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News 23 Aug 13

Macedonian Mayor Funds Bride Hunt in Ukraine

In an unusual attempt to boost the declining marriage rate, an isolated Macedonian municipality is offering local bachelors a free bride-hunting trip to Ukraine - with a free wedding thrown in.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Photo by: LeeqDMB/Wikimedia Commons

In a bid to help the army of ageing bachelors in his community, the mayor of the small and impoverished municipality of Makedonski Brod has offered to organize free trips for them to Ukraine to search for brides.

Mayor Milosim Vojnevski has also promised to completely fund weddings for those who return with wives-to-be.

“Only four people responded to our call so far but I expect greater interest in the near future,” Vojneski said, hopefully, adding that they will need at least 15 to 20 people to apply in order to organize the trip.

The mayor plans to use the help of local NGOs in establishing contact with Ukrainian regions that suffer from the opposite problem - too many eligible girls and no men.

The trip would be used to facilitate meetings between the singles in the hope that some of them will like each other, resulting in marriages.

The mayor says the fact that both peoples are of predominantly Slavic origin should help.

Once a community with 24,000 inhabitants, the largely rural municipality in central Macedonia is now home to only 8,000 people.

The mayor explains that in recent decades, following the collapse of the little industry they once had, most young women moved to bigger towns or got married outside the country.

The poverty-driven migration has left a small army of seasoned bachelors in an often fruitless search for brides, which in turn results in an ever-shrinking birthrate.

Statistics show that last year there were only 49 babies born in the municipality and almost 100 deaths.

“The call applies only to men aged between 30 and 50 as they need most help,” Vojnevski said, adding that bachelors under 30 are still considered as having a better chance of finding a spouse on their own.

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