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Tuesday's papers: Putin predictions, capital crimes and travel industry boom

Tuesday's papers include speculation on the impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Finland this week, a district-by-district breakdown of callouts for the Helsinki police, and news of a boom in the travel industry.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin visits Finland this week. Image: Alexey Nikolsky / AFP / Lehtikuva

Vladimir Putin is visiting eastern Finland this week, and there is plenty of speculation in the press about what his visit might signal. Ilta-Sanomat has the pick of the articles today, with a lengthy comment piece by the paper's special correspondent Arja Paananen.

Paananen maps out the context of the visit in terms of Russian activity in Finland during 2017, which is Finland's centenary year. Russian MPs have called Finnish independence a 'mistake', and Putin himself said in 2013 that the Winter War was an attempt at correcting the 'mistake' of allowing the Finnish border to run so close to Saint Petersburg when the country became independent.

Despite that background noise, there have been relatively few provocative moves by Russia. Paananen lists a march in Helsinki on Victory Day (9 May), a Rosatom-sponsored children's camp in Kalajoki and a Russian-Swedish 'peace camp' planned for Åland in the autumn. All small things in themselves, but taken together they do get the media to cover Russian talking points and force the Finnish state to consider Russia's ability to influence events in Finland.

Paananen then moves on to the presidential elections scheduled in both countries for 2018. In Finland, MV-lehti founder Ilja Janitskin has declared he will be a candidate, and that could pose a tricky dilemma. Janitskin posts racist and anti-EU stories on his website. According to Paananen Russia is not criticised on the website.

Janitskin is suspected of several crimes and therefore avoids travel to Finland, but if he gathers the required 20,000 signatures for a presidential run, the authorities would then have a dilemma.

"A possible troll presidential candidate has not been considered in Finnish legislation. We've recently changed our laws to take account of unidentified 'little green men', so should we next look at our election laws with a fresh eye?" concluded Paananen.

Helsinki police tasks mapped

Helsingin Sanomat's lead story is a look at the callouts Helsinki police had to deal with in 2016. The paper has figures on different types of crime, with an online search engine for readers to check certain neighbourhoods.

In print Hesari has a list of the top ten districts with the fewest domestic incident calls, with North Pasila--an area with very few residential properties--leading the way with 0.

The headline, though, refers to Kontula. That's an eastern suburb that's towards the top of the police charts for every type of criminal activity, and of course HS goes to the local shopping precinct to take a look around.

The paper finds tales of drug use and disturbance from a maintenance worker in the area--that is, someone paid to clear away the detritus when needles are found, or a window is smashed--but local residents seemed nonplussed at the figures.

Travel industry on the up

Kauppalehti looks at the travel industry, which is in full flow in Finland during July. It's set for a record year, according to KL, with the number of overnight stays by foreign visitors bigger than ever before during the first five months of the year.

That growth is driven by an explosion in visitors from China, with a 68 percent increase on 2016, and Finland shows bigger increases in tourism than any other European country bar Iceland.

KL reckons part of the attraction is Finland's place in the international spotlight, as foreign media have recently covered Finnish topics including architecture, social policy and even the word Finnish has for drinking at home in your underwear with no intention of going out (kalsarikännit).

HS also has a look at one of the capital's unique sights that has reached international attention: Sompasauna, the volunteer-run shack sauna in Kalasatama that rejects commercialism and allows tourists to experience a real Finnish sauna by the sea. It's received rave reviews on TripAdvisor and in The Guardian, offering a contrast to the plusher saunas in other districts of the city that are tourist magnets in their own right.

Edit 26.7.2017 at 4.27 am: Corrected Janitskin's background as the story incorrectly stated that he is Russian-born.

Edit 26.7.2017  at 12:30 pm: The story originally stated that MV-lehti never criticises Russia. This has been changed to 'Russia is not criticised on the website'. In addition Paananen did not state that MV-Lehti posts racist and anti-EU articles, so the sentence was edited to avoid attributing that claim to her.

Edit 26.7.2017  at  12:30 pm: The story originally contained the line "Finnish legislation was not written to take account of a troll presidential candidate, and therefore might need revision, according to Paananen."

At Paananen's request that has been replaced with her full concluding quote as follows:

"A possible troll presidential candidate has not been considered in Finnish legislation. We've recently changed our laws to take account of unidentified 'little green men', so should we next look at our election laws with a fresh eye?" concluded Paananen.

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