The first historically-known Russian wives of foreign husbands became 3 daughters of Russian knyaz Yaroslav Mudriy. The eldest, Elizabeth, who was given to Norwegian Prince became the queen of Norway. The youngest, Anastasia, was married to Hungarian king, and the middle, Anna, became French king’s wife.
In the modern history Russians drew attention to themselves after the revolution of 1917 when immigration wave began. A concept of a ‘Russian wife’ in those times were mainly of a cultural than of a national nature. Many of immigrant-women of that time belonged to famous aristocratic families. They were not only stunning in appearance but also educated, magnificently well-bred. So a myth was born that Russian wives harmoniously combine in themselves a charm and allure of French women, passion of Italian women, daring of Spanish women, as well as a German love to family, husband and children. Italians said that ‘Russian women are twice women’.
The fact that these women were irresistible is proved by the thing that Russian beauties in particular were chosen as wives by many known men of Europe:

Spanish king Alfonso the XIII was desperately in love with Russian ballerina Maria Koshuba.
Legendary chess king Hose Raul Capablanca made a proposal of marriage to Russian princess Olga Chagodaeva: the Cuban who was in love called a 37-year-old widow of Russian emigrant a ‘sunny girl’. Elena Diakonova was a wife of both French poet Paul Eluar and Spanish artist Salvador Dali – naturally, in different time. Gala (which means ‘a holiday’) – so called Dali his muse.
Russian wives inspired great artists Picasso, Léger and Matisse, writers Aragon and Rolland. By the way, as historians ensure, Madam Rolland (princess Maya Kudasheva) was a secret agent of soviet secret service and many years of coupledom spied and directed the great French writer.
The Italian king of silent screen Rodolfo Valentino, the first sex-symbol of Hollywood, married a Russian Natalia Rambova, being already married to a French actress. But, even having served his time in jail for bigamy, Rodolfo couldn’t refuse his happiness of being with the charming ballerina.
Same as Rolland, the English science-fiction writer Herbert Wells in 1920 brought with him a wife from Russia – extremely charming Mura, baroness Budberg. The beauty was an excessive smoker and not averse to drinking. In the West Mura was called the ‘Russian milady’, ‘red Mata Hari’.
Both Maupassant and Modigliani were married to Russian women. The great archeologist German Schliemann who found Troya’s gold also decided for a Russian woman.
To the first immigrant-women in particular world owes a birth of such a brand as a ‘wife from Russia’, known in the world equal to the Kalashnikov gun, the Russian babushka doll, caviar and vodka!