Keeping in mind the issues linked to Russians in Goa-the alleged mafia, land grabs, etc-as well as seeking to boost ties with India, Alexander M Kadakin, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Russian federation to the republic of India, inaugurated an honorary Russian consul office in Panaji on Friday.
Speaking to mediapersons, Kadakin, who has been in India for 25 years and is well-versed with Hindi, said one of the reasons the honorary consul office at Alcon Chambers has been opened is because of allegations that Russians are involved in illegalities in Goa.
"It is one of the reasons why we have a liaison person and have opened this consulate," said Kadakin, stressing that one or two badmash (notorious) Russians of the 1,50,000 who visit Goa do not make all Russians a mafia.
"A mafia is an organized gang. Do you think there are gangs like those in Chicago and those of the 90s in Russia in Goa?" he questioned, adding, "So far we don't have any such facts. But then if it is a gang then it is organized crime, and it means they have to be cooperating with somebody. And if they are cooperating with Goan gangs does it mean it's a new Russian-Indian project?"
Asking to be informed if there is any Russian mafia in Goa, Kadakin said, "We as Russian authorities will take immediate steps. We will tell the Indian government to capture those badmash and then take them to Russia to put behind bars."
He stressed, "We are cooperating with the Indian government and to date we have not been informed of any Russian mafia in Goa."
As for Russians involved in illegalities, Kadakin said "the few unfortunate incidents amount to nothing" when you divide them against the 1,50,000 Russians who come as tourists to Goa.
The other reason for opening the honorary consul office in Panaji is to strengthen the "very friendly and very deep relations" between India and Russia, Kadakin said.
PANAJI | May 25, 2013