From Russia, Without Love: Is the Ex-USSR the Least Romantic Place on Earth?
Whether you spent Valentine’s Day curled up with your special someone or with a book, you can be thankful for one thing: you don’t live in Armenia. (Sorry, Armenia!).
While there might not be an economic variable tying together loveless countries, but there is a historical one: they used to be part of the USSR. Indeed, post-Soviet states make up 14 of the 20 least-loving countries in the world, with Armenia and its 29.1 percent love rate setting the standard for unfeeling. (Turkmenistan was the only ex-USSR country not polled). Something about the experience of Soviet communism seems to have made these countries less tenderhearted today. As you can see in the chart below, which compares former Eastern bloc and Soviet countries, love is something of a scarce commodity in ex-communist societies, particularly so in the ex-USSR.
(Note: Eastern bloc countries are in blue; Soviet ones are in red).
The sample size is vanishingly small, but reported love was actually higher in currently Communist Cuba and Vietnam, at 81.7 and 79.4 percent, respectively. Now, this higher level of affection might just be about culture, or it might also be about the transition out of communism. In other words, the kind of “shock therapy” that eastern Europe tried — quickly privatizing and deregulating their economies — might be so jarring that it disconnects people from one another. This is, of course, highly speculative, but what did you expect when we turned the dismal science on love?