Finland money

Sanctions affect Russian students in Finland | News

LUT University says it does not provide tuition deferral for its Russian students.

The Lapeenranta campus of LUT University. Image: Kalle Purhonen / Yle

Measures designed to harm the Russian economy also have an impact on young Russians studying in Finland. Bank sanctions mean that some Russian students have been deprived of financial support from their parents.

The sanctions excluded Russia from the global payments infrastructure, but Russia also imposed bans on cash foreign currency exports from the country.

About 160 Russian students study at LUT University, which has campuses in Finland.

Arseny Baibakovstudent at LUT, said money transfer rules in Russia prevented him from paying the rent for his student apartment.

“Russia’s new rules mean you can’t transfer money from Russia to accounts of foreign companies,” Baibakov said, saying his neighbor was now making transfers for him.

“I got as much money as I could from the ATM when it was still possible.”

Baibakov said he had trouble opening a Finnish bank account. “I’ve already waited a month for them to make a decision.”

While Baibakov’s parents help fund his education, he said others weren’t so lucky and struggled to find a job. “Some of them are rushing to find jobs to support themselves.”

Rector of LUT, Juha Matti Saksasaid the school was unaware of the financial difficulties of Russian students.

The university does not plan to offer special financial aid to Russian students.

“We will charge normal session fees to students from outside the EU and EEA. We are not making any exceptions at this time.”

Saksa pointed out that foreign students are covered by the Kela agency.

“If problems arise, students can turn to Kela’s basic welfare support,” Saksa said.

Brain drain

Since the invasion of Russia, many Russian citizens pursuing university studies in Finland say that they do not plan to work in Russia.

“All the Russian students I know say they don’t want to go back to Russia anymore,” Baibakov told Yle.

Prior to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Russian students often targeted jobs at foreign companies operating in Russia. Today, this is no longer an option, according to Baibakov.

“There are jobs open because many professionals have already left the country, but the salaries there are very low.”

Some 70,000 IT workers left Russia between February and March, according to RAEK, an organization representing Russia’s IT sector. The group said it expects another 100,000 to emigrate next month.