Why do I participate in thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme? Can anything surprise me in Finland as I live just two hours from its border, in Pietari (= St. Petersburg)?
I’ve interviewed the previous President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen and visited Slush, an awesome startup and tech festival held in Helsinki. I’ve covered Nordic Business Forum with Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as one of the Nordic Council meetings in Helsinki.
I’ve been deep underground at the construction site of the metro extension from Helsinki to Espoo and visited power plant in the region of Lahti. But there is something important and still unknown for me in Finland.
I’m happy that thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme gives me the opportunity to spend three weeks among bright and talented young journalists from around the globe.
It’s very important for me to be a part of the global community because the atmosphere in my country is getting more aggressive.
The space for journalism is dramatically shrinking in Russia especially after the annexation of Crimea. Since July, I’m no longer a senior news editor at Radio Baltica in St. Petersburg because the radio station is merging with a media group affiliated with Kremlin.
I’m grateful that there are two participants from Russia this year, because we really need opportunities to understand this big modern world and meet new people. I’m sure that the contacts and experience I will get in Finland this August will help me in the future.
I would like to share a story about opening new horizons. I’ve interviewed Sir Richard Lewis, one of Britain’s most distinguished linguists, the author of the book “When cultures collide”. He has helped Finland to develop international links for around 40 years. I spoke with Richard in St. Petersburg in 2013 and he told me how his friendship with Finland started. He was impressed by the Finnish people and landscapes during the Olympic games in Helsinki in 1952. After that he returned to the country many times as an expert and a friend.
There is only one day left before our programme starts. I wish this August will open new horizons for all of us.