Russian Roulette

Speed dating Gastarbeider Style

2 feb 2008

Beautiful Russian ladies couldn't wait to meet you.

It was a great party with DJ Goldfinger and the Moscow Disco and ten Russian women from Amsterdam to date with.


Russian brides at Mediamatic - At Russian Roulette Jans Possel

During this evening 10 beautiful Russian women sat behind a long table, and had the luxury of some champagne to sip.
All participants were given the opportunity to pick any lady they wanted, and very soon after the start of the evening there was a huge line of men anticipating the virtues of speed dating.
After a short while the ladies themselves were given the choice to hold up the stop sign, which meant that the men would have to leave and find another pretty Russian woman.
With pick up lines like: "so what kind of beer do you like" and some good old fashioned cards playing we came to the conclusion that some men, not all, needed to step up their dating skills. Hence, later on in the evening there was a fantastic after party with dj Goldfinger!

Vodka & Girls

In the 1990's, Russia's best-selling export products were vodka and girls.

Major economic and political disasters of the so-called transition period, low life expectancy among men and change of roles in the society made a lot Russian women search for a better life abroad. International marriage and job agencies functioned like Internet shops, selling women just as easy as cars or beautiful pieces of furniture. Those were wild years, marked by commodification of people and relationships, fear of mafia, and ghosts of the cold war. In the Western eyes, the Russian woman’s identity became reduced to that of a sex toy, a household slave, or a criminal adventurer.

The legacy of this turbulent period in history still manifests itself in the ambiguous attitude towards Russian women in the so-called West. She is known as a beautiful, sexy girlfriend and a caring, non-demanding wife: the ideal every man would dream about. However, there is always something infernal about the Russian girl. She knows how to use the charms she possesses to get what she wants. She would break a poor Dutch man’s heart, take his money and soul and leave him with nothing after getting her staying permit.

All these stereotypes create a problem of self-representation for Russian women living abroad. They are often seen either as housewives- an extension to their Dutch partners, or as entertainers who add spice to the boredom of everyday life with their eccentric behaviour. Many women who want to be perceived as professionals prefer not to advertise themselves as Russian, in order to be taken seriously.

This project explored the ambiguities of this position and exploits the existing stereotypes to the full extent.

Video report of the evening