Moscow today, with its hip cafes, shiny business centers and fashionable retail stores, is no longer the Moscow of the '90s, when girls fantasized about being whisked away by a foreign prince in Levi's.When Russia plunged into chaos following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of its citizens looked for a reliable way out.That reputation persists today, and it is not wholly without cause.Most male expats say that their nationality can still have a positive impact on girls.In many cases, the linguistic efforts are rewarded.Forums are full of the accounts of Russian women thanking their coaches for a "happy end" — engagement or marriage to a foreigner.This is a world of dating agencies, psychologists, therapists, etiquette training and self-help courses, all geared towards the question of where to meet and how to keep foreign lovers.Many of the agencies also offer English language courses and translators to facilitate online communication.
The subject of her advances, a British Moscow Times business reporter, blushes with embarrassment.She said they are also more emancipated — willing to take on household chores and take up an active role in raising children — and that they were softer in their communication.But among younger Russian women, who did not experience life under the Soviet Union and are too young to be scarred by past experiences, foreign men have less cachet.Naturally, foreigners were viewed as a bridge to the more developed and "civilized" West.The popular rock group Kombinatsiya summed up in endearing, if flawed, English what was most on Russian girls' minds: "American boy, American joy. " Russian women gained a name for going weak in the knees for anyone from the West.Initially, women were hoping to find a partner from the United States, then Britain.Today, European countries and Turkey are more in vogue. Decades after the Soviet collapse, the "American Boy" fantasy is starting to fade."You can just speak English and heads will turn," said Sean, 26, an English language teacher.Russian women are also more forward, he says: "You can just be talking to someone and some beautiful girl will come up to you with a chat-up line.Russia is entering its second year of crisis, widening the lifestyle gap between Westerners and Russians.The economic slump has had an impact on the supply side too, as foreigners leave the capital in droves.