Finland

Russian Exodus

The other great exodus is from Saint Petersburg to Finland, the gateway to Europe. Where Russians and Ukrainian refugees meet

The first stop is always Helsinki. Some get a lift by car, through a chat room, some would take the Allegro super-fast train (the service was suspended on March 28, 2022, by Finnish state-owned rail operator VR, due to sanctions) and others still arrive on the direct bus from Saint Petersburg.
For Russians looking to come to Europe, the easiest way out of their increasingly isolated, crisis-ridden country is Finland. They need European visas and green passes (neither easy to obtain) and once they get across the border not everyone moves on immediately. Some decide to stay in Finland where there has always been a large Russian-speaking community despite the troubled past relationship between the two nations.
This is also where Russians meet Ukrainian refugees attracted here by Finnish government subsidies: the subway, trains, busses and ferries are free for them and there are 95% discounts on Finnair flights. “I am still in Russia,” writes Ruslan on Telegram. “But I am thinking about Finland as a possible place to live. Are there courier jobs in Helsinki?” Vladim has been living there for four years and would never go back to live in Russia. But the other day he went to visit his parents in Saint Petersburg and gave a ride to two acquaintances on the return journey to Finland.
“Who wants to go back? There is no freedom and they are arresting people indiscriminately,” explains Alexander. “With the collapse of the ruble, the average wage in Russia today is about 250 euro. That’s why I am looking for work in Finland”.

(2022)