Finland divided on visa-free travel with Russia

Alexander Stubb and Russia (M)

Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb this week broke new ground when proposing that the country introduce visa exemptions for Russians. Finnish authorities however remain split on whether to ease visa relations with the big neighbour.


Finnish decision-makers and officials have not yet taken a definitive stand on the issue of visa-free travel with Russia. Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party) said last week that the lifting of mandatory travel visas would be the right move in the development of relations between Russia and Finland, Helsingin Sanomat reports. In so doing, Stubb deviated from the traditional Finnish stance, which has favoured maintaining visas. The number of visas issued by Finnish consular authorities is strongly increasing and is expected to exceed 600,000 this year.