HELSINKI — Migration from Russia to neighboring Finland was at record levels last year, higher than figures seen after the collapse of the Soviet Union over 30 years ago, the Finnish statistics agency said Wednesday.
Citing official 2022 immigration data, Statistics Finland said just over 6,000 people immigrated from Russia to the Nordic country of 5.5 million last year. Some 94% of those had Russian citizenship and the figure was almost equally divided between males and females.
When the Soviet Union was brought down at the end of 1991, some 5,500 people migrated from the fallen empire to Finland that year.
The number of migrants Finland received from Russia hovered between 1,700 and 2,600 annually in 1992-1995, the agency said, adding that the yearly figure remained below 3,100 until 2021.
Senior statistician Juhana Nordberg from Statistics Finland said there was a temporal connection between last year's migration figure and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022. Most immigration from Russia to Finland last year took place between May and December, he said.
The Finnish Immigration Service said separately last week that some 1,109 Russian citizens have so far sought asylum in Finland to avoid military conscription in Russia since Moscow started its war on Kyiv.
Finland shares a 1.340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia, the longest by any European Union nation.
In total, the statistics agency said Finland saw about 50,000 immigrants arriving to the country in 2022, a record high compared to around 29,000 to 36,000 immigrants in previous years. Following Russia, Finland saw most immigration last year from Sweden, India, Estonia, the Philippines, Ukraine and Turkey.
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