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Books with anti-Ukrainian propaganda are being sold in Helsinki13.06.2022
Ruslania, a distributor of Russian literature in Helsinki, is selling books with anti-Ukrainian propaganda.
The store’s website sells literature that justifies russia’s military actions in Ukraine and denies the possibility of an independent Ukrainian state.
The books include The «Ukraine» Experiment. A Century-Long Sham, which accuses Ukrainians of being Nazis, calls for the «denazification» of Ukraine and sending Ukrainians to camps.
The director of Ruslania, Andreas Agopov, said that these books «are mostly bought by professionals who want to know what people from opposing military camps are writing».
«Our idea is that literature, textbooks, other books and periodicals should remain available without censorship. Ruslania remains beyond politics. We distribute books with opposing views and positions. In Finland, books are considered extremist and withdrawn from sale only by court order», – he added.
«When it comes to such publications, the seller could have seriously considered how ethical it is in a situation where russia is waging a criminal war in the eyes of international law and killing civilians in Ukraine to distribute such literature – in russia or abroad. Are there any moral and ethical principles that can justify the sale of such publications in the eyes of customers?», – said Tomi Huttunen, a professor of russian culture and literature at the University of Helsinki.
Requests to withdraw some of the books from sale had been made earlier. According to Andreas Agopov, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the store has received about a dozen requests to remove certain publications from their catalog. The bookstore received similar requests in 2014 after russia’s attempt to annex Crimea. Some social media users said that Ruslania was selling books that justified russian policy.
Books in Ukrainian that can be bought on the bookstore’s website include mostly children’s literature.
Ruslania Books Corp. was founded in 1986 in Helsinki. They distribute russian books, films, music and periodicals. According to the website, Ruslania is focused on distributing russian products. They also sell publications in other languages, but according to the website, each item has something to do with russia.
The website contains the following statements regarding the russian-Ukrainian war: «We hope that the current situation in russia and Ukraine will improve» and «The current situation affects our activities in different ways».
The Finnish Literary Fund (FILI) has frozen grants to russia.
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