Before we start discussing horror experiences with Russian brides, let’s first define the term. By “Russian” people usually mean all females of the post-USSR, including women from Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and other republics of the former Soviet Union (FSU).
FSU women living abroad, who were born in different republics of the USSR (which collapsed over 25 years ago in December 1991, with all the former states acting as independent countries from that point forward), often complain that westerners call them all “Russians”. Even if the lady is from Ukraine or Belarus, she is still considered “Russian”. It may be easier this way but for ladies themselves it’s like for a Scottish or Irish guy to be called “English”.
This point, evidently, doesn’t change the overall meaning of this review about awful stories involving Russian brides. However, be mindful of national distinctions when chatting to women about their experiences.
Russian mail order bride confession
As a former Russian “mail order bride” myself, let me give you a brief insight into this phenomenon.
Check these previous posts to get some background, if you wonder about motives and reasons of users of international dating sites:
- Why Russian women seek men in other countries to marry
- 5 reasons why men from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe seek women in Russia
Personally, I decided to look for a potential husband abroad at the age of 27. I was single, never married, and seen in local standards as an “old spinster” who would never find a husband, since I obviously haven’t managed to achieve it for 10 years.
Yes, Russian girls are supposed to embark on the “project marriage” once they are able to legally enter nuptials. After the age of 25, if a girl is still single, she would be actively encouraged by family and friends to accept any offer of marriage to essentially “not stay alone for the rest of her life”.
Russian men, too, are well aware of this. Guys are so arrogant as to tell girls on the first date that unless she invites him home today, he is not going to see her again, and “there are, you know, fewer men than women”, implying she should not be “too prudish” (or picky). It’s a “man’s world” for single Russian girls over the age of 25.
Who are the Russian women seeking partners abroad?
Seeking a partner abroad for many girls is an act of rebellion against the system considering them “defective” if they are unmarried by the age of 27, as well as “the last attempt to get married” (“последняя попытка выйти замуж“), as Russians call it—a desperate and rather crazy effort.
Most single Russian women who list their profiles on Russian dating sites do not believe they will succeed in finding a partner. They do it because they are genuinely running out of options. They are considered “too old” by local standards. It’s like you suddenly passed your “use by” date.
- Women who are divorced and have kids are in equally disadvantageous position. Having a kid is considered in Russia as a huge burden in the dating market, the general sentiment being, “No one is going to love somebody else’s child.” If he takes you with a child, you’d better be grateful and worship him, regardless of his shortcomings. (This is also the reason why Russian women often stay in abusive marriages, because it’s better to “save the family”, at least, he’s the kids’ biological father.)
- Divorced ladies without children are just as desperate as single girls to “create a real family”. A woman has to have children to be happy, Russian social norms dictate.
So, if you are talking to a Russian lady aged 25+, she has definitely been pointed out multiple times by “helpful” family and friends that her value on the dating market is plummeting with every year.
In fact, her biggest question is, “Why a decent, nice, successful man would even consider seeking a potential bride in Russia?”
The mainstream local media gives a plain answer to that: To abuse her.
Stories in Russian media
The only stories that are publicized in Russian press and TV are the ones where local girls married overseas guys and ran into giant problems.
Russian women who are NOT participants of international dating services (as opposed to the ones who rebelliously listed their profiles on global sites to find a partner abroad, see the previous point) strongly believe that hooking up with foreigners is a crazy idea.
The only things, which can happen in such marriages, according to Russian media:
- He is going to exploit you to cook, clean, and use for sex.
- He may also sell you into sexual slavery.
- The husband is likely to abuse you, beat you up continuously.
- He won’t give you any money.
- He may request you to work and take all the money you earn.
- If you have a child together, he is going to take the child and kick you out of the house, divorce you, and there will be nothing you can do, because local courts will always take the side of the citizen. You will not be able to see your kids ever again, won’t get any money, and will have to live in the streets in a foreign country, not even able to buy a ticket back home.
You may think this is crazy but those are the actual stories told and retold on local TV talk shows. Pretty women, who “miraculously escaped horrors” of marriage to a foreigner, describe in gruesome details the dreadful abuse and injustices they experienced in an overseas union.
Of course, they are now back home and “safe from abuse”, as opposed to horrible and lawless western countries where citizens can say anything and courts will believe them and not the poor Russian wife.
Do Russian people believe in these stories?
Regular folks living in Russia rarely doubt anything they see on TV. If you tell the same things over and over, people do start believing them.
The TV programs picturing abuse by foreign husbands are so shocking that my Russian girlfriends who live in Australia regularly get terrified phone calls from their mothers asking if “she is really OK” after seeing such shows.
Because the women describing horrifying experiences say they were hiding it from their families for years, scared for their lives or (in a less severe case) fearing “what people may think of her”.
Are such accounts true?
I am sure there is some truth to the stories. However, it’s just one side of the chronicle.
If you think of Dr. Phil shows, there are always all parties present in one room, or at least given an opportunity to provide a written statement of their position.
If the person knows they are here alone to provide a totally one-sided view that no one will oppose, indisputably they have an inclination to look good and make the other party look bad.
- Some details may be completely made up for the story to sound more dramatic.
- Others could simply omit vital information in the manner of kids complaining about a sibling: Mom, he hit me with a book on the head! — She hit me with her schoolbag first. — But he wouldn’t give me a piece of cake from the fridge, he took it all for himself! — It’s my cake, I saved it for today, and she ate hers yesterday. — And so on…
Of course, the stakes are levels higher in tales of love and marriage.
So, when you are reading the accounts below, remember it’s only one side of the story. Things might have developed very differently to what they appear to be. In fact, the whole narrative may be made up except for a few points.
However, having it in mind, check these candid accounts of Russian girls using international dating sites: How hard it is to meet someone they dream about.
Russian brides’ stories
Below are accounts of women who either were looking for a partner abroad or got married to someone and then encountered problems.
Probably, any FSU lady has some anecdotes about things that happen on online dating sites. (Stories are edited for the purpose of brevity.)
Story #1 by Anna (report to Elenasmodels.com)
I want to warn all girls about another Lovelace. He is listed on the site as Jack* and in life his name is Mustafa* or James but he is hiding his Arabic roots, so he is more often introducing himself as James*. He is playing a decent guy who is tired from the dating scene, who wants to find a serious relationship and start a family, kids and all… in short, a dream [man] of every girl, any side you look from. Without bad habits, an athlete, a good job, correct views, attentive and caring.
And even through on the mug it’s written “Lovelace”, and I always stay away from these!!, the sincere interest from my side to this person and my desire to build a family took over. I decided to give him a chance, thinking that I should not transfer negative experiences of the past into the future. He is courting beautifully and dating until he gets what he is after. And even after that he may continue communication with you as if you were the one and the only.
But he is married for a long time, and has 2 kids. In short, screwing with your brains, here he is a master indeed… So, be careful, he usually has 2-3 new girls a week. He says he works and lives in Saudi Arabia. In the mealtime, he has wife and kids in Canada. He asks lots of correct questions about having a family and kids, which obviously predispose towards him… but it’s only to drug another girl to bed.
Source: Internal comment
Story #2 by Daria (report on Elena’s Models blog)
I was reading about different scams on dating sites but most talk about “Nigerian letters”, “presents with payment after delivery”, “sob stories asking to send money”, but there is less information about sex-tourists. However, they do exist, and potentially an experience of meeting with such a swindler can become more hurtful than losing money.
This is why my story is very important, please, help me to spread this information among other sources. I registered on a well-known international dating website. I started to get letters from different people, including this old swindler: Under the image of a wealthy businessman trying to get free sex from girls, promising mountains of gold.
His legend is based on the fact he has a business. In my case: A network of “jewellery companies”, financial investments into other sectors. In essence, it can be any similar variant that forms in your mind an image of a successful man, who can afford anything, for example, giving a girl 10,000 Euro to dine with him or a diamond for 8 million Euro.
With this he is sending you photos through Viber or Skype, or [another platform] where you are communicating, his real photos. It confirms reliability of his legend in your mind.
- Several photos from his life in front of a beautiful house or car, which, most likely, are a just shots of a hotel from his business trips.
- The car probably belongs to a real businessman who parked next to the hotel.
- Photos from a yacht, which mean nothing—you cannot check if it belongs to him or not, he may know the person, for example, through work, who owns a motor yacht, lots of other possible scenarios.
- A photo with “his own airplane”—he can be just working for an airline.
What is most important, you should understand that the photos do not reflect truthful information about possessions of your admirer.
But we prefer to believe in fairy-tales, so why not, Cinderella managed to find her happiness… This is where we are getting caught.
So, he sent me a few photos with his “mug” and “property”. Also (in my case), photos and documents on beautiful diamonds—precious stones, hinting about giving you such stone as a gift.
Because you are worth it, it’s like he values you in a million euro. So, who wouldn’t feel pleased about that? In my case, there were even promises “to get married”.
And despite your consciousness telling you, “How can he make such promises without meeting me in real life?”—nevertheless, you feel flattered, you believe that you are so special!
When the victim is warmed up about her being special and starts dreaming about wealth (gifts), in spite of the actual age of the suitor (as it was in my case; I suppose that younger guys could try it as well, but I think they would have to put less efforts, so the legend may be shorter), then he tries to get something even before you meet, asking you for virtual sex. He can send you some pics with his… you know what, and ask for your photos. This is where you should already hear “the warning bells”.
In my case, I sent him to hell with such offers. But unfortunately, didn’t blacklist him. In my heart, I really didn’t want to believe in reality.
And he starts conquering “your fortress” once again: Sends flowers, hearts, and then, possibly, you will find his persistence likable. And even if he tries to send you something “naughty” once again, the story may repeat itself in a circle, you will again excuse him.
Of course, “the diamond” or other gifts, possibly variants with money (in my case, he promised 10 thousand Euro to me simply for having a dinner with him), it’s almost in your pocket. Besides, these promises are made before his real (!) visit to Moscow. (Or another city where you live.)
As a signal, remember, a very important signal! Marriage fraudster (sex tourist) invites you for a dinner in a hotel, close to his room.
What does it say? He is most likely working for an international company, which covers his expenses for travel and accommodation in Moscow. So, in actuality, he hasn’t spent a single cent to meet you!
Next, he, most likely, will meet in you in the lobby, where you instead of a “dinner in a restaurant” will be able to only order a drink (but be smarter, run straight away).
By the way, he won’t pay on the spot [for the drink] but will ask to bill it to the room of the hotel where he lives. (Of course, these drinks will be paid by the company. But his company won’t pay for entertainment in form of prostitutes, so he is scamming naive Russian girls.)
By the way, he will look quite decent—to the extent a European man can look.
I think in my case I was dealing with some “aging pilot”—they stay for 1-2 days in good hotels to rest, when they fly certain routes. They have good wages that allow to look decently. But if you want a beautiful young body and you are over 60 and want it for free, this is where stories like this happen.
Sometimes, however, the girl is lucky and she discovers it beforehand, as in my case, as he may gather several naive girls for one dinner. Because the chance of a girl “waking up” or simply changing her mind is quite high…
My scammer tried a rational, cynical approach: I arrived to bump into a “personal secretary”, another girl next to him. (And to the “personal secretary” he explains that he is simply being polite: Let’s get introduced, to get rid of the second girl politely.)
Here you hopefully will get to your senses. Or maybe your “friend in misfortune” will realize it is a scam—of the most humiliating kind.
I think he believes you deserve such a life experience, because you agreed to meet him due to his wealth and status. So, he would have no shame about this situation with two girls coming face to face.
If you happened to be alone at the meeting, simply pay attention to the previous warning signs that I described. Plus if you still think about getting something, pay attention, when the suitor offers you “this”, everything that is after “this”… is a scam.
In my case, everything didn’t end as tragically as it could.
- First I saw the beautiful “secretary” [next to the man].
- As I was realizing what a humiliating situation I got myself into, a third girl arrived!!
- 3 out of 3, as you can guess!
Like in a comedy of absurd. And you are in shock, trying to comprehend the absurdity of the situation.
So, we, girls, tried to see this situation with humour towards each other, and quickly and nicely left the hotel.
But the guy was surprisingly, brazenly calm, as if this was all fine. I am absolutely convinced he was trying to get free sex. Luckily we girls arrived at the same time.
I hope this old freak’s d*** falls off soon and then he wouldn’t be able to screw with minds of romantic young girls.
But he is not the only one like this. So, girls, be careful. I am sure that your happiness will find you, simply be more careful and attentive when seeking your second half. Share this story, maybe someone will find this information useful!
P. S. My suitor’s dossier stated he was 45, lived in Austria/Switzerland, divorced. The face on photos coincided with the real person! Only his age was definitely over 50. The rest is impossible to check. But there are lots of guys like this! The information could be different, but the essence and steps of the scam I already described.
Source: EM blog
Story #3 by Dasha (comment to the story by Daria, above)
In my case it was an Italian man, who was visiting Moscow for business. He was telling me that he didn’t have any serious relations for a long time, or even sexual relations. That he doesn’t jump in bed with just anyone, he is so exceptional and not like other Italians. He was really good looking. In his words, he was involved in some business in plastic production. Then the regular stuff, dinners, perfumes as gifts, gave me money for a taxi home…
We started a relationship. But it didn’t last long. Once when I came to his hotel, I discovered that there was another girl before me with whom he had sex. It was so disgusting and hurtful. He was telling me I was the only one, I really started falling for this guy. Before that I found another phone in his room, the number unknown to me, and it wasn’t his work phone (which also was ringing constantly), so it was the third phone. Possibly he was married in Italy. He didn’t invite me to visit him in Italy, he was telling me he was too busy travelling for business—Switzerland, London, Istanbul—meeting potential clients.
So, I dumped him immediately, but he still tried to tell me it was his friend who came to take a shower and spent a few hours, because he already booked out of his room, and it might be him who brought a girl, and that I was overreacting and it was my fault.
Source: EM blog
Story #4 by Irina (Moscow)
We met on a dating site. He was supposedly a Russian guy who lived for a long time in Australia. He was basically telling me he loved me, showered me with compliments all the time. In a few days he decided to send me a gift, asked for my address and said in the near future I will get something exciting… Then I got a message to my personal mail that I would have to pay 150 Euro on delivery for courier services. In the message there was some code and number that I was supposed to send money to. I paid, as I believed, to the delivery service, everything looked legitimate, so I didn’t think it could be someone’s electronic wallet. You may have guessed it, I never got the gift, and with him the admirer disappeared behind the horizon…
Story #5 by olga_voskr, translator in a marriage agency
Here is a story of Anna*, a good-looking woman 35 years old, one unsuccessful marriage with an alcoholic husband, a teenage son, lost her parents early, no siblings. Anna came to a marriage agency in despair, for several years the only things in her life were home, work, and back. When after a month she started talking to a man of the same age from Norway, she took it as a gift from Destiny. She decisively refused other candidates and was spending every afternoon talking to her suitor.
The guy’s English was poor but he seemed sincere, he was sending her small amounts of money as a gift from time to time. After half a year he came to visit her and get to know her better. They set up a wedding date on the first day they met. Because they needed to discuss lots of important things about their future, she invited a translator to help them [it was before translation apps]. The translator was accompanying them for 2 days. Anna and her suitor were very happy about each other but the translator said there was something strange about the guy, she couldn’t say what. Anna moved to Norway with her son and got married.
After 2 years the translator unexpectedly received an email from Anna where she said the Norwegian husband was suffering from schizophrenia, which he was hiding for many years from doctors at home. Most of the time he was behaving normally but sometimes he turned into a different person, cruel, treacherous, and was drinking lots of alcohol.
For about two weeks the house was turning into hell. The man was drinking, wasn’t going to work. Then he went back to his senses, went to Germany for a treatment, brought back some tablets, and seemed normal again. Then such episodes started to happen more often. He was physically abusing Anna, who was suffering quietly due to threats of her husband to send her home.
Anna didn’t discuss her problems with anyone. Then her husband stopped working, was abusive towards her and her son, while Anna supported the family by cleaning houses.
She could speak some Norwegian and told one of the families she was working for about her marital problems, when they asked about her bruises. They were trying to convince her to talk to social services. But Anna was scared to lose her residential permit, her husband convinced her that only after being married for 3 years she can hope to get a residency in the country. Anna had nowhere to return back: She sold her house before leaving, and her son already got used to the new country and dreamed about going to a college there.
In the email, Anna asked the translator to find out what could she do in her situation. The translator contacted a lawyer in Holland, who was married to another female client. The lawyer found out all the details and was happy to go to Norway to sort it out, free of charge. But then a new email from Anna arrived stating she didn’t need any help, and the previous letter asking for help she sent being in a bad mood. The lawyer from Holland insisted on a visit, they also made calls to Anna’s phone number that she gave in the first email. But she didn’t answer as if she disappeared from the face of Earth.
Only a few months later they found out what happened. The husband threw Anna to the basement of their multi-unit building, and told her son that his mother unexpectedly left. The son waited for a day and then started his own investigation. He found Anna in the basement the next morning. He broke the lock on the door and they both went to police.
The police investigation took about a month, Anna and her son lived in a shelter. They were provided with food and clothing. In half a year she got an official divorce, took a course in accounting, and rented an apartment. She is now working as an accountant in Oslo, her son studies at a university, they both got permanent residence. She doesn’t want to get married anymore.
Story #6 by Svetlana Dakha, a marriage agency director from Kiev
In fishing villages of Finland and Norway Russian and Ukrainian wives have to endure sexual and physical abuse from men, whom they are dependent on, for 3-5 years. There were cases where Slavic wives were thrown naked to the frost [in winter] because they didn’t want to obey.
Story #7 by Olga Makhovskaya, PhD, author of the book “The Temptation of Emigration, or To Women Fleeing to Paris”
Let’s take the infamous murder of Anastasia Solovieva and kidnapping of girls—there are very scary situations. On the Internet it’s possible to find cases of women disappearing. 44 girls disappeared from Pskov region: They left on contracts—marriage or work—and no one ever heard of them. The Ministry of Home Affairs cannot do anything: They disappeared abroad. They left legally but no one was monitoring their route. There are cases where the girl is murdered but no one is looking for her: Americans think that if she is Russian, then it should be Russians to deal with that, Russians think that it should be Americans’ responsibility because the crime was committed on their territory.
[About the situation of Russian wives in foreign countries] The husband interferes by all means, methodically cuts off any newly established contacts [of the Russian wife]. It’s easy for him—he controls her expenses, which he has indisputable right to, casually discusses with the wife bills for water, electricity, phone, and she finds herself in an unusual for her situation of limitations, dependence. How can you object: The husband brought himself a wife and she became one more article of expenses. “I am not employed as your driver,” the husband may say refusing to take the wife shopping.
Here is another story: A Russian woman who became the wife of a polygamist, who had kids with him and still has no legal status in America. As it happened, she didn’t have an immigrant history—the husband didn’t complete any paperwork. How does it happen? Like this: Marriage with a foreigner can be registered in Russia and migration happens on a family reunion visa. It’s possible to leave on fiancée visa—and register the marriage in America. It’s possible—on a guest visa, and already in America change the intent, announcing your desire to get married.
The American [man] was telling to the girl that he liked her very much and he was confident they would be happy but he wanted the wedding to be in America in the presence of friends and family. She believed [him] and willingly agreed. And for him it was important to put her on the leash—father a child. She was living in his home, got pregnant, had a baby. She was introduced [to others] as a wife and she had no doubts that she was indeed a lawful wife. In such a blissful ignorance she spent 2 or 3 years, until she found out that she was not the only wife of her chosen one.
It happened when once she had nothing to do, she started to look through items in the attic and found heaps of photos showing her husband in wedding ceremonies with other women, his kids from other women. When the husband got back home from supposedly another business trip, she asked him about her findings. He didn’t deny anything and offered to keep living together as if nothing happened.
And what? Our heroine, instead of firing off alarms, going to women’s organizations to defend her rights, getting a legal status, getting away from her “benefactor” and, getting her share of money, embarking on a solo voyage—as any American woman would do!—decided to bear him lots of kids, so that he would forget all the other wives. The result: 3 kids and no status.
Story #8 by Irina Berserg, founder of Russianmothers.ru
Marriage with a foreigner for a Russian mother, as a rule, is fraught [with dangers] to lose kids. The sanction of a foreign husband upon a Russian woman becomes, most typically, “lifetime separation” with her own child. This is why it’s so dangerous for Russian women to get married to a man from Norway, America or Iceland.
I am a simple Russian mother who suffered abroad. I suffered in Norway. Norway considers itself the 51th state of the USA. All laws are fully copied from American [laws]. This is why this tragedy happened to me. It reminds a lot the tragedy that happened to children who as orphans died in families that adopted them. Two policemen knocked on my door and two social services employees, and they told me that my kids belonged to the state and not to me. They were taken without any paperwork and placed in a foster care.
My older son, he was 13, ran away from Norway to Russia. To the land, to the last island, where it’s possible to live with biological parents. And my youngest son was placed with his paedophile father. Norwegian system prohibited the Russian mother [to have] any communication. I cannot talk to the child by Skype. I cannot call, I cannot see my child, because I am Russian, because the 51st state of the USA considers that I might steal my child to [take him to] Russia. No, I don’t want to steal my child. I want to live with my children here on the last island of parenting.
Today when this tragedy happened to us, boys and girls are dying in the USA in the hands of those savages, sadists, I cannot be silent. If we, the parents, do not stand for our orphans today, then who will? Kids are separated from parents everywhere, except for Russia. If we do not stand up, then we too will lose our biological children.
*Not a real name
The shocking tales of Russian women for marriage
Did you find these accounts despicable? Are you no longer surprised that an average person in Russia thinks that love affairs with foreigners are fraught with genuine dangers?
That’s the type of scenarios that are constantly on TV in Russia—the only type of stories about marriages of Russian women with foreigners that circulate in the mainstream media.
But like with any country, there are horror stories in both local and international affairs. It’s just in local marriages they seem more understandable and less scary.
Marriage scams in local relationships in Russia
In fact, there are even more scandalous stories about scams that women encounter in love affairs with local Russian guys. But you probably had enough for today, maybe we will translate these chronicles some other time. They are outrageous.
Females often lose everything they own and get left with huge debts (guys convince them to take large bank credits and give the money to them).
All in the name of love and “having a family”!
Women seldom get justice in Russia (Ukraine), as they were supposedly doing it willingly. The public opinion holds, they “should have known better.” In other words, it’s “their own fault.”
There is little sympathy towards such victims of scams even among females themselves: Most girls think they are much smarter and would never get in such a trouble, while the victim was “stupid”.
It’s very hard to find justice once the guy (and the money) is gone, and banks are not going to chase an alleged criminal who disappeared if they simply can pursue the victim, who is known, to get the funds back.
But as Daria’s story #2 stated, losing money may not be as painful as the mental devastation after such encounters.
Happy stories vs. sad accounts
However, it’s wise to realize that both in local and international marriages involving Russian brides the majority of couples are happy and in love.
Scary stories are an exception not the rule.
If you think of that, some stories about local marriages in your country also may raise hair. But you know there are many more loving couples who enjoy being together.
Just the same, there are plenty of real-life stories of happy international brides and grooms, which you can find online.
I have many Russian and Ukrainian girlfriends married to local men who live here in Australia. The guys are happy and the women are content, too. They have no desire to move back to Russia although they go back to visit families about once a year.
It’s unfortunate that there are some unhappy stories, but in general things work pretty well in such unions, as I can see.