The ‘True Finns’

When touching down in Finland, people tend to become aware of the True Finns, the populist party whose support has soared from 4.05% in 2007 to 19.05% in the parliamentary elections of 2011, making it the third largest party in the national parliament.

Finland is a young independent nation where society is rooted in agrarian rural culture, and the traditions connected to farming, small communities and a strong welfare state. This can create nostalgia for disappearing values. This, combined with Euroscepticism at having to bail out Eurozone countries in crisis, plays a large role in shaping racist and xenophobic attitudes.

Since the 2007 elections, immigration concerns have taken centre stage in Finnish politics; absurd when you consider that migrants make up only 4% of the population. A desire to protect and preserve the welfare state has given rise to ethno-nationalism; a belief that some are more deserving than others. Yet both migrant groups and national minorities are victims of racism in Finland, most commonly the Roma, Sami, and Tatar communities.

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