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Wednesday's papers: Neo-nazi training, employment discrimination, fighting swans

Finland's press reports on a Russian paramilitary training camp, men-only job listings and an authentic version of Swan Lake.

Nordic Resistance Movement marchers chant "Free speech!" in Turku on 18 August 2018.
File photo of Nordic Resistance Movement march in Turku, Finland taken in August 2018. Image: Yle News / Lydia Taylerson


Finnish neo-Nazis have attended paramilitary training courses for years at a camp near St. Petersburg which is closely connected to the white supremacist organisation Russian Imperial Movement, according to a report in Wednesday morning’s Helsingin Sanomat.

Members of the Nordic Resistance Movement, led mainly from Sweden, have been receiving training at the 'Partizan' camp since at least 2016, HS writes, citing a report by the Swedish evening newspaper Aftonbladet.

The camp was founded in 2012 and operates quite openly in Russia, with its website clearly explaining why it offers combat training courses.

"No century has passed without global wars and the ring of 'hot spots' around Russia is tightening. Our task is to improve the level of national security by educating enlightened citizens through military training courses," the camp’s website states.

The courses are led by Denis Gariev, Director of the Russian Imperial Movement’s military wing, according to HS. Gariev and two other leaders of the movement were identified by name when the U.S. State Department classified RIM as a global terrorist organisation in April.

Finland’s Supreme Court placed a temporary ban on the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement in March 2019, but the group’s members are still believed to be active and sometimes operate under the new name ‘Towards Freedom’ (or Kohti vapautta in Finnish)

The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) did not wish to comment on the attendance of Finnish neo-Nazis at the camps when contacted by HS.

"We do not comment on the activity of this camp in any way to the public," communications expert Anni Lehtonen told HS. "But Supo is interested in the matter."

Sales rep wanted, but young men only need apply

Tabloid Iltalehti reports on a clear case of recruitment discrimination by a company in the Helsinki metropolitan area, as their job listing for a sales representative position specified that the successful candidate "must be a man under 40 years old".

IL called the prospective employer and asked for an explanation.

"It's physically heavy work," the company’s representative told the tabloid. "It involves lifting products weighing many dozens of kilos, and that’s why we’re looking for a man to work with."

IL added that the employer did not seem to understand that there was anything discriminatory in the job posting, so instead spoke to Seppo Koskinen, an expert in labour market law, who said the listing should be immediately reviewed by labour protection authorities.

"All sorts of tools have been developed for heavy lifting work, and women are able to do the same heavy work as men with the right tools," Koskinen said. "It is also very difficult to justify why a 40-year-old is able to work but a 41-year-old is not."

Swan Lake: From ballet to battle

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat carries an article, with accompanying video, of a swan fight captured in the archipelago waters near the western coastal city of Rauma.

Local boating enthusiast Timo Aaltonen first noticed two swans, a male and a female, that appeared to be "dancing ballet" before their tryst was interrupted by the arrival of an angry male on the shore.

"A huge chase and fight began," Aaltonen explained, adding that the two males hissed and snapped at each other despite his attempts to break them up by blowing on his rescue whistle.

The fight lasted at least 10–15 minutes, Aaltonen told IS, but he left while it was still in progress as he "couldn’t stay up all night to see how the fight was going".

Hannu Pöysä, a researcher specialising in water birds at Finland's Natural Resources Institute (Luke) is currently evaluating the video to determine the cause of the swans’ behaviour.

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