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Tatyana, a good-looking blonde, leans across the table. It is Saturday evening and we are nearing the end of a foreign-friendly speed dating session in a central Moscow restaurant. The subject of her advances, a British Moscow Times business reporter, blushes with embarrassment.In many cases, the linguistic efforts are rewarded.Forums are full of the accounts of Russian women thanking their coaches for a "happy end" — engagement or marriage to a foreigner."You can just speak English and heads will turn," said Sean, 26, an English language teacher.Russian women are also more forward, he says: "You can just be talking to someone and some beautiful girl will come up to you with a chat-up line.Naturally, foreigners were viewed as a bridge to the more developed and "civilized" West.
Galina Ponomaryova, 63, has been a dating coach for 15 years."Who the most desirable foreigners are, depends on fashion. Following an economic boom during Putin's first term, living standards have improved and many of the perks of living in the West are now on offer in Moscow too.In a poll conducted in 2009 by Superjob.ru, one in four women aged 55 or older said she wanted a foreign husband.Initially, women were hoping to find a partner from the United States, then Britain.Today, European countries and Turkey are more in vogue. Decades after the Soviet collapse, the "American Boy" fantasy is starting to fade.