Finland: close the border for Russian tourists?
After Finland lifted Covid travel restrictions for non-EU citizens, Russian holidaymakers are also among those travelling to the country. And now that the value of the rouble has risen against the euro, cross-border shopping sprees are also popular once more. A number of Finnish parties are calling for a suspension of tourist visas for Russians. The nation's press is divided.
Send a clear message
Iltalehti doesn't want to see any more Russian holidaymakers in the country:
“It can't be possible that Finland is allowing Russian tourists to take their holidays and spend their money here while Russia is destroying Ukraine and killing its citizens indiscriminately. It's just morally unacceptable. ... Many of Russia's other neighbours have suspended visa applications. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, for example, are not accepting tourist visa applications from Russians. Finland needs to follow suit. ... Closing the borders to tourists would send a clear message to Russians about the consequences of ignoring war crimes and supporting Russia's war of aggression.”
Nationality not the main criterion
Indiscriminate condemnation of all Russians is not in keeping with Finnish values, Helsingin Sanomat stresses:
“At first glance, closing the border may seem like a quick fix to the problem. In practice, however, the issue is not so clear-cut. There are 90,000 Russian speakers living in Finland. Most of them have close connections not only with Finland but also with Russia. Should their relatives be prevented from entering Finland? ... The restrictions must be in line with our own values and goals. Sanctions should not be imposed on the basis of nationality but according to a person's actions or inaction.”