Survey of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Majority of Russians have a positive attitude towards Finland

This summer the Finnish Embassy in Moscow and the Finnish Consulate General in St Petersburg conducted a survey on Russians’ perceptions of Finland. They found out that 71% of Russians have a positive towards Finland, and the proportion of those who have a positive attitude towards Finland has increased since the last survey. More about the results read in the report

Russians’ attitudes towards Finland have improved

According to the survey, almost three out of four (71%) Russians have a positive or a very positive attitude towards Finland. Compared to the previous survey, the proportion of those who have a positive attitude towards Finland has increased by three percentage points (2017: 68%). In numbers, the increase is about 3.5 million adult citizens. The proportion of those who have a negative attitude towards Finland has declined from ten to five per cent, which in numbers means around six million people less than in 2017.

Attitudes towards Finland are most positive among young people (18–24-year-olds: 78%) and residents of large cities. As many as 86 per cent of people living in Moscow and 95 per cent of people living in St Petersburg have a positive or a very positive attitude towards Finland.

Relations are described as good, nature is the most interesting thing in Finland

Respondents described the relations between Finland and Russia as normal and peaceful, good and neighbourly, and amicable (69%). The relations were described as cool or tense by 14 per cent of respondents. Russians mention Finland’s accession to NATO (29%) and tightening of the EU’s sanctions policy against Russia (23%) as potential actions that could significantly undermine the relations between Finland and Russia. One in three Russians (32%) are unable to specify any actions that could significantly undermine the relations between the countries.

The first things that come to Russians’ mind when they think about Finland are nature (18%), sauna (14%), tourism (14%) and high standard of living (14%). The majority of associations that Russians attach to Finland are positive. The Finnish persons who most often come to Russians’ mind are Ville Haapasalo, the Kaurism?ki brothers, Mika H?kkinenKimi R?ikk?nen, Tove Jansson and Mannerheim.

Russians also have positive perceptions of Finnish society. The most common answers to the question ‘In your opinion, what are the characteristics of Finnish society’ are high standard of living (29%), freedom (21%), welfare state (18%), and democracy (18%). The most frequently mentioned negative features are reservedness (10%), nationalism (8%) and lack of principles, cynicism (4%).

In Finland, Russians are most interested in nature (40%), tourism and shopping (21%), and culture and arts (17%). Over the past two years, the interest in Finnish nature and Finnish people’s relationship with nature has increased by 11 percentage points. More than half of the respondents living in St Petersburg (54%) expressed their interest in Finnish nature.

Fifteen per cent of Russians say they would be interested in moving to Finland if they were offered such an opportunity. On the other hand, 83 per cent are not interested in moving to Finland.

Read the full report here