Minister of Finance Riikka Purra (PS) fielded questions from the media about her online comments outside the official residence of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) in Helsinki on 12 July 2023. Purra on Thursday published a blog post in which she reiterated that the comments were taken out of their context and misinterpreted during the ongoing media scrutiny. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)


MINISTER OF FINANCE Riikka Purra (PS) on Thursday published a blog post about the racism debate that continues to surround the Finns Party.

“My party isn’t racist. Its goals on immigration – or anything else – aren’t racist. We don’t talk about conspiracy theories but about real problems caused by real immigration in this real society,” she argued, adding that the party’s critical approach to immigration policy is based on coherent argumentation that withstands public scrutiny.

It is absolutely clear to all members of the party, she stressed, that the government has committed to democracy, equality, human rights and non-discrimination.

Purra also lashed out at the media for its coverage of her past comments on Scripta, the blog of current Speaker of Parliament Jussi Halla-aho (PS). The comments, she suggested, have been taken out of context in reporting in a way that ignores their style, which is characterised by “insider jokes” and “sarcasm”.

The media has focused its attention on certain “trigger” words, according to Purra.

“Some of the comments convey, for example, a clear frustration and anger toward the sexual (and other) harassment I’ve faced from immigrant men. In media coverage, this has been entirely masked (meaning, the context has been removed) or the emotional turmoil it has caused has been invalidated.”

“The Finns Party in general and I have been treated virtually like outlaws in the media in recent weeks. Nothing is wrong when it comes to how we’re treated,” she bemoaned.

She argued that her online comments from 15 years ago neither glorify nor encourage violence.

“I’ve never espoused any sort of violence or extremism. I’ve always opposed it. I’ve never espoused discrimination based on skin colour. I’ve never opposed sexual minorities. I’ve never denied the human dignity of anyone,” she wrote. “I know how to speak and write and express my feelings in coarse and ugly language, but it’s futile to look for anything else in the comments.”

Purra also reminded that she made the comments as a private citizen.

“Many of the comments were exaggerated, stupid and boorish. I was venting my frustration about problems I’d seen around me, as private individuals are allowed to do. The same kind of language and style can be found easily on social media – or even in the citizen feedback received by members of parliament.”

“Whether you like the content or not, citizens constantly tell these kinds of things to us Finns Party members. There was a time I was such a citizen.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT