Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance), Finland's Minister of Culture and Sport, has apologised for his conduct in Sochi on Saturday, conceding to reporters at the Helsinki Airport on Monday that the evening had got out of hand.
“Naturally, ministers should be able to control their partying in order to prevent it from going so far. It went too far,” he admitted when asked whether Saturday's events were fitting for a minister.
“I haven't passed out before. I use alcohol with moderation, but this time the party got out of hand,” emphasised Arhinmäki.
In addition, the minister reminded that the party was a private function with members of the Finnish ice hockey team. “Of course, it's part of my official duties to also take part in such parties,” he added.
Later on Monday, Arhinmäki commented on the uproar on Twitter: “Medal celebrations went on too long, and I left my suitcase in Sochi. I've had better homecomings.”
On Monday, reporters waited for a comment from Arhinmäki by the airport's VIP lounge for over an hour as the minister took part in a teleconference with, for example, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (NCP). According to an aide to Katainen, Arhinmäki's conduct at the Olympics was not on the agenda of the conference. The Prime Minister refused to comment on the uproar on Monday.
Several sources suggest that Arhinmäki was heavily intoxicated while celebrating with the national ice hockey team after their victorious bronze game against the United States on Saturday. Information obtained by Helsingin Sanomat suggests that the players had to carry Arhinmäki to a hotel room that had been arranged for him after it became apparent that he was unable to return to his own hotel.
Earlier on Monday, Ilta-Sanomat reported that Arhinmäki had also missed a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vitaly Mutko, due to heavy partying. Arhinmäki has dismissed the claims, saying that he was on Sunday only unable to attend the men's 50 kilometre cross-country event and watched it on television.
Janne Toivonen, Heidi Lämsä – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Sirpa Räihä / HS