Russian consul bids farewell to BusanVyacheslav Tsupikov, 56, consul general of the Russian Federation Consulate in Busan, will leave Korea next month, after a four-year term.
According to Mr. Tsupikov, around 700 Russians live in Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces, including fishermen visiting the port of Busan to sell fish and make repairs, migrant workers at Korean companies and factories and Russian women working in local entertainment. As the number of Russian migrants here has grown, the consulate office’s workload has increased. Inquiries to the office range from lost passports to illegal entry or accidents. “I have been to the police and the Immigration Bureau countless times,” Mr. Tsupikov said.
Mr. Tsupikov sometimes arbitrated in disputes between Korean employers and Russian employees. “Not a small number of Russian workers come to the Consulate Office to complain that employers do not pay their salaries for months,” he said. Often, he had to argue with employers and government officials. Nevertheless, he said, “Most Koreans seem nice and friendly to foreigners.” Mr. Tsupikov enjoys Korean food such as bibimbap, bulgogi, and jeonbokjuk. However, he said he could not understand Koreans’ drinking habits, especially their insisting that other people accept drinks, even if they don’t want to or cannot drink, and offering poktan-ju (mixed beer and whisky). “I was surprised to see people force even women to drink poktan-ju at company dinners,” he noted.
Mr. Tsupikov was named an honorary citizen of Busan by the city on Feb.17.
by Yoo Cheol-jong