When it comes to the dating game in Russia, it really is a man's world. There are 10 million more women than men in the country, forcing some to turn to unconventional methods to find love. Even if that means a sharing and compromise.
Andrey is a father of three. And a husband of three. Eleven years ago, Andrey got married. Two years on he proposed again. And then again.
His reasoning is simple: “Why should I refuse any of them if I love them all?”
They may not be a four-member family from a legal standpoint, since it the law has no place for polygamous marriages, but in all other regards they live as one.
The country’s demographic is on Andrey's side. The shortage of males leads to the need for sharing – a concept that Andrey's wives say they have made peace with.
“I thought he was kidding. But then I realized that he wasn’t. I never expected something like this happening to me, but we’ve all got used to it, you know. If you love – you’ll understand. We never fight for Andrey, never quarrel; there is no any kind of competition either,” says Olesya, Andrey’s first wife.
Andrey considers himself an ardent Christian, yet two of his wives were brought up Muslims. The distribution of duties and conjugal delights within the household also lies in the Islamic traditions.
“I make them all feel equal. If one wants me to buy her something, I will, but I’ll buy something of the same price for the other two as well. I’ve built them three houses and bought three apartments. That’s fair, isn’t it?” Andrey says.
As extraordinary as it seems, Andrey's example is not that rare in Russia. Many men are in relationships with several women at a time. Of course, most keep their extramarital affairs secret.
“This may look strange, I agree, but we consider it better to be a second or third wife rather than think you are the only one, and be bitterly mistaken,” says Elena, Andrey’s second wife.
The scarcity of men is also put down to their propensity to engage in what is described as unhealthy behavior. Alcoholism and reckless driving is chipping away at the country's gene pool.
The pressure to grab for a chance to tie the knot gets higher with age. According to a recent poll, in Russia for every single man over 30 there are dozens of single women still on the lookout for their prince.
With women's search for true love becoming even more statistically challenging, no wonder eyes are wandering abroad, and the From Russia with Love mantra is still going strong.