Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin has come under fire after a video of her partying was leaked on social media.
The 36-year-old, the country’s youngest ever leader, has previously been criticised for spending too much time going to festivals and clubs.
In the video, which appears to have originally been posted to Instagram Stories, Ms Marin is seen drinking with a group of friends, dancing and singing to songs by Finnish rapper Petri Nygård and pop singer Antti Tuisku.
According to the Iltalehti newspaper, several Finnish public figures can be seen in the video including the singer Alma, influencer Janita Autio, TV host Tinni Wikström, YouTuber Ilona Ylikorpi, radio host Karoliina Tuominen, stylist Vesa Silver and MP Ilmari Nurminen from Ms Marin’s Social Democratic Party.
“Based on the videos, it is not possible to say for sure when and where they were filmed,” the newspaper wrote.
“It looks like the videos were taken in a private apartment. Iltalehti could not reach Marin or her staff on Wednesday evening to comment on the videos. Marin’s partying and social media publicity, which differs from the traditional style of prime minister, has attracted a lot of attention and discussion.”
Last year Ms Marin was forced to apologise for going out clubbing until 4am after coming into contact with a Covid case.
The PM went out to dinner and drinks just hours after her Foreign Minister had tested positive, having initially been told she did not need to isolate as she had been fully vaccinated – but later missing a text that advised her to do so.
“I am very sorry for not understanding that I needed to do that,” she said in a statement on Facebook at the time.
She explained she had missed the text message which was sent to her government phone, not the personal phone she had on her.
Critics of the PM said she should have had her government phone on her at all times for national security reasons in case of an emergency.
At the time, a columnist for the major Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter savaged Ms Marin for “celebrity a** licking”, saying she “seems to love surrounding herself with celebrities and likes to pose on social media”.
Her judgment was also called into question after posing for a photo with Janne Raninen, a former hit man who spent two decades in prison for two gang-related murders.
But the Millennial leader has also earned many fans.
German newspaper Bild this week described Ms Marin as the world’s “coolest politician”.
“She is the most important politician in her country, has to lead it through one of the most dangerous crises of her time because of the warlike activity of her neighbour Russia – and still finds time to celebrate,” the paper wrote.
“Casual, modern and self-confident – that’s how politics can work. Marin stands for the ‘cool generation’, which Putin definitely doesn’t like.”
Ms Marin has been an outspoken voice against Russian President Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine in February.
She had led the charge, along with Sweden’s leader Magdalena Andersson, for their two historically neutral nations to join NATO.
Earlier this week, Finland announced another move against Russia by drastically cutting tourist visas to 10 per cent of current volumes.
The decision, coming into effect next month, was spurred by rising discontent over Russian tourism amid the war in Ukraine, the government said on Tuesday.
“Tourist visas will not stop completely, but their number will be significantly reduced,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters in Helsinki.
Tourist visas from neighbouring Russia will be limited by restricting the allotted opening hours for tourism visa applications, as an outright ban based on nationality is not possible, Mr Haavisto said.
“This means that other types of visas – visits to relatives, family contacts, work, study – will be given preference and more time.”
Currently, Finland processes around 1000 Russian visa applications a day, Mr Haavisto told public broadcaster Yle.
Finland will also look into establishing a specific humanitarian visa category, which the country currently lacks.
“This could make the situation in certain circumstances much easier for journalists or NGO workers,” he said.
The Foreign Minister also announced that Finland was in favour of discontinuing the EU’s visa facilitation agreement with Russia, which would increase the price of tourist visas from 35 euros ($52) to 80 euros ($118).
Finland intends to raise the issue at the next meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in the Czech Republic on August 30.
Despite its application for NATO membership, the Nordic country remains Russia’s only EU neighbour without restrictions on tourist visas for Russian citizens.
After Russia lifted its Covid travel restrictions on July 15, the number of Russian tourists heading to Finland has steadily increased, spurring discontent.
“It’s not right that Russian citizens can enter Europe, the Schengen area, be tourists … while Russia is killing people in Ukraine. It’s wrong,” Ms Marin said on Monday.
While the numbers are still well below pre-Covid levels, there were more than 230,000 border crossings in July – up from the 125,000 seen in June.
– with AFP