For Russian men the economic collapse and breakdown of the existing social order was a catastrophe, but the most damage was done not from hunger, crime, or political corruption, but from vodka.
The vast majority of the population were peasants with few economic opportunities and virtually no political power, ruled by a Westernized elite that was often out of touch with the needs of the common people and determined to maintain their ancient privileges regardless of the costs, and maintain them they did.
For instance, France essentially abolished serfdom in 1318 at about the same time as it faded across most of Western Europe, but the institution continued in Russia until Czar Alexander I freed the serfs, more than 23,000,000 of them, in 1861 - over 500 years later!
In 2008 according to the CIA World Factbook the average life expectancy for a Russian man is only 59 years old compared to 73 for women and the numbers are about the same across the old Soviet Block.
Worse, for many women is that alcohol use also corresponds with an increased incidence of domestic violence and a dramatic rise in the numbers of single mothers.
Then beginning in 1945 the USSR spent the next forty-six years slowly sinking into a cesspool of corruption and cynicism that eventually led to the economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union and most of its communist allies. Women also suffered during the wars and revolutions, but for many women the period also presented previously unimaginable educational opportunities, professional advancement, political influence, and personal accomplishment.
The Soviet Union was, at least in theory, fully committed to equality of the sexes and women quickly began to move into many professions that previously had been off limits to them.Women became doctors, engineers, and scientist, and these changes were accelerated by the stupendous number of men that died during the wars, revolution, and purges, perhaps as many as thirty million during the Second World War.In fact, because of the numbers of men killed by 1945 the Soviet Union had the most unbalanced sex ratio of any nation, a fact that persists in Russia today where there are approximately 86 men for every 100 women.Thirty percent of women surveyed said that they had to have sex to keep their jobs, and yet when a young woman sued her boss in an effort to become only the third Russian woman to win a sexual harassment suit she lost, because the judge ruled that .The anger that many women feel about this attitude is obvious from the statement on the many web sites where Russian women sign up seeking a Western husbands.Matchmakers take time to reflect on all the approaches and possibilities when dealing with people.