Helsinki is now using a picture of a dove, symbolising peace, as its profile picture on social media, Source: City of Helsinki

Helsinki condemns discrimination against Russian citizens

Helsinki condemns discrimination against Russian citizens

Mayor Juhana Vartiainen stressed that “Russian citizens and Russian speakers are not to blame for the war”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, Russian citizens living in Europe have witnessed a drastic surge in discrimination and harassment. During these past two weeks, many have become victims of hate speech and been denied access to various venues and services. Acknowledging this, the Finnish capital has released a statement stressing that the Russian government is separate from ordinary Russian citizens and Russian-speaking individuals.

More specifically, the City of Helsinki announced that it will not tolerate any form of discrimination, racism, or hostility. Taking this further, it reminded inhabitants that Finland not only condemns such harassment but prohibits it by law. Commenting on this, Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen shared:

“Helsinki is an international city and maintaining its common spirit is important right now. Discriminatory speech or attitudes do not belong in Helsinki. Russian citizens and Russian speakers are not to blame for this war. Discrimination against children and young people, in particular, is harmful in many ways and therefore particularly reprehensible.”

It follows then that the municipality’s kindergartens, schools, and educational institutions will now address the situation to ensure that children and young people do not become victims of discrimination.

Condemning the war

Aside from condemning harassment, Helsinki has also expressed its disapproval of the war started by Russia. What is more, it has voiced its support for the Ukrainians who remain to fight for their country as well as those seeking refuge elsewhere in Europe. 

Like many other cities around the world, Helsinki showed its support for Ukraine by illuminating its buildings with the colours of the Ukrainian flag. More importantly, it also donated EUR 350,000 worth of humanitarian aid to support those fleeing the war. 



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