The Finnish Defence Forces has adopted new guidelines to prevent personnel with dual Finnish-Russian citizenship from advancing to certain senior positions, reports YLE.
The public broadcasting company reveals that it has been granted access to the classified guidelines that also detail changes to the training of conscripts with dual Finnish-Russian citizenship in order to ensure they cannot advance to positions with access to classified or sensitive security information.
YLE also writes that dual Finnish-Russian citizens have for some time been ineligible for positions in the Defence Forces.
The report has provoked a response from Russia. Sputnik News, a Russian state-controlled news agency, argued yesterday that the guidelines are discriminatory towards dual citizenship holders. “All Finnish citizens are equal, but some of them are still less equal than others,” it wrote
YLE's report has been refuted by Jussi Niinistö (PS), the Minister of Defence. He estimated in an interview with STT on Tuesday that it may be part of a sophisticated disinformation campaign.
Niinistö did, on the other hand, confirm to the public broadcaster that he intends to launch a legislative project to prevent dual citizenship holders from securing positions in the Defence Forces.
“I'm personally of the opinion that there are weighty grounds for excluding dual citizens when it comes to military positions. This possibility will be explored during the project,” he said.
YLE points out that the possibility of restricting – or entirely suspending – the access of dual Finnish-Russian citizens to certain positions in the central administration has been under consideration for some time in Finland due to the increasingly strained relationship between Russia and the European Union. A legislative amendment to accomplish that, it adds, is currently being prepared by the Ministry of Finance.
The Defence Forces, however, opted not to wait for the completion of the legislative work and adopted its own guidelines with respect to dual citizens.
Finland is currently home to approximately 60,000 Russian citizens, one-third of whom hold dual Finnish-Russian citizenship, the public broadcasting company reported last year.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi