have a home, that I'm not hiding anything. If she ignores my request and doesn't send either her last name or mailing address, I drop her. If she cannot respond to that simple request, then she's either a scam artist or is not interested enough in you to provide even basic information about herself.

Why am I looking for a woman in the former Soviet Union? Probably for the same reasons as you. I have been married twice before. My first wife was European, my second wife was American. Both marriages were happy. I loved them both dearly. Now that I'm forced by circumstances to look for a new wife, I think I'm to the point in my life where I know exactly what I want. Someone who is attentive, loving, intelligent, and someone with whom I can share my life and have fun. And having a beautiful wife is not a bad thing, either. Women in this country who might be interested in me are simply too set in their ways, too demanding, too unwilling to do anything different. I have a lot of good years left and I want to spend them with a woman with whom I can have a pleasant time. As the poet Don Blanding put it, I'm having "a grand time living" and I want to share that life with someone special. Plus there are elements of adventure, excitement and discovery in marrying an Eastern European woman. She will appreciate traveling with me to new places, trying new foods, meeting new people, and doing things that most Americans would consider mundane or routine. And once a year or so, we'll fly back to Novosibirsk or Chelyabinsk or whatever her hometown might be to visit her family and friends. What an adventure that will be.

Get to know and understand the culture that raised her. Hollywood has created a stereotypical image of Russian men and women. You've seen them. Russian men are always the dimmest bulb on the chandelier, usually working as a building manager or gangster. Russian women are always portrayed as prostitutes with hearts of gold. But they have the cutest accents and the sweetest voices, so you just have to love them. Neither stereotype is even remotely close to the truth, so ignore them. They are all individuals, just like you and me. Are Russians rude? By our standards, it would seem so. But no, they are not rude, just down-to-earth and blunt. Life is hard. They don't have time for idle chit-chat. No, they don't hate you, it's the culture that tells them they have a job to do and they must get it done quickly and efficiently. The fact that their pay is six months in arrears only makes them more frustrated. So when you arrive at the airport in Moscow on your way to see the woman of your dreams, just smile at the immigration officers with the big hats and ill-fitting uniforms, answer their questions quickly and directly, and tell them how happy you are to be in their wonderful country. They'll think you're a nut, but they won't give you a hard time either. And I promise the woman you are going to see will not treat you that way.

Why is the age range I put in my ad from 15 to 20 years younger than I am? Again, probably for the same reasons as yours. One reason is because that's the highest age of most of the women who are looking for foreign husbands. Maybe the women over 45 have given up, or think they are past their prime. That's not true, but how do you tell them? I don't know the answer to that. Would I consider marrying a Russian woman my own age? Sure, why not? Do I really want a trophy wife or arm candy? Not a chance. Most of those women are dumb as mud and I don't need that. Every woman wants to be loved because of who she is, not just because she'll look good attached to your arm when you go out on the town. Russian and Ukrainian women are no different. Love them for who and what they are, and tell them so. Often. They'll love you even more for it.

Why is she considering you, a man 15-25 years her senior? The answers are simple: stability, security and caring. You have a stable and secure career. You have time to pay attention to her and you won't spend fifteen hours a day in the office while you ignore her and your home life. You're settled and responsible. You won't jealously guard your authority as the head of the household, but have learned that a husband and wife are partners, equals. You're not just looking for a good time or playing games, but you are serious about finding a wife you can love and respect. You're a good man and you've proven yourself. Remember when you were 35? You weren't very mature were you? Well, you are now and she likes that. If she knows your age and is still interested in you, then it doesn't matter. Forget the age thing. It's not important.

Good luck in your search for the perfect wife. I hope my comments will help. I think I'm having good luck in my search thanks to folks at the sites on which I have chosen to advertise myself. I think I've found "the one" in Novosibirsk. I'll let you know if it works out.


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What is Russian women upbringing about sex?

There is a bit of truth in this statement: Russian women do not talk a lot about sex.

In Russia sexual matters are not every-day-in-magazines topic. Any sexual related questions are considered to be very personal, and even close friends don't discuss details of their sexual lives with each other.

When I just arrived here I was shocked by the number of articles in women's magazines about sex: how to drive a man crazy in bed, His-5-minutes-sexual secret, sex potions and positions from aaah! to zzzz...., and so on. In Russia such topics are discussed only in special editions, here it's in every issue of any decent women's magazine.

It does not mean that Russians don't enjoy sex, or that they are ashamed of the pleasures it gives. They just do not TALK about it with everybody. They don't consider it appropriate.

Also people in Russia do not show affection on public. Kissing, hugging and touching each other is supposed to happen only behind closed doors.

As a consequence, Russian ladies are surprised when read something like "I like kisses and holding hands" in the first letter from a guy, and can decide he is a sexual maniac. Yes, everybody likes kissing and holding hands with a special person, why talk about it?

In Russia it is absolutely inappropriate to talk about sex with a woman until it's happens in a natural way, and couples usually do not discuss their sexual life or what each partner wants in relationship, or how does s/he wants or prefers the intimate part of the relationship. Everything is supposed to be rather "felt" than discussed.

If you ask a Russian lady even an innocent question like if she thinks sex is important in a marriage, she will feel awkward. If you know each other for a while, she will probably answer, but anyway you can't hope for anything more than simple "Yes".

At the same time a woman will not hesitate to answer any your questions after you become sexual partners. You see, in Russia the term "intimate" still has its initial meaning: it's what discussed only between two who are intimate.

I have never heard about any sex related problems in Russian-Western relationship. All men that I asked about sexual side of their marriages, answered that there is no significant difference between Russian and Western women, just normal personal differences that make each person special.


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