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St. Petersburg: Where the Modern Mail Order Bride Movement Was Born

This beautiful city at the mouth of the Gulf of Finland is where the modern international dating world was born in the 1990s from the rubble of the old Soviet Union, because the DNA of St. Petersburg is full of a much older, more elegant, and sexier past. 

St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Russian Federation, behind Moscow with a population of over 5 million people. The name of the city isn't familiar? That's probably because when you were in elementary school and Ike was in the White House it was known as Leningrad.  

The city was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great on swamp along the banks of the Neva River.  The city was initially built to give Russia a port on the Baltic to help increase trade with Europe and as a forward operating base for his ongoing war with Charles XII of Sweden.  But quickly the city became more than that – far more than that. 

St. Petersburg became a Russian Xanadu.  An elegant statement of Russian power and intentions to become a great European state – not an Asian backwater dominated by Mongols and Turks for most of the previous 500 years.  

Louis XIV’s Palace

Beginning in 1697 Peter had traveled around Europe visiting many German states, the Netherlands, England, France, and Austria.  The design St. Petersburg was overtly influenced by what Peter saw on this excursion.  Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles, Venice, Vienna, and the newest parts of London all were influences.   So, the city it looks and feels more like Paris or Vienna than any other city in Russia.

Peter spared no expense hiring Italian architects bringing in engineers and craftsmen from across Europe, and importing the best materials.  The heavy labor was done by hundreds of thousands of Russian serfs guarded by the army and literally thousands died to build, but by 1712 the city was sufficiently complete for Peter to move the capital from Moscow, a city he believed was dark, dreary, and dangerous. 

And this is an important reason why St. Petersburg, but first let’s take a look at the citizens of the “Vince of the North.” 

Why You Need to Watch Russian Men

“Huh, why would I want to watch those losers?” you are probably asking.  Well, successful dating is a lot like successful business, successful football, or successful war.  In all of those activities you have to know your competition, your opponent, or your enemy.  You need to know their strengths weaknesses and tendencies before you saddle up and go off to sell shoes, walk on to the field, or parachute into the night.    

The same thing is true of dating.  Yes, there are a lot of reasons why there are so many Russian women looking for Western men, but you need to understand those reasons and how to make the situation favor your approach.  And to effectively scout the situation you need to take some time to watch a little game film on Russian men. 

Russian men drinking in St Petersberg

Russian men are face a lot of issues, but this is not 1992.  Alcoholism and substance abuse are still a huge issue for Russian’s from all walks of life, but especially the middle-class guys you might be competing against.  The problems that so many Russian men have is why so many beautiful, talented Russian women still sign up for international dating agencies.  Look at these amazing Russian women!

But from your perspective you have to remember you are basically competing against the absolute top Russian guys who probably don’t have a serious drinking or drug problem.  These guys are intelligent, well educated, and very ambitious. 

If you pay attention one of the first things you will notice is that Russian guys do not chat as much as the average American men and they are not even close to men from Australia or New Zealand.  In fact, if you get a chance in a Russian airport or train stop and listen.  There will often be scores or even hundreds of men around and you might not be able to hear a single man speaking.

This probably goes back to the days of the Soviet Union, when talking to much was worse for your health than smoking or drinking too much – far worse.

So, the first thing you should try to do a lot is talk.  If you are a salesman or a lawyer or have another profession where you deal with the public a lot you have a real advantage.  Just talk to a Russian woman.  Ask her opinion and listen to what she says. She will be happy to hear that you are talking and listening.  This might be the only dating tip you need, but there are more things to consider. 

When a Russian man is crazy about a woman they are completely crazy.  They give gifts and ­­­show excellent manners.  They treat a woman like she is the only one.  This is important.  To make the sports analogy they are not consistent, but when they are good they are very good.

Russian men are generally take-charge kind guys.  They do not ask their girlfriend, “Where do you want to eat tonight?”  They say, “We are going to Percorso, because I want Italian.”  Sadly, when they drink they often become too take charge and forget about the manners and romance.

As a foreign man you want to do the positive things that a good Russian man will do without slipping into the negatives.  So, when you do decide you are really interested in a Russian mail order bride you have to shift into high gear and press the gas pedal all the way to the floor.

The really gorgeous Russian women have seen some impressive game and they are going to expect it – not on the first date or even the second, but at some point if you are truly interested in a woman you need to simply give it everything you ever have if you want to win the heart of a smart, educated, and Russian woman like Anna.

So, you have to try hard.  Maybe you have never been a Navy SEAL, scored the game winning touchdown in the closing seconds of a state championship game, or finished first in your law school class, but you have done something amazing.  And you have to show that sort of dedication, energy, and imagination to win the hand of a hot St. Petersburg girl, because they expect that sort of deeply romantic behavior.

You also have to avoid the traps and the biggest trap is alcohol.  Don’t drink in Russia.  That is the best rule or if you do drink as moderately as you possibly can.  You are not going to impress a Russian fitness model with how much you can drink. 

These girls have seen the effects of heavy drinking and if you can be fun, positive, energetic, and as dry as Kanas even the most jaded model in St. Petersburg will be impressed.  Seriously, being fun without drinking will amaze ladies all over Eastern Europe.  Most Russian men – even the best guys – have a tough time pulling this off, and it had an incredible effect on your average super sexy Russian girl, because she just has never seen it.

When you visit St. Petersburg watch the men.  See how they treat their women. Copy their most positive actions and toss the crazy stuff that causes so many problems.  So, talk more, drink less, and give it the last full measure if you decide she is “The One.”

Dating Russian Women

If you've spent most of your adult life so far dating North American or European women then you're going to have to deal with a whole heap of culture shock when you get to St. Petersburg. You know that whole thing with radical feminism in "developed" countries where men are held to blame for pretty much everything that's ever gone wrong in the history of the world, are all basically sexual predators in waiting, and should be treated like crap at every opportunity? Yeah, that doesn't happen here.

Feminists exist in Russia, but they're in the minority, and they're not the foaming-at-the-mouth-rabid-man-hating types you get in North America. You'll never have a woman here ask, "Did you just assume my gender?" Why? Because Russian women generally know that good men are hard to come by, and to have a guy become part of your life means behaving like an actual woman, and not a spoiled brat. 

If you still do not understand why there are so many Russian mail order brides follow this link and read the article. 

So, you can look forward to meeting women who are incredibly good looking. I mean you're talking long hair, piercing eyes, great skin and toned bodies.  Because there is a real argument that the women of St. Petersburg are the hottest women in the world. 

You really have to visit the city to appreciate how insanely hot these women are, but it all goes back to Peter the Great, the tsar who turn a patch of swampy forest into a European city that rivaled and sometimes exceeded Paris, Vienna, or Rome for its ambiance and class.  You see Peter was obsessed with beautiful women.

After he moved the capital of Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg the city became a hot bed for stunning young women from across Europe.  If you were a courtier who wanted the tsar’s attention nothing was better than to show up with a beautiful woman on your arm.  If she happened to be your wife – all the better – but if she was not Peter did not care and in fact might steal her from you for the evening which might be just the way to get your idea approved or gain a promotion. 

men and women of Russia in a painting

So, St. Petersburg quickly a magnet for the most beautiful women in Russia and beyond. Part of the issue was that the vast majority of all Russians were serfs or semi-slaves tied to the land until the institution of serfdom was abolished by Tsar Alexander II in1861. That meant that for hundreds of years a landowner might sale his most beautiful girls as is shown in the 1866 painting below, "The Bargain" by Nikolai Nevrev.

1866 painting, "The Bargain" by Nikolai Nevrev.

Many of the most beautiful serf girls ended up in St. Petersburg as mistresses to the nobility, but many more ended up working as household servants of one sort or another because having the most beautiful servants was a point of honor to many members of the nobility, both men and women.

St. Petersburg also developed a large fashion industry that quickly rivaled Paris and it became a center of ballet and theater.  Plays were often performed in French and operas in Italian.  So, for about two hundred years St. Petersburg was an entertainment capital on par with something like Hollywood or Broadway.  That also brought stunning young ballerinas and actresses from across Russia, but also from across Scandinavia and Northern Germany.

And the DNA of those beauties is obviously flowing in the toned bodies of the beautiful women of St. Petersburg.  But it is also clear in their behavior.  These women take care of themselves and they are very fashion conscious.

It is kind of heartwarming thing is that they get dressed up no matter where they're going. You'll never see a girl in St. Petersburg wearing sweatpants in public, even if she's just out walking her dog. It just doesn't happen, because her mother did not raise her that way and neither did her grandmother before her and so on. 

The Russian nobility is long gone, but these ladies carry themselves with the class and grace of princesses.   

They’re genuinely sweet in a way that you don't often get with Western women. It's like romance never died here, so they keep looking and acting like women because that's what's normal for them. When you compare that to the non-binary, gender fluid insanity spreading across the Western world, and you'll see why moving to St. Petersburg might just be an option for a lot of single guys.

Another major perk is that St. Petersburg ladies are educated, and more than capable of holding a conversation with you on current affairs. This is a refreshing change to meeting women whose only real concern is what the Kardashians are doing this week, or who won Celebrity Big Brother.

Girls here are also low maintenance, so you're not expected to jump through an ever increasing number of hoops to keep them happy. In fact, she'll be the one working to make sure you're enjoying yourself, and that's both socially and between the sheets.

What do they look for in guys? If you're a beta male, feminist apologist, then stay at home. Seriously guys, they have absolutely no time for any guy who spends his days thinking and acting like a woman. They want alpha males who are assertive, funny, romantic and aren't short of a few bucks.

They want to be the sole focus of your romantic attention, and they’ll enjoy every single second of it.

Although women in St. Petersburg have no real issue with dating older guys, you tend not to see much of an age gap between couples. You will find women in their twenties willing to date a guy in his fifties, but just not as many of them as in Kiev or Moscow.

When you're on a date you'll be expected to pay for coffee, drinks, dinner or whatever you're doing on your date. This is part of her wanting an alpha male who can not only protect her, but provide for her too. Being a cheapskate on a date in St. Petersburg is the quickest way to bring a great date to a screeching halt. 

Russian women have a reputation for having an icy exterior, but what you're actually seeing is a woman who'll hold your stare to make sure you're demonstrating positive body language i.e. if you blush and look away she'll lose interest in you in that same moment. Case closed. Don't try to reopen it. What's hiding underneath the cool exterior is a friendly, intelligent woman with a positive outlook on life that comes like a breath of fresh air in a world filled with feminist farts.

If a Russian woman isn't married by the time she's 30 then people around her will start asking questions. So that means women in their 30s are probably where you need to aim for if you're looking for a long-term relationship, or even just a night of fun. Dating here means playing a long game - you're going to have to invest time in getting to know her, learn about her life, and then you can take the next step from there.

The city has had its fair share of pickup artists visiting here over the years, but that can actually play to your advantage because it means if you're willing to treat a Russian girl more like a prospective girlfriend and less like a $10 hooker, then you can exponentially increase your advantage of getting a string of dates.

Places To Meet Women in St. Petersburg

Now, this is a tourist city, so there's lots to do here. Not only that, but Russian girls are usually very patriotic - they love their city and their country. One easy way of breaking the ice here is to ask a girl if she could show you some of the highlights of the city. Doing this shows her that you care enough to learn more about her culture without trying to get her into bed straight away, and it also gives you a chance to practice your Russian. And you will need to learn to speak at least some Russian before you show up here.

Girls in their twenties and thirties tend to speak at least a little English, but slightly older women probably won't. St. Petersburg is a huge city, but the best possible location for "bumping into" women during the day is to hang out around Nevsky Prospect because this is the single busiest part of the city. During the day the streets are thronged with women, so you have plenty of opportunities here to stop random girls and ask for directions, etc.

Nevsky prospect at night

In St. Petersburg malls are also a great way to meet women, but they’re usually overlooked by the more “eager” international dater.  But think about it for a moment.  This is the most northerly city with a population over two million people.  It has an average mean temperature of 42.4 Fahrenheit or 5.8 Celsius and unless you visit during June, July, or August it can be chilly during the day and at night it is always chilly by American standards. 

So, malls are an absolutely great place to meet women.  Galleria Shopping Mall is pretty much the most popular in the city, but Stockmann Mall is also a good choice. Both of these have a number of coffee shops and eateries to hang out in, and maybe enjoy an on-the-spot date or two. Gostiny Dvor is another mall worth checking out, mainly because it has so many shoe shops, and who can you expect to find shopping for shoes during their lunch break from work? Yup, lots of single Russian hotties.

Best Places To Go On A Date in St. Petersburg

There are a couple of important points we need to cover here before we even get into the detail of where you can bring your date. The first thing is that Russian women like their men to look, talk and smell like men. So, dress to impress on your date – the best guys dress very GQ and you don’t have to quite go there, but you have to make some effort and it has to show.

St. Petersburg is a much more formal dating scene than almost any mail order bride city, probably because of its royal pedigree.  So, dress nicer in St. Petersburg than you would in Kiev and much nicer than in Cebu, where tennis shoes would make you look like Cary Grant compared to most Western men.

Russian women are late for everything, and that includes dates with their boyfriend. If she says she'll meet you at 7:00pm, that really means somewhere around 7:30pm. There's no point in getting annoyed when she does eventually show up, because firstly she's spent a lot of time making herself look amazing for your date, and secondly she's late for everything, so you have no right to complain about her tardiness. Or at least that’s how she’ll see it.

Once you've gotten a few names and numbers it's time to set up a few dates. Daytime dates can be in any of the local malls because there's nothing like shopping to get straight to a woman's heartstrings. But failing that women in St. Petersburg will be more than happy if you ask them to take you on a tour of their favorite places in the city. There are plenty of historical sites to visit, a number of museums and a handful of parks. Let her take the lead on this, but don't be afraid to steer the date where you want it to go - remember she'll expect you to be assertive with her.

Bars

There are lots of bars to choose from in St. Petersburg, including ones ideal for a date, and also bars that are ideal for hookups and getting to know local girls. We're going to list some of our favorite bars here, but if you want to find the best ones in the city you'll find them on Rubenstein Street and Liteyny Avenue.

Santa Barbara Club in Russia

Santa Barbara

This is one of the most exclusive clubs in the city, and the bouncers weed out anyone who doesn't look like they’ll fit in - you literally need to be “good looking” to get in here. Great music, friendly staff, three different rooms and some of the best female talent in the city make this a bucket list venue for any single guy hanging out in St. Petersburg. The drinks here come with premium prices attached, but the view is more than worth it. Address: Kazanskaya Street.

Saigon

Want to sample some of the best beers, shots and cocktails the city has to offer, along with live music that's entertaining but not deafening? Well then you need to spend at least a few hours in Saigon. The staff here are really friendly, and will keep inventing new drinks for you to try out for as long as you can physically cope.

The atmosphere here is relaxed and cozy enough for you to enjoy a night out with a Russian beauty for company. Address: Rubenstein (Rubinshteyna) Street.

Azimut Sky Bar

If you want to treat your date to a very different evening, then take her to the Sky Bar at the top of the Hotel Saint Petersburg. You get to enjoy breathtaking views of the city, overlooking the historic downtown of St. Petersburg. There's a full range of imported bottled beers for you, plus cocktails or wines for your date.

They also serve food, but you’ll be too busy enjoying the view to feel even the tiniest hunger pang. Address: Lermontovsky Prospect

Restaurants

Westerners usually have a very dim view of dining in any Russian city, usually because they've never visited Russia before and expect everyone to look gray, cold and be eating large bowls of borscht, washed down with copious amounts of vodka. That wasn't true 50 years ago, so get that image out of your head. St. Petersburg is actually a hub of fine dining because it's the cultural heart of the Russian Federation, and its proximity to Europe means the culinary influences are always leaking across the border.

elegant Percorso Restaurant in St. Petersburg

Percorso

This restaurant looks like it set out with the goal of being the very best in the city, and it accomplished that single goal with flying colors. The interior decor sets the right tone, followed swiftly by a wine menu that covers all the bases, plus the food is as good as you could possibly hope for any meal to be.

All the ingredients for the Italian/Mediterranean/European dishes are sourced locally, and then cooked to perfection. Very friendly and helpful staff, and mains and deserts to remember for a long time to come. Address: Voznesenskiy Avenue - Four Seasons Hotel.

Tsar

There's very little point in traveling the world to meet women if you're not going to take a chance on what the local food tastes like, right? Even if you think that every meal should have a large steak and nothing else on the plate, you should try something new once in a while. Tsar on Sadovaya Street is the perfect place to try Russian and Eastern European dishes like borscht, porcini pies, caviar, potato pancakes, dumplings, and Russian salads.

There's plenty of European food on the menu, so don't panic. You'll pay for the privilege of eating here, but you won't regret a single cent of the bill.

Gras

If you don't want to blow your financial wad on a string of dates in expensive restaurants then Gras is ideal for single guys who want to enjoy a meal, but without having to remortgage their apartment. The menu is European-influenced, so most of the meals will be familiar. Gras also has a tasting menu which offers 10 small courses, so you get to try a bit of everything. The staff here are friendly and attentive, and there's also a full range of cocktails for you and your date to enjoy. Address: Inzhenernaya Street.

Places To Stay In St. Petersburg

From experience we know that most guys traveling here stay for at least several days, so you'll have the choice of either booking a hotel room or an apartment. Whatever your decision is, make sure that your hotel or apartment is as close to Nevsky Prospect as possible - this is where everything happens, so it makes sense to have it on your doorstep.

You can book a basic 1-bedroom apartment in the centre of the city for about US$35 per night, or US$25 per night if you're willing to travel a little bit to get to the best bars, clubs and restaurants. If you're working on a restrictive budget then Airbnb has rooms and apartments starting from about US $10 per night, but you could wind up sleeping miles from anywhere you recognize.

A really nice, centrally-located apartment on Airbnb costs between US$40 and US$60 per night.

International daters of habit will want to book into a hotel, and of course St. Petersburg has plenty to offer in terms of value for money - and you do get a lot for your money here. The hotels listed below are all in or near Nevsky Prospect. 

Luxurious Four Seasons Hotel, St. Petersburg Russia

Four Seasons Hotel

Okay, this is without doubt the most expensive hotel in the entire city, with rooms starting at US$400 per night. You do get what you pay for, and in this case that's a converted palace with luxurious rooms, several restaurants including Percorso listed above, and the Azimut Sky Bar, also listed earlier in this guide. You also have a full spa available to you, as well as the hotel health facility. 

This is the type of hotel everyone deserves to stay in at least once during their lifetime, so if it's within your budget then we strongly recommend staying here. Amazing.

Pushka Inn Hotel

Located in a truly picturesque part of St. Petersburg on the banks of the Moika Canal, the Pushka Inn Hotel offers standard, standard+ or comfort rooms for weary travelers, or guys who want to recover from their dating adventures in relative luxury. This is a boutique hotel, so you can forget about a spa or exercise facilities. What you do get is a really nice hotel with rooms that start at US$120 per night, and the real bonus is that it's within walking distance of Nevsky, which is where you'll be doing all your partying and dating.

Akyan St. Petersburg

If you need a hotel that provides affordable comfort in the busiest part of the city, then you've found the perfect one for you. It's a small hotel, but the rooms are clean, the staff are very friendly, and there's an amazing bakery right next door. If you want an ideal base of operations for your St. Petersburg dating adventures then you can get a room here for as little as US$70 per night.

Money

The unit of currency used in the Russian Federation is the ruble (rub), and US$100 is equivalent to around 5,800 rubles. How much do you need to live on if you're staying in St. Petersburg for a few weeks? Well that depends on how much partying you plan on doing, but the average Russian earns the equivalent of about US$700 per month, so that gives you a baseline to work from.

If you're backpacking across Europe then your daily budget for this city should be US$30 per day, only about US$8 of that budget is used for accommodation. If you want to stay in a nice hotel, or 2-bedroom apartment, then you'll need a budget of US$150 - US$200 per day.

Going all out with a luxury hotel, first class train tickets, exclusive nightclubs, car/driver rental, and nights at the ballet means a budget of US$300 per day - you can live like a king here for that amount of money.

Cultural Barriers

There are no cultural or religious barriers to you dating or marrying a Russian girl. They're more than happy to hook up with European or North American guys. Once you learn to speak at least some Russian then all barriers to dating will disappear.  

Communicating

If you're lucky then all the girls you meet will speak English, but don't bet on it. And Russian isn't something you can fake or try to understand - you either speak it or you don't. Some guys try using translation apps when they're here, but that ends in disaster (and failure) every single time. So, like it or not, you're going to have to learn at least some Russian if you want to enjoy your time in St. Petersburg.  

30 minutes practice every single day will have miraculous results on your Russian language skills.

General Safety Tips

An unfortunate aspect of modern Russia is open discrimination against anyone who doesn't look white or Russian, or might be perceived as being homosexual. This won't be a problem in downtown St. Petersburg, but you need to avoid the suburbs late at night.

Nevsky Prospect is where all the tourists hang out, and that means lots of pickpockets - that goes double for the metro stations near Nevsky. Don't carry large amounts of cash around with you unless you have your heart set on being mugged.

Pedestrians don't have the right of way here and local drivers can be aggressive. The roads here are usually full of cars, so be really careful when you cross any street. You've all seen those Russian dash cam videos online, so you know exactly what we're talking about. It's not unusual for cars to take a shortcut through traffic by simply driving on the sidewalk instead.

Try to book all taxis by phone because the taxis you hail on the street will usually overcharge you once they realize you're not Russian. Some tourists have been robbed by taxi drivers, but this is rare.

Don’t drink the tap water in your hotel or in any apartment. It looks clean, but it's not safe to drink, so stick to bottled water. Also never drink a bottle of vodka that's either ridiculously cheap or has no label on it - there's a good chance you'll wind up in hospital after just a few shots of it. AIDS is a real problem in Russia, so always wear a condom when having sex. No exceptions.

Don’t mess with the bouncers here – they mean business, and if you cause trouble you won’t be escorted gently from the premises. Capiche?

How To Get There

There are very few situations when a foreigner doesn't need a visa to enter Russia, and even then your visit should last no more than 30 days, although a business visa can cover a 6-month visit to the country. South Africa, South American countries, South Korea, and a handful of other nationalities don't require a visa to enter Russia.

Getting to St. Petersburg can be done by air, or by train. If you're not in a real hurry to get there, then taking a train across Europe and into Russia is an experience worth having. Train tickets from Helsinki to St. Petersburg cost about US$100, but you can even get a berth on a sleeper train - this is a great way to take in a lot of Europe in one journey.

The vast majority of international daters will arrive here by plane, and you'll land at Pulkovo Airport (LED). Air journeys from Europe take 3 - 4 hours, but anyone traveling from North America will be in the air for at least 10 hours. Flying here from a European airport will cost between US$80 and US$200, depending on the airline. If you're traveling from North America expect to pay at least US$500.

Pulkovo is the only airport serving the city, but is served by a large number of international airlines including Air France, KLM, Turkish Airlines, SAS, BA and Finnair.

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