Finns Unsure About Scrapping Entry Visas for Russians

The highway toward Kuusamo, Finland, just past the Finnish/Russian border. Timo Newton-Syms

Half of Finnish people are unsure whether their country should abolish entry visas for Russians partly due to concerns that the crime rate could rise as a result, a poll by sociological research firm TNS Gallup indicated.

Twenty percent of respondents said they would scrap entry visas for Russian travelers in the next five years, while one sixth backed an immediate switch to visa-free entry, Gazeta.ru reported Monday.

Most advocates of visa-free visits for Russians were supporters of green politicians and the Coalition party, while supporters of the conservative True Finns party tended to be against relaxing the regulations.

Younger Finns were generally more supportive of easing border controls, TV channel Yle said on its website.

The majority of Finns thought that visa-free travel for Russians would not only increase tourist traffic from Russia, but would also contribute to a higher crime rate. That prospect was a cause for concern particularly among the elderly, the poll showed.

The poll was conducted in mid-October among 1,002 respondents. The margin of error was 3 percent.

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