Inside the murky world of Eastern European matchmaking | #datingscams | #russianliovescams | #lovescams


Eastern Europe’s ‘mail-order bride’ market is big business (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Feminine gold-diggers with traditional family values – these are just some of the stereotypes about women in Eastern Europe, pushed by Hollywood films like Borat.

Fetishisation of women from the former Communist Bloc predates the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but it’s recently been regurgitated by the ‘king of toxic masculinity’, Andrew Tate, and his fanbase.

They are viewed as the opposite to an emancipated woman, someone who is looking to ‘escape’ to a Western Wonderland.

These narratives – and the visa restrictions still in place for many Eastern European nations – are what the so-called ‘mail-order bride’ industry has relied on for decades.

Catalogues with pictures of ‘bombshells’ and dating websites such as Rose Brides, targeted at ‘customers’ from the US and Western Europe, remained popular across Ukraine and Russia for years.

But Vladimir Putin’s war changed this. Ukraine’s borders have opened to the rest of the world, making it easier for women to travel and live in countries like the UK and US.

‘Slavic Seduction Secrets’

It’s fair to say that Conor Clyne, a British-Irish lawyer based in Ukraine, is familiar with the market.

The founder of The Tsar Experience is one of the Westerners benefiting from the decades-old industry, selling ‘Slavic Seduction Secrets’ for more than £300.

He helps ‘high level’ Western men live ‘their dream lifestyle’ in Moldova, Poland, the Baltic States and Kazakhstan – what he refers to as the ‘New Europe’.

The lawyer turned YouTuber describes himself as a lifestyle coach and a tour guide for Westerners, after spending more than a decade in the region and learning several languages.

As part of his business, Conor makes YouTube videos about ‘Why you must move to New Europe as a single Western guy’, ‘Why online dating is bad for meeting 9s and 10s in New Europe’ and ‘How to have a long-term relationship with 9s and 10s in New Europe’.

But he describes the ‘bride industry’ in Ukraine as a ‘dating disaster’ and a ‘scam’, and says since the war, the market has relocated to nations like Moldova, Georgia, Poland and Armenia.

YouTube Poster

Interest in Eastern European women

Explaining why Western men seek out Eastern European women, the businessman tells Metro.co.uk: ‘In general, the level of obesity in the region – especially under the age of 40 – is extremely low.

‘This is a growing issue in places like the UK and Ireland where I was born. I see a massive difference whenever I go back.

‘Women are more attractive in [Eastern European] countries on average. And the big difference is the obesity level.

‘Eastern European women are also not as emancipated. They prioritise their looks more.’

For context, 27% of Ukraine’s population is deemed ‘obese’, compared with 28% in the UK and 43% in the US.

Conor says that for Latin American men, being blonde is also a desired aesthetic.

He explains: ‘I cannot quantify how much money has been invested in the marketing of Eastern European women, primarily by matchmakers or dating sites where they present them as “women who look like supermodels, but have the values of your grandmother”.

Conor Clyne
Conor’s YouTube channel shares tips about how to ‘date 9s and 10s in New Europe’ (Picture: The Tsar Experience)

‘The idea is that they are all baking cookies while wearing heels, like Stepford wives, and all they want to do is take care of their man.’

‘Matchmaking’

Taisiia Iaremii runs a ‘matchmaking’ agency in Ukraine.

Like Conor, the Kyiv-based entrepreneur first saw her business grow from a YouTube channel where she teaches foreigners about her country and culture.

Some 80% of her viewers are men from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and recently India.

They began contacting Taisiia, asking about tips on how to meet Slavic women in Ukraine, and sharing stories of being scammed at other agencies.

‘At some websites, you pay per message, while at others – more old-school – you fill out a personal profile and get introduced to a woman,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘It is a booming business. I do feel sorry for some of the men for getting scammed, but others are very unrealistic.

‘These men become very picky, and want the best-looking women – because they think that women in Ukraine live a poor, sheltered life and have never ever left the country.

‘Women who live in cities have probably been to more countries than the average American citizen, and live a normal life.’

Women dancing in a nightclub
Conor is the founder of The Tsar Experience (Picture: The Tsar Experience)

It is this misconception about Eastern Europe that leads many Westerners to trek to Ukraine in search of a relationship.

What do Western men want

Most of Taisiia’s clients email her to say they desire a ‘woman with good character’ – traits not linked with physical appearance – but when it comes to selection on the website, they choose those ‘who look like models’.

She says: ‘But then men also ask me, “If I choose a woman from abroad and bring her back to the US, can she please get a job”. This is unrealistic.

‘You need to be financially stable. Ukrainian women are traditional, and will only work if they want to, not because they have to survive.’

Taisiia started her matchmaking service five years ago. Her agency is not as big as others – she only has about 80 women on her website – and she mostly works on recommendations.

About 20 men contact her every month, and Russia’s bombardment seems to have done little to derail Western interest.

Taisiia screens requests and sometimes turns them down if they do not appear to be of ‘good character’.

To guard the safety of the women on her website, she refuses requests from men to fly the women straight to their country, instead of the other way around.

‘One man asked me to fly one of the women to the US, where she was going to stay in his house,’ she recalls.



Matchmaking websites

While there are genuine matchmaking services in Eastern Europe, there are also those that operate to exploit Westerners.

One way to scam users is by fake profiles. It is often the case that pictures of women are stolen from social media and then posted. But sometimes women are paid for their photos to be used.

Once users engage with these profiles, they may be encouraged to pay for premium services or credits to continue chatting with the women.

Many websites employ automated messaging systems that send generic texts.

Others offer non-existent services. They may advertise meetings with women, but these never actually happen.

Another way to scam users is deceptive billing practices.

This might include hidden recurring charges, or misleading pricing structures that make it difficult for users to understand the true cost of using the service.

‘This is wrong. And I do not care if it is about saving money. It can be scary. Some men are desperate, and have psychological problems. So, they should come to Ukraine first and meet the women here.’

A relationship is never guaranteed. ‘Successful’ couples send her photos on dates and some have been together for more than four years, but none of her clients are married yet.

Cookie cutter scams?

In the late 2000s, Russian women were at the top of the ‘mail-order bride’ market, but by the mid-2010s, men were almost exclusively seeking Ukrainians.

Conor says this is when the narrative about the traditional wife took off. But he insists it is all a ‘massive scam industry’.

Multiple chat sites charge men just for communicating with women, and Conor says some of his clients have been burnt in the past before getting in touch with him.

His motto is: ‘If you are paying for communication, then you are getting scammed.’

Users sometimes find themselves chatting with bots at a cost of $500. But Conor explains that sites will often post pictures of women that have been stolen from social media.

Women dancing in a nightclub
Conor now helps Western men with ‘above average income’ to live a more luxurious lifestyle in Eastern Europe (Picture: The Tsar Experience)

Conor says his girlfriend, who is Ukrainian, was offered a ‘substantial’ sum just for the use of her Instagram images.

‘The real matchmaking part of this huge industry rumoured to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars is actually miniscule,’ he adds.

‘At least back in the 1990s, it was a genuine industry.’

Conor insists that his business, the Tsar Experience, is in no way connected to the ‘mail-order bride’ industry.

At the beginning, he was receiving a lot of messages from men asking for tips for Eastern Europe and how to meet women there. This is how his YouTube channel started to grow.

Moving away from tourism during the pandemic, he started helping Western men with ‘above average income’ to live a more luxurious lifestyle in Eastern Europe for three to four months a year.

Recently, Conor also introduced a ‘boot camp’, ‘New Europe dating and language fundamentals’, which includes programmes about ‘Slavic seduction secrets’ and ‘One to one coaching with the Tsar’.


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