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Answering your letters

Just a little comment. I want to express my agreement with Mr Ian's comment and praises for Mr Slava, Indeed, unfortunately, many Americans are narrow-minded with regards to religion and many things. Mr Slava does not back out in expressing the sentiments of his nation and culture (may it be appearing in contradiction to Americans'). Expect your Russian ladies to be somehow similar to Mr Slava (they wont back out as well with regards to their convictions.. though they may not assert themselves sometimes- its because of language barrier.. but I find Russian women generally well and strongly opinionated, confident and intelligent.. though the language barrier may not show this). These women are highly educated and intelligent (and deserving respect). Foreign men who are hoping to win these women's hearts must have some intelligence too and a lot of "openness" (broadmindedness). These respectable women deserve nothing less. And Mr Slava is a real person (I met him personally in Kazan a few months ago, and personally picked me up from the airport and personally assisted me in other matters). Good luck and more power to Mr Slava, his newsletter and his agency.

Dear Slava,

I'm not sure you can help, but I have been a victim of a scam. I have to say it was brilliant. Or maybe I'm just saying that because I was scammed. However, a woman wrote to me from Russia, long and detailed letters. We really hit it off emotionally and intellectually and shard the same sense of humour. She said her job was working in a government office in Tosno as someone who investigates building regulations. She also detailed how she was involved in the elections that have just taken place. It all seemed to add up.

Anyway, she was meant to come to the UK and I sent money to a travel agency. Yes, I know, but by now we really were ...well.. friends. And, like I said even shared the same sense of humour! She gave her name as Irina with the following email address:

Yes, the name should have been a clue, but like I said we both shared a black sense of humour.
I received lots of photos from her, which again made me think she was genuine.

I sent the money to: Travel agency "Esta-Tosno" St-Petersburg
Does the travel agency exist?
Is there a government office in Tosno that deals with building regulations.

John Sweeney.
P.S. As it happens this has not stopped me thinking I like Russia and its
peoples. I was brought up on Russian novels and I am developing links with
the Russian film industry.

Dear John,

I don’t know if I can help in this question. Unfortunately, I don’t live in St. Petersburg and I don’t know if this firm exists there. The best way here is to contact someone from this city (probably with the agency) and find out everything.

Besides, it is not quite clear if this girl is a scammer indeed. The fact that she doesn’t answer the letters doesn’t mean anything by itself. She could just leave suddenly or get sick, do you see the point?

Everything I can do is to tell what mistakes were made in this very case.

The first rule is not to give money. You wanted to meet with her and sent money to the tour agency. It is wise. But probably, this agency was suggested by your girl. So you could have found an alternative agency.

Besides, I want to warn you for the future. A single girl is unlikely allowed to go to England. England and America are the countries where it is very difficult for such girls to get a visa. And they are well-informed about it. That’s why if they easily accept your invitation and promise to come, then, more likely they will not be able to come and money will be wasted. Remember it!

The best variant here is to visit her. St. Petersburg is a wonderful city, very beautiful and ancient. :))

And one more piece of advice: before sending her money, make inquires, i.e. you can get her postal address and send you photo or greeting card to it. And necessarily talk by phone. Having this information - address and telephone - you can always reveal if a girl is real.

Regarding money. You have bank information of this tour agency. Probably, it can make any sense to contact this agency and to demand money back as the service wasn’t rendered: Your girl hasn’t come to you.

But reading your story, I got amused once more how clever scammers can be. You should always remember about that and keep those simple rules, about which I told in my last newsletter.

Finally, I want to express you my respect that despite you have become a victim of scam, you haven’t stopped loving Russia, as we shouldn’t judge about the whole nation by one person.

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