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Home BUSINESSGovt to expropriate scenic peninsula to block sale to Russians
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Thu, 04 Jun, 2015 04:14:16 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, June 4

The likely sale of a scenic area in the Finnish southeastern lake district to Russian buyers has got the attention of the Finnish military with Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö saying on Wednesday that the government could expropriate the 80-hectare peninsula of Sarviniemi, near the Russian border.

     The Finnish owners of the land had wanted to develop the area for tourism, but the plans did not materialize and they chose to try to sell it.

     National broadcaster Yle quoted real estate broker Kristian Korimo as saying that the price under discussion was about 7.5 million euros. The price had also been offered to the Finnish government, but the government was willing to pay 3.3 million euros only.

Niinistö told Yle on Wednesday that the government is ready to expropriate the area if the Finnish owners do not accept "a moderate price".

     The minister said the Defence Forces have "a specific interest in the area", but he did not want to specify what it is. A shooting range used for training is located nearby.

     Earlier public discussion did not mention the military interest but mainly concerned the accessibility of the public. Korimo said the potential buyers would probably build a fence around it.

     The 800 kilometre long Finnish defence installation Salpa Line built in 1940-1944 ran through the region, but was largely dismantled after the war. Parts of the line serve as tourist attractions today.

     Finnish law does not block sales of real estate to non-EU buyers. Russians have purchased numerous holiday properties in Finland since 1990s.

     Last year there was public debate about private Russian purchases near Finnish military installations in central Finland, but the Defence Forces said they were not concerned about the sales. 

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