Monday's papers: Investigation of assault and death at neo-Nazi rally, Russian elections, and a Paralympics star

Most morning papers reported on a gathering of 100s of people Sunday evening at Helsinki's Central Railway Station Square in memory of a man who died Friday, a week after being assaulted during an event organized by the neo-Nazi Finnish Resistance Movement.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

Helsinki's Central Railway Square on Sunday evening became what the newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat described as a "sea of candles" as hundreds of people gathered to mourn the death of Jimi Karttunen, a 28 year-old man who was assaulted on the spot during an event organized by the neo-Nazi Finnish Resistance Movement.

Among those attended the vigil, the paper noted, was Helsinki Deputy Mayor Pekka Sauri.

Also intended as a show of solidarity in protest over the activities of the far right, the atmosphere at the event, which drew both young and old, was in the words of Ilta-Sanomat "surrealistically calm".

The Tampere-based Aamulehti Monday published an extensive interview with Inspector Teemu Kruskopf of the Helsinki Police on the investigation into the death of Jimi Karttunen.

On Sunday, Helsinki Police said they had detained a member of the right wing extremist Finnish Resistance Movement who is suspected of assault and aggravated homicide in the death of Karttunen.

Inspector Kruskopf told Aamulehti that the police have evidence of the chain of events that eventually led to the death, but did not provide any specific details other than to use the term "assault". He furthermore declined to say whether or not surveillance cameras at the site captured the assault.

He did say that the individual detained on Sunday is the only suspect in the case.

How safe?

The nation's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat, on Monday examined the question of how safe Finland is by taking an in-depth look at decades of statistics on the victims of traffic accidents, acts of violence, fires and communicable diseases.

The paper references a project by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra that argues that safety and security are above all a feeling of having control over one's life, being engaged in significant activities, feeling of having the possibility to influence one's surroundings and of being part of a wider community. 

According to Helsingin Sanomat, in general, parents in Finland do not have any particular fears about the safety of their children. Professor Marketta Kyttä of Aalto University told the paper that a comparison covering 16 countries showed Finland far out in front in how people safe they consider their children to be. For example, the fear of strangers interacting with children is far less than in many larger countries.

Over half of the residents of Helsinki feel that the city is a safer place than it was just four years ago, and crime statistics back that up. The chance of being a victim of crime has fallen since 2012.

However, safety is more than not becoming a crime victim. The statistics presented by Helsingin Sanomat also show that job safety has improved, with work-related deaths at a 30-year low, although in fatal home accidents, Finland ranks 4th in the EU. Traffic fatalities have fallen by a third since the start of the 1990s, and also since that time fewer people die annually from infectious disease.

Helsingin Sanomat's verdict on the figures it presents is that "Finland is a safer country than it was twenty years ago."

Russian elections

Reporting early results elections for the Russian Duma, the Oulu newspaper Kaleva says that any changes in the political makeup the house will be mere cosmetic.

The main focus, though, is on voter turnout. The paper quotes exit polls indicating very low numbers of voters going to the polls in the capital, Moscow, in St Petersburg and in other major urban centres. While there have been some reports of election irregularities, Kaleva writes that the problem in these elections is not primarily fraud. The low voter turnout, it says, will undermine the legitimacy of the new Duma.

Tähti looking towards Tokyo

Finnish paralympian athlete Leo-Pekka Tähti (whose surname translates into English as "Star"), who won his fourth gold medal in the men’s T54 100-metre sprint in Rio on Saturday, says he is already looking towards the 2020 games in Tokyo. 

Lapin Kansa in Rovaniemi reports Tähti as saying that a decision in principle has already been made with his coach to train for the next Paralympics. "Of course, I'm getting older and there can't be too many injuries along the way. As one gets older, coming back from an injury takes more and more time," the 33 year-old champion pointed out.

In the shorter term, Tähti is looking forward retaking the World Championship in London next year.

"I believe these will be the best World Championships of all time. The crowds in London are sports crazy. The Paralympics there in 2012 were an unforgettable experience," said Tähti.

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