Russians in Finland

Russians in Finland
Русские в Финляндии
Suomen venäläiset
Total population
(about 70,000 Russian-speaking (2012)[1])
Regions with significant populations
Helsinki, Eastern Finland, Southern Finland
Finnish, Russian
Finnish Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church
Related ethnic groups
Russian people, Jews in Finland

Russians in Finland or Russian Finns constitute a linguistic and ethnic minority in Finland. About 30,000 people have citizenship of the Russian Federation,[2] and Russian is the mother language of about 70,000 people in Finland,[1] which represents about 1.3% of the population.

Russian citizens who moved before the Second World War are called "Old Russians". The next immigration wave happened after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as Ingrian Finns remigrated to Finland. At present, marriage and family ties are two other common reasons for Russians to immigrate to Finland.[3]


The first migratory wave of Russians began in the early 18th century, when Finland was part of Swedish Empire.[3] About 40,000 Russian soldiers, civilian workers, and about 600 businessmen moved to the Grand Duchy of Finland. When Finland became independent (1917), many soldiers returned to Russia. Many businessmen stayed, including the Sinebrychoff family. During the Russian Revolution many aristocrats and officers fled to Finland as refugees. The biggest refugee wave was in 1922 when about 33,500 persons came to Finland. Many of them had Nansen passports for many years. During the Kronstadt Rebellion about 1,600 officers fled to Finland. Russian citizens who moved in these three waves are called "Old Russians", whose 3–5,000 descendants live in Finland today.[3]

A second major wave of immigration occurred after the fall of the Soviet Union. Many Russian guest workers came to Finland, working low-paying jobs. In the 1990s, immigration to Finland grew, and a Russian-speaking population descended from Ingrian Finns immigrated to Finland. In the 2000s, many nouveaux riches Russians have bought estates in Eastern Finland.


Table 1: Russian-speaking people in 2008[4]
City People Increase in 2000–08
Helsinki 12,470 54.8%
Vantaa 3,958 138.3%
Espoo 3,029 95.0%
Turku 2,495 38.8%
Tampere 2,121 74.9%
Lahti 1,787 50.7%
Lappeenranta 1,711 62.2%
Number of Russophones in some Finnish cities in 2008.

According to Russian Embassy in Finland, there are about 50,000 Russian-speaking people in Finland.[5] However, in 2008 study of Aleksanteri Institute, calculated 45,000 Russian-speaking people.[6] According to Statistics Finland, there were 70,899 Russian-speaking people in 2012.[1] However half of Russian-speaking immigrants are Ingrian Finns and other Finno-Ugric people.[7] In 2012, there were 30,183 people with citizenship of the Russian Federation[1]dual citizens included. Furthermore, there are people who have received only Finnish citizenship, and Estonian Russians. Two common reasons for immigration were marriage, and descendant from Ingrian Finns.[8]


Russian language newspaper Spektr was founded in 1998, and radio channel Radio Sputnik (Russkoje Radio Helsinki) broadcasts in the Russian language. Many small Russian Orthodox Churchs have been founded in Finland.

Manifestations of intolerance

In a 2012 poll, 12% of Russians in Finland reported that they had experienced a racially motivated hate crime (as compared to an average of 5% of Russians in all EU countries).[9] 27% of Russians in Finland were victims of crimes the last 12 months, for example theft, attacks, frightening threats or harassment (as compared to 17% of Russians in EU).[10]

In 2007 the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance reported in its Third report on Finland :

In its second report, ECRI recommended that action be taken to combat negative societal attitudes and manifestations of intolerance towards the members of Russian-speaking communities. However, representatives of these communities have indicated to ECRI that lack of determined action on the part of the Finnish authorities has allowed these attitudes and manifestations to intensify since ECRI's second report. ECRI is concerned at reports indicating that Russian-speakers have been the targets of violence, in at least one case resulting in death, and that the racist motivation of these acts has not always been adequately dealt with by the police. Racial harassment of Russian-speakers and racist bullying of Russian-speaking children at school have also been frequently reported. In addition, ECRI's attention has been drawn to the presence of anti-Russian material on the Internet inciting to racial hatred, and to the use of derogatory expressions to designate Russian-speakers as well as negative portrayal of these persons in the media.

Famous Russians in Finland

See also


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