Russian tourists are in a hurry to buy property in Finland, despite the fact that the authorities of this country restrict their entry. The rapid growth in real estate purchases among Russians is taking place against the backdrop of threats to ban the issuance of Schengen visas not only at the Suomi level, but also in the EU as a whole.
According to Finnish media, Russians made 212 real estate transactions in the first seven months of this year, i.e. from January to July 2022. This is a significant increase from 2021, as Russians bought 222 properties in the Land of a Thousand Lakes in the entire previous year.
According to YLE News, the largest number of transactions this year was made in the South Karelia region, which is located near the Finnish-Russian border. Of all the cities in this region, it turned out that the city of Imatra was the most popular place for Russians looking to buy property. Recall that recently it was there that the authorities began to express anti-Russian sentiments. Read the details in the article “Russian tourists in Finland began to be greeted with the Ukrainian anthem.”
The same source noted that it is especially surprising for Russians to buy property in Finland, since, due to the sanctions imposed, money cannot be transferred from bank cards of Russians who do not work in Finland. Non-EU citizens, including Russians, must apply for a permit to be able to buy property in Suomi. According to the Finnish Ministry of Defense, a permit costs about 200 euros (about 12,000 rubles), and it can take several months to get a permit.
While other countries have already introduced entry restrictions for Russians, the Finnish authorities recently decided to do so. For example, the Finnish Foreign Minister said last week that a plan to limit the issuance of tourist visas for Russians was submitted for discussion.
News of the proposal was announced shortly after the ministry said Finland was being used as a transit country to reach other EU destinations. The flow of tourists across the borders especially increased on July 15, the day when the Russian authorities lifted restrictions related to the coronavirus. The data showed that from that day to August, cross-border traffic between Russia and Finland increased by 40 percent.
Thus, taking into account these figures, and also after taking into account the proposed plan, the Finnish government has decided to limit the number of tourist visas issued to Russians starting from September. At the same time, the Finnish authorities made a statement about the fate of previously issued visas to Russians (details here).
While the neighboring country decided to limit only the number of visas issued to Russians, Estonia decided to stop issuing visas for tourism purposes. Estonian authorities announced that from Thursday, August 18, the country will no longer issue visas to Russian citizens. In addition, they indicated that Russians holding a visa issued by Estonia would be denied entry into the country. However, enterprising Russian tourists have found a way to get around this ban – they continue to freely enter Estonia on Schengen visas issued by other European countries.
Earlier, Turprom wrote that “The most popular window to Europe has completely closed for Russians” .
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