Russian Brides Cyber Guide

Why Russian Women Want to Leave Russia

By Elena Petrova (Russian Brides Cyber Guide) and Nina Jones*

Elena Petrova - the creator of Russian Brides Cyber GuideWhy Russian Women Want to Leave Russia?
By Elena Petrova

 I hear this question all the time, from men and media, "Why Russian women want to leave Russia?" Another popular question is, "Why Russian women want to marry American men?" (Or "Why Russian women want to marry Australian men", or "Why Russian women want to marry English men" etc, etc).

Whilst those questions seem to be different, the answer to all of the them is exactly the same: well, they don't!

What I mean is that Russian women do NOT want to leave Russia and they do NOT want to marry American (Australian, English, New Zealand, Canadian etc) men!

You may ask me then why there are so many ads of Russian women seeking men abroad, on the Internet, seeking men in countries like United States, Canada, Australia and Europe - yes, this is true, but this doesn't mean Russian women WANT to leave Russia or marry western men.

They just have no option.

Russian women want to marry good men and have a normal family and children, and it's not always possible in Russia for all of them. There is huge demographic disproportion in Russia with only 88 men for 100 women. It means 12% of women have no chance to find a husband or be married. This is the first reason.

Second reason is the well-publicized alcohol abuse in Russia by men, which results in poor health conditions and abusive behavior of men. It is a custom where men get together in groups after work and get drunk, then go home. The woman is supposed to look after kids and make a meal for the husband coming home from work (who often comes home drunk) and if a woman complains, it may end up in a verbal or physical abuse by the man.

The demographics and culture are hard to change; I am sure it will change with time, but this was the reason why I decided, after many years of trying to get married in Russia to a good man, to look for a relationship elsewhere. 

This was in 1997 and having placed my profile on several websites of Russian dating agencies introducing Russian women to foreign men, I quickly found a man I totally fell in love with and got married in 1998 (I could not get married in Russia for 8 years although it was my dream to get married and have kids since I was a little girl - this is the dream of most Russian women and girls, to get married and have a happy family - NOT to be rich and have a great career, this is very seldom what Russian women dream about.)

Now, I left Russia in 1998 and I thought things could have changed there a lot since that time. I know people in Russia have a very different lifestyle now than 12 years ago, just like lots of things changed here too! Russians have mobile phones, international fast food chains and McDonald's, Internet, IPAD's and latest cars (Moscow has the highest number of Mercedes and BMW's of all world's cities, including Germany - and Moscow has more dollar billionaires than New York!). Yes, Russians live mostly in small apartments as compared to most western countries where people live in small houses in suburbia, but look at Manhattan in NY, this is very similar. In Japan, most people also live in apartments. So, living conditions whilst yes, there is some difference, it's not like Uganda or Vietnam vs. U.S.A.; the difference will be comparable to the difference between countryside and city life in your country.

I can tell you living conditions and better life were NOT the reasons why I started to look for a husband abroad. I didn't want to "leave Russia"; this wasn't the goal. I simply wanted to get married and have a husband and kids and my own family! 

And this is why the question "Why Russian women want to leave Russia" is ultimately wrong; Russian women want to find a good man for marriage - this is the goal, not leaving Russia or immigration. Leaving Russia (or her other home country, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan or any other country of the former Soviet Union), leaving Russia will be very hard for her, losing her family and friends at once and moving into unknown country to start her life all over, but the cultural standard for a woman to have family (marriage and kids) as her highest priority is so strong, some women are brave enough to look into unknown and start looking for a partner abroad.

It is a vicious circle:

  • There are less men than women in Russia, and so some women are destined to be single;
  • In Russia, the cultural paradigm for a woman is to achieve happiness in her family, having a stable marriage and kids - if she does have marriage and kids, a woman feels left out and unhappy; similar to how a western woman may feel if she never had a job, as if she is not worthy.
  • Since marriage is such a high value for women, men are in high demand. They get spoiled by choice and women trying to please them to either get married or keep the husband from wondering.
  • Men get more and more arrogant with age and start following the cultural norm of hard drinking with their pals and getting home drunk and abusing a wife. It doesn't happen with newlyweds but years after.
  • Since this behavior is so common, most women stay in an abusive marriage as there is not much chance to re-marry for a woman with kids or if she is over 25. Most Russian women get married before the age of 22; by 25 a woman is considered a "spinster" if she is not married with kids.

In other words, good men in Russia are rare - by a good man I mean a man who doesn't drink, doesn't sleep around, doesn't abuse his wife and is able to hold a stable job and provide for the family. Here, it's the norm and men who behave abusively would be quickly sorted out or left without a wife.

In Russia, men who drink, sleep around, beat up their wives (about 16,000 women in Russia are KILLED every year by their partners or family members) - those men are a norm. Some of men are unable to hold a job or provide for the family and the woman has to have a full-time job and then work the second shift doing ALL domestic chores and looking after kids.

You may think I am exaggerating - I am not! Family dynamics are totally different in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union. You just cannot understand HOW different it's there.

Whilst Russia is advanced in education, culture, science, industry and many other "work" fields (Russians sent the first man into space and the first space ship, this stands for something) and could for a long time play parity with the west, Russian social structures are totally outdated and hardly changing. In family relationships, Russia is behind women's liberation by probably 60-70 years and right now relationships are like they were in America in mid-1950th. Yes, most Russian women work (and were always working since the Communist Revolution in 1917), there is still plenty of male chauvinism and since men occupy most powerful positions, they don't want it changed!

  • This is why, years ago, when the "iron curtain" fell and international communications became possible with Internet and international newspapers available in Russia, and world-wide personals became accessible for Russian women, some women who could speak English started to chat to western men and some fell in love and got married. These women then told their families and friends back in Russia about their life with their western husbands and how different it is to Russian family life.
  • The option of marrying a foreigner was attractive to some single Russian women, especially ones who could speak English or other foreign language. Many Russian women were trying to talk to American, European and Australian men, and some met in real life, got married and again, were telling their family and friends about their happy life abroad. At one stage, Russian parliament was seriously considering a law which would stop Russian women marrying foreign men; one of the things offered was that Russian women would immediately lose Russian citizenship on a marriage to a foreigner.
  • Among all the happy stories there were some bad ones. Those are the stories they usually get publicized in press and media, both in Russia and in America, Europe, Australia and other western media. Russian media concentrates on stories how Russian women are abused or even killed by their new husbands (like Anastasia King story, which caused United States government to introduce the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act). Western media in US, Australia and Europe concentrates on how new Russian wives do something wrong to their western husbands. Whilst some stories like this do happen, it happens in local marriages, too - and all in all, some people are good and some people are bad, and even though you think you know the person, things can get very ugly - ask any of your divorced friends.
  • Still, the propaganda worked quite well in Russia and I would say worked quite well in most western countries, too, so now most Russian people believe Russian women who marry foreigners are abused and used as maids by their new husbands, and most regular westerners believe marrying a Russian woman would be a recipe for disaster. One of my friends' daughter was getting married last week. Her parents were Russian but she was born in New Zealand, and lived most of her life in Australia, graduated from a private school and a university here, and now was getting married - still, when her fiance told his work colleagues that he was getting married to a Russian girl, the reaction was immediately, "You are a dead man"! What's wrong with people?

OK, keeping it objective rather than personal, my point is this: 
if a Russian woman could get married in Russia to a good man, she would rather stay in Russia

I would have never even considered leaving Russia to marry a foreigner if I could meet a good man in Russia and get married to him and have a happy family. And neither would the majority of Russian women.

This is the fundamental difference between Russian/Eastern European women and Asian main order brides, as I see it (I may be totally wrong here, it's just my personal opinion): Asian brides consider immigration as the means to support their families and provide for their parents and siblings, and I know husbands of Asian brides have to send money on monthly basis to support the wife's family overseas. My feeling, this is the reason why most Asian brides get married, to provide for their families. 

This is totally different with Russian women: they get married for themselves, for their own happiness and future for their kids. Russian brides get married to have a happy family for themselves, because this is their highest value: a Russian woman needs her own family, a husband and a child/children, to feel happy.

Cultural values are deeply ingrained in any person; most of us have no idea of those values or never spelled them out. Those values are what guides our behavior and the reason why we feel happy or unhappy. Russian culture tells women their happiness is in the family; and to men their happiness is in their career/work. You can ask any Russian woman or read Russian women profiles, this theme comes up all the time. Without having her own family, a Russian woman cannot see sense in her life.

This is why Russian women are prepared to leave Russia if they find a suitable partner. The value of marriage and family is so high for Russian women; they are prepared to immigrate to reach their goal; not the other way around - prepared to get married only to immigrate, how many people think.

In Russian language, the word "marriage" means "family" and "family" means "marriage"; you may often find words "I want to create a family" in profiles of Russian women, even 45+, they don't mean they want to have more children; what they mean is they want to get married and have a husband.

So, once again, Russian women simply want to find good men for marriage.

If you look at the Russian women who are looking for husbands abroad, so many of them have advanced degrees and professional jobs like lawyers, economists, accountants, medical doctors or engineers - they are not poor Russian girls looking to get out of poverty! It is really the Russian family culture that pushes those women to look for a partner elsewhere. If they could find a good partner in their own country, they would choose this option any day of the week! They are modern educated women who want to have a modern family life - not more, not less.

This is why they advertise on the Internet to meet men. Many of the women who place ads on sites of international dating agencies such as Elena's Models, actually meet someone in Russia and get married to a Russian man, it happens very often. 

Only some Russian women would only want to marry a foreign man, but then again this is because they had plenty of unhappy experiences with Russian men and having learned about western family model and how western men treat their wives, these women simply do not want to get involved with another Russian man and live "the Russian way" - but if they could meet a good man in Russia who would be a good husband, they would never think twice and stayed in Russia with such a man. Unfortunately, the probability of this is less than the chance of aliens landing in your backyard (especially if you do not even have a back yard!), so, probability vs. possibility, these women decide to look elsewhere to realize their dreams to have a good husband.

I apologize for such a long article; the matter is pretty simple really but I was feeling the need to explain it in detail to give you a felling why the question of "WHY RUSSIAN WOMEN WANT TO LEAVE RUSSIA" is a silly one.

Go to Russia and talk to real Russian women in the street, you will get the same answers - they don't want to leave Russia! The majority never will! Even if it meant to stay single for life, many of women I know and offered to join my agency said they would not leave Russia and would not consider dating a foreigner.

I would say, Russian people are generally very idealistic and prepared to "die" follow their ideals (and many had). This is why such a huge thing as moving countries is considered "means justify the goal" when a woman strives to realize her dream of having a good husband and a marriage.

Here is a story of another Russian woman who has recently married a western man. I married my western husband in 1998 and she married her western husband in 2010. But things are still pretty much the same in Russia and former Soviet Union (including Ukraine and Belarus) as they were 15 years ago, social dynamics wise: men drink and abuse women, and women try to be patient and tolerant no matter what, to keep a husband, and if you decide to divorce, it's extremely hard to find another man.

This story was written by Nina* in Russian for publication on another site. I asked her if I could translate it to English and publish on my site, for men to gain understanding into Russian women's plight, and she gracefully agreed.

Read it. 

It's all true.

Elena Petrova - the creator of Russian Brides Cyber Guide
Elena Petrova
Russian Brides Cyber Guide

Why Russian women want to leave RussiaBy Nina Jones*

Dear Girls and Women Thinking of Looking for a Husband Abroad,

I have found my man. 

This is why I feel I must share my experience. Hopefully someone will be able to use my tips and make their dreams come true - to find a reliable, honest, loving and understanding husband. Isn't it what all of us want when dreaming about marriage?


I am from Ukraine. Unfortunately, in our countries marriages are often "faulty". This is what happened to me as well, when after 4 years of marriage and the birth of our son my husband simply ran away from the responsibility for his family and simply disappeared from our lives. Started to "sleep around", so to speak. I was trying to be understanding and patient, hoping that he would come back. I kept hoping that despite all - him beating me up, locking me and my son in the apartment with no keys, wasting our life savings to pay his debts, preventing me from seeing my family (and at the same time pushing me to beg for more money from my parents), he would come back and everything could be the same as when we just got married. My ex-husband hated my career and my professional achievements, my ambition and success. And I was going through this nightmare, this constant abuse, and kept hoping and believing his promises, losing any remaining self-esteem.

Find a reliable, honest, loving and understanding husband... isn't it what all of us want when dreaming about marriage?

I was enduring all of this because I was scared to be alone, scared that my son would have to grow up without a father, I didn't want to admit I've made a big mistake and I desperately wanted to believe he would come back and everything would be OK again. 

After earning a depression through this nightmare, I found out he had a 18-year old mistress. This is where I took my son, moved in with my parents and filed for a divorce. Our son was only 1 year old.

To be totally honest, most of my friends and family thought I would come back to my ex. Because in our countries it is the wife's responsibility to "take it all" - whether he is beating you, drinking heavily, sleeping around or anything else, you are the wife, same as his mother, you should take care of him for the rest of your life. "Forgive, forget, take care of him and accept him as he is."

And this is the biggest mistake of our women. A husband is a Man; his responsibility is to take care of his wife, to support her, be stronger and more focused. If a husband is no longer a Man, why the woman has to be a Wife?

THERE IS A DIFFERENT WORLD OF NORMAL MEN AND HUSBANDS. I knew about it, and knowledge is power. This power helped me to get through those horrible months when I truly learned all the bitterness of this phrase, "single mother".

And then my eyes opened and I could see the reality... It's better to be a single mother than tolerate abuse like millions of our women. Because only a few marriages [in Russia and Ukraine] are happy, the majority are full of men's abuse, unfaithfulness, treachery, having "two wives", laziness and substance abuse. 

And I decided to try my luck searching for a WORTHY MAN beyond the borders of my homeland. 

I was in the same situation where you probably are finding yourself now...


I had the advantage of working for many years for dating agencies as a translator and of course, learning from my own mistakes - I had 3 unhappy romances before my marriage, so I had quite an experience. This is why I could avoid making the same mistakes and I also talked to other women about their experiences, good or bad; learning from other people's mistakes and successes makes things easier; hopefully I can make it easier for you too.

I had a clear plan in my mind and I was basically following the advice you can find in Elena's book, although I have not read it at the time, only now.

I started with defining the goal; what I wanted in my man, a man who would be a compatible partner for me. I decided what age difference would be OK and the countries which I would be happy to relocate to. I wasn't afraid to say "No" to men who didn't fit my requirements, despite many "sweet" offers from 55- or 26-year old "grooms".

Every woman must have her "map" - her personal requirements to her man. One step left or right away from the "map", the result is lost time and failure. And what's worse, you can miss YOUR man whilst spending time on people who are not right for you anyway!

I made some professional photos, not giving it too much importance at the time.

One step left or right away from the "map", the result is lost time and failure. And what's worse, you can miss YOUR man whilst spending time on people who are not right for you anyway!

For about 4 months I was "trying my luck" with some famous dating sites. Seriously, I have no idea how women can meet someone there and get married! Most likely, it only works for extremely young, beautiful women without children.

I WASN'T GETTING ANY MAILS. Although I was only 27, could speak fluent English, some French and German, but I feel the fact I had a 1.5-year old son was the stopping factor for most normal candidates. In 4 months, not even a single real correspondence - except probably one wealthy businessman from Paris, who was writing beautiful letters and SMS and was just perfect for me - for myself but not for me as a mother of a young child. This story ended, as you could probably guess, in tears: after a short break he sent me his picture with a pretty Italian girl - he didn't even say a final "Good bye".

Heartbreaks happen, it's normal. You just need to learn your lessons and make better choices in the future. It's not YOU who was not good enough; it's simply was not your man. You didn't share life goals and he wanted a "free style" relationship, without "problems" like a child or distance. 

And as the saying goes, "a man is not a bus" - so, I started to wait for the next one :-)

This heartbreaking romance only gave me wings. I've learned my lessons.

My first professional photos were of good quality but they were too "simple". You need a "sparkle", something special, because any dating site has HUGE competition! Men choose with their eyes; they read your profile only if they liked your photo and clicked on it! I spent my weekly salary to make 50 stunning photos in various settings and outfits. Your clothes, makeup, hair, everything should fit the "image" - and you need at least 5 of them.

A woman has to attract and enchant a man, and, ultimately, make him FALL IN LOVE - regardless of the distance! So, my every email had a "killer" photo attached to it. You have to be able to write sincere, meaningful letters but at the same time throw in killer shots with cute photos from your everyday life.

All this helped me to find my future husband in just TWO short months.

Because when you are ready and know WHAT and WHO you want, the Universe gives you a chance and sends you the right person at the right place at the right time.

Registration on the website was my reward for all my tears, because I STARTED TO GET MAILS! So many wonderful, intelligent and accomplished men absolutely didn't see my child as a problem. I was in the paradise of men's attention.

When you are ready and know WHAT and WHO you want, the Universe gives you a chance and sends you the right person at the right place at the right time.

This is where I could use my "map" of what I wanted in a man. I tried to keep not more than 4 candidates at a time - can't do more than that, it's hard work to make your communication meaningful. Sometimes I was writing individual letters, sometimes used pre-written "form" pieces; you have to tell about yourself dozens of times, writing it from scratch every time is simply impossible. Until you are sure that a candidate is worthy of investing your time, why spend such time and effort! I created several "form" stories about my family, my friends, my son, my former marriage, my plans for the future and how I envisioned my life abroad, etc, etc.

What's interesting, I didn't need any of these "form" letters with my future husband! After the very first email exchange we started to communicate directly and the emotional level was very often off the scales!

I can't say it was a "fairytale" all the way. Long-distance relationships are a lot of work, it takes lots of patience and effort.

The first two months of euphoria, feeling totally in love, and then the first romantic meeting in "real" life - it's only 1/10 of your success. The most difficult part starts after this meeting: waiting for mails, SMS and phone calls. The biggest mistake you can make is to focus your life around your new romance: a relationship must develop freely and at its own pace. Don't sit there waiting for his mails or calls and don't complain to him when he is late or forgot. Your life must be exciting and full of wonderful things; western men are used to independent women. Even if you are head over heels in love, you must treat your man playfully and affectionately at all times: be sincerely happy to get his mails and phone calls - but don't tell him everything that happens in your heart and mind. If a woman is too emotional and dependent, this can scare a man and put him off . 

One thing to remember: the only guarantee of his sincerity is his ACTIONS. 

If he wants to develop your relationship, offers variants of how to meet, writes and calls, then everything's OK. It doesn't hurt to send new photos from time to time, this makes you feel closer despite distance. At this stage, you can "heat up" the feelings with some sexy photos. Even long distance relationships can be sensual, and it makes real-life meetings absolutely unforgettable!

Although there can be some doubts... it's unavoidable. And it's normal; you can share some of it with you man. They love tackling obstacles, and woman's doubts only prove her sincerity.

If you have children, I feel you have a better chance of marrying a foreign man than get married at your home country. In the west, it's not a deal breaker if a woman has children. Western men get married later in life and the chance that the woman may already have a child is quite high. Western men are not scared to get involved with someone with a child. And don't be afraid to talk about your child's interests, it will only bring your ratings higher in his eyes.

One thing to remember: the only guarantee of his sincerity is his ACTIONS. If he wants to develop your relationship, offers variants of how to meet, writes and calls, then everything's OK.

My future husband and I were striving to see each other as often as we could. After the first meeting at my home town, we met in Istanbul and then in Kiev for my visa interview, and then I visited him at his home country. I met his parents, friends and associates. It is very important for you to meet as many of his friends and family as possible, this is the only way to understand whether you will be able to live there and become friends with the important people in his life.

I returned home impressed... I fell in love not only with the man who showed it to me but with his whole city and country!

When my future husband visited me at my home town, he met my parents, grandmother, sister and of course my son. I rented an apartment, so we could try living together as a family. Everything was great. There was the language barrier but kids communicate with their hearts. We then had lived in Turkey together for a month; I took my 2.5-year old son with me. And then I took my son with me to visit his country and we spent 3 months there. Only after that we decided to get married.

My son and I went home and spent 5 long months apart from the man of my dreams, although we did have short weekend meetings once a month during this time - but this just wasn't enough!

We had our marriage ceremony in my home town. It was a small wedding; only our families were invited. My son was 3.5, he could not quite understand what was happening and what changes it would bring. When he saw me in the wedding gown, he started to cry and asked me to "take this shirt off". He would not leave me for a second and I was trying to explain to him that what was happening was also for him, for the better, so he could have both a mother and a father in his life. He was scared I would go away without him. But after the wedding, I said "Good bye" to my new husband, and got into the paperwork.

I did as much as I could at my home country: got official documentation to confirm the status of my son as being "without a father" (termination of parental rights, can be done if legal requirements are met, for example in a case where a parent abandoned the child), changed my son's surname to my new surname (very important!), got my driving license (I didn't drive a car before). It all cost money but it was worth it! 

I didn't have any euphoria about my departure and immigration. I had a feeling of completion as after finishing a long tedious project, that the first stage had been completed. I could sense the most difficult part was ahead.


After completing the paperwork my son and I moved to my husband's country, a small town in the countryside. The new life started.

And this is where I could appreciate not having the euphoria (thanks to my intuition). Because ahead was the first year of my new family life, which was also my first year in an unknown country with a limited knowledge of the language.

The first year was not easy and I missed my country, my family and my friends a lot. My son didn't speak the language and could not communicate with anyone except me and I had to leave him in a kindergarten with tears in my eyes to go and study! An outgoing sociable kid turned into a wordless scared cub and I had to watch it not being able to really help. My new husband also had to adjust from his bachelor life to the new life where he had a wife and a child at once.

After the first 6 months, I could not wait to go "home" to my family for a visit and once there, didn't want to go back... I could not stop crying when I had to leave my mom again. BUT I HAVE ALREADY PASSED THE POINT OF NO RETURN.

My new life was giving me LIFE. Not just a daily fighting for survival but LIFE. Full, comfortable, calm, happy and simple. It's different quality - quality of food in shops, quality of service and how people relate to each other. It's stable and you have a future. People respect their elders and enjoy their youth.

I knew it. I understood it. After my visit home, I could appreciate it even more. My second 6 months were very productive. My son made lots of friends in the kindergarten. He could not wait going to kindy, to his friends! My son started to speak the language and my new husband could talk to him and read him books before bedtime. I continued my studies and made new friends with people from my group. I signed up for dancing and tennis lessons, started to ride a bike everywhere. Then I passed an 8-hour language exam scoring top marks! After the second attempt, I finally got my local driving license. Now I could take my son to museums and playgrounds, shopping and cafes.

My new life was giving me LIFE. Not just a daily fighting for survival but LIFE. Full, comfortable, calm, happy and simple.

I became very close with my husband's parents and family. I also made my own friends. 

My husband and my son have a great relationship; my husband is very kind, intelligent and wise. My son is happy he has both mother and father and lots of friends and that he can travel to interesting places with us. 

I didn't not think it were possible but now I respect, value and love my new husband even more than before. We started to understand each other better, he is very proud of my accomplishments. I still love my country and strange enough, this love is easier long-distance. If I feel homesick, I find more work or go shopping.


Dear ladies! It really can work. It does work. You can find a reliable, honest, loving and understanding husband if you look for a husband abroad. The goal justifies the means. But it's not a paradise on Earth or a fairy-tale. It requires hard work, lots of self-discipline and change of mentality and values. The whole progressive world lives this way. You will have to start a completely new life.

Remember the second movie "Interdevochka"? ("Inter-girl") Her tragedy was that after immigration she should could not accept the new life and become part of it, accept the new rules. She tried to live OUR Russian way of life in the western world, and this is why the tragic ending.

In the west, the laws are there to follow, not to break.

If you are ready to work on yourself and learn new things, then you can be rewarded with a new love, new life and a bright future for your children.

Learn the language and SEARCH! Search and you will find. 



*Not her real name and photo


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