Total Ban on Russian Real Estate Purchases Amid Security Concerns


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Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen Highlights Security Threats

Finland is considering a comprehensive prohibition on Russian citizens acquiring real estate in the country, according to a statement by Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen, published on Finland’s official government website. The move comes as part of heightened security measures, citing “changes in the security situation.”

Strengthening Controls in Response to Aggression

Last year, Finland ammended its legislation regarding property transactions involving entities outside the EU. The government now aims to further tighten controls by specifically targeting Russians. Minister Hakkanen emphasized the need to protect border security, critical infrastructure, and real estate holdings in light of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression in Europe.

Justification for the Ban

Hakkanen expressed concern that Russia might exploit vulnerabilities in Western societies, using real estate holdings for influence campaigns. He highlighted the challenges in assessing which holdings could pose problems, leading to the consideration of a complete ban as an initial step, with potential exceptions to be evaluated later.

Comprehensive Legislation Under Development

While acknowledging the legislation is a work in progress, Hakkanen hinted that the changes might extend beyond property sales to cover rentals as well. The government has formed a cross-administrative working group tasked with evaluating the feasibility of a complete ban and preparing the final legislation, expected by March 31, 2024.

Previous Security Measures

Finnish authorities have already taken security-related actions, blocking four property sales to Russians, with three incidents occurring in October 2023 and another involving a partially Russian-owned company in January. Reports suggest that Helsinki is also contemplating the confiscation of real estate already owned by Russians.

Russian Response and Diplomatic Tensions

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova characterized Finland’s plans as “another confirmation of the Russophobic nature” of the country’s policies. She warned that such actions would not go unanswered, indicating potential diplomatic tensions over the proposed real estate ban.

Finland’s move reflects a proactive approach to safeguarding national security by addressing potential vulnerabilities tied to real estate holdings amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. The government’s considerations signal a commitment to fortify defenses aganist external threats.

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