I hope my dear friend Andrew and Amal will read this text.
70 Brides for 7 Foreigners
Russia seems to be turning into a major exporter of brides. Almost 1,500 marriages with foreigners registered in Moscow every year. Another 10,000 women go to the international marriage agency Alliance each year, according to a poll, and 23 percent of Russian mothers would like their daughters to marry foreign citizens. Russian brides have always been prized by foreigners-ever since the time of Yaroslav the Wise [an eleventh-century grand prince of Kiev], whose daughter became the queen of France. But during Joseph Stalin's time, the attitude toward marriages to foreigners was intolerant.
In the 1960s, the registration of foreign marriages was resumed, and since then the trickle of Russian brides abroad has turned into a powerful torrent. Tens of thousands of Russian women dream of an advantageous marriage and look for foreign husbands. How? One way is through personal ads in newspapers. One ad read: "Man from Australia (... feet ... pounds) seeks short(... feet... pounds), slender woman 22-29 for marriage." The man is from Sydney. His mother advised him to marry a Russian woman because Australian women are very liberated; change men like gloves, and do not do housework. Russian women, in the opinion of the placer of the ad, love to clean, cook, stay at home, and have children. In two days, he got 100 calls.
Many women are not shy about going to dating agencies. Alliance is one of the largest in Moscow, with branches in Russian's large cities and abroad. In has been flourishing for more than five years. The director, Tmara Alekseyevna Shkunova, is an academician and director of the Russian Institute of the Family at the International Academy of Information System and editor in chief of Moskovskaya brachenaya Gazeta(the Moscow Marriage Gazette).
Each day about 10 women go to the agency, but only two to three of them are put in the files. There are criteria for selection. First, you must be successful in your professional milieu. Second, you must know a foreign language. And third, you must meet a standard of "European looks": blond with blue eyes, slender with long legs. Of the 2,000 women a year who get into the files, only 5 percent get married. Of the 200 who married recently, one was lucky enough to become the wife of a millionaire.
For a 25-year-old woman without children, the service costs $5.30: for 30 to 40-year-old women without children, the service costs $8.00.
There are 700 foreign men in the files, mostly from the United States, Germany, and Britain. Up to 300 men apply annually. They must meet only one requirement-that they be well-to-do. The information on the man's passport is checked, and a call is made to his place of work.
Once a husband is found, the next stop is Wedding Palace Number 4, the only place in Moscow that registers marriages to foreigners. Each year, 1,200 couples get married there. In 1992, the bridegrooms came from 96 countries. The greatest number came from the United States. In second place was Israel, followed by Turkey and Bulgaria.
Registration requires a passport and a guarantee from the groom's embassy that there are no obstacles to his getting married. The French Embassy for example, takes a very serious attitude toward marriages to foreign women. It requires that the French groom obtains certification of his "legal capacity for marriage." If an embassy official registers a couple that has not passed the requisite medical tests, the official is fined. Stiff requirements are also imposed by Germany.
The Wedding Palace requires confirmation that, in the given country, a marriage to a citizen of another state is valid. After all, in a number of countries, a foreign wife and her children could find that they have no property rights. In Syria, for example, marriage to a foreigner is considered invalid without special permission.
Many countries are trying to erect barriers to the marital migration from Russia. For example, one Moscow woman tried to nine months to get permission to go to the United States, where her fiance was waiting for her.
Another couple wanted to get registered in Canada. The finance was called to the Canadian Embassy for an interview, but an entry visa was never granted. "Prove that this isn't a fictitious marriage," they said.
Many Russian women who marry foreigners quickly get divorced and come back. The reasons are well known: a sense of second-class status, a language barrier, and financial difficulties. Deceptions are frequent: One "sweet-heart" described his home as a place with a fountain, but, in reality, it turned out that he lived in a small cottage without a bathtub.
Extracted from a book entitled "Mosaic Reading", 4th Edition, by Bernada Wegmann/Miki Knezevic
Dear Andrew and dear Amal, the name of you countries have come in this text. How do you think about this text?
There are many useful collocations and expressions in the text. I hope you learn them and use them in your everyday conversation with English speakers.
All the best,
Behnam, 5 February, 2012