Friday, May 17, 2024

Russians Buying Property in Finland and Other Western Countries Moscow Could Use for Invasion Just as It did in Ukraine Earlier, Helsinki Military Expert Warns

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 14 – Marko Palokangas, a professor at Helsinki’s National Defense University, says that Russians are buying up properties in Finland and other Western countries that Moscow could use to support an invasion just as Russians did in advance of Moscow’s Anschluss of Crimea and broader invasion of Ukraine.

            This plan has been in place at least since 2007 but has been ignored by most governments – the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian ones are exceptions -- because some of the properties Russians are acquiring are legitimate, but an examination of purchases in Finland shows that this is often anything but the case ( in Finnish;секретный-план-путина in Russian).

            All too often, he says, Russians are buying properties near critical infrastructure that have no obvious use except as places Russian security services could use to prepare for a move against the local governments. Helsinki and other Western governments must take note and respond, lest they allow Moscow to gain advantages as it did in Crimea and the Donbass.

            At present, there are more than 100,000 Russian speakers in Finland, including 74,000 who are citizens of the Russian Federation.

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