For fear of confiscation of cash in euros by Finnish customs officials, Russian tourists returning to their country bury their currency in the forests to keep it safe until the next trip, writes the Finnish daily Ilta Sanomat. The newspaper recalls that similar practices existed in the Soviet Union, when the Finns hid their wealth in rubles across the eastern border.
Ilta Sanomat’s story is based on Russian-language discussion groups on social networks. The Sankt-Pereburg portal “Fontanka” even writes about underground vaults emerging on the Finnish side of the border. With an idea for the next trip.
“I wrapped 300 euros in foil and put it in a liter and a half bottle. On my way back from Lappeenranta I buried them under a tree. At the beginning of October, we will go again, let’s hope that no one will find them before us, says one of the tourists.
In the era of the Soviet Union, Finns who respected Russian vodka and visited Leningrad similarly circumvented the restrictions, Ilta Sanomat recalls. Since Russian currency could not be exported from the Union, and the available funds had to be spent to the last penny in the USSR. However, there was nothing attractive for a person to buy there, and therefore the most active tourists had their own “safes” with rubles in the Karelian Isthmus.
Now the situation is similar. Due to the sanctions imposed on Russia, the export of currencies of the EU member states in cash in banknotes is prohibited. Therefore, before returning to Russia, part of the tourists, even with a loss in exchange rates, exchange them for dollars or pounds, which are currencies outside the EU.
Finland’s Yle radio reports that Finland’s Customs Service confiscates euros from Russians returning home every day, although no statistics are kept.
According to the official instructions, travelers to Russia can carry currency in cash for their own needs – accommodation, food, transport or purchases, but this does not apply to persons with permanent residence in Russia. There is no set minimum or maximum quota for the currency, and in practice customs officers can impose a fine and confiscate any amount.