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Finnish defense minister wants complete ban on Russian real estate transactions

by Martin Fornusek January 15, 2024 9:05 PM 2 min read
Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen during a NATO-Ukraine Council in Defense Ministers Session, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on Oct. 11, 2023. (Simon Wohlfahrt/AFP/Getty Images)
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Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen said he is working on a complete ban on real estate transactions in Finland for Russian citizens, the YLE public broadcaster reported on Jan. 15, citing Hakkanen's interview with the Uutissuomalainen newspaper.

Hakkanen raised the issue already last October, pointing out the security implications of Russian real estate purchases in the country. Tensions between Helsinki and Moscow spiked following the outbreak of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine and Finland's subsequent entry into NATO.

According to the defense minister, Finland aims to tighten licensing conditions for real estate transactions for persons and companies outside the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).

Relevant decisions will be made already this spring, Hakkanen added.

Such restrictions would mean, for example, that renting out properties would be more strictly controlled in the future, and the history of already sold properties would be investigated.

Earlier this week, Finnish authorities blocked a real estate purchase by a Russian-linked company, saying such a deal could undermine national security. Three other acquisitions were blocked in October on similar grounds.

Real estate purchases are not the only method Helsinki sees as Russia's destabilization tool.

Finland has closed its border crossings with Russia following an influx of asylum seekers, mainly coming from the countries of the Global South.

Finnish authorities suspected the asylum seekers were being pushed to the border by Russia in what Helsinki labeled a "hybrid operation against Finland."

Finland extends closure of border with Russia for another month
Finland will extend the closure of all eight checkpoints along its border with Russia until at least Feb. 11, the Finnish news outlet YLE reported on Jan. 11, citing Finnish Interior Minister Mari Rantanen.
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