Having grown up in New York, I had taken for granted that people were always striving for something, or at least striving to be striving for something.
In Russia, most of the guys I met were engaged in some sort of dubious import/export business in electronics; the rest were involved in “business” (if you ask what kind of business, and there is a marked pause followed by the word “business,” you should refrain from asking any more questions).
A great many of them confessed to dreaming of moving to a beach in Bali, roasting barbecue all day, and copulating furiously with island women.
This is why teaching ESL was booming there; for anyone who had any semblance of ambition, the goal was to learn English, the golden ticket to getting out.
The second thing you’ll notice is that Russian men are patriarchal alpha males, and, whatever your feminist textbook might have told you, this is initially a huge turn-on.