Should it surprise us that a member of an anti-immigration party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* is suspicious of dual citizens? Add to the latter that the person who is suspicious is Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö, who is known for his far-right sympathies.
According to information obtained by YLE, and if the story is true, the Finnish defense forces has begun to place restrictions on conscripts who are dual citizens of Finland and Russia. YLE said that no such guidelines existed before.
Finland has considered limiting the role of dual nationals in key public posts for years but has not asked if this is unconstitutional.
YLE reported that despite some circles wanting to limit the role of people with dual citizenship in the army, there is no legislation that permits such restrictions from taking place now. The finance ministry is, however, working on such legislative reforms.
Said Niinistö in YLE:
“I personally take the view that when we talk about professional military positions, there are weighty reasons excluding dual nationality. There will now be a review to clarify this. The required proposals will be prepared for legislation on the Defence Forces on how national security can be improved in filling professional military positions, and when an individual applies for training leading to a professional officer’s commission.”
Read the full story here.
One of the biggest unanswered questions of the YLE story concerning dual nationals is if it is discriminatory.
Section 6 of the Constitution clearly states that everyone is equal before the law. Moreover, can we exclude whole groups, in this case, dual citizens with Finnish and Russian passports?
According to the law, a Finn is a person who is a Finnish citizen. Niinstö’s and the defense force’s statement and actions reveal that there are first- and second-class Finnish citizens.
Instead of doing something discriminatory like excluding whole groups, the Finnish defense forces should assess if a conscript or person is a security threat on a one-by-one case.
A total of 60,000 people in Finland are dual nationals, or which 20,000 are citizens who hold a Finnish and Russian passport, according to YLE.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”