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But among younger Russian women, who did not experience life under the Soviet Union and are too young to be scarred by past experiences, foreign men have less cachet.
"It's better to wed one of your own, than an overseas prince.And the number continued to drop to 6 percent among those aged 25 or younger.As the economic motivation to search for a partner abroad has weakened, most of the reasons for looking beyond Russia's borders are cultural, says dating coach and English teacher Svetlana Tolstykh, 40.The popular rock group Kombinatsiya summed up in endearing, if flawed, English what was most on Russian girls' minds: "American boy, American joy. " Russian women gained a name for going weak in the knees for anyone from the West.That reputation persists today, and it is not wholly without cause.When Russia plunged into chaos following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of its citizens looked for a reliable way out.
Naturally, foreigners were viewed as a bridge to the more developed and "civilized" West.Tolstykh, whose agency "Here I Am" helps Russian women establish relationships with European men, said most of her clients were "mature" women who had already gone through a divorce or had been disappointed by their relationships with their fellow countrymen."There's an idea that foreign men will be different [from Russian men]," she said.Today, European countries and Turkey are more in vogue. Decades after the Soviet collapse, the "American Boy" fantasy is starting to fade."Who the most desirable foreigners are, depends on fashion. Following an economic boom during Putin's first term, living standards have improved and many of the perks of living in the West are now on offer in Moscow too.As relations between Russia and the West have soured over the Ukraine crisis, the image of Europe as a beacon of stability has also suffered, with the Greek economic troubles and Syrian migrant crisis receiving broad coverage.