The Russian consulate in Åland, which has been open since World War II, is a “threat to Finland’s security,” claim citizens who petitioned for the post’s closure following the nation’s official admittance to NATO.
General Pekka Toveri, a former head of military intelligence who also won a parliamentary seat in the most recent parliamentary elections from the list of the victorious National Coalition, stated that the reason for maintaining a Russian consulate is a remnant of the past because agreements were once made with the USSR. (KOK).
In the Easter editions of the majority of big newspapers, there are several comments on the question of the Åland Islands, a neutral and autonomous archipelago that was once part of Finland.
For Finland, the islands constitute a crucial region. In an interview with Iltalehti, Pekka Toveri emphasized that abandoning their demilitarization would “facilitate defense planning.” Even 90% of Finnish trade with Western nations travels via sea lanes close to the Islands. The ex-military officer noted that there are also laid crucial infrastructure pieces like communication cables.
Former Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen responded by pointing out that the Russian consulate in Mariehamn, the capital of the Aland Islands, is a “big symbol” for Russia. However, he acknowledged in an interview with “Kauppalehti” that when considering the islands’ future, one should “listen to the position of local residents.”