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Hannia 28th April 2014 15:33

Status of Online Bride Business in Ukraine
 
The men who go to Ukraine looking for a wife then fly home alone and broke
Ukraine's internet romance industry is booming – despite the unrest. But after chatting online, travelling to Odessa and wooing women on flashy dates, most men fly home alone and far poorer. Are they unlucky in love, or have they been scammed?

Shaun Walker The Guardian, Sunday 6 April 2014 14.00 EDT
These are trying times for Odessa. After the annexation of Crimea, pro-Russian forces are stirring tension in this Black Sea port, and there are weekly standoffs between demonstrators who want to be part of Ukraine and those who want closer ties to Russia. But for all the political and economic chaos that has engulfed Ukraine in the past three months, one industry is still thriving: the internet romance trade.

The economies of several Ukrainian cities are boosted by the surreal and disingenuous online bride business, and Odessa is the biggest hub. It does not take long for a visitor to the city to stumble upon an "international date" – there are legions of western men in town meeting with young women they have met online, usually with the conversation facilitated by a translator. At internet cafes and homes across the city, thousands of women spend hours each day chatting to prospective suitors online.

There is nothing like the prospect of economic hardship to facilitate intercontinental liaisons, and so, far from business drying up in recent months, the romance and "bride" trade is booming. If anything, there are now more western men planning trips to Odessa than there were last year, when I accompanied a "romance tour" to Ukraine for a magazine story. I spent a week in Odessa with 29 men, all of them hoping to find a wife during their trip. They were mainly Americans, but there were also Brits, an Italian and a Saudi on the tour.

I went with a company called Anastasia International, which is no grimy basement operation, but a huge company with a projected revenue last year of $140m (£84m). It has thousands of women in Ukraine and across the world on its books, available for chats and in-person meetings with lonely bachelors across the world looking for a wife.
The men who go to Ukraine looking for a wife then fly home alone and broke | Life and style | The Guardian


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