Helsingin Sanomat (Finland) from the Finnish longing for the country I want to cry

Lappeenranta / Helsinki — it Seems that this summer the Russians did not try the rolls with cream cheese in famous cafes in Lappeenranta “Majorska” (“the Mayorshey”, Majurska).

At the window lined up, but the Russian speech, as in a normal summer, are not heard. The assortment of pastries are studying tourists from Helsinki and a few from Germany.

Cafe in the castle — one of the most popular places in Lappeenranta for Russian tourists. Russian media often write about it.

“At Lappeenranta past the cafe Majurska (the”Mayorshey”) is not a single Russian tourist,” writes the economic newspaper “Business Petersburg”.

Interesting, not only cakes, but also the history of this place. The cafe is located in a building built in the mid-nineteenth century for the family of a Russian officer. The Russians owned the building until Finland gained independence.

“In the busiest days in the queue more often speak Russian than in Finnish,” — said the worker of cafe Lajunen Aino (Aino Lyijynen).

This year the summer in southern Karelia seems pretty unusual — not the largest group of foreign tourists — Russians. In 2019 in Lappeenranta and Imatra have visited 1,8 million Russians.

They accounted for 96% of all foreign tourists. This data is the annual survey of the Analytical center of Finland TAK.

In connection with the epidemic of the coronavirus the border between Finland and Russia is still closed, and information about when it will open yet.

In Finland not can come not only tourists but also the owners of cottages. Have a lot of Russian property in Finland, particularly South Karelia and South Savo, says Olga Hannonen (Olga Hannonen), researcher, defended on the subject of the thesis at the University of East Karelia.

Russian dacha is a popular summer vacation spot. Over the period 2000 to 2015 living in Russia Russians in Finland bought 4424 villas, apartments or land.

According to Olga Hannonen, Russian buy not only apartments and cottages on the shore, but the old private house in the centre of Imatra, built for the Finnish military.

Introduced after the occupation of Crimea economic sanctions and the fall of the ruble a negative impact on the number of transactions for the purchase of property. In 2015, the Russians acquired in Finland, only 127 villas.

Among Russian owners of Finnish cottages most of Petersburgers, Muscovites also quite a lot.

In recent years, the flow of Russians in Eastern Finland have decreased. For example, in 2008 Russians bought in Finland cottages for hundreds of millions of euros. In recent years the cottages were sold much less.

For Russians, the dacha in Finland — a favorite place

St. Petersburg businessman, entrepreneur in the construction and restaurant business Serhiy Chorny calls his summer home, located between Savonlinna and Imatra, a “place of power”.

“There I’m calm and confident, feel very good. The kids are happy, we are in constant contact with nature. We spend there the most of,” says Black on the phone.

The last time he vacationed in the country with his wife, Alexandra Black, head of HR international firms, and their three children in early March. In summer, the family planned to arrive for another two months, but the epidemic has destroyed all plans.

“We are so used to spending holidays in Finland, this summer in St. Petersburg seems an awful failure,” says Black.

House to rent in Leningrad region, but according to Black, local villas are either in poor condition or unreasonably expensive.

It is reported that this spring the demand for rental of country houses in the Leningrad region rose by as much as 60%, therefore prices also increased.

“In addition, in Finland we used to live in seclusion, and in the Leningrad region it is absolutely impossible.”

In Finland, the closest neighbor at the cottage lives two miles away.

Black bought with two of his St. Petersburg friends nearby forest areas on the shores of lake Honkanen in 2008.

Two years in the area of the Black is a house suitable for year — round use- a sauna, dock and garage. Thanks to the good Internet you can work remotely.

“We even have a fence there, says Black. — And in Russia, the construction of any home always starts with a fence.”

To build their own home family many times, was shot in Finland cottages. The Finnish environment, cleanliness, security and people made a strong impression.

“We are Finland in first place among other countries,” says Black.

In the country the residents of the city rest on the nature. In the summer the family can swim, boat, catch fish and cook it on the grill. In winter you can go skiing and ice skating, Nordic walking and ice-fishing. Autumn — gathering mushrooms.

“In Finland a few people and a lot of mushrooms, it is very suitable for us,” grins Black.

Relax at the cottage in the neighbouring country is pleasant, but to organize such a vacation is not always easy.

Most Russians travel to the country on a tourist visa, which gives you the opportunity to travel to Finland for 90 days within six months. For the more active vacationers, this is not enough.

Some have a residence permit in Finland. It is possible to get to the cottage even in the current situation and to open your account for the payment of costs in the Finnish Bank.

The drive and border check is the least of the difficulties associated with the Finnish cottage. From St. Petersburg you can get to the country for a few hours.

If you leave Moscow early in the morning, you can sit on a Finnish cottage in the evening. With the breaks for food and the passage of border formalities, the trip takes about 12 hours.

If not epidemic, housewife-Muscovite Irina made now jam at the cottage in the municipality of Punkaharju by lake Saimaa. In Moscow, she does not dare to walk and so really misses the country.

“Remember our dock, our boat and the lake. I even cry at times. Facebook write that in Finland there’s already mushrooms and strawberries”, — sad Irina.

Five years ago, Irina’s family moved to Malta, where they received a residence permit. However, this year the family spent in Moscow. Perhaps in Finland will be able to go for mushrooms and berries in mid-August. Finnish “Manager” caring for country in the spring and summer.

“I love Finland, forests and lakes. I am grateful to the Finnish friends and neighbors. They treat us very well”, — says Irina by phone from Moscow.

Russian love Finland, but this feeling is not entirely mutual. It seems that the lack of Russian tourists in Lappeenranta is not a great mountain.

The sides of the Finnish “Helsingin Sanomat” (Helsingin Sanomat) from tourism say that without the language barrier and cultural differences, many issues become easier to solve, and hikers on the road now to avoid not necessary.

“Now our city has become more Finnish,” says the entrepreneur from tourism, which does not want to be named.

In 2019 the Russian tourists brought South Karelia more than 310 million euros. In summer, Finns, looduseuurijate domestic tourism compensated for the spring and fall sales, although on average they spend less money than the Russian.

Tourists who come to Lappeenranta from different parts of Finland, relax in the resorts, admire the archipelago of lake Saimaa and go to supserve before sand fortress Hiekkalinna.

But travel agents Pauliina of Kuokkanen (Pauliina Kuokkanen) and Gleb Sokolov regret that this summer the Russian language it is not particularly useful.