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Over the last ten years or so the Russian Bride has become a major cultural and economic phenomenon.
For those of us who imagine that our partners will be sourced from more traditional groups - a childhood sweetheart, a colleague from work, or at least some girl we picked up at a bar - the notion of marrying someone on the back of a few letters and one Aeroflot flight seems a little crazy, if not downright dangerous.
Nonetheless people on both sides of the equation are queuing up to take part in this heaving foreign exchange programme. Well, for the (predominantly American) men involved, the benefits are pretty obvious.
The land of the free and home of the brave may be famous for its beauty queens and silicone-busted blondes, but it is also the country with the highest rate of obesity in the world and - if our friends across the pond will forgive me for saying so - it is also the land that fashion forgot.
Getting a classy girl may not be a problem if you are an all-American high-school jock with a quarterback's physique and ice-white teeth, but if you're an ageing IT guy from Denver with a dubious moustache and a sizeable beer belly, you're unlikely to land yourself a Baywatch body double.
Even if you do then you're going to need a team of great lawyers and one watertight prenuptial agreement.
No, unfortunately for these such men, the marital options are bleak.
Suddenly a whole host of successful, rich businessmen realise that they are going to have to marry someone just as imperfect as they are - their only recompense being that their partner's huge arse provides a perfect place for resting a beer on.Hang on though, we hear you say - surely these larger-than-life wives, being so far from physical imperfection, will make up for their short-comings by being loving and devoted beyond compare? Whereas Russian women are known for their patience and tolerance, American women are more famous for stating their opinions - and not taking any sh*t!These fundamental differences in the psychology of the women from the USA and the former Soviet Union are easily explained.Whereas the winds of change swept across 60s and 70s America in the form of the Women's Liberation Movement, creating the modern notion of sexual equality, those same winds failed even to ruffle the unyielding folds of the Iron Curtain.It may seem unbelievable to many of us in the West, but in the USSR women are still considered to have a lower social status than men.Their primary roles are still to look good, to support their husband, and to be a good mother.