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Katya Knyazeva's scrapbook

Shanghai history and architecture


Russo-American marriages are on the rise (in 1933)
covarrubias-1
avezink
"It has taken some 16 years for the United States to recognize the Soviet Union, but it took a much shorter time for many Americans here and elsewhere to recognize Russian girls, and then to marry them. In China, and in Shanghai in particular, there have been a considerable number of Russo-American marriages, statistics from official and unofficial sources reveal."

"Last year in Shanghai there were 72 officially registered marriages involving American citizens, and of those marriages some 22, or about 30 percent, were Russo-American. Russian marriages seem to be quite popular among the American military forces stationed here, for of the foregoing 22 marriages 17, or about 77 percent, involved members of the US Navy or Marines."

"Statistics for the present year are not complete, but the number of American marriages officially recorded to date already reach about 80, which is above the total number in 1932. And the pretty Russian girls continue to be the favorite choice of many Americans here. Twenty-four of these marriages are Russo-American, and the activities of the service men haven't slacked much, for 71 percent of these marriages involved service men."

"Many Russian-born naturalized Americans have returned to China to marry girls of their own kin."

Source: The China Press, 16 December 1933.

Image: Harrison Forman, around 1937–1941. American Geographical Society Collection at UWM.

Ralph Shaw in Sin City (1973) explained the rationale behind these marriages very simply:

"The dream of every single White Russian woman in China was to acquire a passport. She was stateless, had no country, could go nowhere. She was not a Soviet citizen but a refugee from Communist rule. The best prospect, of course, was an American passport. Thus single American males became the chief prey – young, middle-aged, senile, handsome, ugly as sin, long, short, fat, thin... no matter. The goal was a passport. The British, the French, the Germans – anybody with a legal travel document – were secondary prey."

Cheers to marenzhi for reminding about this passage!