This article is written by a Westerner (Englishman) for Westerners to read, learn and inwardly digest. I have written it to save YOU heartache, anger, pain and embarrassment. Also to save you from being scammed or thinking you have been scammed when all does not turnout as you had thought or hoped it would.

Yes there are scammers about but, giving a gift and not getting what you want does not mean that you have been scammed. But, you may have been! Yes! It is hard to know whether or not you are being scammed. As a Westerner, unfamiliar with Russian/Ukranian culture, You have to think about that before you give the gift.

However, when giving/buying a gift you should:

Firstly, analyse your own motives for giving it. Secondly, expect nothing in return – in this case you will not be disappointed.

Why do people give a gift/present?

People give gifts/presents to people for various different reasons and because the giver has different motives. Here are just a few:

  1. Because the giver likes the receiver - just out of kindness.
  2. Because the giver wants something from the receiver in return – a favour/sex.
  3. Because the giver wants the receiver to be obligated to the giver sometime in the future.
  4. Because the giver wants to have some kind of control over the receiver.

I have lived in Ukraine, for the past 11 years and during this time I have learned a lot about the culture of giving/receiving gifts and helping people with money but receiving nothing in return.

During my time here I have bought and given many gifts and paid hospital bills for ladies and children without receiving or expecting anything in return. Yes, I have spent a lot of money on this but I have also had a great deal of pleasure from my giving. I have also been the recipient of some gifts.

Have I ever been scammed? YES! And it annoys the hell out of me at the time. Anger and revenge are the only emotions that seemed to occupy your mind. This beats you up; make you feel resentful, bitter and angry. Get over it; otherwise it will destroy you.

However, in the cold light of day when all things were considered I gave with my eyes open. If I then analyse my own motives maybe I deserved to be scammed! Maybe the girl (always younger) was smarter than me.

I am older and wiser now and my motive have changed. I still give and receive gifts with great pleasure. However, I am very careful about what I buy and for whom I buy.


The Ukrainian/Russian culture of giving gifts goes back to ancient times and is a well established practice in all walks of life – business/commerce/ personal.

I shall cover business and commerce first then move on to personal gifts/presents. To fully understand the latter it is possibly necessary to fully understand the former.

Business and Commerce Gifts:

In business and commerce it is generally accepted that gifts are given to smooth the path to achieving a fruitful end and an amicable conclusion to your dealings/negotiations. This could be; shall we say “A sign of good faith”. However, if, as the ‘Gift giver’, your desired aim is not achieve the gift is not returned. This is part of the price you pay for doing business. That does not mean that sometime in the future your eventual aim will not reached. It’s just that everything takes time to happen – if indeed it eventually does. Which, it may not! In this case – remember the price of doing business.

Just because you gave a gift to someone and your aim is not immediately achieve it does not mean you have been scammed. It just means you weren’t successful this time. Maybe later you will be or maybe next time you will be. Remember: you have not necessarily been scammed but, you may think or feel that you have been.

Personal Gifts:

Russians and Ukrainians are great gift givers among friends. The value of the gift is not important but the act if giving is. Remember: “It is better to give than to receive”. Well, in Russian and Ukrainian culture this is viewed in equal measure, giving and receiving are enjoyed by both parties.

So! What are YOUR motives for giving a gift?

  1. LOVE?
  2. Affection?
  3. The desire for SEX? (See 2 above: Why do people give gifts).

A lot, but not all, Western men give gifts to pretty girls that they meet or have been writing to for the latter reason/motive see 3 above. WRONG REASON/MOTIVE.

Who, is this ‘Dummy’ I can hear you saying about me. Now YOU wait a minute. Stop and think! These girls are not prostitutes who turn a trick or want to get laid by a foreigner for the price of a bottle of perfume, a pair of jeans or shoes, a wrist watch or a mobile phone. These are real girls with real emotions and real feelings who need and want to feel special and wanted.

How many girls in your country would you ‘Lay’ for the same price? Yeh, I know. You can lay them for free – so go do it, don’t come here and waste your time and money looking for a Russian/Ukrainian girl?

You want a wife, right? Not a cheap hooker! And, you want one that’s younger and prettier than you can get back home. That’s why YOU’RE looking in the former Soviet Union. But these girls are not desperate for you. Not now.

Many have a good life and even those who do not have such a good life are not desperate. But, they do desire to be married to a foreigner who will look after them – and not just buy them gifts. Receiving/giving gifts is not what love is all about. If the only way to receive love is to give gifts and money it is not love you are receiving it’s commerce.

Yes there are scammers out there and if you are with a girl who keeps asking you to buy her gifts, then, you’re with the wrong girl. Even if she has ‘knock-out’ looks and a great figure - she will never change.

If a duck is born a duck it will always be a duck – right? In other words if it is in the girls character and nature to ask for presents and money she will never change.

Now we are getting down to it. So, I am going to give you my personal advice whether you need it, heed it or ignore it is entirely up to you. However, if you get scammed or you think you have been, think about you own motives and reasons for giving any gifts.

Firstly I must mention a couple of other points.

  1. If you are 40-60 and you are chasing 18 year olds expect to buy her a lot of gifts. Why? Christ! Why do you think she is with you? It’s a trade off: she is young and pretty you are old and not! I know I’m in that category.
  2. Russian/Ukrainian men rich/poor alike give gifts and never ask for them back when they get dumped etc! The rich guys don’t really care they can afford expensive gifts it and the not so rich buy gifts that they can afford. In this case no one suffers too much – financially.

So my advice is this:

  1. Give all gifts unconditionally (don’t expect anything in return).
  2. Especially; give flowers – in odd numbers – not yellow.
  3. Give gifts that you can afford.
  4. Give nice/modest inexpensive gifts (see 3 above).
  5. DO NOT let anyone influence your decisions about how much money you should spend on a gift. Especially the girl, translators or the girl’s friends. And don’t let the girl play with your emotions. Expensive gift does not equal sincere love. But don’t be mean either. However, it’s your money and your responsibility to spend it as you wish and it’s your gift. But, DO use your common sense.
  7. Don’t let your desire for sex with a girl dictate whether or not you give a gift or the cost of the gift you buy. An expensive phone, camera, watch, ring, necklace etc. WILL NOT GUARANTEE YOU SEX.


To end I’ll tell you a short but sad true story:

I know of one wealthy 40 year old guy who met a beautiful 18 year old, student/model. They liked each other a lot. They may have even been in love! Time move on he visited her many times and spent he says around $20,000 in trips, fees, hotels etc. And! Gifts! Lots, expensive too!

After about 5 or 6 meetings they were getting on well so they went off to the sea - with a translator in tow. There an argument evolved because there was no sex! A reasonable man would have expected there to have been sex at this stage of a developing relationship. He understood that they were moving towards this and marriage.

Consummating the relationship would seem natural at about this time – to me it would anyway. Not to the girl! No sex! She feigned illness as an excuse not to have sex. However, she still demanded gifts and presents. This fuelled the argument further.

Their last meeting was a disaster. They met without a translator. She went to the airport alone to meet him but she became sick (this time for real) and so they went straight from the airport to the hospital.

She was in agony.

He was tired after his flight and thinking she was again ‘faking it’ and gave her very little attention.

Her mother arrived at the hospital and saw the scene: guy in the corner sleeping, girl in pain. Doctors here are slow to react unless you are ‘knocking on deaths door’ and still they can hesitate – unless you are waving money at them.

Anyway, what happened is this; the mother sent the guy of to his hotel in a taxi because she was embarrassed about the quality of the hospital and poor service that her daughter was getting and, because he was not being attentive.

What happened next? They guy/girl had another disagreement and parted. He went off to Kiev and now thinks he was scammed because he bought lots of gifts got no sex, so now wants back his gifts. The girl is unhappy because she thinks he is mean with his money.

I know this is a true story because I was the guy who had to get involved as a mediator to negotiate the return of many of the guys gifts.

Moral of my article:

“Give only what you are prepared to lose and don’t expect anything in return.”

I sincerely hope that you have not been bored reading this. I hope I have opened your eyes a little and given you an insight in to the culture of giving gifts in Russia/Ukraine.

I wish you every happiness and success in your search for a best friend, wife and lover.

My final piece of advice it this.



Sincerely yours,

John E. Hobson.