Finland closes Murmansk consulate office

Murmansk city centre.(Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Three decades of Finnish diplomatic presence come to an end in Russia’s largest city inside the Arctic Circle.

It has not been easy days for Finland’s diplomats in Murmansk. Last summer, a wide poster was put up on the fence outside the office showing two of the employees, one of them with a Nazi cap and a gunsight against his head.

The banner said “Goodbye Russia – Hail NATO!”

Like Norway, which shut down its Consulate General last summer, Finland now temporarily close the Murmansk office, which operated under the Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

The Foreign Ministry in Helsinki says in a statement that “its activities will be suspended until further notice” and explains that Finland does not need to be in Murmansk “due to a significant decrease in the office’s core tasks.” The consulate office opened in 1992.

With the closure, there are no more foreign diplomatic missions in any of Russia’s Arctic regions. In Arkhangelsk, though, Norway maintain a honorary consulate with Russian employees.

Helsinki maintains its Consulate General in both St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk and notes that the privately operated visa application center in Murmansk will continue to serve clients.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada extends continental shelf claim, increasing overlaps with Russia in Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

FinlandHundreds of foreign soldiers join military exercise in Arctic Finland, The Independent Barents Observer

Greenland: Local company’s $3.95-billion U.S. arctic base contract “good news” says Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Scandinavian fighter jets in joint training with American B-52 bombers above Arctic Circle, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Strengthen border to Nordic countries, says secretary of Russia’s Security Council, The Independent Barents Observer

SwedenNorway, Finland, Sweden prioritize North in updated statement, Eye on the Arctic

United States: U.S. Coast Guard talks Arctic at recent summit, Eye on the Arctic

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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