Skip to content

Police probe suspected discrimination of dual nationals in Finnish Defence Force

Police are said to be investigating two cases of suspected discrimination by the Finnish Defence Force. The cases involve a job applicant with Finnish-Russian dual citizenship, and another dual citizen blocked from a work assignment that required access to personnel data.

Image: Tommi Pesonen / Yle

Finnish police are conducting a preliminary investigation into suspected discrimination by the Defence Force of two Finnish-Russian nationals.

The first case involves a Defence Force garrison restaurant at Vekaranjärvi, whose operations were outsourced to Leijona Catering. A jobseeker with dual Finnish-Russian nationality had applied for a position at the Vekaranjärvi garrison restaurant via the Kairest recruiting firm.

During the course of the application process, however, the applicant received an email from Kairest informing him that "our customer requires that the employee must be a Finnish national, dual nationality is not allowed."

According to information obtained by Yle, the second investigation involves the treatment of a Finnish-Russian dual citizen by the employer, the Defence Force. The individual had been put forward for an assignment that would give access to a certain IT system that contained data about Defence Force personnel.

When a security clearance check revealed the fact that the candidate had dual nationality, the Defence Force blocked the individual from taking up the assignment.

"Isn't it good that it's being investigated? And if there is some outcome, then appropriate action will be taken, right?" Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö commented when Yle questioned him about the police investigation.

Earlier this year, Yle reported that Finnish Defence Forces had begun to treat dual nationals in the armed forces differently from others. At the time, Niinistö said that Yle’s reporting was inaccurate and denounced it as "fake news".

Defence Force: No comment on open investigations

Defence Force communications chief Commodore Jan Engström said that the Defence Force will not comment on cases under investigation.

"Since the beginning of the year we have specified to all the leadership teams reporting to Defence Headquarters that they should ensure there are no illegal practices," he added.

Engström said that the Defence Force has no further comment on a case of suspected discrimination against dual citizens previously reported by Yle and involving the Kainuu Brigade.

He added that the Defence Force maintains the view that the case involved inaccurate information included in the presentation material.

"When the issue was noticed it was corrected," he noted.