YLE reports that Ville Haapasalo, the Finnish actor who has earned a huge fan following in Russia, thinks Finns could do a lot more when it comes to providing services for Russian tourists in Finland. He was visiting Kitee, North Karelia, Finland and advising local entrepreneurs on how to better develop the services they offer Russian visitors. Haapasalo cites the example of the Norwegian state, which has bought expensive advertising slots on Russian television channels. He says that Finns think incorrectly about Russians: “Our attitude to Russians is still evident. We expect them to come and bring their money. It doesn’t work like that. We should be able to offer them services and that’s something we do too little of at the moment.” YLE notes that this year up to 1.7m people are estimated to have crossed the Finnish-Russian border at Niirala-Värtsilä (Finnish North Karelia and Russian Republic of Karelia).
Russian news agency Interfax reports that the Russian-Finnish border post at Nuijamaa (corresponding to the Russian Brusnichnoye) is to expand by 10 new car lanes on the Finnish side in the course of 2014. Interfax cites Mirka Rahman from the administration of Lappeenranta, the municipality to which the border crossing belongs. This would increase the crossing’s annual capacity to between 5.5m and 6.5m people. In the past year the number of people crossing the border there increased from 2.6m to 3.8m people.