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Thursday, February 15, 2018

“Ready the buckets”: the Finnish candidate gave advice to participants of the Russian presidential elections


“Day of silence” before the Finnish elections there. On Saturday before the voting day, scheduled for Sunday, January 28, all eight presidential candidates in the country actively campaigning, spoke to the public and the press, traveled to cities and villages, decorated with their portraits of the buses and found a little time to talk with journalists from Russia.


photo: Andrew Conflict

But in fact, the Russian media troops who went to study the characteristics of national elections in Finland, and with great difficulty managed to find in the centre of Helsinki at least some evidence that the country is facing such serious events as the election for six-year term of the President.

Here lined up election posters “the magnificent eight” – it is characteristic that each presidential candidate has his own room, but none are No. 1. Apparently, no one can make advantages, even in such trifles. Thus, the numbering of contenders starts with “two” and ends with “nine”.

About popular among tourists wooden Chapel of Silence square Narinkka (incidentally, the title is – distorted “the market” remained with the “Russian” era) campaign work in full swing. Judging by the fact that caught my eye came here five of the eight candidates (including the favorite of the elections, the current President of Finland!), Narinkka is of strategic importance.

Here they pitched their propaganda station the participants of the race – here convince wavering, brand opponents and strengthen the faith of the supporters, handing out leaflets, badges, lollipops and treated to hot coffee.

Guests can snack on one point at the party “True Finns” – they’re handing out sausages. A party of the Centre gives potential voters a cute plastic buckets with a portrait of the 62-year-old candidate Matti Vanhanen.

“Why buckets?”- I asked the former Prime Minister and former Minister of defence of Finland going to the polls at No. 4.

– Well, Finns are very fond of picking mushrooms, berries, – responsible Matti Vanhanen. But, as far as I know, the Russians more than the Finns like to go berries and mushrooms. Therefore, for the upcoming presidential election, here’s a tip: a bucket is a very good item!..

Well, seriously, then, according to Mr Vanhanen, the President’s role in domestic politics in Finland is very weak and he as a candidate raises questions about how to ensure the energy independence of the country, its food security. Touched on such a painful topic as the issue of migration. On the one hand, says Matti Vanhanen, the population is aging, needs workers (including by visitors). But in recent years the number of asylum seekers is getting too big. Therefore, according to the candidate, the EU needs to strengthen controls at the borders as well, in order to avoid crisis situations, develop ties outside Europe – for example, with the African countries, where in particular is the flow of migrants.

For the party “True Finns” the migrant crisis is a sore subject. Standing at the propaganda of the huts in support of a candidate Laura Hatasai her fellow party member, one of the leaders of the capital’s Communist party organization Juhani Stranden talks about how because of the medical expenses of migrants are forced to rasplachivatsya Finnish native diabetics. Answering the question of who the “True Finns” believe their allies in Europe, party functionary called the “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) and the party “Sweden Democrats”, advocating for the restriction of immigration from non-European countries.

The representative of the opposite flank of the Finnish policy, the candidate of the Social democratic party Tuula Haatainen said that it primarily concerned with the problems of security, the main threats to which today are associated with climate change and increasing inequality between people.

Tent with a portrait of Paavo väyrynen looks a little lonely against the background of “competing firms” – no crowds, no distribution of snacks and household items. However, the interviews were promised that the policy of the third seats: after President Niinistö and representatives of “green” Pekka Haavisto.

– I hope that the outcome of Sunday’s vote will be the second round, says 59-year-old Haavisto, Recalling that six years ago, he participated in the second round of the presidential election (when he lost to Sauli Niinistö, who became President).

Pekka Haavisto reminded that in Finland the head of state has little political influence, and the power is concentrated in the hands of the government and Parliament. But the politician thinks the President is a figure that puts society’s values.

“MK” asked Mr. Haavisto to explain briefly why he believes that the vote should be for him, not for his main rival President Niinistö. The green party is reminded that for Finland it is very important that the activities of the OSCE, and in Helsinki at the time, held its first conference on security and cooperation in Europe. Recently, according to the policy, it was decided to refuse entry to some members of the Russian delegation held in Finland OSCE conference. “I think it was wrong. I would have made a different decision,” said Pekka Haavisto. “It was in the past, and if we talk about the future, – said the candidate, one of the differences between President Niinistö and me – our views on the role and potential of international organizations (such as UN, etc.), how they can influence conflict resolution. I believe that Finland should work more actively through such organizations as the United Nations. In the current international situation, when tension is observed even in Europe, not to mention the middle East and North Africa, we should work more actively to relieve this tension. With respect to domestic issues, the President has no budget, the legislature, but still he has the power to make visible hidden problems in society, youth problems, unemployment, problems of the elderly.”

Interested in Russian journalists and the question as it does not harm the sexual orientation of the candidate from “green” (he is openly gay, is the official civil partnership with stylist-Ecuadorian), its rating and popularity among the electorate. According to Pekka Haavisto, six years after the last presidential election, the Finnish Parliament adopted the law on equal marriage (and, it seems, his participation in the 2012 election, factored in). It turns out, says the candidate that most Finns accept this circumstances. Although, admitted policies, in Finland there is a category of people for whom for one reason or another, this “alien phenomenon.” Do not mind Mr. Haavisto and theoretical perspective of the meeting with the Russian President (he recalled Putin’s response to a question by Oliver stone about how he would go into the shower with a gay man on a submarine). By the way, a few hours after the conversation with the representatives of the Russian media Pekka Haavisto told this part of the meeting with voters.

If Haavisto believes that Finland should not rush with the accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, the political of Nils Torvalds, candidate of the Swedish people’s party, the journalist “MK” found icon “I love NATO”.

– The question of NATO membership is associated with the security of the European Union in General – the 72-year-old member of the European Parliament answered in pure Russian. – Most EU members are NATO members. And if we build a parallel organization, then we are just fools. It seems that it would be normal if together with other members of the EU to build a system of security, where NATO plays a Central role.

However, Mr. Torvalds acknowledged that the membership of Finland in the Alliance is not a matter of the next few years: some of the formalities will require a lot of time.

Well, the biggest furore was caused by the appearance before voters in the area Narinkka favorite presidential campaign (and by “part-time” and the current President of the Republic of Finland) Sauli Niinistö. In fact, furor-it was not. Accompanied by a small entourage and very little protection, no flashing lights and fanfare, the head of state was in the crowd of citizens. The communication did not last long – but was no time for jokes (answering the question the little girl about that, is it true that the presidential residence is elegant toilets, Niinistö said that to live in them, he would not have agreed). And the President reminded his compatriots that their country is one of the happiest in the world. And so it is advised in moments of painful doubt to go to the mirror to see him happy resident of Suomi.

Helsinki.

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