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Russian & Ukrainian women.

Woman's mentality in Russia and Ukraine.

by Marina Fedorova

Beautiful Russian Woman

The image of Russian women in the media from the time of the Cold War to the 1970s was unflattering:  not feminine enough, not very beautiful, overweight, difficult, sad etc .. . in contrast with the image of the American woman: sexy, slim, beautiful, friendly, maternal. These portrayals were primarily a matter of political propaganda and in no way reflected any reality.

Then Russia opened to the world, and suddenly with the magic of the Internet, a miracle occurred: the image of the Russian woman in the world changed from an overweight babushka to a cosmopolitan supermodel. The propaganda game continues, but the aim has become economical, not necessarily political.

International dating has become an industry generating hundreds of millions of euros in profits each year worldwide. More anxious to paint an enticing pretty picture than to reveal the true personality of Russian women, agencies and dating services primarily seek to "reassure" their male customers and tell them what they want to be told. They affirm that Russian & Ukrainian women are wonderfully "nice", submissive, intelligent and sociable, but not looking for a career, not too ambitious, their biggest dream is to clean all day and look after children ... a portrayal completely at odds with reality. And it works! Russian women are now attracting the men of the world like "magnets", international dating agencies are booming, benefiting from a lack of regulation in this area.

The downside to this intense "marketing" (because any intense kind of campaign usually ends up being "annoying") is the other image that the media portrays of Russian & Ukrainian women: women seeking above all to escape the misery of their country, women who end up being prostitutes or who are "gold diggers" looking for millionaire men (aiming for quick divorce and a large divorce settlement ).

Bombarded with clichés and contradictory information, it’s hard to really know what to believe about Russian women: are they the romantic women looking for love or cold calculated women scheming to land a millionaire? Honest and sincere woman or scam? Desperate women wishing to escape the misery of their country, or independent women seeking a good husband in a new country?

Beyond these clichés what differences really exist among Russian (Ukrainian) women of 20, 30, 40 or 50 years old ?

I offer you a little lesson in history and psychology to discover what lies behind the myths and lies. Let’s take a trip together back in time to discover the true nature of Russian women, according to her age and experience.

Few countries in the world have seen as many political and social upheavals as Russia in the space of just a few years: political utopias were swept away, Russia opened to the world, for better or worse, living conditions changed. All this has profoundly influenced the character and personality of Russian citizens. Within 15 to 20 years the Russians lived through these drastic changes; some peoples’ spirits were crushed and others came out even stronger. The Russian population was split in two: on one side those who lived under communism and who were accustomed to this system, and on the other those side, those who, younger, hardly lived under this regime and are "children of perestroika."

Keep in mind that each person is unique. I will outline four categories of women, depending on their age, and thus the period of history in which they lived.


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1) Russian & Ukrainian women born before 1970

Parents and grandparents of these women experienced the Second World War and its share of atrocities. This war is still remembered by many Russians. I remember my grandfather, Nikolai, telling me about terrible military actions, especially during the two years the Germans blockaded Leningrad. 20 million Russians were killed during the war. Numerous women lost their husbands during the war and raised their children alone, who grew up never knowing their own father. The average age for the first child was in Russia at that time, 20 to 24 years; parents rarely had a second child.

These "war children" are the parents of Russian women now around 50 years old. Life at that time was very hard, and young parents had to work extremely hard to earn a meager salary. Mothers could not stay at home to care for children and had to work to earn money to survive. As everyone was working it was very difficult to find someone to care for the children. Even if parents found a babysitter, they did not have the means to pay for childcare. Fortunately there were many almost-free nurseries. From the age of 2 to 4 years old, the majority of children were cared for at these nurseries.

Starting at 6 years old, parents generally left their children to care for themselves while they were at work. Parents left them the keys of the apartment so they could go in and out as they wanted. The parents took care to attach the key to a string that the child wore around his neck in order not to lose it when he played. At the age of six, girls started buying bread and milk on their own and helping out with household chores while the parents were at work.

Children began school at the age of 7. This was the era of communism and the Soviet Union. Each child was part of a political organization for young children called Octyarbryenok (children of the October Revolution). It was a special organization within the school system. Religion was forbidden. Each child had to wear a small red star, depicting Lenin's face when he was 7 years old, on his coat near the heart of the left side. Children had to wear this star and anyone who deviated from this rule was severely punished by the "political committee of the school," made up of young students elected by their peers and whose role was to ensure the application of Regulation policy of each school. Indoctrination was total.

At the age of 10 children with good grades and impeccable behavior became "pioneers" (a concept approaching that of scouts, but with a communist view). It is with some emotion that I recall the day I was elected the first pioneer in my class, during an official ceremony, I was very proud. I was deeply in the "system", although like any 10 year old I did not really know what communism was. The pioneers had to wear a red scarf around their necks while in school. Pioneers were required to tie the scarf in a certain way; otherwise, one could be punished! I remember you had to wait to be home before removing the scarf, and those who were eager to remove it right after school were threatened with expulsion!! Children were generally very proud to have been chosen as "pioneers.” All children grew up learning to worship Lenin and the Communist ideology.

At 14, a new stage of ideological indoctrination began called Comsomolets. Everyone had to be an atheist and had to fully adhere to the Communist system to become Comsomolets (“cosmomolets” were entitled to a sort of "identity card”). Children 14 years and older who were against communist ideology and / or believers were rejected by the school political committee and could not be comsomolets, which meant they were denied access to higher education and had great difficulties getting a job later on. Children were not supposed to be Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, they should become "pioneers" at 10 years of age and  "comsomolets" at 14. Children were not entirely sure what religion was, and their parents were often atheists (or at least hid their religious beliefs), as the Communist Party destroyed the places of worship and hunted for believers.

At 18, the last step was to become a member of the Communist Party and receive a "Communist Party card,” a real certificate entitling the holder to many advantages. Joining the Communist Party was not mandatory but "advised.” Many people who joined the party did not believe at all in communism.

If you practice a religion, do not expect a Russian woman who was born at that time to share your enthusiasm for religion. She may have trouble understanding you. Russian women generally prefer men who believe but don’t necessarily “practice” their religion or faith.

At the age of 18 years, young Russian women attended university, which was free at the time. Parents want their child to have the best education possible. At that time it was common for young women pursue long-term studies and graduate with degrees as a doctor or teacher. Russians read a lot, appreciate the theater (they go on average once per month). If you hate the theater it is likely that your future wife will feel a little frustrated with this difference.

Women generally married shortly before the end of their university studies, and they had their first child soon after marriage.

After university, at the age of 23 or 24, women began their professional careers. Until 1985 the Communist Party was still powerful and in order to have a job, one needed to be member of the Communist Party.

In 1985 the ascent of Gorbachev to power and the beginning of Perestroika marked the end of ideological indoctrination. Anything of value for people collapsed in a few months. Many businesses closed their doors and millions of people lost their jobs due to the economic restructuring. The economic situation was dire, and from 1987 to 1992 people received monthly ration cards that allowed them to buy some butter, sugar, flour, in short, the bare minimum. People lined up for hours outside stores to get these basic foods.

This was a time when your sweetheart, who had just had her first (and probably only) child, could not even buy clothes, children's food, or toys. It was a very difficult time. Her parents, the children of World War II, who had worked hard all their lives and who had dreamed of a better life than their own for their daughter saw their dreams crumble. At the same time inflation reached record levels, leading to bankrupt banks. People who had saved their entire lives saw their savings disappear in a few weeks. It was a period of survival. Many who had completed long and successful studies found themselves selling cigarettes or toothpaste on the sidewalk.

In this dark period Russian women often became more valiant and courageous than their husbands and it was common that only the woman brought home a salary while the husband was unemployed. This disastrous financial situation destroyed many couples. Your girlfriend had to have been very mentally strong to survive and not lose hope. Since 1992 many Russian women born between 1958 and 1968 have even created their own business.

So you've recently met a woman through the Internet, she has been divorced for some years, and she probably has a child between 20-30 years old.

She has a good education, a good job and her own apartment. It is possible that in her profile she says she loves driving: do not laugh thinking that her announcement is rather naïve in mentioning this, and pay attention to the words used: you can learn a lot about this woman. In reality, it does not mean she really likes driving a car, but rather she is trying to make you understand that she has a fairly large social or professional status within Russian society. She may have her own car (which is still quite rare in Russia for a divorced woman). This would equivalent to a French woman saying she likes to fly a private jet or helicopter !!

You’ve just met a very independent woman who is mentally very strong and can survive alone, even in the jungle !! She has had a hard life, she has not had much time to devote to leisure or to herself, but she is in her forties, her child is now an adult or will soon be, and she has started to think about her own future. She wants to start a strong, happy family in which she wants to live for the rest of her life, she wants to meet a man she will love and who will understand her. She had a bad experience with her former husband and wants to marry a man who will love her as a woman, a friend, a confidante, and not just a partner to survive with.

She would like to marry a foreigner, but so what? No one makes a big deal about a French or American man who marries a Brazilian woman. What is strange about that?

This woman has lived much of her life in a closed country, without any possibility of getting away. Now that she has the opportunity to start a new life in her 40’s, she is going to try her luck. Looking at her past, she will realize she has had a full life already, but not exactly as she would have wished: she wants a change in her life, a big change. She wants a real "new life", and the possibility of starting a family with a foreigner and discovering a new country is an exciting challenge for her.

If these women are willing to marry men who are 15 years older than them it’s first because Western men 60 years or older are in much better physical shape than their Russian counterparts of the same age (expectancy life for a man in Russia is 56 years compared to 78 years in USA). These women have a certain maturity and do not consider age a problem if they are in love with the gentleman.

What then to think of the image that agencies give Russian women of this age?

While it is true that these women are feminine and they want to meet the man of their dreams and have a stable home, it is totally wrong to say they only dream of taking care of their husband and his children, and taking walks hand in hand along the beach ...

Think about it: she has a good education, a fulfilling job, she has many friends and she feels respected by all. She takes care of herself; she regularly goes to a beauty salon in Russia and gets manicures (much cheaper than in France). She is very independent and used to make decisions alone. She earns money through a stable job and spends it without being accountable to anyone. Do you think this woman will be happy to stay all day at home?

When you get married, almost nothing will change in your life, you will remain in the same house or apartment, in the same country, and you will keep your routine. Nothing has changed except that you are now married to a beautiful Russian woman! She begins to believe again in Prince Charming, as she did 20 years ago; she is ready to give you all her love even though she does not know what awaits her in her new country. But after all, she is leaving her country for love, not to flee Russia.  

The greatest risk for these women comes from the loss of their social status. Let me explain:

You will notice that Russian women of more than 45 years old presented on Internet dating sites often have a high level of education and highly qualified professions, such as doctor, manager, lawyer, engineer, teacher, scientist etc ...

There is not a large wage difference between educated and non-educated in Russia. The main difference is social status. A good social status is the main motivation for academic success in Russia, unlike the West, where academic success is primarily related to earning money.

Remember this: in Russia, money does not occupy "center stage" like in the West. Social status can bring more satisfaction to a Russian than a good salary.

Your future wife will lose her status when she arrives in France and her previous efforts of 10 to 15 years climbing the social ladder will be for nothing. I remember I was extremely disappointed upon learning when I arrived in France that my Master of Economics obtained in Ukraine had no equivalent in France. I was not seen in France as a graduate. I worked hard at school and at university for 14 years, for nothing ... it was a huge shock.

Once she arrives, she will possibly experience communication problems (she does not speak the language of her new country); and it is more difficult to learn a new language at 45 years of age than before. She also realizes that the authorities in her new country do not recognize her qualifications. It is possible to obtain equivalences, but one must take exams that require fluency in French, so she will not be able to immediately take these exams.

She discovers that she has to ask your permission before she can buy anything for herself and that she can not go to the hairdresser or beauty salon as often as in Russia because you have credit and income taxes. She realizes with dismay that two-thirds of the family budget are used to pay the credit for the car or the house, and she learns that she can not drive the car because of cost of insurance and the necessary driving permit. . .

This totally independent woman, who had a steady job and many friends, was respected for having a good position on the Russian social ladder, now discovers that she is dependent on you for every aspect of her new life, like a baby is dependent on its mother.

She has no friends and family in her new country, the first months of integration will be difficult for her from a psychological point of view. And you must be prepared !! Are you ready to assist with her integration or will you send your wife, trained as a doctor or lawyer, to work as a waitress in a restaurant and think she will be happy?

Will you follow the advice of some agencies and ask her to be your new housekeeper? Will you make her leave an active and interesting professional life to put her in a kitchen for the rest of her life? Although it is likely that she wrote in her profile that she enjoys cooking that does not mean she wants to spend all her time in the kitchen in her new country.

2) Russian women born between 1970 and 1980

These women were born during the "Cold War", at a time when communist propaganda was in full swing. After an education that was very “politicized” as described above, they experienced perestroika as they passed into adulthood and were fascinated with the gradual opening of the borders of the former USSR.

At this time, Russians married quite young, between 18 and 22 years. These women were thus marrying age at a time when Russia experienced a profound social and economic stagnation; during this dark period many Russians lost their jobs and all their savings. At a time when Russia was falling apart, the women were stronger than men (men sometimes sinking into depression or alcoholism) and continued to fight bravely to get a job and not be discouraged. Men with a stable financial position, psychologically strong and likely to make a good husband became scarce. Then, in 1993 through the Internet, several international dating agencies were founded. The explosion of the Internet and dating agencies showed Russian women that they were very popular with foreign gentlemen, because Russian women born in the seventies are very careful about their appearance and often look younger than their age. This success with foreign men has enchanted Russian single girls.

These single Russian women are quite motivated to marry a foreigner. They are mature and a good life experience. They are quite pragmatic and cope well with their relationship with a foreign man in a country that is unknown to them. They are less attached to their status as women born before 1970 and are less materialistic than Russian girls born after 1990. They are much more selective and they know exactly what they want.

The majority of women in this age group has a child and has been divorced for several years. Russians generally do not want to have more than two children; large families are very rare. It is most common to find a woman with only one child. And children of these women of 25/35 years are generally not adults, a very important consideration for your future relationship. These women will choose their future husband in terms of his ability to treat the child as if it were his own. To win the heart of the women, you must first win the heart of her child. Contact the child as much as possible and bring him some gifts if you go to visit your beloved in Eastern Europe. This only child is a priceless treasure for any Russian woman who respects and will defend him like a lioness defending her cubs.

If she has to choose between you and her child, a Russian woman will not hesitate and will remain with her child in Russia rather than leave her child with the father or grandparents.

She will miss her old lifestyle during her first months in her new country, and she will thirst for social and professional recognition. You need to know before she arrives what kind of training possibilities she will have. Does she have a chance of finding a job related to her abilities and experience? Which university or training school can she enroll in and how long will it take her to get a degree?

3) Russian / Ukrainian women born between 1980 and 1990

Russian women over 25 who are not married have a reputation of being "old maids" and are often teased. It is quite difficult in Russia to be a single girl of 25. Despite the profound changes in mentality that have taken place in Russia in recent years, such judgments against single girls are very common, although it is less noticeable than in the past.

These girls know perfectly well that in the eyes of foreigners they are not "old maids", quite the opposite! They feel very desirable and fully understand that their youth is a major asset for older Western gentlemen. They will not jump on the first man who will write them because they are selective and prefer gentlemen who are financially stable.

These girls were born just before perestroika and therefore were small children when the great political and social changes began to change Russia: they are called children of perestroika. And they are the children of women born in the sixties or seventies… you remember what I told you about those dark years of Russia from 1985 to 1992? People struggling every day to survive and mothers who did not have the means to buy toys or clothes for their children, the baby food was very rare; this very difficult economic situation has broken many couples; so these girls have had a difficult childhood and have been deprived of almost everything that makes the life of a Western child. These little Russian girls, aged 7 to 10 years, were lined up outside the stores with their mother to exchange ration cards for a small tablet of butter and a small bag of flour ... I was one of those girls, I remember with emotion: I would wake up with my mother at 3 or 4 in the morning to go to the store to get on the waiting list. Every two hours was an official roll call at the store, and it was essential to be present or risk being removed from the list. The wait lasted half a day, in front of these almost empty stores. When families had to buy large quantities of food for parties, each family member lined up at different stores to get some frozen chicken legs ...

Like their parents who had grown up under Communist propaganda, these women knew nothing of religion and had no idea what life was like in a Western country like France. They saw their parents every day grow more and more tired of living in these difficult conditions, being generally unable to explain the reason for all these changes in their lives every day. The ideals and models collapsed around them, there were more examples of educated people who were in the same predicament, despite their education: many engineers, doctors and other talented professionals were not paid by the state for months or lost their jobs.

At the same time a new social category appeared; influential people from the Communist Party made a fortune very quickly on the "back of the beast", plundering energy resources and the wealth of the former USSR: they were called "new rich". Except for a handful of these people, the majority of the Russian population fell into extreme poverty, no food, no work, no clothes ...

In this dark period ladies 1980-1990 developed an extraordinary thirst for retaliation: they did not want to relive what their parents went through, they cultivated high expectations for their future.

If you are attracted to Russian girls born between 1980 and 1990 you should know that they are more materialistic than their predecessors. They dream of great love, of course, but they also dream of having a car, traveling etc ...

Are you going to believe these dating agencies who claim that a simple poem (without buying anything !!) from a supermarket will make your young Russian wife happy?

Before seriously considering marrying a Russian girl you should explain certain "economic" principles that may seem obvious, but are totally unknown to her.

In Russia, consumer loans are rare, almost all purchases are in cash, including purchases of cars or homes!! Remember that until 1985 private property did not exist in Russia, houses and apartments were owned by the state.

Your future young woman probably has no idea what credit and loans are like in the West; she knows you have a house, a car, but in any case she would never imagine that you pay large sums of money each month to finance these purchases, and have done so for years. Explain to her clearly that if you earn 3,000 euros per month, more than three quarters of this amount goes to pay loans, taxes etc ... your future wife does not know about debt, or how it can influence your everyday daily life. She does not know that in the case of financial problems your creditors would seize all your assets without mercy. Explain to her how important it is in the West to regularly pay your bills.

90% of Russians have no insurance at all, and sometimes do not even know what it is: no insurance against theft or fire, no car insurance etc ... your future wife knows nothing about how important it is to be insured in the West, nor how much it costs to be properly covered by various insurances. Care is free in Russia so she cannot imagine the cost hospitalization or various drugs needed in the event of a health problem. Although physicians and Russian hospitals began to charge for some treatments a few years ago, the cost of care is 100 times lower than in Russia compared to what it is in USA.

Being sincere and explaining these basic principles will prevent her from experiencing great disappointments. She will understood that she has to wait to have a stable job in West (and it will take a little time) before the resources of the couple will be sufficient to finance the purchase of "her" car or a trip to Bora Bora for Christmas ...

4) Russian & Ukrainian Ladies born after 1990

These young women are presented in the dating clubs like beautiful girls in search of true love who do not care about the possible large age difference age between them and their future husband. Is that true?

Like all girls their age, they dream of Prince Charming, a handsome young man who will love them and make all their dreams come true. And they do not realize that this can be accomplished by being with a man who is 15 or 20 years older. They feel above all a great excitement to come and live in a rich country and enjoy everything they were deprived of when they were young; love will come only second. She has not yet met you in person and she only has some pictures of you: she will idealize you. And when this girl without life experience, is writing to you that she is madly in love with you, she is sincere. She is actually in love with this mysterious stranger, mature but older than her. And you, what do you think? Do you actually believe what the ads, dating clubs, say, that these young girls dream of marrying much older men? In reality, these Russian girls have the same dreams as French girls. Do you think 20 year olds American girls prefer men in their fifties to men who have the same age as them?

If you do not want to divorce in the next 5 years, the maximum age difference between you and her should not exceed 10 to 15 years. There are cases of happy marriage between a Russian girl of 20 years and a man 40-50 years but this is an exception, not a rule.

Russian girls born after 1990 lived with their parents the collapse of the Russian financial system in 1998: between 1990 and 1998 the GDP fell by 45%; during this period of transition of the 90’s, life expectancy dropped dramatically due to several factors: mass alcoholism, suicide, and a poor health system that failed to stop the rapid development of AIDS and tuberculosis. Thus, Russia has experienced during the crisis of this transition period, four times more violent deaths than the United States: in fact, it ranked at the time the second largest for homicide and third for suicides.

This very difficult period forged the character of these girls who are generally more mature than Western girls of the same age.

These girls had the fortune of witnessing a period of growth since 2000 and the coming to power of Putin (increase in GDP of 7% on average). This is notably due to the rising prices of raw materials of which Russia is the largest producer: the influx of revenue that resulted from this allowed the development of the tertiary sector (banking, insurance, distribution), a large sector for providing jobs for these girls.

Life expectancy has increased significantly in recent years in Russia. Between 2005 and 2009 life expectancy has increased by 5 years which is huge. This is partly due to the fact that the Russian government has included in its program the establishment of a pro-natal policy based on financial incentives for the birth of the second and third children. These Russian girls aged 18-25 want to have children later than their elders, i.e. 25-30 years; they will also want to enjoy their new life with their Western husbands (trips, outings etc.) and succeed in their professional lives in the west before having children.

With the strong increase in purchasing power and good prospects, the number of Russian girls aged 18-25 wishing to emigrate to the west has dropped considerably in recent years: the flow of emigration towards Western countries which was very important in the 1990s, has now virtually dried up.

These Russian girls who are part of the "Putin generation" are often very patriotic and have negative opinions about the US or Western Europe countries; unlike their elders, they are less likely to be attracted to the West.

They are more demanding than older women regarding the qualities they look for in a man, and their expectations are generally higher.



You just had a glimpse of the mentality of Russian women and their true character. Forget the clichés sold by many dating agencies that are more anxious to extort money from you than to know if you are really prepared to marry a Russian woman. To be find a sincere and lasting relationship, it is not enough to buy some addresses of Russian women on the Internet and have a charming Russian girl delivered to your home. The success of your couple with Russian woman depends on many elements. The first and most important element is having a deep respect for your future wife, which requires a full understanding of her expectations and anticipating her needs.

If you think that Russian women really are how dating agencies describe them, I wouldn’t put much bet on the future of your relationship. You will risk serious disappointment. If, to the contrary, you follow the tips above (as well as those given in my other writings) then you will have every opportunity to succeed in your new life together, avoiding disillusions and disappointments.

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