For many Russians, this is the end of a long tunnel. Since mid-July, they can go to Finland again. The latter noted, followed by Russia, all travel restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. A widely awaited return to normal – some 100,000 Russians receive tourist visas – by many cross-border commuters used to going to the other side of the border to shop and enjoy nature, making the happiness of local traders.
In addition, with the war in Ukraine and the ensuing European sanctions, Finland is now the only European Union (EU) country bordering Russia to issue tourist visas, thus becoming an obligatory stopover for Russians wanting to continue their journey armed with the precious “Schengen visa”. They were about 5,000 to cross the border during the first days, 20,000 at the weekend and a total of 185,000 in July. “A real street”summary of the popular Moscow daily Moskovsky Komsomolets.
Endless waiting in front of the consulates
To the point that, continue the daily, the Finnish consular authorities have trouble keeping up. Endless queues now greet visa applicants in St. Petersburg and the next appointments will not be available until September.
As Veronika, a resident of the “northern capital” Russian and regular tourist in Finland, “it is not like it used to be”. “I have never crossed the border with so many