May 03, 2023

From Splash to Hash


From Splash to Hash
Svetlana Varganova sightseeing in 2016. Wikimedia Commons.

Svetlana Varganova, 59, a former member of the USSR swimming team and an Olympic silver medalist, has been arrested in the state of Goa, India, on suspicion of selling drugs.

According to The Indian Express, Varganova was arrested on April 14 in the village of Arambol after being under surveillance for some time by the Indian Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), due to reports of a Russian cartel operating in Arambol and adjacent Goa. Further investigation identified that a local resident, Akash, was also involved. Akash was arrested on April 28. A former Russian policeman named Andre, whom the NCB has described as the "kingpin" of the operation, was arrested the same day.

An official from the NCB reported that Varganova has been living in India for several years. "She supplied narcotics to foreign nationals only. She also had a hookah bar set up at home where foreigners could come and consume drugs," the official said.

The Indian Express described the inventory of seized drugs as "88 blots of LSD, 8.8g of cocaine, 242.5g charas [a strain of cannabis resin popular in India], 1.440kg of [cannabis], 16.49g of hash oil, 410g of hash cake, 2g of methamphetamine and MDMA." Over $7,000 in cash – in a mixture of rupees, US dollars and Thai baht – were also seized, as were fake identity documents.

Meduza reported that the Russian embassy in India is investigating the event.

Varganova represented the USSR in the 1980 Summer Olympics, winning a silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:29.61. She also held the world record in this event in 1979.

You Might Also Like

We'll Swim After Victory
  • October 15, 2022

We'll Swim After Victory

Our correspondent was offered a business trip to Odesa, Ukraine. He took it and brought this back.
En Garde, Russia and Belarus
  • March 13, 2023

En Garde, Russia and Belarus

The International Fencing Federation greenlit the return of Russian and Belarussian fencers to tournaments — and the Olympics.
What Is Fair in Love and War?
  • February 07, 2023

What Is Fair in Love and War?

The International Olympic Committee is advocating for Russian and Belarusian involvement in the 2024 Olympic Games.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955