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Jun 2009 Newsletter
The RWD Newsletter
June 2009

In this edition:


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Cultural Exchange (Part 4)

Some Good Advice

Caveat Emptor

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Cherry Blossoms


Cultural Exchange

Part 4
Smile… A picture is being taken

Sometimes it is the small things, those that might go unnoticed or are taken for granted by most people that can have the greatest impact and make a lasting impression. To a Russian, Ukrainian or anybody from FSU what small things might become immediately apparent when coming to the United States? One of the very first things I noticed in day-to-day interactions with people in the USA were the smiles and kindness openly shown between all people.

One might expect this treatment to be standard in the service sector for them to be successful. But I speak of the regular people – part of the anonymous crowds one passes on the streets everyday. Should one meet eyes with another, it is normal to offer a smile or a quick greeting of hello even though you don’t know them. If you meet a person on the street, in an elevator, walking a dog next to your house, it’s customary to greet or acknowledge them. If another driver lets you go first on the road or allows you to take a turn last minute, a polite wave of the hand is frequently seen as a sign of thanks.

As a contrast in social norms, try to wave your hand when you are driving around Petersburg, Moscow or Vladivostok or try to let other cars merge in front of you. You will either be ignored, mocked or taken advantage of in the traffic line. We have many gestures offered in traffic, but these particular gestures of gratitude are not yet part of Russian culture.

Russia, however, is constantly changing – evolving as influences from around the globe are more readily apparent. Every 2-3 months I go to Russia and I notice more and more positive changes. Recently, it has become more a prevalent part of our driving culture to flash one’s lights as a thank you when another lets you go in front or you just squeeze in… :)

How does this contrast with a Petersburg subway or out on the main streets? Even in the early morning hours when few are on the streets, one does not greet the person he does not know; instead, he walks past them as if they do not exist. Were you to offer greetings, you would likely receive a stare of disbelief mixed with the look that something must be seriously wrong with you. This is not to suggest that Russians are not, themselves, very open and hospitable with the people they know. The stark difference lies in the treatment of those with whom one has yet to be formally acquainted.

My Muj (husband) is of the strong belief that people are, by nature, very similar and mostly friendly. He says that a smile given freely is usually repaid many times over. In fact, to my discomfort, he was determined to conduct an experiment in the St. Petersburg Metro (subway) one day. While seated, he noticed a mother with her young boy (perhaps 5-6 years old) seated across from us. It was clear from the posture that the mother was not pleased with the boy and she gave him a scolding stare. He returned a pleading glance, but it was rebuffed with icy resolve. The boy pouted and whined. My husband happened to have candy in his pocket and he suggested offering this to the little boy to brighten his outlook. I was horrified that he would attempt to engage a stranger…on the Metro no less. I suggested that this was not wise, but he smiled at me and pressed forward.

He began by looking toward the woman until she noticed. When their eyes met, he smiled and pointed to the candy he had just pulled from his pocket. With a questioning look and a gesture toward the child, the mother instantly understood his intent. She smiled back and reached down to the boy. With a tap on his shoulder, he looked up to her and then followed her gaze to my Muj. Like an eagle atop a tree, scanning the valley for his next meal, the boy drew his attention instantly to the candy in his hand. His eyes grew wide and quickly looked to his mother for an approving nod, which she gave him with reassurance. My husband extended his hand, cradling the candy in his palm, and the boy gently retrieved it with a smile as wide as the Neva River. He glanced to his mother, then to me. Suddenly, the entire portion of the cabin was infected with smile that would not cease.

Once I was rushing into the mall in the US to pick up pictures, I ran into the door when it was about to close and by accident smashed into a person. To my surprise, this man apologized for being in my way…something I never expected to hear.

Whether one considers the ubiquitous American smile as sincere or just polite, I believe this represents something good for any culture to learn and accept. To see open faces, smiles and kindness between all people, not necessarily your friends, makes our every day life so much easier. For now, do not expect it to be a part of the daily Russian culture. Remain steadfast in the knowledge that once a Russian person gets to know you, all that they have will be shared with you.

Remember, smiles are infectious wherever they are tried. Keep smiling and walk through your life with your head up, eyes forward and a smile on your lips.

Tamara von Schmidt-Pauli at RussianWomenDiscussion.comTamara von Schmidt-Pauli is a native of St. Petersburg Russia who has been visiting, and living in, the United States and Canada since 2002. She holds bachelors and masters degrees, with honors, covering teaching of language and translation and currently resides in the greater Minneapolis area. Tamara is affiliated with Prime Language Services (

Some Good Advice

These are just a list of general tips and procedures that you should keep in mind as you search for your Russian or FSU (Former Soviet Union) wife!

1) Know Yourself: You need to know who you are. By this I mean you should honestly sit down and decide what kind of qualities and character you have. This should prepare you to be better able to determine what kind of woman you want/need to have in your life. You need to be very honest and realistic as you do this kind of soul searching.

2) Know the Type of Woman You Want: Based on your qualities, character, attitudes, etc… decide upon the type of woman you are seeking. Of course, you should also become educated and bear in mind the realities of this process. For example, do not write to a woman who is 30 years younger than you. (Even 20 years younger may be too much) Do not write to an 18-21 year old with super-model looks unless you truly feel your appearance is justified for this. Be honest. I would also suggest sitting down and writing a profile of the type of woman you want. Let me share with you the type of profile I think makes the best FSU wife: 25-35 (depending upon the man’s age, of course), divorced with a young child (4-10), limited English (but either currently studying or willing to learn), and working.

3) Ask Her Questions: Find out all you can about the woman/women you are contacting. Learn what they do, what their goals and dreams are, why they are interested in finding a foreign man as a possible husband, even try to figure out her attitudes and how she thinks. You must ask her questions to do this. She will certainly be asking you the same type of questions. If do not respond in similar fashion, she will probably assume you are not serious.

4) Keep the First Letter Simple: Generally, you want to keep your first letter simple and straightforward. By all means, include a photo. She wants to see who she is talking to! And besides, you have already seen her photo! There are cases, however, where you may want your first letter to be more detailed. It really depends on if you want a lower, higher quality response, or if you just want the maximum number of women to answer.

5) Do Not Send Money: Never send money to a woman you have not personally met. If she asks for money, run away because it is a scam. An honest woman has too much pride to ask for money from you. If you do not send money you cannot be scammed! Always remember this.

6) Be Prepared to Make a Trip: No, I do not mean that you need tickets in hand. Just understand that if you intend to marry one of these wonderful, sexy women, you will have to meet her in person in her home country. This is a requirement for the visa processing. A woman will generally give you 4-6 months to decide that you want to come meet her. So, you will have SOME time to decide and make arrangements.

7) Make Sure You Can Afford This Process: It is neither cheap nor fast. Of course the exact amount will vary depending upon how you decide to go. You can figure that for an organized agency tour you will spend between $5,500-7,000 for a trip. If you go on your own, you can figure around $2,500-3,500 per trip. Maybe even a little less if you are careful about your money. Chances are you will need to take more than one trip. Even if you have corresponded and spoken on the phone for a while, it may not be the best thing to marry someone after only spending two weeks with them (typically the average duration of a trip to the FSU). Then, there will be additional expenses as you prepare the visa paperwork—tickets for her to your country, paperwork and processing fees, money that she may need for English lessons, etc… Also, bear in mind that these figures, while based on personal experience, are only approximations.

8 ) Be a Leader: A Russian woman does not want a weak man…she could find that in Russia! These ladies are tired of having to be the head of the house, and make all the decisions. They are tired of weak-willed and lazy husbands and boyfriends who do not want to raise a family and cannot seem to take care of them and their children. Russia and the FSU are very male-oriented and the man is expected to fill the traditional roles of being the main provider and leader of the family. If you expect anything different from yourself, then this is probably not the type of woman you want to pursue. Might I suggest a stuck-up, overweight, over-bearing good old American woman!? Even better if she is a raging feminist!

9) Do Not Fall In Love With a Photograph: These ladies look even better in person than they do online! But watch out for pictures than are overly sexually suggestive. A serious woman will not use such a photo (half-nude, bikini-type, with her breasts half out of her shirt). Additionally, you should be interested in finding out her inner qualities. Be interested in her! You want to spend your life with someone who is interesting to be around, not just look at, don’t you?

10) Verify You are Writing a Real Woman Who Is Genuinely Interested in You: You must make sure that you are writing to a real woman. There are all kinds of scams that can range from an agency making up a woman entirely, to having a man impersonate a woman (both of these are usually accomplished by stealing photos off the internet), to even having her letters altered. Sometimes an agency will have real women, but after a letter two they decide they are not interested in you. Instead of letting the correspondence (and their income) die, these companies, or interpreters will simply write the letters for the woman! You need to get your woman’s full contact details (full name, address, phone numbers, email addresses). Then contact her using alternate methods in addition to those provided by the agency. This should tell you if she is real and is actually writing to you.

11) If You Can’t Get Full Contact Details, Move On: The only exception to this rule is if you feel the agency is the reason why you are not able to get her contact details. If this is the case, try this: ask if they will provide a three-way call to your woman, using their interpreter. Then schedule the call. Purchase the minimum call time allowed. When you call your girlfriend, chat for a few minutes and then ask for her direct phone number. If you think she will go for it also say that you would like to send her something in the mail, would she give you her address? Then you can work off of that and contact her with your own interpreter and maybe send her a letter or a small gift in the mail. Now that I think about it, asking for her address first might work better because the interpreter might get suspicious otherwise. You could even go so far as to say that the delivery company would need her phone number in case she was not home when they came…that it was a requirement.

12) Be Open On Sexual Issues: Do not be afraid to talk about sex with your girlfriend. These ladies are very straightforward and open. In some cases, this can be a bit shocking to you. I am of course talking about an open and straightforward dialog. NOT something where she starts saying how much she wants to sleep with you or what she will do to you (or what she wants you to do to her). That kind of talk would be more of an indication of a scam. She may not have ever met a foreigner. Maybe she is curious about the sexual habits of American women (or American men!). Or maybe she would like to find out if you are more of a “playboy” or more stable. These are all related to her idea of American culture. Just be ready for this and even expect it.

13) Follow Your Instincts: By all means, read and educate yourself. Learn as much about this process as possible. Look at the forums or message boards. Always keep learning. If you see red flags when you are dealing with a woman from the FSU or a marriage agency, know when to try and deal with it and when to walk away and move on. The bottom line is not to send money and just don’t do anything that you would question if you were dating a woman back home. Sure there are differences between Russian and American women, but women are still women. Do not just simply chalk up every difference to a cultural variation. Think about it and analyze it.

14) Always Have a Back Up Plan: When you are traveling in the FSU, you must have some contacts. Never go for just a single woman. Always have the contact information for other women and other agencies in the same city close by. Sometimes you can look at a woman you have been communicating with for months and see it all vanish instantly. It happens. I have heard it said that you learn more in one personal meeting than from 100 letters and phone calls. This is absolutely true. You need a second (or third) agency and other women that you can contact.

I urge you to listen to this advice. Continue to educate yourself and you should be fine. If you are serious, committed and persistent you will be successful

Good luck!

After having traveled to Russia, Ukraine and the FSU over 14 times, and being married to a beautiful Russian woman, Joseph Carducci is truly a man who has ‘been there, done that!’ For more info, advice and details on the process of finding, meeting and marrying a Russian woman, along with a free report and 7-part email course, please visit his site: How To Marry A Russian Woman

Caveat Emptor
by John Sampson

Much has been written on this site about the subject revolving around marriage and divorce involving "international marriages". Many on this website believe in the fundamental goodness of international marriages. Many have either openly questioned my stance on international marriages, or perhaps, have harbored a quiet resentment. Some are even openly hostile to the mere suggestion that immigration marriage fraud actually exists. Ask yourself this question. If there truly was no fraud, or it was at worst, an isolated instance, why is it that I have had more than 1,700 hits on my website since I started the site four months ago, why have I had over 200 inquiries as to my services, and why is it, I've had more than 20 paying clients in the four and a half months I've been in business?

The reality is that immigration marriage fraud exists, and the numbers are not insignificant. And the particularly nasty and vile subset of immigration marriage fraud, VAWA fraud, or false allegations of domestic violence in order to get a green card without having to remain married to "the stupid American" for two years, is almost impossible to track due to the built in "star chamber" secrecy provisions of VAWA.

Allow me to clear the air, so to speak. Although the statistics kept by the former USINS indicated that in the mid 1980's, 30% of all marriage based immigrant visas were issued based upon a fraudulent marriage, the reality is that 70% were not. So 7 out of 10 "international marriages" were legitimate, or at least, passed the "smell test" that the then INS instituted.

The current statistics on this issue are hard to come by since there is a subset of immigration marriage fraud cases that involve false allegations of domestic violence. With VAWA claims being cloaked in total secrecy, ostensibly to protect the "victim", USCIS refuses to disclose even the raw numbers as to how many I-360 self petitions based upon allegations of domestic violence are filed each year. As a result, an accurate statistical analysis is impossible to come by. And that, in my opinion, is by design.

....... Remainder of the Article - click >here<

About the author:

John Sampson currently works as a private investigator and consultant specializing in immigration fraud, marriage fraud, false accusations of domestic violence, and alleged sexual assault. He operates CSI Consulting and Investigations.

He retired in August 2008 at the mandatory age of 57 from DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after 27 years of service as an immigration enforcement officer with ICE and the legacy agency, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), from which ICE evolved. With INS and ICE he specialized in marriage fraud cases and, more recently, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) fraud cases in which foreign nationals falsely accuse American citizens of domestic violence in order to gain an immigration benefit.

......... Full Bio - click >here<

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