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 Post subject: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 28 Oct 2008 11:32 
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My Russian Love affair
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Foreword

I know that I will never become a famous writer or will win any literacy competitions with my illiterate writing style but remember English is not my mother tongue because I was born in Greece many moons ago but I have been living in the UK permanetaly for thirty plus years. Anyhow I hope you can enjoy reading about my Russian adventure and pursuit in finding the right woman to share my life.

In my report, I have tried to give objective comments, relay honestly my personal observations about this beautiful country, its people and life there in general.

Please bear in mind that I started writing this report, long time ago, while I was in Ufa during my last trips there and added the final parts after my wife’s arrival in the UK.


Finding Love in Russia?

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Russian Federation


Finding the answer to this hard question it would be advisable that first we should look inwards to ourselves and examine our own personality, desires, willingness and actions to achieve our own goals. Understanding and knowing ourselves is very important before we start our search to find the other half, our soul mate. Then of course we should look to our knowledge of the external factors which affect our search for finding the right person in our own country or in my case the Russian Federation.

Russian men are notorious age freaks and any particular reasons are hard to find. The prime for a Russian woman is known to be around 20-25 years old. A teenage RM (Russian Man) or of the same age are attracted to the same group naturally. A 30-35 RM do also want women from that very same age group. When a RM reaches 40-45, still tend to look at the same women age group. Russian men say that, women drastically lose their attractiveness after 25 years old. They give births, their bodies are sagging, their faces become less baby like and fresh and most women gain weight after birth. Russian “Quality Men” want a total, absolute, perfect doll that turns heads.

A single quality man in Russia would create excitement, competition and a big female fuss around him. When RW (Russian Women) say ‘there are no men around’, they mean ‘there are not quality suitable men around’. The male marriage quality material is scarce, not the men as such.

If we move the age scale a bit forward, we will see that starting from 35-40 years of life RM begin either to loose a lot in their quality of looks, health and attitude, or they die off. According to statistical information the average mortality age for males in Russia is 59 years old. So what age group prevails among men in the online dating sites and agencies who target Russian women? It is very clear the 40 + years old.

This and the respective competition among women resulted in extremely high requirements for women in Russia. That’s why Russian women put a lot of efforts to look their best. Russian men set the beauty bar very, high. Men of all ages prefer women 20-25 years old, no older. They tend to think that after 25 years old a woman is garbage.

It is obvious that the chances of a 40+ years Russian Woman finding a man in Russia are very slim. In my experience, men are more or less the same in their attitudes towards women, everywhere on the world but it seems that Western males are more educated about what is believed to be a good “family man”. They are capable of creating good first impressions through their emails and phone conversations, which can hold a woman interested for quite a while. Behind all the politically-correct words, there is still the same guy looking for a less troubled relationship than he used to have with his ex partner.

I believe that a woman can figure out what kind of person she communicates with and what his true intentions are only when she has lived with the man for a while. It takes time to get to the “core”…whether the man actually meant or not what he tried to convey in his letters. Also, an average Western man understands that it is not financially feasible to maintain a long-distance dating relationship for a long time, so he has to make his mind quickly, which is definitely different from the way a next-door Russian man thinks…

So, looking for a “marriage material”, you can understand very quickly, only a foreign guy would marry a 40 + Russian woman with a certain past and “baggage”. At least, most foreign men declare that they have serious intentions and are willing to settle down. That is why so many serious Russian women post their profiles to so many dating sites, looking for a partner abroad. Of course there are plenty of other RW with ulterior motives and it's up to the Western man to identify and avoid them, especially the scammers, pro-daters and those looking for a mule for their passage to the West!

Of course it is obvious that Western men looking for a woman in the FSU (Former Soviet Union) countries they have a huge choice and of course they are looking to find young and very attractive women too. They know that Russian Women have already indicated in their profiles that they are willing to accept large age differences, something that is more restricted in the West, so who can blame Western men for looking to find young, slim, well educated and very attractive Russian women.

For example, why should an American man go to such huge expense to travel from one side of the planet to the other to find “Damaged Goods” which are untractive and not choose one of the same group 20 -35 years max, like their Russian counterparts?

Consequently there is a very small number of serious Western men who will pursuit a Russian woman of 40+ years old with a certain past and “baggage”. You will be surprised of the huge pool that exists is Russia of 40 + Smokinghot kovas (Beautiful, slim, and very sexy women)!

We must also not forget that most of the men looking for a woman in the FSU treat this endeavour as fun and as a new exciting adventure.

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 19 Jan 2009 18:54 
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Searching for the right woman in Russia

Most of the Russian women on the dating sites have preconceived ideas of finding a “good strong man” (they mean wealthy) to take care of them. The reality is that most of these men, who are looking to find a woman in the FSU countries, are of an average income and live normal lives. Most of the people on the dating sites and forums are like that with a few exceptions. It is obvious that most of the older American men go to Russia looking for a very pretty and very young slim Russian woman who they can marry and be their Ornament. I do not have a problem with that, if both like this type of relationship.

In my case, I am just a simple pensioner with limited financial abilities and I was looking to find a woman who will love me for what I am and not for what she can/could get out of me

Looking for a woman in Russia I knew that I had to win her heart and she had to win mine. Finding such a woman represented a challenge and I personally think that is the best category of a woman to pursue – a woman who has to love you before she will forgo her country, her home and job to live far from her family, friends and her network of people.

With a challenging woman comes possibly a great reward as well as a relatively high risk of failure. For me, this endeavor was about finding enduring love, and as such it does not follow a linear, 1-2-3 process. I always do what makes me and those I am with, happy. I was not in a continuing pursuit of other pleasures but a great trip with a lot of effort to create the foundations of a lasting and loving relationship.

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Moscow - Kremlin and Red Square

In business management one needs to evaluate the risk/reward ratio. Many men chasing Russian Women, indeed go for the big reward in a high risk situation (e. g., become engaged in one or two weeks, choose a woman out of his league in looks, age and intelligence). The difference is that successful businessmen understand that failure is a possibility and they are willing to accept the consequences of failure and move on. Businessmen also endeavor to control events rather than be controlled by them.

I thought I was pretty experienced with women until I started this RW thing. It’s like starting all over again learning new rules and you must have rivers and ocean of patience. In my case I had/have all that and much more and determination to succeed.

Nothing you've ever done will adequately prepare you for dating Russian women. Most men come home after their first trip and almost all comment on the bluntness of the Russians. Their abruptness is sometimes startling. I believe some of that bluntness is due to them being speakers of a second language, even those girls who work as translators. Russian women just don't have a salesman’s vocabulary. Since they are not fluent in English language and do not have the gift of the gob, they are able to just tell it, like is. Most of us are not accustomed to women being that honest and upfront with us.

If a man who has little experience with women goes to the FSU he will very likely be fooled by Russian politeness, but if the woman is slouching in her seat, not making direct eye contact, not smiling or laughing at your lame jokes, not walking close by your side with her arm linked with yours, then you should make some excuse and move on. No matter how beautiful she is, she just isn't all that interested in going to the next level and you'd be wasting your time, and hers, to continue trying to force the issue. But my last Russian experience smiles a lot, laughes a lot, is not afraid to kiss me in public areas and walk close to me with her arm around mine and that is what made me to pursuit her. She is very attractive, well educated, has great strengths in her character, knowledge and is stubborn like most of them.

Remember that Russian Women will never accept that they have made a mistake and say sorry and will always transfer responsibility for their mistakes to you. Also don't be surprised that she will never answer a straight question with a straight simple answer like Yes or No and always/mostly will reply with a question. This trait in their character has been inherited from the old system and instilled in them never to accept guild for anything, but luckily my then girlfriend and now wife is not like that and does say sorry when she made a mistake!

I had to learn fast to read the road signage to navigate this trip successfully and of course several times made a lot of mistakes and still took the wrong direction. I come to realise very quickly that a Russian Woman was going to be a great challenge and also that she needs to modernize her ideas about the West and acceptable social behaviour in a relationship. She had to learn that successful long term relationships are not based only in our sexual attraction but also in a lot of other qualities and actions of our characters. She had to learn that without any TRUST between us there will never be a good relationship and for that we have to be OPEN, HONEST and EXCLUSIVE with our partner, if we want to find happiness at the end of our road. Of course strong feelings for each other and love, after our initial attraction would develop slowly and hopefully we would create that special bond between us for a successful and life lasting happiness.

I will never claim that I know everything about relationships and women but I have had some experiences in life and I can only blame my self for a lot of things and mistakes that I have made in the past!

I should have trusted my instinct more and listen to the advice of other people, had the courage to bail out when that instinct told me it was time to exit stage. What grief I could have saved! I don't think it can be stated enough that if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't and you shouldn't spend any time, whatsoever, trying to figure out the what, why or how of the situation and how to make it work and hope to find happiness.

Don't allow yourself to fall in love and start making excuses for a Russian Woman's poor and unreasonable behaviour by rationalizing to yourself (or with other guys) that such behaviour occurred because of "different culture" or "different background" or "maybe there was a language issue."

Some people, will tell you that women are the same all over the world but I don't agree with this view because I think Russian women are a breed of their own with plenty of remnants of the old Soviet System in their behaviour and attitudes when it comes to close personal relationships.

The thought of making such a mistake again, makes me want to spew. Those who have made this venture into the wilds of an unknown such as international courtship have all been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I was advised, many times, but didn’t listen, from people who have been through this endeavor that the best course of action is to just move on.

The road to find happiness was treacherous and full of holes and bumps. It was strewn with big problems and I was prepared to go through all that because I recognized early that the big risks will bring hopefully a huge happy reward for both us. I was given a lot of advice from many people and I listen to them but mostly I did not follow their advice but that of my own heart and mind.

I think when you start a new relationship no-one should have problems from the start and basic emotions should carry you forward, because ultimately you want to be together and that is the reason for starting your relationship. In my mind if two people want to be together there must be 100% commitment to each other.

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 19 Jan 2009 18:56 
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Why should I look for a woman so far away?

I am sure that most of the men, who have found their wives abroad, originally have not made a conscious decision to follow this path. It is clear that all of us pursuing a woman in Russia/Ukraine came across the idea of dating and marrying an FSU woman, by accident or by chance.

In my case and due to my job I had to travel extensively around Europe and in the USA but had never visited the East European countries before, until 2004. My 20 + years relationship with an English woman had gone wrong and finally finished in 2003 and I was in a limbo as you may say.

We have to be honest and admit that men are visual creatures and the large pool of very beautiful Slavic women, their willingness to accept large age difference, is very appealing and irresistible. The family concept and ties, I read in many places on the internet for example, is deep ingrained into them and the easy and feminist attitudes in their relationships shown by their Western counterparts, makes them more alluring and sought-after. The overt show of their sexuality and attention to their appearance is something that we all like and look for. Having lived in the UK for over 30 years, I don’t find English women appealing anymore.

In 2003, I had a business offer to visit Lviv in Ukraine and my reservations and attitude changed after that trip. In the next 2 years I made several business trips to Ukraine, visited many places and of course learned a lot about the place but still had not thought seriously in finding a partner there.

In 2005 and after a long thought and consideration of my circumstances, I made the decision to search for a partner in the FSU countries and made a plan on how to go about it avoiding the possible and ever presence of scammers on the dating sites. I corresponded with a lot of women and finally the spring of 2006 the list of prospective women came down to 3 which I made plans to meet during the summer. I met one of the women 2 times in Greece and we had a good holiday but not clicked and then visited another one in Kiev with the same result.

In August of that year one of the women (my ex Russian girlfriend) with whom I was chatting on MSN and had told her previously that I was not interested to meet or have a relationship with her because of her age (41 yrs old) and the fact that she had a 12 years old son, visited England, got in touch with me, we met for a drink and after that we started our relationship. After a 7 months stormy relationship, in March 2007, I had enough and finaly made up my mind that our relationship was not going to work. When I left her house on my last visit to her all I wanted to do was to keep quiet for sometime and try to forget her and everything that took place between us.

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#4  PostPosted: 19 Jan 2009 18:58 
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On the road to find Happiness

The proximity and chances travelling to the FSU countries is very appealing and is something I enjoy very much doing. Meeting and pursuing Slavic women to find the right one is a challenge which gives another impetus to life. Finding love and creating a happy family with the right partner, at the end must be worth it, when taken into consideration all aspects of this endeavour.

Not all women in the FSU countries who are looking abroad to find a man are scammers, users or gold diggers. Many have hidden agendas, some are very naïve and many are plain ignorant but diving in the “Dirty barrel” we will find them all and many of us get lucky to find a “Pearl”.

By the end of April, I had started communicating with a few other women and one of them came across as the right candidate for me and decided to pursuit her. Co-incidentally she was from Ufa, the same airport and Capital city I was flying into when visiting my previous Russian woman, so on my way back home on the 30 May 2007, after my final visit to my ex and after breaking my engagement with her, I called this woman and we arranged to meet the same day.

I had seen her studio photos before but when I met her in real life she was much more attractive and prettier then in her photos. She is young with a slim body and spoke good English. Her personality started showing very quickly and was a fresh air in my stale love life. At our first meeting we spent over 5 hours together chatting away and none of us wanted to go to sleep, as we were engrossed enjoying each other’s company very much.

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Hanna in our first meeting.

Unfortunately due to Aeroflot been full in the next few days I could not change my flight and stay longer….. but when I was back in the UK we continued our communication.

Later in the end of June and at the beginning of July I visited her twice. With highinsight I can see now, that we had two false starts, because of me been hasty, ignorant of her culture and jumpy, but my new woman has shown to have a very different character from my ex girlfriend and she did apologized for the mistakes, I accused her that she made at the time, which made me to sit up and think very carefully. Of course I did very quickly apologized too and on my 3rd visit in July finally we got it right and we have had a wonderful time together.

During that time, my ex girlfriend guessed that I was with another woman and decided to engage in negative behaviour/contact in an effort to damage my new relationship. I told my new woman everything about my ex girlfriend and she was quite happy about my openness and honesty and did not care too much about the huge amount of SMS's etc I was receiving daily. I also explained to her that I was not prepared to allow my ex girlfriend to damage our relationship and I will do everything possible to protect our relationship.

Back in the UK, I continued my daily communication with my new woman and she was proving to be what I was looking for. At the end of August I went back to visit her for a month and in November I went back again, stayed for nearly a month and a half and we had a wonderful time.

My new woman apart from her been young, very attractive, slim, and a nice character she was also serious about our relationship, confident, very well educated and well established in her profession. Of course she is stubborn, like most of the Russian women are, holds her ground in any conversation we have or argument, but when she understands and realize her mistakes (if she is wrong), she always apologizes and I do the same. She has bought a brand new apartment and has it equipped with the latest and very modern appliances.

What is more important for me is the fact that she likes me and accepted me for what I am and who I am and she is not afraid to show her strong feelings and affection, in private and in public. That has taken me by surprise after my previous experiences with Russian Women and especially my ex girlfriend. To be honest I keep pinching myself, as it is too good to be true, that I don’t live in a dream and of course I know she is genuine. She has a very comfortable life over here, nice family and I know her decision to move to the UK to be with me will only be because she loves me and nothing else. She has already accepted and made up her mind that UK is the place where we are going to live, if and when we decide to get married.

She has also introduced me to all her family and friends and I am very happy that all of them have been very warm towards me and made me feel very welcome and they told her that they like me very much, something that is obvious to me from their actions. What is more important is that her sister likes me a lot and she has taken into herself to smooth some small expected difficulties with Babouska (her mother), who had objections to our relationship. We all know that older people are very selfish and care mostly for themselves. I know that first hand from my own, now deceased, old mother who all she cared for was herself and she was constantly complaining after I married an English woman, that I have deserted her, which wasn’t true.

The more I lived with my new woman, “our normal life”, the more strongly my feelings were growing for her. Every day I discovered many good things about her character and I have to say that I am not the easiest person to live with. I still have my hot Mediterranean temper but with her calm approach and patience she has managed to make our relationship a good experience. She told me that she was thinking about us all the time and she finds it difficult to concentrate in her job! Of course, while she was working, I had plenty of time to re-examine my previous actions and correct what was necessary to make her feel happy. Of course not everything was plain sailing and there were plenty of issues to be cleared out of the way but it was my view that only time can do that. But for now all we can do is to continue our efforts getting to know eachother better and clearing any misunderstandings.

In November I was there for over a month and planned to go back again early next year, meanwhile she got her Visa and she was coming to visit me in UK for a month during Christmas and New Year.

So as they say there is a silver lining at the end of the rainbow and I hope that finally, after searching for two years, I have found the right woman in Russia. I have dived in the “Dirty barrel” a few times but finally I have found my little “pearl”.


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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#5  PostPosted: 19 Jan 2009 19:00 
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Living with a Russian Woman - Ufa Nov/Dec 2007

If finding the right woman for you, in this huge country Russia, is difficult then the real long road till she comes home to live with you, starts when you have to get to know each other and create a good relationship. It has been emphasized by many people how important is to have as long as you can face time to get to know each other. I will never have gone the route of the one week wonder and hope that everything will be OK later. It was always part of my plan living with my new woman for sometime in her own environment and that is exactly what I did for many months.

Of course there are many other considerations to be taken into account, like work, home, family and costs. Not everybody can up sticks and go and stay in Russia for long periods at a time but in my case that was not a problem. I have been retired for sometime now so time is not something I have to worry about but financial and domestic considerations of my new woman are problems which had to be planned correctly. As it happens the whole family of my new girlfriend were very supportive of both of us and have made every effort, including baboushka, so me and my girlfriend can live in her apartment as free as possible on our own without much interference.

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Balcony view of Ufa

I have been lucky during my first 5 trips and the face time of over 3 months we have spent together has been very good, learning a lot for eachother, understanding and getting used to living together. When you live alone independent life it’s normal to get set in your own ways and a period of adjustement has to take place between the partners and sofar living in her town and place has been very successful with very few hick ups. Over Christmas she came over to my place in the UK and she had a wonderfull time learning about life here and of course been with me!

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View from our Balcony

While living in Russia I have had to find a few little things to do to keep myself occupied and amused while my girlfriend was at work. Learning Russian is not my favourite occupation and to be honest I find it very boring in the knowledge that we didn’t have to live here, later, so not enough motivation for me there. Of course I had learned enough to get by in the shops and Markets and in general I was not worried that I didn’t speak the language and couldn’t find a Russian to communicate in English. I have met a couple of ex pats and a friend of my girlfriend to speak English, communicate and be assisted at the end of the phone, when the going was getting tough and can’t make people understand what I was/am looking for.

Learning the local transport system was not that difficult as all busses, trams, minibusses etc are numbered. Calculating the cost of whatever I want to buy is very easy due to their decimal system which is the same as back home. I was/am having a good laugh winding up the girls on the supermarkets asking for a free plastic bag and pretending I don’t understand the price they are telling me loud for my purchased goods; because they think I will understand them better, if they speak loud!

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Flowers growing on the snow.... :)

I think I have to emphasise that you can find everything you want in Russia for food, electrical appliances and other things, which are so common in the West and we are used to find in our countries but selection and quality is not that good and sometimes you have to waste a lot of time finding what you are looking for. I don’t like going to the local food market for meat, vegetables and fruit because they have too many small shops selling nearly identical goods at the same prices and it’s a pain in the backside to have to carry all that back home using public transport.

Russians do waste a lot of time daily for such matters where we in the West have the large supermarkets to shop, put everything in the back of our car, go back home and we are done with our shopping for a week. Prices of course have marshed on since my first visit there in November 2006 and now are similar to UK, but from what I understand salaries have not kept pace and I see that it must be very hard for Russian people to survive in their small incomes. It is very noticeable of course that the roads are more busy but not with the old Ladas only but also with very new and modern cars too. Cost of petrol is very good and nearly a 3rd of what we pay in UK, 20 Rubles a litre but when I had a look at the new foreign cars the prices were identical to those I know in the UK.

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Winter postcards from Ufa

I noticed a large number of telecommunication shops selling mobile phones, accessories and services. Russian people are very mobile and it appears everybody has a new and the latest model mobile phone. Most houses and educated people have broadband internet connection and personal computers. When visiting friend’s houses I am not surprised anymore to see all the modern appliances around the house and make me wonder how these people with small salaries can afford all that. This and other things I have noticed about life there in general indicate to me the existence of a very large black cash economy.

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Ufa covered with snow

Small size supermarkets can be found in the ground floor of most blocks of flats but space is very short and when going around it’s very difficult to avoid the rude behaviour of the Russian people who will shove and push through without any care or a sorry. Good manners and politeness is not something that is in abudance there. People are behaving very rudely and the words “Please and Thank you” seem not to be in their vocabluraly. Getting off the trams and other public transport I have to fight to get out and people will not move and open a passage for you to go through. In most cases they try to get on before you have the chance to get off.



Apart from the centre of the town in Ufa, where you can find some nice cafes and restaurants to visit in general there are no bars and cafes where you can go and spent time. I have read somewhere that Russian people prefer to visit eachother’s houses and have small parties and create their own entertaintment and it’s also my own experience too. It is custom to offer to your visitors mainly a table full of various types of food, cakes and fuit and of course the standard drink of Vodka. Dancing may follow and depends on your host to make a start and yes I had some good fun times visiting friends and family members.

During working days life is nothing special and shopping for food and other items, cooking and taking photos when I am out are the main activities while here. The weather of course is not good during winter time with plenty of snow on the ground, temperatures well over -15 C and snowing most days does not allow me to wonder out alot and who wants to be sick in a foreign country.

The housing stock consists mainly of large blocks of flats, soviet style and it’s in a dreadfull condition on the outside and in desperate need of repair. The common parts of the buildings are also very badly kept and the entrance doors to the flats are all made of steal. Most of the flats I have visited are modernized and small in general. The old Soviet system designers never thought of allowing families to have more than 2 rooms and mostly the one room apartments are the norm per family. Under these conditions you will find families of 4-5 persons sharing a 1 or 2 room apartment.

Privacy under these conditions is very difficult and the use of sofa beds is the norm mode of sleeping arrangements. The communistic system has tought the people that the show of love and affection is a weakness and must be avoided. It makes you wonder why the system has killed the show of love and affection between the partners in Public and many times in private, which is still visible on the older generation who has lived and grew up under that system.

I can of course clearly see the remnants of the old Communistic system, which had been designed to create robots to serve the system. The Russian education system is also planned in such way to produce only functionaries and not all rounders. I am amazed by the fact that children there, are taught to read and write English but normally don’t know or understand the meaning of most words and they are not taught to speak orally. The reason for that (I was told) was that Russian people had no need to speak English as they were not allowed to travel abroad but of course they could read any educational and other publications permitted by the Government.

The use of normal chairs with high back rest is non existence at homes and small plain stools is what is been used around the small size kitchens. I was told that during the Communistic years they were told that using chairs with high back to rest when sitting around the table, is a custom of the bourjoua society and not something that the Russian people should be using.

I am sure you must realise that while my woman was working during the week we had very limited time to go out and do things and of course we prefered to spent as mush time as possible together talking about many things, exploring likes and dislikes and getting a better understanding of own feelings for eachother. We both couldn’t wait for our Christmas time together in England, which both felt was going to be the deal breaker and we would know if we want and can live together for the rest of our lives. The adjustement period of my new woman in her new life there will be a very interesting part of our life together and will provide a lot of motivation for us to create a happy family. For now we can only wait, bite our time, plan our future correctly and hope our plans will work out and we both have found happiness.

One thing I have to say for sure, life in not going to be the same for both of us and living in England together definitely is going to be more interesting and testing then it is over here. In England we will have more opportunities of outings, visiting interesting places, more things to do together and of course travelling abroad to new places will enchance our life much more than it’s possible in Russia today.

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#6  PostPosted: 20 Jan 2009 12:37 
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Getting Engaged

My girlfriend Hanna, during Christmas and New Year, spent one month holiday with me in England and we had a wonderful time together. After she went back to Russia, I have to admit I was missing her alot and as days went by, my mind was made and I was then sure that the time had come to ask her to marry me, but before I did that, I wanted her to think carefully on her own and take the big decision without any pressure.

During our daily telephone conversations it became clear that she was missing me also and she had made up her mind that she wanted to marry me and could not wait for the time that I was going to ask her officially. Well as it happened I could not get on a flight and go to make her the proposal so I had to work out another way to do it.

Lucky for us, Westerners, we have the romantic day of St. Valentines, on the 14 February when love is celebrated in various forms and we can express our love to the woman we are in love, so I took advantage of this opportunity and I arranged for 11 red roses to be delivered to my darling on that day by her close friend next door and I knew that was something she did not expected, as Russian women give more importance on the 8 March celebration of woman’s day.

On the night of the 14 February 2008, I called her friend on our prearranged time and she went next door and called Hanna to come to her flat with some silly pretence. When she came over and she was given the flowers she burst into tears……. Of course her friend had her telephone on her hand and I could hear everything and I was delighted on how she received my little present.

Then I heard Hanna saying that she wanted to go back to her flat and call me to say thank you but her friend gave her the phone and my darling very surprised and told me how happy she was to receive my flowers with a trembling voice from her excitement and tears. So my opportunity was there and I asked her if she wanted to marry me and without hesitation she said Yes, and made me a very happy man.

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Hanna with her flowers next day

Everything was working according to my plans. Just for those who don’t know by that time I had visited Russia 5 times and she came to UK for 1 month over Christmas and New year. We had spent together more than 4 ½ months face time together living normally like a husband and wife and I think we both knew each other well enough, when we made our decisions to get married.

Of course after my girlfriend said yes to my proposal it was time to take care of her Baboushka (mother), ask her officially to marry her daughter and get her blessing, so to make my girl happy.

After Hanna left England to go back home, I was reading some excellent articles about local customs and Russian culture, posted by a member of another board, where now I am banned by its new owner. I wish he would post them over here too so people can read and learn a lot about such matters. They are extremely descriptive and very helpful, if you wish to understand more about your Russian woman. I got in touch with him and during our conversations he gave me some excellent ideas and suggestions, on how to handle the case of Baboushka and what I have to do.

When you have to approach her parents and in my case he mother, father died 10 years ago, you need to have a representative who will speak on your behalf and introduce you as a good standing person capable of taking care of her daughter and of course promising to make her happy. Lucky for me Hanna has a good friend, an English teacher and she was the prefect candidate as bilingual to handle the situation and when I spoke to her on the phone, happily she accepted to help me out with my plans to follow my girlfriend’s customs and etiquette.



When asking her parents their permission to marry their daughter, it is custom that you have to offer a ransom, a present or money, to the agreed parents as a good will and to show that your intentions are honourable and that you are able to take care of their daughter. It was suggested to me to find some silver candle holders and I went off looking for them and I got lucky and found a nice antiques pair for a very good economical price, which after having them professionally policed looked excellent. Silly me of course, I forgot to buy the candles but when time came, my girlfriend saved the day and she supplied the candles.

The 8 of March, is a very important day in the Russian calendar and was approaching rapidly. I had to make some changes to my original schedule, booked a flight to arrive in Ufa on time with this celebration and I arranged that my representative, the English teacher, will come to visit us on Sunday morning the 9 March to speak to Baboushka. So I arranged some new 11 roses to be delivered on the early morning of the 8 March to my girlfriend and also a bouquet of chrysanthemum for her mother and when I arrived in the morning of the 8 March, they were both delighted. Of course my girl for the best present she could have on that day, me in Ufa and her mother receiving flowers again (for first time), after her husband died.

When the English teacher, my representative arrived, we talked to baboushka for nearly one hour and it was obvious that she was not happy, naturally, that her daughter was going to marry me and move to live in the UK but of course she had to accept her daughter’s decision. We of course tried to alleviate her worries and promised that we will not forget about her and we will make sure she has a comfortable life, living at my girlfriend’s flat and we will take care of all the financial responsibilites. We are lucky that Hanna has a wonderful married sister who supported us all the time and she made sure her mother understood us and our will to make a happy family together.

For the next week and so Hanna had to work at school and finally on Saturday we had the time to visit the shops and buy her engagement ring. Then we bought a bottle of Champaign and a tort, got in a taxi and off we went to her sister’s house in a nearby town, where Baboushka was staying, while I was/am in Ufa. We had a small party with the family; got the blessing of her mother and now she is wearing proudly her engagement ring.

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Hanna's engagement ring


I thought at the time that I will be back in Russia sometime in May once I have had my English documents ready so we can make the application and get a wedding day booked and probably after schools finished Hana would come to visit me in England for one or two months to rest and get ready for our big day. Reading the long list of what we had to do till she is in the UK permanent it looked like a long road but the wheels were in motion and nothing would have stoped us finding happiness together.



With Mama in the Dacha

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#7  PostPosted: 20 Jan 2009 12:40 
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The joy and troubles getting married to a Russian woman.

Before living Ufa to return home my fiancé and I visited the ZAGS office, to find out the correct documents required and also to find out about free dates for our wedding day.

At the start of the year the British government had started using the Biometrics system, which means that anybody who wants to visit the UK must give their biometrics, finger tips and a digital photo is been taken of them. We have to thank our American friends, especially that idiot president of the USA, G.W.Bush and his war on Terror and our EX Prime Minister Blair for that!

So now people in Russia have to go to Moscow, or to St. Peterburg and Yekaterinburg but, if you don’t know, the British and Russian Governments are having a Political row and showing off postures, over the killing of Litvinenko, so the Russian Government made life more difficult for us by ordering the closure of various British Consulates around Russia or giving them a hard time. The bottom line is, at the time, we didn’t know where we will have to go to make her Visa application and give the Biometrics.

With that in mind we decided we will apply only for a Tourist visa, lasting 6 months, and then when Hanna was here we would apply for a Settlement Visa. As it happens the Home office department dealing with Visa’s is only 20 minutes away by car from my house and when back home, to make sure that I am doing the right thing, I decided to call them and had to waited for 30 minutes before the phone was answered and I spoke to a very nice woman, who was extremely helpful and made clear to me that my fiancé has to apply in Russia first for Spouse Visa.

At the end of the conversation, I just asked her if it’s possible for my fiancé to apply under the European Regulations (European Directive 224/38/EC, as I have dual Nationality.

Her answer cought me by surprise, brought me a happy feeling and a big anxiety at the same time.

“When you first entered the UK to live here, did you get the stamp LEAVE TO ENTER FOR INDEFINITE STAY?

Yes I did, I replied.

“If you have that stamp and your old and new passports then of course your fiancé can apply under the European Regulations (European Directive 224/38/EC).”

But my Certificate of impediment will state British Nationality and the Marriage certificate the same, I asked?

Makes no difference as you legally arrived in this country under your Greek Passport, so the Consulate must know about it and accept the application.

Can I have your name please?

I am sure they know about it, and if they don’t tell them to call us.

Thank you very much Mrs Moneysaving Penny!


Date and time was written down (WED 9 April 14.30) as all calls are recorded… LOL ”

Delighted with her answer, I started frantically searching to find my old Greek Passports……and finally after awhile I discovered 3 old passport at the bottom of a draw, inside an old envelope. Checked frantically, every page in them looking for the precious stamp…. And finally I found it!

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My ILR visa


II was absolutely elated and happy, to say the least because as you must understand that my ILR stamp gave us the right for Hanna to apply under the European Regulations (European Directive 224/38/EC) enabling her to make a FREE Entrance Visa Application and later get a FREE Resident Card thus saving us alot of money. Once Hanna acquires her Resident Card then she does not need to apply for a Shegen Visa to visit any of the EEA countries thus giving us a big freedom for moving around the EU.

By the time I finished with all that was time to speak to Hanna and she immediately detected my happy mood and asked me what happened and why you are so happy?

So I told her the good news and she was also delighted!

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#8  PostPosted: 20 Jan 2009 13:08 
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Time to visit the Registered Office in my Town.

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The register office in my town

So I am back in the UK (1st April 2008) and tomorrow I am going to visit the Registrar for making the application for the Certificate of Impediment. Then I have to wait for 21 days to get it! After that must go to London to Apostile and then over to the Russians to translate the copy of my GREEK Passport, Divorce Document and also the Certificate of Impediment Costing all together over 350 Pounds.

Marrying a Russian woman is very expensive and they tell us that Russian women are cheap… HA HA HA. Those of you who are married to a Russian woman and me know better how much it costs to fly over there, despite that I have become an expert in getting the best deals out of Aeroflop!....

The good news is that under European Regulations (European Directive 224/38/EC) we can apply for her Resident Card (Visa) to join me here in the UK for Free and it is valid for 5 years period and after that you get a FREE Permanent Resident Card.

Of course after 5 years Hanna will be entitled to apply for a British Passport and Nationality, making life very easy. If I was not a Greek National then we would have to apply under my British Passport and pay £500 GBP ($1000) for the application for 2 years. Then after 2 years we should re-apply again for Permanent Residency and that would have cost us, on today’s charges, 700 GBP ($1400).

I just discovered some very good news, which made me extremely happy. Hanna can come with me to Greece for up to 3 months, without any Visa, when she has in her Russian Passport the Resident Card issued by the UK. Another Greek on the same boat, like me, petitioned the European Parliament and the EU Parliament ordered the Greek Government to enforce correctly the European Directive 2004/38/EC….. article 5(2).

Visiting the Registered Office in my Town.

Today (4 April 2008) it was time to visit the register office to enquire about the Certificate of Impediment. So after breakfast at 11 AM off I went in my car down town to the old library where the registered office is situated.

The building is a very nice looking old house.......of some local aristocratic person I expect, I have not learned its history........but I met a very nice lady who was .....in a hurry! :cheesy:

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The register Office in my town.


Any how she very quickly told me what kind of papers will have to bring with me and what it will happen, when I meet the registrar.

Everything was hunky dory until she told me next available day for meeting was the 21 April 2008.

I explained to her politely that was an unfortunate day as it would remind me for ever an unhappy period of my life and of my country (Greece), the day when the dictators took over power in Greece in 1967, and I didn’t wanted bad luck! [wink.gif] [lol.gif]

I had to use a bit of charming language and finally she found time on the 8 of April at 12 PM.......

So there you go.... second step, after collecting my Greek passport the other day.

I am sure the meeting will be no more that 5 minutes and the £30 = $60 fee will pay for her/his time.

After that I must wait for 21 days before collecting the certificate..... and go to London to Apostil it!

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#9  PostPosted: 20 Jan 2009 13:27 
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What Documents I need to get married in Russia?

You should always check with the ZAGS office where you plan to get married in Russia to see if they have any local Rules, but typically you will need to provide the following:

1). Your passport with a valid visa – It is recommend that the visa is obtained before the translation process starts, this is to ensure that the translation of names on the documents matches with the translation of the name in the visa.

2). A Certificate of No Impediment (obtained from your local registry office in the UK). I have read reports that some cities in Russia require the British registrar to stamp the CNI, as registrars do not normally do this in the England you will need to ask them to do this when you collect your certificate.

3). If you have been married before, then the Certificate making Decree Nisi Absolute.

Additionally you are required to provide your immigation card once you have registered with OVIR and pay around 200 Rubles cost fee in the Bank for the Register Office.

The above documents have to be translated; Notarized and Apostil so can be accepted by the ZAGS office.

Looking around what it will cost me for doing that here in the UK, discovered that I must pay £240 = $480 for the 3 documents…….. very expensive I must say.

My fiancé, gave me the telephone number of the local translation office in Ufa and next day I called them and spoke to a very nice English speaking lady, who advised me that it will take only one day to do everything and the total Cost, including the translation of Hanna’s Birth certificate and also 3 copies of our Marriage Certificate comes to a total of £120 = $240.

So now I had to wait for the Certificate of Impediment, at the end of the month, go to London to Apostil them (Charge of £27 each document Divorce and CoI) and then send them by courier to my fiancé to make the application at Zags and finalise the wedding date!

Meanwhile I started searching the internet for information about the other arrangements, like wedding dress, restaurant etc in UFA but everything was in Russian but thanks to Google I managed to find a lot of information.

My fiancé was very surprised with what I had been discovering, which of course was helpful for her to organise things and we must not forget that she had very little time after working all day.

To be honest I did start thinking of going down there earlier, spend time organizing things and helping her around, while she was working. Language is a barrier of course but I know a very nice person, a friend of my fiancé, who speaks fluent English…. and she has been helping me all the time.

With everything under the way we decided to get married on the 21 June in Ufa.

The following Wednsday, the 30 April I will be collecting the Certificate of Impediment and next day I had to go to London to Apostil it together with my Divorce document. After that DHL to Ufa for the registry office........and then wait for the 8 of June to fly out there.

At the same rime the poor girl was running off her feet... working all day and then..... chasing to find a wedding dress, translating her documents in English....and too many other things to organise.... like car to take her to ZAGS, restaurant for the reception, drinks, etc. plus some extra little surprises (requests) from her Mother! [biggrin.gif]

Meanwhile Aeroflot had gone over the tops with their prices... but KD Avia from Kallinigrad was offering better connections and excellent prices to UFA flying out from Gatwick, which is just 20 minutes drive from my house.

For one way ticket for Hanna in July... Aeroflot was asking nearly £620 = $1200 and slightly cheaper for a return.... but KD Avia was charging only £116 = $220.

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 Post subject: Re: My Russian Love affair
Post Number:#10  PostPosted: 20 Jan 2009 13:34 
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Our Wedding Day - 14 June 2008


(Written in Ufa just after the wedding)

I just had managed to recover sufficiently enough from the Saturday Wedding party and the afterwards celebrations to be able to write a few notes about our wedding.

Finally I made My Darling Hanna, an Honnest woman [lol.gif] and now had to work hard trying to get her away from Russia dealing with the British beaurocrats......... of the VAC.

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Signing the end of my freedom (second time round) at ZAGS in Ufa

Very busy with all the documendation to get her Visa clearance to come to UK on the 7 July and as usual... the Russian Machine is working very slow.............but we are getting there and on Friday Hanna is flying to Moscow for her biometrics and application. We hope that she will get her visa very soon so we can go home on the same day.

Living and working in Russia must be very frustrating to everybody especially when it comes to dealing with petty officials, coupled with their obvious petty jealousy and also plenty of ignorance and reliance on a “here say” information and advice from friends. Specifically I noticed that nearly everybody is asking friends for information of what to do, in their case and of course, everybody is an expert……..giving mostly the wrong advice and the people do not go directly to the horse’s mouth to find the right information.

In our case despite following the correct given advice from a friend of mine in Moscow…. We still encountered and continue to encounter few silly problems and while my darling wife was in Moscow waiting for her flight back home, after applying for her Visa clearance at the Visa Centre ……I will try to give you a small synopsis why I made the above comments.

Last March before coming to Ufa to see my then GF and later fiancé, I asked a friend of mine in Moscow, Lena, how to go about getting the right information from ZAGS. She advised me to insist to be given a printed list of the required documents by the Registrar, and that is what I did, during our meeting at the registry office. At first the Reg Officer was dictating to my GF but then she relented and made a photocopy from her instructions or of the registration book.


Basically to get married at ZAGS, as I said before, you must have a copy of your passport, after you obtained the Visa, the divorce document and a Certificate of impediment. The application we agreed I will have to sign it again, few days before, when I come for the wedding in June.

Documents were taken to Reg Officer by my fiancé… after Apostill, translation and Notarizing…..for checking and she was told everything was fine.

On my arrival, 9th of June, we went again for me to sign the application in the Registrar office. Produced a copy of my immigration card with the OVIR registration stamp. The Russian immigration card is the same for Russia and Belarus, but she told me was not the right one, because of the Belarus name on it……… I asked her to call the OVIR as the most appropriate department to find out that it was the same and as such accepted by OVIR. She did and discovered she was wrong. Then she demanded my original passport despite she had a copy apostil, translated and Notarised of it, so our nephew had to run down with my passport and all she did is to look my photo!

Then 10 minutes before the office closing for lunch, she demanded photo copies of all our documents (52 pages). Three meetings with my wife prior, she never mentioned that and it transpires it was an internal matter (she was lazy to make her own copies…at the photocopier she had at her office) so my wife run out and luckily she managed to find a place and managed to comeback… just as the Reg. officer was closing her office. So finally she accepted our documents and gave us the exact time we needed as we had already printed the invitation, according to her previous advice.

On the day of our wedding she allowed us only 15 minutes…….for the ceremony, and when we arrived with our car there were another 2 couples waiting before us…..Basically the whole thing is like a factory assembly or production line. I felt there was nothing special in such special occasion for us and especially for my wife for whom was her first marriage!

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One of our wedding photos near the Congress Hall

When we made our application, we requested that my wife will keep her maiden name……but….. Somehow my own surname was on the Marriage certificate. It is obvious this woman is running that office hap hazard, making the rules as she goes along and don’t pay much attention to details…….causing us another costly problem.

Now my wife has to change her internal passport before the expiry day, of she has to pay a penalty of 1500 rubles if she does not do it 12 days after her 45th birthday on the 31 August. Actually she has a month to apply after our wedding day on the 14 June, before she has to pay the penalty, but she was told……… that now she can change her passport on her new name and in September or whenever she is back in Russia must change it again…….. paying the penalty of course.

This twist is definitely a mistake……..and as my friend Lena from Moscow said we are going on Monday to check again……..and this time I will demand the regulation. To make matters worse the brother of one of my wife’s friends, which is a solicitor, advised her that it is correct that she must change her passport twice……so we will see on Monday!

My friend Lena things the same as me… that if they issue her a new passport in her new name, that should be OK even if it was issued 2 months before her 45th birthday.

Finally…. As I have to go to meet her at the airport soon, she was told by several of her friends that she can’t travel to Moscow using her International Passport…….now that there is a stamp on the Internal passport with her new name on! Total rubbish of course!

Amazing of the ignorance around and the habit of asking the “EXPERT” friends instead of the right person or department (according to Lena and me!) Yes she traveled this morning with no problems whatsoever and she checked-in with her NEW name and Marriage certificate with her OLD internal passport on her return flight as the International passport is with the British Consulate for her visa.

As I am learning more about this country, I do wonder….. why Russia would have so much different regulations than other countries, apart of course of the stupid requirement to register with OVIR?

I think the general regulations are very similar to ours and it’s the way they are implemented from the various tin pot desk dictators and corrupt officials.

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