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Telephoning Russian Women

The cost of calling Russia and other CIS countries has dropped dramatically over the past few years. You can make a call to Moscow or St. Petersburg from the U.S. for a little more than you would pay to make an out of state long distance call.

The following are a sampling of the rates per minute in US dollars to some CIS countries using MCI’s Anytime Worldwide Plan:

Russian Federation .23

Ukraine .29

Belarus .35

Kazakhstan .23

Uzbekistan .45

Kyrgyzstan .45

Make sure that you have a suitable overseas telephone plan in place before you call.
I sent a two-page fax to Russia using my regular AT&T long distance plan and it cost me .00! They charged me a .00 international access fee, plus .00 per minute, plus tax.

There are also a lot of pre-paid phone cards available through the Internet that have excellent rates.

When dialing internationally, you must first dial 011 to get an international line. Then you dial the country code. The following is a list of country codes for CIS countries:

Russia 7

Belarus 375

Ukraine 380

Uzbekistan 998

Kazakhstan 7

Kyrgyzstan 996

Then you dial the region/ city code and the local number.

Even if you have a suitable plan in place, that doesn’t mean you should just pick up the phone and let your fingers do the walking.

First of all, if you haven’t been introduced, a call out of the blue from a foreigner is likely to elicit a very chilly reception. That is if the person who answers on the other end can even understand you.

For example, imagine you are sitting at home. Your phone rings and you pick it up. A strange voice speaking a foreign language starts firing a barrage of words at you – none of which you understand.

Startled, you ask them in English a few times who they are? There is silence on the other end for a moment and then the barrage of foreign words begin again. Frustrated, you just hang up.

That is exactly how a phone call is likely to transpire to a woman in Russia who is not expecting your call. Maybe she is working. Maybe she is out with friends or relatives. Maybe babushka (grandma) is answering the phone.

My recommendation is to first establish a relationship with a woman before calling her.
Write her a letter or have the local marriage agency introduce you. Find out if she can converse in English before calling her directly.

Make an appointment to call her. That way she is at home and expecting a call from you. She is expecting to hear English. She may still answer ‘Allo’ or simply ‘Da,’ but she will be expecting your call. She may have already arranged to have someone who speaks English on the call with you.

When I called my wife for the first time, she had been studying English for a few months. We got through ‘Hello’ and ‘How are You?’ and a few other sentences before we had run through the entire dialog in English she had practiced in class.

Then there was a long silence and she started crying as she realized that she could not speak to me. After a moment of silence, she said ‘Sorry’ and ‘Goodbye’. She hung up the phone very upset.

I wrote to her immediately. She wrote back saying that she was ashamed that she did not know how to speak English better. She wrote that she cried for days over this.

How's Your Russian?

What should have been a joyous experience was one of tremendous sorrow for her. We weathered that storm. We met a few months later in person and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Two years later when I call her family’s home and her mother answers, I can speak about the same number of sentences in Russian dialogue as my wife did when I first called her. Dobre din (good morning). Kak de la? (How are you). Ya horosho (I’m good). That’s it. I’m a one trick pony.

Many of the women listed on the websites have telephone numbers where they can be reached and many do not. There is a long waiting list for telephones in CIS countries. For example, in Belarus, there are 2.5 million telephones for 10 million people.

My wife and I each have a cell phone and we have two telephone lines in our house. One home phone is for regular calls and one is a FAX/ DSL dedicated line for the computer. That is an average of two phones per person in our household versus one telephone per four people in the country she is from.

I think that we are rather typical of a modern family in America. We can get a telephone line installed in a matter of days, if not hours. The waiting list for telephone lines in CIS countries is measured in terms of months and years.

About the Author: John has been married to a Russian women for over five years. He has travelled the path from finding her, to traveling to Russia, to bring his wife to America, and adjusting to married life. He will show you step by step how to do this yourself.

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