Finland to Close Border for Russian Tourists Tonight

Finland is going to close the border for the entry of tourists from Russia next night, as reported by the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, citing sources. 

Picture: Wikipedia

“The new border rules should come into force as early as Thursday evening, unless the government at its meeting, which starts today at 1 pm, changes the schedule that has already been previously agreed,” the publication says.

According to the newspaper, the new policy resembles the border practices of the corona era, with the exception that the restrictions on entering the country only apply to Russians and the grounds for denying entry to the country are different.

The special reasons for entering the country have been defined more or less in the same way as during the corona period, too. For example, you could still come to the country for family reasons, but only to meet members of the nuclear family, such as your own children, parents, or grandparents. Also, Russians can still enter Finland to study and do necessary work.

It is noted that the new policy is based on the section of the regulations of the Schengen travel area, on the basis of which a passenger can be denied entry to the Schengen area due to the “international reputational damage” caused by him.

However, the article says that it is more about the fact that Estonia in particular has criticized Finland’s border practices: Finland has been the only EU country through whose land border Russian tourists have reached, for example, Estonia and other Schengen areas, while other countries blocked the entry of Russian tourists a couple of weeks ago.

In those countries where Russians were prohibited the entry, politicians have stated that all Russian tourists are “a security threat.” In Finland, the policy is made by an authority, and according to the security police, so it is claimed so far that “not all Russian tourists are a security threat.” Thus, Finland has to appeal to the international reputation loss in its decision, the article says.

“However, according to HS’s information, the justifications for the government’s decision in principle do not specifically say what reputation damage the Russians are causing to Finland’s partner country’s relations,” the author of the article explains.

Anyway, the visas of Russians coming to Finland as tourists are basically invalidated. In this case, the traveler can no longer enter the territory of the EU, for example, from the border of another Schengen country with a visa issued by Finland.

As Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, reported on September 23, the authorities made a fundamental decision to ban entry for Russian citizens for the purpose of tourism or for transit to other EU countries. In addition, owning real estate in Finland will no longer be a basis for obtaining a visa.

As stated by the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, commenting on these decisions, Moscow is not going to be like Brussels in the unreasonable policy of “burning bridges” between people, but reserves the right to retaliate.

Ru-Main, 29.09.2022
Source: RIA Novosti 

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