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Yle: Defence Forces applying restrictions to Russian-Finnish dual citizens in armed service

Finnish Defence Forces have been applying restrictions on Russian-Finnish nationals currently serving or wishing to serve in the armed forces. According to confidential information obtained by Yle, dual citizens may even be barred from taking up certain posts.

Puolustusvoimien Paikallispuolustus Länsi 1 -harjoitus Laajasalossa Helsingissä.
Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Russia’s role in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and heightened tensions between Russia and the EU have prompted officials in Finland to consider restricting or even barring Russian-Finnish dual citizens from certain public service positions.

Finland has considered limiting the role of dual nationals in key public posts for years, but has not followed up with any legislative changes. However the Finance Ministry is now working on legislative reforms on the matter.

Defence Forces adopt independent measures

Finnish Defence Forces have not been waiting for legislative changes but have adopted their own rules and procedures for dealing with Russian-Finnish dual nationals.

Each person who begins working for Defence Forces is subjected to a security check. If it emerges that the individual holds dual Finnish-Russian citizenship, that person will not be accepted as a Defence Forces employee. This has been the practice for some time.

Some months ago, officials ran security checks on a prospective employee who would have had to use Defence Force IT systems containing personnel data as part of the job description.

When the check revealed that the person held dual Finnish-Russian citizenship, the individual was not allowed to take up the original position.

Yle sees classified guidelines

In addition to this case, information obtained by Yle indicates that Defence Force officials have begun to place restrictions on dual-citizenship conscripts called up for service.

Yle got its hands on confidential guidelines recently circulated that will modify the training given to Finnish-Russian nationals. In short, they will no longer receive training for tasks that will entail access to information considered to important from a security perspective.

According to Yle no such guidelines existed before.

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