The image of Russian mail order brides in domestic folk tales

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Russian woman is often a mystery under seven seals to an average Western man.

A selfie by a dating Russian brideWe are charmed by the appearance of Russian women, but we also sense that there is something much deeper and more sensual hiding under this cuddlesome veneer. One needs to turn to Russian fairytales in order to perceive the underpinning attraction and the underlying essence of the character of Russian mail order brides in particular and of Russian women in general.

Most names of the women featured in Russian fairy tales speak for themselves – “Vasilisa the Sage”, “Elena the Sage”, “Wise wife”, “Tsarevna” (Czar’s daughter). It is probably only in about 1 such masterpiece of common folk that a woman is called stupid or silly. And even in such rare cases we discover that the woman is called so only because she holds dear certain values, sometimes ahead of her time, that are simply either not understood or are misinterpreted by the hoi polloi of her days.

Men’s psychology in these tales more often than not reminds us the psychology of a child. Men are often depicted as lazy and insecure individuals prone to unhealthy habits, such as Ivan Durak (Ivan the Fool, the equivalent of Simple Simon) who likes sleeping on the stove and using it as the means of transportation. The relationship between the Russian bride and the groom often resembles the relationship between a parent and a child. The bride does everything to protect and to feed the groom, while the latter is often inattentive and ill-mannered.

Let’s review the typical plot of a Russian fairy tale and take the tale by Zhukovsky “About the Czar Berendey” as an example. Maria Czarevna is in this plot a wise daughter of Koschey the Immortal. Koschey confronts Ivan with various challenges, and each time Ivan comes to his wife for a piece of advice, for help or for useful instruction. Ivan’s life itself is at stake, because the mean Koschey promises to chop his head off if he does not comply with his grotesque demands. “The morning is wiser than the evening,” always replies his wife, and Ivan simply goes to his bed, with the task unresolved and his future pending in the loving hands of his wife. This is rather indicative of the Russian man archetype – he is not doing anything to find a solution to his problem and tries to hide from it. The wife, on the contrary, is eager to help, she begins studying magic books and summons superior forces to assist her in carrying out the endeavor, which is really her husband’s. While he remains idle, she does a lot of work for him. 

It is not just the whim of an author, it is a sober reflection of the role of women in the Russian society. They are simply viewed as the pillar on which the society is founded and is standing, that’s why a Russian mail order bride is a viable and even desirable solution for many Western men who expect their wives to be much more than simply a sex partner.

In the tale Maria Czarevna first transforms Ivan into a bridge, then she makes him assume the form of a forest. He ends up transforming into her husband. It demonstrates us the creative background of Slavic women, their ability not just to assist men, but also to apply supernatural powers while doing so.


Two other indicative traits of Russian women in fairy talesRussian woman on a dating meetup


It also should be noted that luck is of paramount importance only to men, Russian women don’t seem to need it. They do just fine without such prerequisites. The men demonstrate a lot of prejudice, the women, on the contrary, have no time for playing cheap games and are forced to resolve all sorts of crucial matters in favor of their men.

However, the role of men is far from secondary in these tales. They are often czars and other important personages, but they are all the time on the receiving end. They are being assisted by the women who surround them. Very often women just do what they assume to be their matrimonial obligations and duties. They don’t ask for any special favors and don’t abuse their helping role. It is also rather rare that they revolt against their station in life, and when they do, they turn into ugly, repulsive personages, such as Baba Yaga (an old witch).

You may ask – what do Russian fairy tales have to do with finding a Russian mail order bride? The answer to this valid question is that the folklore of a nation always gives us a good idea as to the gender roles in this particular nation. Modern Russian women fully justify this approach by their perspicacity, flexibility and working capacity in many respects superior to that of Russian men.