Sensual Slavs

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"Would you like a Soviet Union?"

Women from Central and Eastern Europe tend to be sultry Femme Fatales, Pole dancers, or both.

The Femme Fatale version arose in the UK during the Cold War. Tales abounded of the glamorous, alluring Russian woman who would throw herself at a visiting British businessman, seducing him into wild, unrestrained sex acts. Later, after he'd returned home to their families, the businessman would learn that the tryst had been filmed and that pictures would go to his wife and to the government if he didn't comply with whatever demands the blackmailers made - and that the sexy vixen he'd bedded was a full colonel in the KGB.

In comparison, in North America during the Cold War this trope practically did not exist (unless the woman was going to do a High Heel Face Turn). Russian women were considered to be the ugliest humans in existence - "deformed monsters" wouldn't be putting it too strongly. Ryan Stiles's comment ("Russia! Our women look like men!") might be understating the point. Johnny Carson wasn't the only comedian to base entire sets on the purported hideousness of all Russian women, but he was the most famous - and hundreds of comedians copied him. Even today, many older North Americans are shocked by pictures of attractive Russian women because they'd heard for forty years that all Russian women were ugly and masculine-looking. It was a nasty, cruel stereotype, but one almost universal in the Cold War era.

See also, The Baroness (a specific Chararacter Archetype).

No real life examples, please; this is a trope about how characters are depicted in media. Also note that the personality and function of the character in the story matters. A Slavic character that is good-looking does not automatically count; a Slavic character that uses her sex appeal to seduce, manipulate, distract or beguile a main character does count.

Examples of Sensual Slavs include:


Advertising

  • The advertisements that are almost certainly showing for this page (and other Russia tropes pages).

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Film

  • For many years, a staple of the James Bond movies:
    • Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love.
    • Major Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me.
    • Pola Ivanova in A View to a Kill.
    • GoldenEye has two: Xenia Onatopp (played by Famke Janssen, who is actually Dutch) and Natalya Simonova (played by Polish actress Izabella Scorupco).
    • A very blonde (in contrast to her Red Alert 3 appearance, pictured above) Ivana Milicevic played Valenka, Le Chiffre's girlfriend in Casino Royale.
  • Ivana Humpalot in Austin Powers, parody on all the James Bond examples.
  • Czechoslovakian[1] exchange student Nadia from American Pie.
  • Birthday Girl features Nicole Kidman as a beautiful Russian mail-order-bride who quickly wins the heart of her shy husband in spite of their language barrier. Of course it turns out that she's really a conwoman who seduces the men she marries.
  • Ludmilla, the wife of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, is a towering and intimidating Femme Fatale in contrast to the more modest wives of the other boxers.
  • A male version is played for laughs in A Fish Called Wanda. Wanda is turned on whenever Archie Leach speaks Russian.
  • Lilya 4-Ever is a wildly depressing film about a Ukranian teen who is forced into prostitution in Sweden and commits suicide. Can be viewed as a deconstruction of the trope.
  • Vanessa Angel's character in Spies Like Us.
  • Averted in Patton where right after victory in Europe, General Patton and his staff have to smile through a celebration with their Soviet allies and all the women are frumpy and unattractive. Screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola on the DVD commentary notes that this dated stereotype was based on Nikita Krushchev's wife(seen here with Jackie Kennedy) and that the recent prevalence of gorgeous supermodels from Russia has proven they actually have some of the most beautiful women in the world.

Literature

  • America (The Book)'s section on Russia notes the Russian Paradox that young Russian women are beautiful while old Russian women are hideous. A picture comparison purports to show a young beauty queen before and after she crosses the threshold, becoming an old crone in the span of two weeks.

Live-Action TV

  • Commander Susan Ivanova of Babylon 5. She's actually extremely professional and doesn't get involved in many sexual shenanigans whatsoever; while she hates exploiting her sex appeal, she'll do it nevertheless if necessary.
  • Elena, of Peep Show, Series 6.
  • In the Suite Life on Deck episode "Das Boots", Cody's opponent in a chess tournament is one Sasha Matryoshka, who's so ridiculously hot that he can't concentrate on his game. As Sasha is a gender-neutral name in Russian, Cody assumes it's a boy until he sees her.
  • Kira in the Deep Space Nine episode "Our Man Bashir". Naturally as Bashir is playing as a knock-off of James Bond.
  • Sophie in 2 Broke Girls.
  • NCIS Sister City had TWO Sensual Slavs, one a defecting GRU agent and one an Internal Affairs operative with a team of Spetznaz enforcers hunting down defectors. The second was something of a Worthy Opponent.

Play-By-Post Games

Video Games

  • Major Raikov from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
  • A certain Not So French woman from No More Heroes comes to mind (half Ukraine, half Japanese, in case you were wondering).
  • The Command & Conquer installment Red Alert 2 saw Lieutenant Zofia (Soviet counterpart to Lieutenant Eva): "Vinter in Moscow iz cold... but purrrhaps zis vinter vill be... different?"
  • Red Alert 3 and it's Uprising expansion give us Lieutenant Dasha Fedorovich (pictured above), played by Bosnian-born Ivana Milicevic.

Western Animation

Real Life

Fashion Industry

Porn

  • A lot of porn videos will advertise with unusual prominence that the participants are Russian or Eastern European. It's a marketing gimmick based on an Urban Legend circulated in the 1990s, that claimed women from former Communist countries had been socially and sexually oppressed by the regime, and they were eager to recover the lost years. Also, Eastern Europe and the former USSR states are possibly the world's largest producer of pornography, including, it must be said, the underage kind. The Czechs are especially infamous.
  • This issue [dead link] of Playboy.
  1. the country had actually broken up years before the movie was made