President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
We are very happy to see you in St Petersburg, this time during work on Arctic matters.
Finland now heads the Arctic Council and has accomplished a great deal in the past 18–24 months.
I would also like to note that our bilateral relations continue to develop steadily. We maintain contacts at the level of presidential executive offices, governments and parliaments. This has an impact on trade, which continues to grow.
We are always happy to have an opportunity to meet with you, talk and discuss all these matters.
President of Finland Sauli Niinistö (retranslated): Thank you very much.
I am very happy to have this opportunity to take part in forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue for the third time. We had a very interesting conversation in Salekhard and Arkhangelsk. I believe that we will have the same today.
Thank you for your words regarding Finland’s presidency of the Arctic Council. I believe we have managed to make the Arctic region more prominent on the world map over these years. This is what we have worked for. I believe that the Arctic region is interesting for the entire world, and that dialogue conducted along these lines at the Arctic Council can serve as a model or example for other parts of the world. To my mind, Arctic Council discussions have always been very good.
Speaking of our bilateral relations, relations between our countries, they are neighbourly and positive.
Yesterday, I visited our Consulate General here in St Petersburg. This consulate issues the largest number of visas to Russian citizens of all our consulates. They also confirmed that, as compared to other Russian cities, St Petersburg receives the largest number of Finnish tourists. When I heard this, I recalled a statement you made several years ago when I said that many Russian tourists come to Helsinki and Finland. You expressed hope that they behaved well. I can probably make the same statement now: I hope that Finnish tourists also behave well.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Vladimir Putin: Everything is fine, the tourists behave normally, and they do not forget to eat something with their drinks, so everything is all right with them.
Sauli Niinistö (retranslated): This is as it should be.