Friday’s newspapers: Putin-Niinistö, war worries, Hanko real estate and Western companies in Russia

In the background of the war in Ukraine, Sauli Niinistö and the (SDP) are dealing diplomatically on two fronts. Niinistö will call the Russian president on Friday while is in Paris for an “informal” EU Council summit.

The director of the speaks to Iltasanomat Mika Aaltola, stated that it was very important to keep these channels of dialogue open.

"The right call at the right time, even if it is not the solution, can help resolve the conflict."

Aaltola also mentioned that Putin and Niinistö know each other well. The heads of state have spent time together and kept in touch over the years, and Aaltola says this is especially important in Russian culture.

Niinistö refrained from discussing the content of the invitation with the media. Aaltola says that this is partly due to the fact that the situation in Ukraine is constantly changing.

"The news expires in 5 minutes, the situation is moving and dynamic."

Meanwhile, in Paris, Marin met with other EU heads of government at a meeting of the EU Council in Versailles.

The summit was originally planned to focus on European investment and economic growth during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, but recent events have shifted the focus to the war in Ukraine.

When the leaders agreed on a declaration on deepening cooperation with Ukraine, Helsingin Sanomat reports that Marin said he hoped this would be seen a "hope message" Ukraine because of its formal application for EU membership.

"Personally, I see the importance of sending a message of hope to the Ukrainians that the future is in sight," said Marin. "However, we must also be realistic about what the road may be. Here, too, the conditions for membership must be met."

According to Marin, Ukrainians must be given hope that they are part of the West and that its future lies in the West.

The had diplomatic success when and managed to get a reference to the meaning of the EU’s common defense clause, Article 42.7, in the summit’s conclusions.

This clause obliges EU countries to provide defense support if a Member State is attacked.

Would you like a summary of the week’s top stuff in your inbox every Thursday? Then sign up to receive our weekly email!

Russian-owned apartment buildings in trouble

Helsingin sanomat newspaper considers the fate of a dilapidated apartment building in Hanko, southwestern Finland Boris Rotenberg and his son Roman – Vladimir Putin’s close colleagues and dual citizens of Finland and Russia.

The apartment building was built in 1961 and is now in rather poor condition, as the Russian owners have not made the necessary thorough renovations since acquiring it in 2004.

According to HS, the block is two-thirds empty, but there are still long-term residents there and they are worried about how sanctions could affect their homes.

There have already been difficulties in paying the rent, as the accounts of the persons subject to the sanctions have been suspended. No bills have been paid, as the distribution of electricity in the public premises of the block was cut off at the end of last year.

District heating bills have been paid directly from Russia, but it is now likely to end with the isolation of Russian banks. Finland does not allow the heating to be cut off during the winter months, but when the spring comes, the building can be cut off. And it would not be reconnected until the debts have been paid.

At that point, the local municipality would step in. Mayor Denis Strandell says he is aware of the problem and has pondered it often – but there is also one bigger question on his mind.

"Why would an incredibly rich oligarch buy two Lappohja apartment buildings at the end of their life?" asks Strandell rhetorically.

"It makes no business sense at all."

Strandell says he doubts it could have been a possible base for the legendary “green men” Russia is suspected of using in covert operations such as Crimea.

HS was unable to reach the Rotenberg to comment.

War worries for Finns

Concerns over the effects of the war in Ukraine have led to an increase in demand for unpolluted goods, passports and cash. report in Ilta-Sanomat.

There has been a slight increase in the market sales of perishable foodstuffs alone, while ATMs around Finland have run out of cash due to increased withdrawals.

The demand for passports has caused congestion in the licensing offices of the police department all over Finland. Services are particularly congested due to low passport renewal during the Covid pandemic.

According to a survey conducted by the Economic Survey, 74 percent of Finns expressed concern about Russia’s threat.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the number of housing corporations has clearly increased since the inspection of their civil shelters, says Teemu KajavaCEO of Safetum.

At the same time, motorists are also experiencing a rising fuel cost crisis. Kauppalehti reports The prices of petrol pumps rose to a record level of 2.5 euros on Thursday in three locations across Finland.

Bank experts warn that ending Russia’s energy imports will lead to short-term problems for a Europe dependent on Russian oil and gas. However, the biggest crisis will be the global food shortages in developing countries caused by the war and rising energy prices.

The World Food Program warned last week that the war in Ukraine could lead to an unprecedented global food crisis, as both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of grain.

Western secession is not a matter of course

Sanctions against Russia are one thing, but public pressure has also been a major factor in the country’s growing isolation. Many Finnish companies announced in recent days that they were withdrawing from the Russian market, partly after social criticism of social media, and now they are trying to implement this decision.

Financial magazine Kauppalehti considers Practical aspects of leaving Russia for Western companies that have announced their departure in recent days.

As Russia becomes increasingly isolated from the international financial system, many banks are sanctioned and the Russian government is not quite willing to help, those with holdings in Russia are struggling to find a way out.

Mika KokkonenA lawyer from St. Petersburg tells the newspaper that Finnish companies must act with caution. They have responsibilities to staff, customers and business partners, and these responsibilities cannot be lightly dismissed.

If they fail to comply with these obligations, they may be subject to the tax authorities or even have their property expropriated or nationalized.

According to Kokkonen, closing down operations completely is not a sensible option, as it would take about six months. Finding a buyer for the company or keeping the presence to a minimum and continuing the staff could be a better option when a new decision is made after three months.

The magazine also asks Kai Hahl, a Finnish advertising director in St. Petersburg, for his thoughts. Unsurprisingly, he suggests that companies ensure that they formulate their statements carefully in both Finland and Russia so as not to burn bridges unnecessarily.

Source: The Nordic Page

Related Posts