The city of Imatra is one of the Finnish border towns that regularly receives Russian tourists, Source: Unsplash

Finnish towns play Ukrainian anthem every day to Russian tourists

Finnish towns play Ukrainian anthem every day to Russian tourists

EU border countries and communities are increasingly growing uneasy about tolerating daily visits from the aggressor country

In light of recent news that Finnish PM Sanna Marin has proposed to the EU to almost completely stop issuing Schengen visas to Russian tourists, some Finnish border towns have been getting creative in showing their protest against the war in Ukraine.

For example, the city of Lappeenranta, which sits near the Russian border and has traditionally been a potent tourist magnet for day trippers from the neighbouring country, has started playing the Ukrainian national anthem from its town hall every evening.

That form of subtle (or not so subtle) protesting against the military policy of Russia is more than intriguing because if Russian tourists were more than welcome somewhere in Europe until recently, it was exactly in Lappeenranta. The local economy has basically adapted to Russian visitors, who come not only for sightseeing but also for shopping.

"The aim is to express strong support for Ukraine and to condemn the war of aggression," Lappeenranta's Mayor Kimmo Jarva told AFP.

The town of Imatra uses similar tactics

Taking into account the recent developments, several countries decided to impose restrictions on Russians. A recent poll has shown that 58 per cent of citizens of Finland are in favour of restricting the issuance of visas to Russians.

The Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs has already presented a plan to limit tourist visas for citizens of Russia. Nonetheless, the authorities are yet to come out with an official statement on the matter.

Meanwhile, the nearby town of Imatra is also using the Ukrainian anthem as a way to spoil the mood of Russian tourists, while simultaneously respecting their right to visit if they have visas that allow them to do so.

In the case of Imatra, the anthem is piped in at the Imatrankoski rapids – a popular local site – instead of the usual music piece by Jean Sibelius, the foremost Finnish composer. Reportedly, Russian tourists were not too happy to hear it.



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