(For the purposes of this article when we refer to Russian women we are generally speaking about the former Soviet Union including Russia, Ukraine, and other CIS countries).

Why Russian women? I am asked that question at least once during the coarse of my day - everyday! There have been numerous articles, news reports, television pieces, even a full-length movie, Two Brothers and a Bride, on the topic, yet the "Russian women" questions persist.

We will attempt to answer the above question by listing the top ten reasons we believe Western men and Russian women are drawn to each other, and dispel a few myths as well.

1. Beauty. They never showed us pictures like these during the cold war. All we saw were pictures of the muscle bound "Olga" who was in serious need of "Lady Schick". We now know Russian women are some of the most beautiful women found anywhere on the planet. Although physical attraction is just one of the factors that make up a successful relationship, it is an important one. You will be hard pressed to find overweight Russian women under the age of 40. Russian women are serious about exercise; they walk virtually everywhere and seldom fall prey to the lure of fast-food restaurants.

2. Love. The Western men and Russian women who join our service are in a serious pursuit of love, commitment, and marriage. This is, after all, a singles organization; the only difference is we operate on a global level. That is why you will often see couples meet and move forward rather quickly. They may have been corresponding first, but overall, when you put these two populations of people together, you are going to see quite a few sparks. This is the most rewarding part of my job, witnessing two people meeting for the first time and watch as their love grows and matures.

3. Values. Much has been said about values although it is difficult to saddle an entire population with one set, however there are differences in culture that contribute to the formation as well as reinforcement of values. Generally, Russian women focus on social relationships and contacts. Family is very important to most Russian women, it comes before individual needs and desires. Many Russian women reason that if they help to build a strong family unit their individual needs and desires will be met. In more affluent cultures or environments, family tends to play less a role; the individual becomes the focus. Just a couple generations ago, in the United States, it was not uncommon to see extended families living under one roof; we are now lucky if the extended family lives in the same state. 4. Romance. There is something exciting, mysterious and adventurous about meeting that special someone halfway around the world. The difference in culture, the accent, the different dress, maybe it was all the James Bond movies; there is something very romantic about the entire process.

5. Demographics. The fact is, there are many more Russian women than men living in Russia. I was walking in one small Russian city, Volgograd, and at one point I was hard pressed to find a man - anywhere. There were Russian women, beautiful Russian women, everywhere and very few men. Where did all the men go? Russia, unfortunately, boasts the worst life expectancy for males of any developed country. According to the most recent data compiled by the State Statistics Committee, the average life expectancy for Russian men is less than 59 years - 58 years and 11 months - while that for Russian women is 72 years. The combined figure is 65 years and three months. Since 2000, the average life expectancy for Russian men has fallen by 15 days, while the number for Russian women has increased by almost two months. Demographic and health-care experts say that the chief factors behind the poor figures are alcohol abuse, psychological stress caused by economic uncertainty, widespread smoking, poor personal-safety practices, an unhealthy diet, and a general lack of exercise. Russian women want marriage, they want a family, yet they are finding it difficult to come across quality men who share the same wants and desires.

6. Cultural differences. Say what you will about Western men, however, overall, they treat the fairer sex much better and more equitably than just about any other group of men in the world. It boils down to culture and the way we were raised. That fact is not easily lost on Russian women. In Russia the men are normally more macho and their behavior towards women is much different than that of their western counterparts. Russian women feel that they will have a much better opportunity to interact with their Western mate on a more equal and level playing field. Just tell a Russian woman that you can actually cook and will help with the housework and watch for the astonished look on her face.

7. Economic Considerations. I have heard it said that all Russian women are after is money and once they have it they will leave their Western man in a cloud of dust (funny, I thought they said that about Southern Californian women!). In the years of working in this industry I have seen very few cases of Russian women marrying Western men simply for economic reasons. As a mater of fact, I have seen many Russian women turn down affluent Western men because they did not feel the love they felt was necessary in order to have a successful relationship. That being said, I believe that economic considerations do play a role in almost all relationships. When was the last time you saw a super model or movie star cruise the soup kitchens in search of a date? Every mother dreams of her daughter marrying a successful professional such as a doctor or an attorney. Why would it be any different for Russian women. Russian women, as most women, welcome an opportunity for a better economic life, but not at the expense of marrying someone they are not in love with, someone they cannot foresee building a happy and successful life with, that is the difference.

8. Citizenship? The Citizenship issue is what we are asked about more than any other issue. "Russian women just want to marry a Western man to gain citizenship". This issue is much like the economic one above. I have known scores of Russian women who could have married ten times over if all they wanted was the coveted "citizenship". The fact is, life is not as bad as many imagine for most Russian women. Many live in beautiful cities, have a strong social fabric, and are quite content. Russian women are not going to give up everything they have known to say yes to the first Western man they meet in hopes of becoming a citizen to a new and strange country. Additionally, in most cases it will take the Russian woman at least 5 years of living with their spouse to gain citizenship. That is a long time for anyone to live a lie.

9. Choice. The Russian women as well as the Western men who use this service do so because they are serious in their search. Our clients choose not to be bound by the normal geographic, political, and economic constraints that most of us blindly accept. These unique singles are actually searching the world over for that one special person, the person with whom they fully intend to spend the rest of their lives. They realize this will be the most important choice they will ever make, one that will influence their life forever and one that should not be made lightly.

10. Age. The West has a problem with age differences, unless of course there is plenty of money or fame involved. Russian women normally look for their partner to be 10, 15, even 20 or more years older. Even if it is Russian to Russian they are still looking for an older more "mature" man. Russian women tell us that if the man is older there is a better chance that he will be more stable, secure, responsible and a better all around life partner. Looking at the flip side, Western men in their 40's or 50's, who are still interested in having children and a family normally are searching for a woman in her 20's or 30's, mainly due to the fact that women in their 40's or 50's are no longer interested in or capable of starting a family. What exists now is the perfect fit between the Russian woman who wants to start a family with an older stable man and the Western man who is searching for a woman who is still interested in building a strong and healthy family.

These are just a few of the reasons we believe there has been such an explosion of interest between Russian women and Western men during the last 10 years or so. Another reason is that it is now possible. During the cold war it was very difficult for the two groups to interact, now there are no roadblocks. The Internet has also facilitated this phenomenon, making it much easier for Western men to contact and correspond with Russian women.

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