The kettle was furiously boiling, as was the atmosphere in the kitchen.The two women, Yelena Lazareva and her daughter Yekaterina are swapping stories about their loneliness – and complaining about Russian men.The subject is clearly often discussed in the two-bedroom apartment they share in a 12-storey building in Moscow’s suburbs.Both women wanted to fall in love and marry but “not with any guy”, says Yelena an attractive, healthy looking 51-year-old, who has the authoritative voice of a manager. Walk the streets of Moscow, visit coffee shops and restaurants, pop into private apartments – there they are, lonely Russian women sitting around together with other lonely women.
Her daughter Yekaterina, known as Katia, was nine years old at the time of the divorce.The most familiar cliche of family life in Russia is still a drunk father yelling at a mother with almost daily husband and wife rows.So it was for them.“If we had given each other oxygen, maybe we would have stayed together,” Lazareva admits.Now, 20 years later, she is still looking for a man, but with some clearly-defined features. Recently, the country’s State Statistic Committee published another sad report: there are 10.5 million more women living in Russia today than men.“He should suit me both financially and morally – but where can we find them? Anecdotally, she recalls that most, when she was young, became drunks, went into military service and changed, or wound up on the edge of criminality. If the average age for Russian men is 36, for women it is 41, explains member of parliament Tatyana Moskalkova.