I think it was Tuesday this week , October 14 to be more precise.
That typical day at the office will be remembered for two things. Armed robbery and bomb threat in Stockholm again. That's the third time there was a bomb threat in Stockholm since I started working there in May. Those days it's not so fun to work right in the centre of the city, because where do you think the bomb threats are?
And then there was that fabulous piece of news that Putin owns land in the Åland Islands. Firstly, there is something called Hembygdsrätt on the islands, which means that it is very difficult for non-Åland citizens (and therefore Finnish citizens) to own land on the island. Secondly, after reading these very exciting reports, it turned out that it wasn't actually Vladimir Putin who owns the land. No, it is the Russian Federation. Since 1947. In 2009 the ownership was transferred from the Russian Foreign Ministry to the President's Office. That's something entirely different.
Three things came to my mind after this fabulous story:
- Why, in the case of Russia, is it so easy to blur the lines (in this case between the state and a the president as a private person)? I don't think that this error would be made with any other country. Somehow it feels like Russia has become a kind of entertainment news (a bit like North Korea), people are fascinated by the speculation.
- The current situation between Europe and Russia concerns me. Both Finland and Sweden seem to consider Russia to be an enemy of huge proportions. And the media is playing along. People have opinions that are rarely based on any facts at all. Instead, it seems like Russia is an easy target for fear. Now voices are being raised about a new Cold War. Really?
- Point 3 is a continuation of Point 2: why now? That piece of land has belonged to Russia since 1947. There must be something behind this great revelation - and this "something" probably has something to do with point 2.
Sources in Finnish & Swedish + a lot of funny photos of Putin.
- DN (Dagens Nyheter): http://www.dn.se/nyheter/varlden/putin-har-sjotomt-pa-aland/
- Expressen: http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/darfor-ager-vladimir-putin-en-tomt-pa-aland/
- Ålandstidningen: http://www.alandstidningen.ax/nyheter/putin-ager-strandtomt-pa-aland
- Iltalehti: http://www.iltalehti.fi/ulkomaat/2014101418744063_ul.shtml
- Helsingin Sanomat: http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/a1413252574970
- And the original article, Keskisuomalainen: http://www.ksml.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/maanmittauslaitoksen-entinen-paajohtaja-putin-omistaa-rantatontin-ahvenanmaalla/1913789