- A Finnish tourist site started playing the Ukrainian national anthem in protest against the war in Ukraine.
- The attraction is popular with Russian tourists, Agence-France Presse reported.
- Meanwhile, Finland is moving towards a travel ban on Russian tourists in light of the invasion.
A popular tourist broadcast in Finland has started playing the Ukrainian national anthem for Russians on holiday, in an act of protest against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The century-old Imatrankoski Rapids Dam typically opens daily in the summer to the tune of songs by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, according to the tourist attraction’s website.
However, since July 18, the city of Imatra opened the 16-minute show with the Ukrainian national anthem instead, its website said.
The spectacle of the Imatrankoski rapids is particularly popular with Russian tourists, Agence France-Presse reported.
—AFP News Agency (@AFP) August 15, 2022
A Russian tourist at the rapids told the outlet that the song change was “very bad for Russians who love Finland”, but said he understood why the local government had made its choice.
“Not all Russians are for Putin. The government and everyone must understand that,” he told AFP.
In the nearby town of Lappeenranta, a popular shopping spot for Russian tourists, the Ukrainian national anthem is also played daily from its town hall, AFP reported.
These recent decisions underscore a broader attitude in Finland, where citizens oppose Russian tourists spending their money in their country while Moscow is waging its war in Ukraine.
Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia and just opened its borders to tourism on July 1 after months of pandemic travel restrictions. The country issued 10,520 tourist visas to Russians in the first three weeks of July alone, The Guardian reported, citing statistics from the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
Leaders of the Nordic nation are now calling on the European Union to enact a travel ban on Russians, citing the war in Ukraine. Estonia, which also borders Russia, joined Finland in its request on Tuesday.
Because Finland and Estonia are part of the Schengen area – where people and goods can move freely between the 22 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – visas issued by Finland are valid in the other 25 countries in the travel zone.