Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Political Discussion Gone Wrong

I recently had a taste of Russian patriotism during a discussion with a RW over Facebook.  We made contact on a Russian dating site a year or so back.  She was a sassy woman which I liked, but for one reason or another, I had excluded her as a romantic prospect.  We did correspond and exchange enough information to be friends and contacts on Facebook and Skype and we kept in touch periodically during birthdays and holidays…that is until this past week.

At this point, Russian forces had occupied Crimea with talks of sanctions being implemented by the West, and the residents of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to break away from Ukraine and join the Russia Federation.  I like a good political discussion, normally, but thought it would be wise not to discuss politics with the RW that I correspond with.  To be frank, I don’t know very many women that can discuss politics without being personally offended.  They are simply too emotional about it.  And when you consider foreign women from a different culture and language barriers, well, it simply isn’t worth the trouble of explaining the different nuances.

But my RW, Elly, decided to post her opinion on Facebook.  It had the tone of a rant like she was frustrated trying to justify the actions of her country and no longer wanted to endure the criticism of Russia’s actions against Ukraine.  She claimed that Crimea was originally Russian territory and the people’s opinion to want to join Russia should be respected.

Now, I certainly have concerns about Russia’s actions.  But I decided to take a different tone when I replied to her.  I brought up two points:

  1. Crimea used to be part of Russia but it was given to the Ukraine SSR by Kruschev and it was later recognized internationally as Ukrainian territory after the breakup of the Soviet Union.  A referendum and Russian legislation to annex Crimea isn’t good enough to legally return Crimea to Russia.  The Ukrainian government must also consent and sign a treaty to the effect, which they don’t have.
  2. Putin will not want to establish the precedent of letting voter referendums decide matters since I’m sure the Russian Republics of Chechnya and Dagestan would certainly vote to leave Russia.  Or that other Russian citizens might want to vote on their own regional governors or leaders in the Duma.

I didn’t go any further than this in my response.  I wouldn’t even call it a criticism of Russia.  But Elly wouldn’t have it.  She flew in a tirade about how I don’t know anything about Russian history and she doesn’t want to talk politics with me.  In retrospect, I probably took her comments about me not knowing history a little too literally and was trying to defend that what I had said in my two points about Russia and Ukraine was factually correct.  Of course this was fruitless, but foreigners have been mocking American’s apparent ignorance of history and geography for a little too long and I was getting tired of it.

Our dialog only went on a couple more exchanges until she promptly unfriended me and blocked me. So I can’t even copy the conversation verbatim to let the reader decide for himself which one of us was the most crazy.  Needless to say, my impression that women can’t discuss politics has been validated. In retrospect she was probably trying to tell me that, as a foreigner, I had no business commenting on Russian matters rather than me not knowing history.  I also don’t think the language barrier was an issue since she spoke and wrote English fluently enough to grasp the nuances and discuss complicated subjects.  I also know in previous conversations that she doesn’t care for Putin that much. But perhaps Crimea and Chechnya are sore spots for Russians and they probably don’t like discussing it with each other, not to mention foreigners.  So these topics can cause a lot of strife in Russia much like the topics of abortion and “Obama Care” have for us in the USA.

It’s hard for me to say if I would ever back down from a person that criticizes the USA or Americans, but I doubt a bride seeker would encounter a RW that would be rude enough to do this unless she knows him extremely well.  Naturally, politics should be a topic to avoid in your correspondence with RW and that’s doubly true for recent events like the Russian annexation of Crimea or the Chechnya Wars that have potential to be polarizing subjects, even in their own country.  Just a thought…

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Ukraine Watch: Marriage Agencies Are Still An Option!

The crisis in Ukraine seems to have settled into a “Cold War Detente” with both sides not really budging much from their position while a lot of rhetoric is flying around through the media. The Ukraine Travel Warning from the US State Department is still in effect and was what prompted me to suggest that a bride seeker might want to consider Ukraine as too hostile to consider for his bride search last week.

Upon further reflection, if the crisis remains confined to the Crimean peninsula, then looking in Ukraine might be the opportunity that the western bride seeker can capitalize on.  Ukraine’s economy was always lack-luster at best and has taken a turn for the worst in recent years.  The latest crisis was precipitated due to economic reasons and it seemed clear that the leadership lacked the political will to oppose it.  Ukrainian girls are no strangers to the inner workings of their country and how bad things could get, so many of them would likely be open to marriage to a foreign man.  But the latest crisis will do much to convince them that their destiny lies elsewhere and I can see many Ukrainian women being more receptive to foreign men as a result than they ever were since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The only question that remains is, “Is it safe to travel to Ukraine?”

I know of a few marriage agencies in Ukraine, but there is currently nothing on their websites mentioning any conditions or consequences of the latest crisis, so I emailed them to ask about how safe it would be for a bride seeker to visit their agency and what the situation was in their areas.  Bare in mind that I’ve never used these agencies, nor am I saying that these three are an exhaustive list.  But they do enjoy a good reputation among men on the bride search.  You’re encouraged to do your own due diligence before making any decisions.

When I emailed Kherson Girls, one of their matchmakers replied that all was quiet and peaceful in Kherson and she was convinced that the latest trouble was being caused by agitators hired by Russia.

Michael Mordinson from Mordinson’s Marriage Agency in Kharkov replied personally to say that his agency is still open and daily life is proceeding as one would normally expect.  He wishes that the latest crisis can lead to a more democratic and successful Ukraine.

I also contacted Brett Ousley from Kiev Connections in Kiev.  His agency is literally two blocks from Independence Square where people gathered to protest and he says that they are still open and assisting clients and even shops in the area are still receiving shipments and customers.  There was one day where they closed early when some shooting started, but they are open now and willing to help.

Of course they also gave me their sales pitches about what their agencies have to offer and they wouldn’t want their businesses to suffer.  So consider these replies in that context.  But having an ally on the ground to assist you when traveling to a country where things are tense and anything can happen is probably a good move so you might want to be open to paying the extra money and visit an agency to make sure things go smoothly if you are planning your trip to Ukraine.

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Scratch Ukraine From Your List…For Now.

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Nobody can escape the news that Ukraine is in a state of transition, if not, then downright chaos.  The US State Department has issued a warning  suggesting that American citizens avoid any unnecessary travel to Ukraine due to the violent protests and the seizure of several installations by armed gunmen.  That means Ukraine as a bride seeking venue is out!

It doesn’t seem clear when this latest crisis will end but Ukrainian’s president has fled resulting in a transitory government taking over the daily operations of the country.  Russia has mobilized forces in an “exercise” at their border with Ukraine and several government buildings in the Crimean peninsula have been taken over by pro-Russian forces.  It doesn’t look good and it may get worse before it gets better.  A bride seeker is taking extreme risk going there right now.

I find it ironic that we might be seeing another Russian incursion into former Soviet territory when the 2014 Winter Olympics just concluded.  During the 2008 Summer Olympics, fighting broke out as another former Soviet Republic, Georgia, tried to assert control in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia prompting Russia to invade.  It hasn’t gone this far with Ukraine, but things are tense and one mistake can send to whole region spiraling out of control.  So if you had plans to visit Ukraine to hunt for a foreign wife, then you might want to put your plans on hold until things stabilize, or search elsewhere.

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