A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman suggested to reporters yesterday that the spy scandal which erupted this week between Finland and Russia “is virtually over.” Valery Nesterushkin said that there are “no signs that the scandal will continue.” Nesterushkin also conceded, however, that other figures connected to the case might still be identified by Finnish authorities. He intimated that, even if this were to be the case, Russia would not retaliate against Finland over the incident (Itar-Tass, September 24).
Nesterushkin’s remarks came as the name of the Finnish diplomat involved in the spy row was made public yesterday. Olli Mattila, who was said to have worked until recently in a trade and political department of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, has reportedly been accused of passing classified materials to two Russian diplomats. According to a report yesterday, one of the Russian diplomats had left Finland of his own accord. Another reportedly departed after a demand by Finnish authorities (Itar-Tass, September 24).
Finnish newspapers reported earlier this week that Helsinki had declared two Russian diplomats persona non grata for procuring classified information concerning the European Union from a Finnish Foreign Ministry official (see the Monitor, September 24). Although Finnish authorities were quoted as describing the incident as serious, it is not yet clear whether it will have any noteworthy impact on Russian-Finnish relations.
RUSSIAN-JAPANESE FISHING AGREEMENT UNDER FIRE.