Representatives of the Hare Krishna or ISKCON movement in India and Russia met Indian President Pranab Mukherjee last week to gather support for the construction of a temple and cultural centre for the community in Moscow. The delegation was led by Gopal Krishna Goswami and Bhakti Vijnana Goswami of India, the chairman of the governing body commission of ISKCON's Moscow unit.
Bhakti Vijnana Goswami told the president that the growing community of ISKCON (which stands for International Society for Krishna Consciousness) followers in Russia was in urgent need of a new cultural hub in Moscow. We need a modern centre, which reflects the “spirit and tradition of friendly Russian-Indian relations,” Goswani was cited by news.ru as saying.
In 2004, the Moscow city government did not allow ISKCON to build a sprawling prayer-cum-cultural complex in central Moscow. Later, the movement was permitted to set up its centre in a Moscow suburb. Land was allotted in 2010 for a new temple and cultural centre, but work has yet to begin as ISKCON followers claim to be up against red tape from Moscow city authorities.
Goswami told the Indian President that that Russia and India agreed on the construction of the cultural centre in 2002 and this issue was taken up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when he visited Moscow last year. “Vaishnava communities exist in Russia for more than 40 years, and the current stage of development is characterised by peaceful integration, growing interest in social service, health promotion, and of course, the deepening friendship between the Russian and Indian people,” Goswami said.