Finns urge to cease ‘insufferable’ Russian tourism

Busloads of Russian vacationers flock to Finland on the Nuijamaa border crossing within the nation’s southeast, some hoping to take pleasure in a peaceable Finnish summer time whereas others plan to move additional into Europe.

Finland could search NATO membership after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, however the Scandinavian nation stays Russia’s solely EU neighbor that points vacationer visas to Russian residents.

Video: Elias Huuhtanen/AFPTV/AFP

“I’ve been touring right here for 12 years,” Boris Surovtsev, 37, from St. Petersburg, instructed AFP whereas awaiting the transition. “It is a fantastic nation with nature and lakes.”

After the EU closed its airspace to Russian flights, Finland has additionally change into an essential transit nation for Russians wishing to fly to different European nations.

“Residents of Ukraine are being killed, together with civilians, girls and kids, and on the similar time, Russians are vacationing within the EU.”

However many Finns are sad with the present state of affairs, and the concept that Russians are having fun with the Finnish summer time and Ukrainians are affected by a brutal invasion is outrageous.

“It isn’t proper that Russians can journey freely to Finland. This removes the idea for sanctions,” stated native resident Kirsi Iljin.

“I feel there needs to be some restrictions.”

Advised restrictions

In solidarity with Ukraine, Finland’s conservative opposition occasion proposed this week to droop the issuance of latest vacationer visas for Russians.

“This case is insufferable,” Jukka Kopra, an MP for the Nationwide Coalition Occasion, instructed AFP.

“Residents of Ukraine are being killed, together with civilians, girls and kids, and on the similar time, Russians are vacationing within the EU.”

Customs officers check Russian cars at the Nuijamaa border crossing.Customs officers test Russian vehicles on the Nuijamaa border crossing.

The proposal seems to have acquired broad help within the Finnish parliament, with MPs from numerous events voicing their help for visa restrictions.

“Personally, I feel the restrictions needs to be tightened,” stated Aki Linden of the ruling Social Democrats, who’s performing prime minister whereas Sanna Marin is away.

“The matter is presently within the International Workplace,” he instructed AFP.

The massive variety of current visas — as much as 100,000 — complicates the issue, Linden stated.

The Finnish International Ministry instructed AFP that “alternate options are presently being thought-about.”

Different Schengen nations bordering Russia – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – have already restricted Russian visas.

On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated Russia would “react very negatively” to the proposed restrictions.

Full nozzles

Since Russia lifted journey restrictions resulting from COVID on July 15, the variety of Russian vacationers heading to Finland has steadily elevated.

Finland lifted journey restrictions on the finish of June.

Russian tourists arrive by bus at the border crossing.Russian vacationers arrive by bus on the border crossing.

Whereas these numbers are nonetheless under pre-COVID ranges, there have been greater than 185,000 border crossings in July in comparison with 125,000 in June.


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