17 Jan 2024 18:46

Russian Finns appeal decision to close border with Russia at Finland's Supreme Administrative Court

HELSINKI. Jan 17 (Interfax) - A group of Russian-speaking residents of Finland have appealed to Finland's Supreme Administrative Court against the government's decision to close the eastern border until February 11.

"Such decisions discriminate against the Russian-speaking minority and violate fundamental rights," Yle quoted the plaintiffs as saying on Wednesday.

Regular crossing of the eastern border for work, business, study or family reasons is part of the regular lifestyle for Russian speakers, and therefore the closure of the border, among other things, violates the right to freedom of movement, they said.

The Supreme Administrative Court controls the legality of the authorities' decisions.

Finland's Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen said on January 11 all crossing points on the eastern border would remain closed for another month, until February 11. The decision will negatively affect Russians who live in Finland and holders of the two countries' passports, but there have not been any changes on the part of Russia and "the threat of a hybrid influence" remains, she said.

In November, Finland closed all eight passenger border crossing points on the Russian border, citing mass passage of migrants to the Finnish border allegedly organized by the Russian side. Two of the eight crossing points opened on December 14, but the Finnish Ministry of the Interior said at the end of the day they would be closed from 9:00 p.m. on December 15 until January 14 due to "asylum seekers arriving at the border."

A similar decision was made again on January 11.