They want to introduce English into the languages of municipal services on the eastern border – local Russian-speakers are surprised at such a proposal

<1> <2> <3> <4> <5> <6> A freshly baked city MP from the Coalition Party proposes to introduce English into Lappeenranta as the official language of service, along with Finnish and Swedish. Russian speakers living in the region believe that this puts residents in an unequal position. <7> <8> The new municipal MP from Lappeenranta <9> Ding Ma <10> wants to add English to the officially accepted languages of the service, which are Finnish and Swedish. He's going to submit his proposal to the city council at the start of his new term. <11> <12> – If we really want Lappeenranta to be an international student city, then using English as the official language of service is a must, Ma explains. . <13><14> Ding Ma is not alone in his endeavors, as there are discussions in many Finnish cities about the use of English on an equal basis with Finnish and Swedish in the provision of various types of municipal services. <15> <16> The first city to officially use English in municipal services. service, became Espoo. After that, Helsinki published a program for the development of English-language services in 2019, and now Vantaa and Tampere are also talking about this. <17> <18> <19> Ivan Martynov <20> from Lappeenranta believes that choosing English as the official language of service will only help part of the city's multicultural population. <21> <22> – Among those who came from Russia, many are learning Finnish, but so far they are poorly fluent in it. Not everyone is familiar with English, ”says Martynov. <23> <24> <25> <26> <27> <28> <29><30> <31> The state of children's playgrounds could not be assessed in Russian <32><33> As an example, Martynov cites a municipal poll in which he recently took part. Through a written survey, the city authorities wanted to find out the views of the townspeople on how to improve the condition of children's playgrounds, sports routes and skate parks. <34> <35> According to Martynov, the survey could be answered in Finnish, Swedish or English. <36> <37> – Among my neighbors there are Russian-speakers who cannot take part in such a survey without outside help, says Martynov. <38> <39> Residents have different opportunities to influence what is happening in their own municipality <40> <41 > Chairman of the regional branch of the society "Finland-Russia" <42> Tanya Karppinen <43> shares Martynov's opinion that not all representatives of the large Russian-speaking diaspora of the region will benefit from the introduction of English as the language of municipal services. <44><45> – It often happens that Russian-speaking people ask someone from their acquaintances who are fluent in the language to help with translations, Karppinen shares his observations about the life of the diaspora. The reasons for such actions are clear, she said, but it leads to inequality among the city's residents. <46> <47> Karppinen, who works at Lappeenranta University of Technology, sees the diverse urban population there. There are dozens of different nationalities among students and researchers. Often their working language is English. <48> <49> – If someone from the international community wants to stay in Finland and integrate, in my opinion, it would be wiser to support them in learning Finnish and use services in Finnish, Karppinen says. … <50> <51> <52> <53> <54> <55> <56> <57>