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Source: Defense Forces' intelligence dept behind discriminatory dual citizenship guideline

Yle's inside source claims that extant unofficial Defense Force documents include detailed guidelines on which military positions not to offer people with dual Russian and Finnish citizenship. The NBI is involved in one case of misinformation within the Defence Forces.

Varusmiehet liikkeellä.
Follow the leader: an Yle source claims that the Defense Forces has discriminatory guidelines. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

The guidelines pertaining to dual citizens within the Finnish Defence Forces have been more far-reaching and detailed than previously suspected. According to information uncovered by Yle, the discriminatory though unofficial guidelines are the work of the intelligence department of the Defense Forces themselves.

The information is corroborated by an anonymous officer who has worked for the army as a member of staff in charge of military conscription.

"The Defense Forces have issued guidelines on which individuals with certain dual citizenship countries can hold certain positions, and which cannot," Yle's source says. "According to these guidelines, military personnel with both Finnish and Russian citizenship are not allowed to be ordered to perform reconnaissance tasks, to take part in UAV management training, serve in the Air Force or undergo training in cooperation with the Air Force and the Border Guard."

Yle has been privy to an email in which the recipient is instructed to no longer train Finnish-Russian dual citizens in assignments where they would have access to sensitive security data. Dual citizenship military guidelines are extremely seldom conveyed via email.

Training refused

The Defense Forces and the Minister of Defense have highlighted the fact that the Defense Forces do not have any official mandate or norm relating to how dual citizens are treated in the military.

"The guidelines were given by the Defense Forces' intelligence department and superiors," Yle's source says. "It has also been disseminated in various training situations and verbally. These guidelines are never printed in official documents. Still, soldiers are not likely to question an order from a superior."

Last week Yle reported that in mid-January the Kainuu Brigade refused to train dual citizens in unmanned aerial vehicle skills due to security concerns. Lieutenant colonel Petteri Soini admitted to the refusal occurring, calling it a training error.

Yle became aware of the Kainuu episode after it had reported that the Defense Forces have begun to treat Finnish-Russian dual citizens with newfound caution.

Brushed off as "one instructor's mistake"

Yle's source say they are disappointed in the recent performance of the Defense Forces.

"An individual official is ordered to make unlawful decisions and guidelines. But if they are caught, as occurred in Kainuu, the Defense Forces explain it away as "one instructor's mistake"."

The Defense Forces and Minister of Defense Jussi Niinistö have heatedly denied Yle's reporting on discrimination against dual citizens as untruthful.

However, Yle is aware of several cases where dual citizenship of both Finland and Russia have constituted an obstacle to being hired to work in the Defense Forces.

National Bureau of Investigation involved

Two cases of conscripts possibly being erroneously instructed about dual citizenship have come to light, the Defense Forces say. The second of these cases was announced on Wednesday and reportedly involves a small group of soldiers.

"This case is being investigated in conjunction with the National Bureau of Investigation," the Defense Forces say.

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