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Guide to Russia > Russian Culture

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RUSSIAN CULTURE

RUSSIAN WOMEN


Why do they want to marry foreigners?


Today you can find plenty of websites on the Internet devoted to the hunt for Russian brides. What are Russian women really like? How do they think? And why do they want to marry foreign men? The main reasons are obvious if you live in Russia or get to know the culture and way of life here. For a start, Russian women believe that they will be treated better by foreigners, and that they might find a better life for themselves and their children

Russia is a very big country and each region is different from the next. In some areas the situation for women is bleak: there may not be many jobs available, salaries are low, unemployment high and decent men in general are hard to come by. But the female residents of these areas tend to be nice and family orientated. Feminism or any notions about equal rights for women is not something they value highly and most of them have never even heard of the movement. Such ideals take a long time to establish, especially in traditional towns. This does not necessarily mean that these women are poorly-educated; on the contrary, many of these women have college degrees, but the environment one grows up in influences a person more than anything else. However, family oriented women are appealing to foreigners who are looking for wives abroad. The biggest complaint in the West, especially from America, is that local women are too independent and confident and not family-orientated at all. They feel comfortable being by themselves and don't want to get deeply involved with a man. This has recently become more common in Russia's bigger cities, mainly Moscow and St. Petersburg, but more traditional women still exist here as well. Many women are eager to get married and foreign men seem like princes to them. At the same time the notion that women are weaker than men and a woman's main job in life should be to serve her family is almost genetic. This includes being a good house keeper, taking care of children, and being a loyal and kind wife to their husbands. So for many men, Russia is the ideal place to look for a good wife.

In the Soviet Union daily life for all women was similar. Basically it can simply be described as home-work-home. Nothing very surprising or exciting happens during all the traffic jams that occur to and from work or in the long lines at the grocery stores after a lengthy and intensive work day. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? If you look at the older generations of Russian women you will see people who are tired of the complicated life they have lived. Recently life in Russia has changed for the better, at least in comparison to Soviet times. It is much easier today to get food and there is plenty of it in every store. There is no shortage of food, clothes, or heat. The situation with traffic has yet to be resolved, but it is improving. Furthermore, work schedules are becoming more flexible as there are more possibilities to build the working day around a person's preferences. Thus there are many more possibilities around nowadays and fewer limitations for Russian women, especially the younger generations.

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Of course the situation is completely different for women living in smaller and less densely populated regions of Russia, as well as single women in their 30s. Unfortunately, in smaller cities there are less possibilities to obtain an education, a career or marriage itself, since there are always more women then men.

There is also a lingering myth about the "foreign prince": women believe that the men that live far away and have lived a completely different life are indeed better looking and nicer than the men they grew up with. In other words, these foreign men are idealized, mainly because it's impossible to comprehend a culture without being exposed to it.

Again in Soviet times, people received little information about other countries, but generally the west was considered to be a magnificent paradise, where everyone is rich, healthy, good-looking and happy. So women here dreamed and waited for these rich, nice guys, who will take good care of them. Sounds like a fairytale that only kindergarten children would believe, but that was the impression most people had here. Since lots of people travel abroad nowadays, they can see everything with their own eyes and understand that life is pretty much the same everywhere. Every country has its fair share of problems and good qualities and a person's personality depends on a lot of factors beyond their country of birth. Nonetheless, a large number of people still think that life abroad is easy, convenient and more fun, so getting married to a foreigner seems like a good opportunity to escape Russia and live abroad.

Russian brides are ranked fifth among all other international brides including Chinese and Indonesian ones. Russian women should be proud of themselves. The only thing that is hard to understand is why someone would want to be fifth somewhere really far away like Australia, when they could be first here at home?

Another point to consider: In 2004 the population of the Russian Federation was 143,782,338. From age 15 to 64, 49,534,076 were males and 52,958,107. So it's easy to see that in the marriage age bracket there are more women than men. Also according to the statistics, women here live longer - 10 to15 years on average.

Want to find out more about Russian society? See our article on Russian men.

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