Finland’s anti-Russian policy is bearing fruit. How the absence of Russian tourists affects the life of the Scandinavian state; why in Finland sellers pay buyers, and not vice versa; Is it true that in the Baltics an interview with a Russian journalist is equated to treason, Pravda.Ru said Finnish political scientist, associate professor at the University of Helsinki Johan Beckman.
Photo: openverse.org by Matti Mattila is licensed under CC BY 2.0
— Unfortunately, this year Finland joined NATO, joining the list of unfriendly countries. How much has the flow of tourists from Russia to Finland and, conversely, Finnish tourists to our country decreased? What was the contribution to the economy from the tourism business?
— Russians are the only people that Finns really like. They enjoyed coming to Finland:
- do shopping,
- walk around interesting cities.
Previously, every weekend there were kilometer-long queues at the border with Russia to get to Lappeenranta and Imatra. But now these are ghost towns, they are dying. Everything is going bankrupt, not just the tourism industry. Real estate markets have also been virtually destroyed.
Sellers offer money to buyers so that they can buy housing, any real estate.
Plus, in Finland, construction throughout the country is going bankrupt. All Finns: rich, middle class, poor are suffering very much in this situation. We used to have Russian tourists! This is a very positive and successful project for Finland.
Our already former prime minister Sanna Marin said that all Finnish enterprises should leave Russia as soon as possible. As a result, we lost these markets. If the Finns had already been in the markets of St. Petersburg, northwestern Russia, for 30 years, they already had their own position. And suddenly they decided to leave. Naturally, others came there, and the Finns will never return.
“Your authorities constantly demonize us.” How do ordinary citizens feel about Russia and Russians?
“Ordinary citizens are already tired of this demonization and propaganda. But we have no freedom of speech. The situation is even worse in the Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia.
According to the new laws, giving comments to Russian journalists is treason.
Finns want to be friends with Russians, work together, be involved in joint projects. But no one asks the people anything. Why, when Finland joined NATO, did they not ask the people anything? All debate on this topic was banned.
Suddenly everything went up in price sharply, especially gasoline and utilities. The cost of electricity has increased many times over – these are now colossal amounts. Even the rich began to complain, they say: I have a house in Helsinki, and the electricity bill is five thousand euros a month.
Plus people also have mortgages. Interest rates are now rising. If they previously paid 300 euros per month, now they pay 1000-2000 euros. They have no money. At the same time, the cost of apartments falls. But this does not mean that mortgages are getting cheaper. As a result, entire residential buildings go bankrupt. Because we have joint stock companies, where all shareholders are residents with a mortgage.
People will go crazy in conditions when all prices are rising and people realize that they have no money. Nobody thinks about politics anymore. Every Finn thinks about how to live next, how the children will live. We are hostages. And no one asks us anything.
— Are there any parties in Finland, even if not pro-Russian, but which strive to at least restore neutrality with Russia?
– Of course, there are such people. Such initiatives arise all the time. For example, in Finland there is a new friendship society between Finland and Russia. And immediately in the pro-NATO press there is a large-scale attack on such societies, allegedly they are spies.
In Estonia there is a well-known party called Koos (Together), there is a very popular candidate there Ivo Peterson. This is an ordinary person who just speaks Estonian, just speaks Russian. He ran very well. Of course, now he is in prison on a fabricated case. He is accused of anti-Estonian activities. in Estonia, being popular in politics is called “anti-Estonian activity.” He faces five years in prison. But this is not only in Estonia.
Everywhere in Europe now new bills are being adopted precisely so that any socially active person can be immediately imprisoned for five years.