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Finns Party MP poses with national socialists at memorial

An extreme-right group that characterise themselves as a Finnish resistance movement was joined by a Finns Party MP at a memorial for nationalist Eugen Schauman.

A screengrab from Immonen's Facebook page. Image: Ruutukaappaus Olli Immosen Facebook-sivuilta / Yle

Finns Party MP Olli Immonen posed for a photograph with the group in front of Schauman’s monument in Porvoo on Tuesday. He posted it on his Facebook page on Wednesday. Immonen is the chair of Suomen Sisu, which co-organised the memorial. Another board member is a Finns Party city councillor in Espoo.

Also attending the event were members of the Finnish Resistance Movement (Kansallinen Vastarinta), which describes itself as "national socialist". The latter group says it is part of the Nordic Resistance Movement led by Swedish neo-Nazi Klas Lund. Three of the Finnish group's members were involved in a 2013 scuffle at Jyväskylä Library, when one person was stabbed.

The other organiser of the memorial this week was the online magazine Sarastus. Its website describes Sarastus as a “radical online magazine.”

Terho plans no action

The newly-elected leader of the Finns Party parliamentary delegation, Sampo Terho, said that the party was not planning to take any action regarding Immonen’s actions.

"Immonen took part in a civic organisation’s event as a private person, not a representative of the Finns Party parliamentary group. Therefore the parliamentary group has nothing to do with the incident," Terho told Yle.

"Who Immonen associates with in his free time is not directly related to the parliamentary group, so I can not intervene in any way or punish him for it," said Terho, who recently gave up his post as a Member of the European Parliament to join the national legislature.

Party chair and Foreign Minister Timo Soini denied Yle's request for comment, saying it was up to Terho to handle it.

Who was Schauman?

The man the memorial was dedicated to, Eugen Schauman, was a Finnish nationalist and nobleman born in 1875.

On June 16, 1904, the 29-year-old Schauman assassinated the Russian Governor-General Nikolai Bobrikov, killing himself immediately afterwards. He became a Finnish icon for the resistance to Imperial Russia and its efforts to "Russify" Finland. The country gained independence in 1917 after more than a century as a Grand Duchy ruled by the Tsars.

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