MPs fear that the Ukrainian crisis could fuel anti-Russian sentiment in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The present crisis between the Ukraine and Russia could fuel anti-Russian sentiment in Finland, according to Social Democrat MP Pauliina Viitamies and MP Lenita Toivakka of the National Coalition Party, reports Mikkeli-based daily Länsi-Savo.

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“I fear that [the Ukrainian-Russian crisis] could raise anti-Russian sentiment especially in the eastern border area,” said Viitamies, adding that she hoped that this would not be the case.

The warning by Viitamies and Toivakka is significant considering Finland’s difficult history with its neighbor and how it has fueled anti-Russian behavior to date. There is cause for worry if two MPs from Eastern Finland are concerned about the impact that the Ukraine crisis may have on Russians living in Finland.

If the Ukraine crisis worsens and drags on, it could not only affect Russians living in Finland but all immigrants, especially groups like Muslims and visible minorities.

The historic victory of the anti-EU and anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset party in the 2011 parliamentary elections is an example of how nationalism and intolerance have gained a bigger foothold in Finland.

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