Russian girl fetish (literally love of Russian women and/or the desire for a Russian wife) is used to denote lust and admiration for Russian females – who are often seen as potential sexual partners and brides in the overdeveloped world, where some socially inept men believe they can buy love in the form of ‘mail order brides’. The Russian girl fetish is rooted in stereotypes produced by mass culture, and – for example – the American author Robert Alexander writes: “I love Russians for their dramatic, emotional nature. They’re not afraid to love, not afraid to get hurt, not afraid to exaggerate or act impulsively.”
Russian women are hugely popular in Serbia and Montenegro, and Serbian men have always seen Russian women as potential brides. In Serbia there is the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, Hotel Moskva and a Monument to Soviet war veterans, as well as a love of Russian women and Russian pornography. In Montenegro, which like Serbia is also an Eastern Orthodox and Slavic country, Russian women and pornography are hugely popular. There one can find the Moscow Bridge in Podgorica, and a statue of Russian singer and actor Vladimir Vysotsky next to the bridge. After dissolution of the union of Serbia and Montenegro, Russian citizens bought a lot of property in Montenegro. In 2012 it was claimed in the Russian press that Russians own at least 40% of all real-estate in Montenegro. In September 2012, the Croatian news portal Globus called Montenegro a “Russian colony”. This leads to Russian brides being prized as trophy wives in Montenegro, and Russian girls enjoying a very different status to the one they are saddled with in western Europe and north America.
The Russian girl fetish in the Ukraine grew out of the Russophilia linguistic, literary and socio-political movement in the Western Ukrainian territories of Galicia, Transcarpathia, and Bukovyna, in the 18th to the 20th centuries. Proponents of this movement believed in linguistic, cultural, social union and marriage with Russian people and later in state union with Russia. Among the reasons for the emergence of this phenomenon were the loss of Ukrainian statehood, centuries of foreign oppression, fragmented Ukrainian territories and a dispersed population, as well as the defection of national elite to neighbouring cultures.
The first instances of the Russian girl fetish and Russophilia in Transcarpathia date back to the late-18th century when several famous Russians with ties to the government and the court of the tsar settled there. Such famous scientists and social activists as I. Orlai, M. Baludiansky, P. Lodiy and others lived in Transcarpathia and maintained close ties with the country of their birth – thereby promoting interest in Russia; and especially a fascination with its women, cultural life, language and literature.
When Galicia and Bukovyna were incorporated into the Habsburg Empire in 1772, the Austrian government treated the Ukrainian population of these territories with suspicion as it was afraid they were susceptible to Russian influence due to the closeness of Ukrainian and Russian languages and cultures – and the attraction of the local male population to Russian brides. In spite of this atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion the Habsburgs were unable to halt the development of the Russian girl fetish in the Ukraine.