In Finland, which was closed to Russian tourists last fall, entire “caravans” of Russians were “suddenly” found buying “sanctioned goods”. As complained in the Finnish press, the Russians have found a legal way to get to Finland for the coveted shopping. And the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking for a way to block their way – but for now, it urges shops not to sell anything to our tourists.
According to the Finnish media, the demand for shopping in the country is so great that “the number of Russian buyers heading to Finland has not decreased”, no matter how the country is closed to them. The Russians were not stopped even by the closed issuance of tourist visas. They just get through Norway.
“Norway, like Finland, is part of the Schengen zone, and anyone can enter Finland through Norway without having to go through order control, which makes the entry of Russian buyers completely legal, and the country’s authorities cannot take any measures,” complain the Finns and they assure that “every day, whole caravans of cars of Russian citizens arrive in Nätämö on the border between Finland and Norway to make purchases.” And since the two countries do not have internal border checks, no one asks Russians for passports or visas.
“We cannot stop traffic at some border points due to the rules of the Schengen zone. Russians arrive in Norway from Russia on visas, Norway lets Russians in if they have valid visas. So they come to the Schengen area, where they also have the opportunity to visit Finland,” complained the representative of the Finnish customs Kari Hannu.
At the same time, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said, commenting on the situation, that Finnish stores should not sell goods to Russians, especially “if it is clear that they will export sanctioned goods to Russia.” Merchants of nearby stores hurried to “get off” – someone said that they did not offer goods that are included in the sanctions list to Russian buyers, someone – that they stopped duty-free trade. But apparently, Russian tourists “can buy whatever they want as long as they don’t demand a tax refund, since in such cases the store cannot check passports” – and Finnish officials seem to be quite annoyed by this.
“We can only control the export of products from Finland. If the goods go to Russia via Norway, the responsibility for compliance with the rules lies with the Norwegian customs. We can't do anything about it,” the Finnish customs officer regrets.
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