Mail-Order Bride Industry Thrives in Soviet Union, Many Complain of Women Being Objectified

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Many wealthy, elderly men from the UK and America are heading to the Old Soviet Union to find a bride, as many young women in the country have little options.

The ratio of women to men is 10 to one in the country, with one man describing it as "close to paradise as you get." 

The mail-order bride industry has many worried that the women are being exploited and taken advantage of.

"A lot of the blokes here think we've died and gone to heaven," one 47-year-old man said as he looked at women during a "Romance Tour."

The Romance tours cost men between £1,500 and £3,000. It consists of a tour of several former Soviet cities and the ability to meet hundreds of women. 

The dating market in the country is thriving, partly due to easier visa rules compared to Russia.

But as many images of the women mingling with the older men appear online, bloggers and forum users are voicing their opinions against the practice.

"What does it say about our countries that our women are offered like this to such men, some of them looking like degenerate grandfathers?" one woman asked. "How can our women humiliate themselves in such a way?"

During the tours, men are introduced to 150 to 250 women, communicating with them through an interpreter. Some men are more than double the age of the women.

"Our clients date up to five ladies per day," a website for "A Foreign Affair" said. 

"The Kiev Romance Tour offers you the unique opportunity to visit one of the most historic cities in all of the former Soviet Union, while at the same time meet thousands of beautiful Ukrainian women."

Many of the men say they want a Ukrainian wife because they are more traditional than the women of their home country. 

"I want a traditional wife and a lot of the other men out here with me say the same," one man said. "At home, our women have been brought up to be independent, live their own lives, and not care for their men in the way our mothers used to."

"Well, that's fine but I want someone who is a traditional housewife. If we have kids, she stays at home looking after them. Is that so wrong?"

And while outsiders looking in might believe the women are being objectified and taken advantage of, many women involved in it say they are doing it because the men in their country are worse, often abusive.

"When you've got a choice of men abusing alcohol and beating their wives, not wanting to look after children, not wanting to work…these girls will be better off with their elderly foreigners," one woman said. 

A 23-year-old woman who attended numerous tours said, "Personally, I went and looked. The format is quite demeaning - well-off men from the West and poor Ukrainian and Russian girls. Loads more women than men. We were expected to parade for them as well as talk to them."

"Yes, I am looking for a foreign partner because I want stability in my life. Here, domestic violence is bad, our men drink themselves stupid, and the divorce rate is bad."

She believes the women of her country are worth more than that, and that if she has the chance to marry a man who wants to share his life, it doesn't matter how old he is.

"I'm ready for this even though it breaks my heart to leave my homeland."

Sources: Daily Mail