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Russians: not in the mood for love

Published on 11/02/2009

Moscow -- The global crisis has officially arrived in Russia: in the country of Pushkin and Tolstoy, fewer men and women admit they are in love this year and only one in five are dating.

A poll released on Wednesday said only 45 percent of Russians said they were now in love, as Russia reels from a double blow of a full-scale demographic crisis and the global financial hardships.

By comparison, at least 53 percent of Russians said they experienced feelings of love in the economic boom years from 2003 to 2007, said the poll. The Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) carried out the poll.

"Compared to the pre-crisis period, we see a considerable drop in the amount of Russians who believe they are in love," said Olga Kamenchuk, a VTsIOM spokeswoman. "Unfortunately, people began thinking about love considerably less."

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they were not in the mood for love, up from 35 percent in 2008.

With the ruble losing a third of its value since November and job losses kicking in, few appear to be willing to splurge on dates.

Just roughly one in five Russians currently date, with coffee shops and movies being the most popular places to meet.

But most Russians — 59 percent — say they believe in love at first sight, confirming their reputation as a romantic nation. Russians are so romantic, in fact, that 15 percent said that feeling rules the world (up from 11 percent in 2007).

Yet while the crisis may be sending shock waves across the society, one thing remains unchanged: gentlemen — at least in Russia — still prefer blondes, the study said. Russian women, by contrast, are into dark-haired men.