Russian/Ukrainian bride scheme is neither new nor original to the first Cupid affair. It was flourishing on the earliest dates of the Net. A lot of young and not-so-young Western gentlemen spent a fortune to sponsor their would-be-spouses only to discover that the entire romance was faked by some talented students from, lets guess, Yoshkar-ola.
No, really, Yoshkar-Ola is the most prominent base of dating scams. But generally the scam was widely used across both Russia and Ukraine very often, adding the sour taste to ‘Slavic bride’ phenomena. Max Polyakov has attempted to do it en masse with his Cupid, but the scam was debunked.
In XXI century there is little room for the original scam, because of wide use of video chats and mobile communication. Would-be-grooms will not pay for mythical brides basing only on dating profile and some getty photos. So the new version of the scam involves real women. According to some signals one of the Max Polyakov’s venues, The Together Networks pays (or at least attracts in this manner) for young attractive women to participate in video chats with foreigners. Their main role is to push men to pay for some expenses.
It obviously harms the reputation of Ukraine, already somewhat spoiled by earlier scams.
Here are some illustrative stories:
The article is also available in Russian.