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Russian authorities to shut down Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg, expel nine diplomats

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The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced the closure of the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg on October 1st this year. A total of nine personnel from the Consulate in St. Petersburg and the Finnish Embassy in Moscow have been declared persona non grata and will be expelled from the country, as per the ministry's official statement.

On July 6, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Finnish Ambassador Antti Helanterei and expressed a “firm protest” regarding what they perceived as the Finnish authorities' “confrontational anti-Russian policy.” The ministry specifically accused Finnish authorities of “discrimination against Russians on the basis of national origin when issuing entry visas” and of obstructing the “normal operation of Russian [diplomatic] missions” in Finland.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that the move was a direct response to the expulsion of nine staff members of the Russian embassy in Helsinki who were suspected of spying for the Kremlin.

On September 30, 2022, Finland restricted Russian nationals' entry into the country, specifying that only close relatives, individuals with humanitarian visas, those coming to Finland for work purposes, seeking political asylum, pursuing their studies, or requiring medical treatment would be permitted entry. Transit through Finland is allowed — except for travel to other EU countries.

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