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June 23, 1971 : Moscow

Satsvarupa: Two young men, one the son of an Indian diplomat stationed in Moscow, the other a young Muscovite, were loitering near Red Square when they saw Syamasundara, a tall young man with a shaved head, a long reddish ponytail, and flowing white robes approach. Familiar with Syamasundara's dress, the son of the Indian diplomat stopped him. Syamasundara smiled, "Hare Krishna, brother." And he began talking with the Indian, whose name was Narayana. The Russian, Ivan, knew a little English and followed the conversation as closely as he could. The talk grew serious. "Why don't you come up and meet my spiritual master?" Syamasundara asked. Honored, the boys immediately accompanied Syamasundara to the Hotel National.

When they arrived, they found Prabhupada seated on his bed, aglow and smiling, Aravinda massaging his feet. Syamasundara entered, offering obeisances before Prabhupada. Ivan was interested even more than his Indian friend and was completely fascinated. Prabhupada began explaining to him the philosophy of Krishna consciousness; he inquired with respect and awe, and Prabhupada answered his questions, teaching as much basic information about Krishna consciousness as was possible. Prabhupada mentioned his desire to preach in Russia, which was a great field for Krishna consciousness because the people were open-minded and hadn't been polluted by sense gratification. Ivan's taking to Krishna was like a hungry man's eating a meal.
The next day, Syamasundara began to explain to him how Krishna consciousness was the topmost of all spiritual paths. He also taught him basic principles of bhakti-yoga, such as chanting the prescribed sixteen rounds of japa daily, and gave him his own copy of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Prabhupada showed Ivan how to prepare chapatis and rice and asked him to give up eating meat. Joyfully, Ivan accepted the chanting, the new way of eating - everything. Ivan was being trained so that after Prabhupada left, Ivan could continue on his own.

With only two days left in Moscow, Prabhupada taught Ivan as much as he could and initiated him as Ananta Shanti Dasa. In this young Russian's eagerness and intelligence, Prabhupada found the real purpose of his visit to Russia.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta Volume 4 - Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami