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Mayor Pekka Timonen: No room for hate speech in Lahti

Mayor Timonen encourages all Lahti citizens to be especially considerate in their social encounters. The war in Ukraine is shocking and reprehensible, but emotions caused by the war should not be taken out on other people in a negative fashion.

People who live in Finland with Russian backgrounds or who speak Russian have reported that they have encountered hate speech and prejudice since Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Mayor Pekka Timonen would like to remind everyone that Russians and people with Russian backgrounds are neither involved in nor culpable for the events of the world.

– Everyone has the responsibility to intervene if they observe inappropriate speech or behaviour. Let’s make sure that everyone chooses to take the path of respect in this situation, and not one of criticism and bullying.

One per cent of Lahti citizens speak Russian as their mother tongue. Lahti is home to more than a thousand Russians and nearly a hundred Ukrainian immigrants.

– There are people and families living in our city who have loved ones in the crisis areas, or who were born there.

Supporting Ukraine in cooperation with the authorities

Lahti is well prepared to receive Ukrainians fleeing from the war, provide them with accommodation and ensure their wellbeing. Society in Finland is not under threat, and everyday life is functioning as normal.

The crisis in Ukraine is causing much concern and uncertainty. Many kinds of support are available. There are also several ways to help. The help is most effective when you work with the authorities and aid organisations.

– The effects of the war in Ukraine will be long-term and far-reaching, regardless of how the situation develops.  The war is causing stress, and many of us are feeling grief and anxiety.  We need empathy and mutual support now rather than confrontation.

Translation in Russian