Three decades of Finnish diplomatic presence in Russia’s largest Arctic city has come to an end, with the closure of Finland’s Murmansk consulate.
It has not been easy days for Finland’s diplomats in Murmansk. Last summer, a wide poster was put up on the fence outside the office showing two of the employees, one of them with a Nazi cap and a gunsight against his head.
The banner said “Goodbye Russia – Hail NATO!”
Like Norway, which shut down its Consulate General last summer, Finland now temporarily close the Murmansk office, which operated under the Consulate General in St. Petersburg.
The Foreign Ministry in Helsinki says in a statement that “its activities will be suspended until further notice” and explains that Finland does not need to be in Murmansk “due to a significant decrease in the office’s core tasks.” The consulate office opened in 1992.
With the closure, there are no more foreign diplomatic missions in any of Russia’s Arctic regions. In Arkhangelsk, though, Norway maintain a honorary consulate with Russian employees.
Helsinki maintains its Consulate General in both St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk and notes that the privately operated visa application center in Murmansk will continue to serve clients.
This article has been fact-checked by Arctic Today and Polar Research and Policy Initiative, with the support of the EMIF managed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
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