Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Finland dependent on Russia again instead of Europe

Reuters, HELSINKI

In another high-profile deal, Russian-Finnish billionaire Gennady Timchenko and other associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in June to buy Finland’s biggest ice hockey and concert venue in Helsinki, and the local Jokerit team is expected to join Russia’s KHL hockey league.

Russian wealth is also becoming more visible at street level.

The number of Russian visitors rose 10 percent last year to 3.6 million, accounting for nearly half of all foreign visitors. To accommodate such customers, many on tax-free shopping expeditions, Stockmann’s flagship store in downtown Helsinki recently started accepting roubles.

An increasing number of Russians are also investing in Finnish property, drawn by the country’s safety and abundance of lakeside cottages. A recent government study showed Russian consumers could spend 2.4 billion euros on Finnish real estate through 2030.

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