Australians consider Russian Women

Sean and Elena Durkin were married on January 8. Sean, a 41-year-old programmer from Sydney, was divorced with three children. "I found it hard to meet suitable women in Australia. The women I met were either really self-centered and they weren't family focused or they were already married."

Thirty-three-year-old Elena was divorced, with an 11-year-old son, living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. "It's a Muslim area so there were not so many men I could meet there," she says.

Durkin started writing to women in Russia three years ago and even went overseas to visit several, before writing to Elena. "I'd been writing to Elena for about seven months until I went to visit her in Uzbekistan in June 2003. When we met, I knew right away that she was the right person for me. After that, we wrote daily and I went back again in December 2003."

Durkin found out later that at the same time there was another Sydney programmer in Tashkent meeting another Elena. "I think we were the only Australians to visit Uzbekistan in years." The couples have since met in Sydney and the two Elenas have become close friends.

It was a difficult exercise, Durkin says. "If you fall in love with someone from the former USSR and you want to marry, it's a nightmare. It takes two months just to get all the paperwork together and then you have to apply and wait for processing."

Elena and her son finally arrived in October 2004.

Durkin recommends that any Australian man sick of the local dating scene consider a Russian woman bride. "Ladies from the former USSR are looking for reliability, kindness and gentility in a man."

and what about Australian women - are Australian women commitment-shy? Perhaps that would explain the lure of Russian women?

Durkin fell silent. "If I knew the answer to that," he said eventually, "I wouldn't be married to a Russian woman."