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Brides by mail from Ukraine: history and modern realities of Russian dating agencies


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Today almost everybody can recollect a couple of people whom they know who met each other online. Though not long ago dating online was considered a strange and even desperate thing. However, such practice is not new at all. Dating agencies appeared much earlier than you can imagine. The history of dating service is more than 300 years old. Online dating is just a modern version if marriage agencies of 1700s which helped men in finding their wives through advertisements in newspapers. Modern dating agencies both in Ukraine and in the whole world offer a search and an organization of dates for potential partners.

Main types of modern Ukrainian dating services:

‘Face to face’. Classical agencies. A man and a woman come to an agency office and ask for help in finding a partner.
Online dating agencies: Sites and online resources where people register on their own, fill in profiles and get acquainted and communicate with other users through the internet.
International dating agencies: The agencies present successful men from well-developed countries to potential brides from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova. Also a business teaching a man how to meet a woman by himself without a service of an agency using principles of woman’s psychology and social aspects also gains popularity.

Anna from Odessa, 25 y/o   Liliva from Kiev, 30 y/o   Irina from Kharkov, 26 y/o

Dating agencies of 18-19 centuries
The first newspapers appeared in 1690-ies, and there has not much time passed since people started to get acquainted through them. The first dating agencies were opened by priests in England and Wales at the end of 18th century and evoked much mockery. Rumors about a ‘marriage plan’ started to appear, according to which in every town there was a network of marriage agencies to be opened. It was also considered to be lonely after 21 shameful for Ukrainian women as well. Both advertisements for acquaintance and services of dating agencies were the only saving means for men and women to avoid social condemnation. However, the majority of people found their couples in every-day life, at work and got acquainted through friends and relatives. That’s why dating agencies in Ukraine were not very popular. However, during the World War II a great demand for acquaintances appeared. The reason is a demographical one. The war took millions of lives of Ukrainian men and left millions of women and girls lonely. Principles and conditions of work in a modern dating agency haven’t changed much since then. People joined a club, made photos and filled in a questionnaire. Then club’s employees helped them in finding a fitting partner. Private marriage advertisements in newspapers and magazines were also popular.

Online dating agencies
With the emergence of the internet, online dating agencies and mobile dating services the methods of a search for a partner and means of courtship have changed considerably. Telecommunication and computer technologies has been developing rapidly since 1995, letting people to find partners without leaving their home. Preliminary dates took place over the phone, e-mail, online chat and even video chat. In 2004 in Ukraine there were about 200 dating agencies and the market of these service was extending with each year. Nowadays there is no prejudice about searching for a husband or a wife through the net anymore. Many Ukrainians, after having evaluated new possibilities and benefits began to use such inline services eagerly.

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