When I use the word ‘Russian’, I include people from Russia, of course, but also those from Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and such countries of similar social experience and history.
Have you heard the joke about the difference between a chess player and a politician? A chess player always thinks of how to win, while a politician thinks of which will give him the better end result, winning or losing. I think this distinction, however humorous it is intended to be, reflects to some degree an important difference between Western and Russian men.
At the risk of stereotyping, I have noticed that Western men are more action-oriented in the pursuit of their goals. Once they have decided to act they do, and seemingly in a single-minded fashion. A Russian male will first consider other possibilities, very likely choosing to first do nothing. He will then likely go and discuss the matter with his friends or relatives over a few shots of vodka. He may ultimately decide to not pursue the goal, concluding that it is too much trouble – too expensive, waste of time, not fair, whatever.
Again, not to put all Russian (or Western) men in one simple box, but there are social norms which draw Russian men to seek and respond to peer or community opinion as opposed to more individualistic pursuits common in Western attitudes. And it’s again because of the different social norms and stereotypes. Ideas such as individualism, personal development, and personal achievement are quite foreign to the Slavic male’s experience.
The ‘good’ Russian man would do best to pay attention to those things that benefit the community and where equality among all male members is valued over individual goals or desires. Russian men need to feel supported and approved by members of the community – this is important to their sense of self.
Within this broad social context, there is still a more traditional definition of roles that distinguish men from women. That is, there is still largely a male-dominated social order today. This reveals itself in the definition of what is a good husband versus a good wife.
A good wife should be healthy, pretty, and hard-working. She never complains about her circumstances, her husband, or his relatives. She ideally would be well-educated, have a good job, care for her husband’s every need, take care of the home, be kind-hearted, and open-minded about, and forgiving of, her husband’s short-comings (drunken behavior, adultery, etc.). In sum, she will do her best to be the best of women.
And you will find many women still respond to these expectations. After all, they have the same social history.
So, what is the popular image of the ‘cool’ Russian male, the real ‘muzhik’? He’s a man who drinks quite heavily, gets in fights with other cool males, doesn’t take the best care of his health or his personal hygiene, always has money (yet doesn’t work to get it), and has little respect for women.
Is it a bit clearer now as to why so many Russian women are looking for foreign husbands?
Now, for sure, not all Russian men are this way, and neither are all Russian women ‘saints’. I’m talking about these things as these are norms still operating in many of the Russian men and women you will meet on the street.
I must also say, based on my experience, that I’ve seen behavior by Western men toward Russian women that is as shameful as any Russian male’s behavior. Before trying to build that new relationship with a foreign woman, please be honest with yourself first.
Now you have been given a small glimpse into at least one of the reasons Russian women are looking to Western men as potential husbands. But the more important first question is this: Why are YOU looking for a foreign woman?
About the Author: Noser