Russian land sales ban upsets Finland

On January 9, Russia’s President Medvedev signed a new decree which specifies border areas where foreign citizens are not allowed to purchase land. The areas include nearly all the regions of the Russian Federation bordering on Finland and Norway, all the way from Pechenga in northern Russia to the Gulf of Finland in the south (near Helsinki).

Finland has asked for an explanation of the new law, according to the Barents Observer, with foreign minister Alexander Stubb making an official representation to the Russian authorities, as quite a few Finns have already bought land in the areas that are now banned:

What will happen to those foreigners that already own land in this areas is highly uncertain. The Finnish Embassy in Moscow is examining the significance of the decree, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

– We stick to the principle of reciprocity as long as it is realistic and possible, says Alexander Stubb, interviewed by YLE.

– We’ll talk with Russian authorities about how this can be realised. If one can buy land here, then of course one should be able to buy land on the other side of the border as well, says Stubb.

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