The Finnish tabloid, Iltalehti, has gone after an acting minister in a way that is reminiscent of the Danish political TV series, Borgen. The newspaper’s Friday edition ran a story on the scandal involving a repair job at the home of the Finnish Minister for International Development, Heidi Hautala. The story was very confusing and a hotchpotch of wild claims and insinuations. Persons linked to the scandal were labelled everything from “right-hand man” of Russian oligarchs to supporters of Chechen separatists. On Tuesday, the tabloid falsely claimed that Ms Hautala had “arranged payments” for the renovation of her male partner’s villa. The (toilet) paper’s stories read almost exactly like the online hallucinations of the pro-Putin agent provocateur, Johan Bäckman, who has made it his life’s work to smear Heidi Hautala. It is not difficult to find out who the “repairman” and “cleaning woman” behind Iltalehti’s claims against Ms Hautala are. The “cleaning woman” is a Chechen woman called Azman Amagova, and the “repairman” is a shady local entrepreneur, Keijo Käiväräinen. When Iltalehti asked about Mr Käiväräinen’s role in the renovation of the Finnish villa of Ms Hautala’s current male partner, Andrei Nekrasov, Mr Käiväräinen refused to answer. Mr Nekrasov tried long to reach an agreement with Mr Käiväräinen on their dispute regarding the renovation, but when this proved impossible, Mr Nekrasov took the case to court. The renovation works that Mr Nekrasov had commissioned from Mr Käiväräinen had serious shortcomings, and the court ordered Mr Käiväräinen to pay hefty compensation to Mr Nekrasov. Ms Amagova was Mr Käiväräinen’s witness in court. Ms Hautala had done a lot to help Ms Amagova over many years, including trying to get her a job as a shop assistant at a nearby grocery store in 2009. Ms Hautala had even gone so far as to arrange for a meeting between Ms Amagova and the store owner, but Ms Amagova never showed up. Apparently, Ms Amagova was not interested in honest labour even then. Ms Amagova did one cleaning job at Ms Hautala’s city apartment in Helsinki. Ms Hautala has admitted that she made a mistake for not paying pension dues amounting to a whopping 30 euros for that job. Ms Hautala did another mistake: She trusted Ms Amagova, who — for all the help that she had received from Ms Hautala — stabbed her in the back. Iltalehti based its stories on the assertions of two persons who were, most likely, motivated by revenge for a lost court battle and for the money they had lost as a result. It is worth noting that Mr Käiväräinen and Ms Amagova were partners not only in the project to renovate Mr Nekrasov’s villa: Suomen Kuvalehti revealed that the two had operated joint businesses since 2009. Mr Käiväräinen is managing director and member of the board of a company providing cleaning services, Pesunex, while Ms Amagova is the company’s deputy member of the board. Ms Amagova thus has a direct economic interest in her dealings with Mr Käiväräinen. We have strong reason to believe that this was the case in connection with the renovation of Mr Nekrasov’s villa as well. The former Lutheran pastor, Juha Molari, has, alongside Mr Bäckman, been most active in smearing Ms Hautala and her work in defence of human rights, including those of the Chechen people. On his blog, Mr Molari revealed that as early as in January 2010, he received a phone call from “a person of foreign background” who told him information about the details of the door repair job and the cleaning job at Ms Hautala’s city apartment. It is obvious that no one apart from those involved in the door repair job had knowledge of the details of the project. It is therefore very likely that the “person of foreign background” who called Mr Molari was none other than Ms Amagova. Why would Ms Amagova, whom Iltalehti called a “Chechen civic activist,” have called Mr Molari of all people? Finland’s Chechen community has complained about Mr Molari’s activities to the Ombudsman for Minorities and demonstrated against him outside his former place of employment, the Lutheran church in the parish of Pohja. Moreover, Mr Molari disturbed a demonstration to commemorate the anniversary of the 1944 genocide of the Chechen and Ingush peoples by playing the Soviet national anthem and a song of Russian paratroopers in front of the participants at the event. Why would Ms Amagova allow such a person to spread lies about Ms Hautala, who had helped her personally and whom the entire Chechen community in Finland highly respects? What does this say about Ms Amagova’s character and the veracity of her claims? Oksana Chelysheva, Kerkko Paananen * The authors are personal friends of Heidi Hautala and board members of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM). The organisation was established in January 2007 at the initiative of Ms Hautala. The Finnish original of this article is available on Kerkko Paananen’s blog.
The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.
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