Etelä-Saimaa (Finland): the border will be closed until the end of the year? A Finnish researcher advises not to believe the speeches of the Russian politicians, because of the crisis, Russian tourists will not return to Finland for a long time

Russia may leave the external border closed until the end of 2020. With this statement, Valentina Matvienko, made on April 28. These words have already been quoted several Finnish Newspapers.


To be precise, Valentina Matviyenko said in an interview with TV channel “Russia 24” that in 2020, the Russians don’t need to plan trips abroad, because it is possible that Russia and other countries abandon the measures against the coronavirus more soon. About this statement was written, including the newspaper “Kommersant”.

Jussi Lassila (Lassila Jussi), senior researcher at the University of Finland’s foreign policy (UPI), specializing in Russia, says not to give statements Matvienko to close the borders too much attention. It is better to wait for the official statement of the Russian authorities.

Loyalty and opportunism

According to Lassila, a former St. Petersburg Governor Matviyenko formally considered an influential politician, she has ties with President Vladimir Putin.

“Matviyenko is more loyal accompanist, which repeats the ideas that it considers worth repeating. Also, sometimes she makes statements that later turn out to be wrong.”

“The Federation Council, i.e. the higher chamber of the state Duma, formally, is an influential body but it is not critical”.

For example, before Matviyenko said that the coronavirus in Russia will not come.

According to Lassila, the opening of borders and the restoration of trust between countries could be a special milestone in international relations.

When the borders open, Europe, and neighboring countries Russia would have to think about the reliability of Russian data in regards to the situation with coronavirus and the peak of the pandemic.

“If the West does not want to open the borders or flights from the UK and will justify this epidemiological situation, Russia will submit this as a negative attitude of the West towards Russia. The case of China — a good example,” says Lassila.

“Many people have run out of savings”

When the border of Finland and Russia again will open and people will again begin to travel, the Russian tourists hardly will rush to the stores of South Karelia crowds.

“The purchasing power of the Russian middle class may suffer greatly. Many people have run out of savings. First of all it will save on tourism,” says Lassila.

Now ordinary Russians caught in a contradictory situation: they need to stay home, but money for life is also needed. Therefore, quarantine is observed not everywhere, people go to work.

“The big question is how the government will be able to maintain faced with the difficulties of the enterprise and the entire population of the country. Requirements introduced by Putin, are half. Assistance and private individuals. The responsibility entrusted to the regions and other leaders who simply have no money and the desire to invest it”.

Among the richest countries of the Big twenty Russia — the only country that did not support its citizens during the epidemic of the coronavirus, says Lassila.

“The authorities do not know how to solve crisis problems, what policy to conduct towards citizens and how to inform.”

Coronavirus exacerbate the problems

Because of the coronavirus position of President Putin in the eyes of the citizens continues to wane. The crisis exacerbates economic, governmental and political games.

“If you believe the most optimistic statements by the authorities in Russia will be a crisis that will last at least a year or two. According to the most pessimistic estimates, the country can begin the very serious congestion”, — said Lassila.

The cost of crude oil has fallen because demand has fallen.

The transfer of the celebration of Victory Day and voting on amendments to the Constitution caused serious damage to the reputation of the Russian state.

“What may follow? May be followed by a change of government, total crisis and chaos or, perhaps, changes will occur gently,” says Lassila.

According to Lassila, in the future Russia may have to think about their current great-power politics. Citizens have begun to ask why, for example, money allocated to foreign policy adventures, not the well-being of Russians.