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VKontakte translates roughly to "In Touch," but I was not there to make lasting friendships.
I wanted to find and speak to some of the young women who have drawn foreign bachelors with the hopes of finding Eastern European wives to the site.
The mail-order bride industry is fascinating and troubling because it extends the cold logic of capitalist globalization to the very personal institution of marriage.
So is it really any surprise that guys considering "buying" a bride through an agency are turning to social networks, where everyone's selling themselves all the time?
But the moment he got his first message from Chumakova, asking why he'd friended her, he knew his search was over."I just had a feeling," Ewald said.
As Eastern Europe undergoes a debate which Russian social networks have the best women, and the best way to pick them up: "If you go to one of the many group dedicated to foreign languages or foreign countries, there will be plenty of single, young attractive women, and your success rate will be much, much higher," explains one.
And Russian news reports have apparently warned of the influx of "creepy foreign men" onto social networking sites.
"As corny as that sounds, of all the girls I friend requested and messaged, even after the first online conversation something stood out about her." When he met her in person in Ukraine just a few weeks later, they were "inseparable."Last Monday, he flew to Ukraine to bring Chumakova back to the U. They just passed an interview at the American Embassy for Chumakova to get her fiancée visa and are waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
"Then we can buy tickets to travel back to america! So far, though, theirs is something of a success story for this new subsection of the international dating scene.
"What happened is the advent of all these online travel sites put a lot of pressure on these traditional models, with people going online and booking their own flights," he said.