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In Turkey, just a boat-ride away from the beach resorts of Ukraine's Crimean coast, the influx of blondes inspired a hit song, with the chorus: "Oy Natasha, oy Natasha, oy oy." But the local women weren't too happy and took to the streets with placards warning: "Natasha go home" and "Keep your legs shut". "You can view them on our websites, and if all goes well, meet one in person." LOOKING FOR ROMANCE Founded in 1993, Anastasia claims it has more than 80 million online visitors a year and more than a million messages exchanged onsite daily.Its affiliate programme incorporates more than a thousand dating agencies from most of the major cities of the former USSR."Even though I've never been to Ireland, I know it's a beautiful, green country." Her expectations are echoed by another hopeful internet bride, Alina Manakova, a qualified school teacher, signed up with another website, The 23-year-old cites Irish men high on the list of worthy potential husbands.Right now, her priority is finding an Irish husband. "They have travelled to very many countries together and are still in love with each other.The 21-year-old from Poltava in Ukraine is number 1148577 in a catalogue of thousands of such women from Eastern Europe -- nurses, accountants, doctors, law students and engineers; most of them beautiful, dressed in their best, and the majority young. That's why I have positive attitude to Irishmen and wouldn't mind to meet one." Margarita explains that it is very difficult to find a boyfriend at home.If they are already attached, they're convinced if they aren't pin-up girls their husbands will run away from them and they won't snap up a new one." And official statistics show these women face tough odds at home in the romance stakes -- there are 65 million men to more than 77 million women in Russia, mostly because the population never recovered from the massive losses suffered on the Eastern Front during the Second World War.
"As for my family -- they want the best for me, that's why they support me, and they will support a guy who would make me smile." The mass migration of Eastern European women was first branded the 'Natasha syndrome', after the Iron Curtain came down and the countries of the former Soviet Union took tentative steps towards Western culture."If a woman broadens up the search in order to find a right husband, it is obligatory for her to speak the language of the country she moves in," she says.TOURS The internet has opened up the trans-global options for romance.Some find happiness, but many discover hidden difficulties and finish up with little to show for a lot of money. The country is seen as prosperous, despite the economic downturn, and our men are believed to be reliable and respectful by Eastern European women."I have heard Irish people are a lot alike Ukrainians -- they're open, friendly, intelligent, hard-working and with a great sense of humour," says Tatiana, speaking from her hometown."I have experience of a real-life love story with a girl from my city and an Irishman," Margarita says. They met on the site in the internet and fell in love with each other after a few letters. "Our men are spoilt -- they're used to beautiful women and they take them for granted." Margarita adds that, as well as being a student, she teaches English to children.She hopes her own language skills are an asset towards meeting and dating an Irishman.She has no problem posing for a mail-order-bride catalogue and being ascribed serial number 518866."In our lives, there is a right time for everything," says Tatiana, whose photograph shows her long, blonde hair tied back, her neat, beige dress a typical cheaper, East European fabric, mimicking the expensive Sex and the City style of Western fashion.Tatiana Kalchuk, from Odessa in Ukraine, is another attractive and well-educated woman.She did well at university, speaks five languages, and enjoys arts, philosophy and horseback riding in the woods.