Staunton, October 16 – Citing the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty between Moscow and Helsinki, Russia took control of a 1.78 hectare undeveloped parcel of land in Finland’s Aaland Islands in 2009 and transferred it to Vladimir Putin’s office, according to Jarmo Ratia, a former Finnish official who said he was talking now because of “changes in the international situation.”
Ratia’s statement was reported yesterday by Finnish television, which added that in 2009, the Russian consul in Marienham approached Finnish officials about this. Finnish officials did not challenge that claim but handed over the parcel -- although they did not publicize their action (yle.fi/uutiset/kantselyariya_prezidenta_rf_vladyeet_zemelnym_uchastkom_na_alandskikh_ostrovakh/7527422).
That Russian action, apparently entirely legitimate under the 1947 treaty, takes on a more ominous coloration in light of a report carried by Estonia’s “Postimees” newspaper on Monday. The Tallinn paper said that Russians under various guises had been buying up land next to military and other strategic sites in Finland (postimees.ee/2952947/venelased-ostavad-soomes-strateegiliste-objektide-lahedusse-maad).
The paper added that in many cases, those Russians involved in the purchase of Finnish land have links to the Russian security services and Vladimir Putin personally.
Given the kind of “hybrid war” the Kremlin leader has unleashed in Ukraine and threatened to begin elsewhere, such purchases could provide the basis for Russian actions in many countries where ostensibly ordinary Russians, the Russian government, or the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate own property.