It involves foster care of half-Russian children in Finland, an issue that usually has no bearing on the quality of relations between two countries.
The issue has festered for a couple of years to the point where high government officials have been assigned to correct the misinformation in Russian media coverage. A week ago Finnish ambassador Hannu Himanen called a press conference in Moscow while Finnish minister of social services Maria Guzenina-Richardson, who is fluent in Russian, met with Russian journalists in Helsinki. She said that the allegations about Finnish society were so serious that she felt it necessary to correct the misinformation personally. After meeting with the minister, the Russian journalists were taken to meet representatives of the Helsinki Mother and Child Home Association.
The furor in the Russian press developed after four children in a family with a Russian mother were taken into foster care by Finnish officials a few weeks ago. Reports have made the public rumour circuit in Russia that social-welfare officials in Finland have an anti-Russian bias. In fact the Russian ombudsman for children has taken a major position in the public uproar buy claiming that Finland is a dangerous country for Russian families.
Is Russian public opinion about Finland being manipulated or is it a genuine expression of attitudes?