Finland's government rocked by third racism scandal
The latest incident of racism scandals within Finland's right-wing coalition government involves Wille Rydman, the Minister of Economic Affairs.
Finland's right-wing coalition government, in power for just over a month, faces its third racism scandal as the Minister of Economic Affairs, Wille Rydman, from the far-right Finns Party, is embroiled in controversy.
A media report revealed that in 2016, Rydman used racist language in private messages with his then-girlfriend, including racial slurs and derogatory comments.
He expressed a preference for banning headscarf-wearers and made offensive remarks about traditional Hebrew names.
“We Nazis don’t really like that kind of stuff,” he said.
At that time, Rydman was a member of parliament for the National Coalition Party, but he later joined the Finns Party and became the Minister of Economic Affairs in June.
Prime Minister Petteri Orpo condemned the racist language, stating that such behavior would not be tolerated in Finland, even in private messages.
“Even though they were private messages, we cannot accept this kind of language under any circumstances. No minister can tolerate racism in any form,” Orpo said — but did not refer to whether Rydman would be ousted from his government role or not.
Not an isolated incident
The Finns Party has faced multiple scandals since joining the conservative-led coalition government. Rydman's messages came to light when his ex-partner provided them to Helsingin Sanomat. Despite the controversies, it remains uncertain whether Rydman will lose his government role.
Earlier this month, Riikka Purra, a former Finance Minister who led the far-right Finns Party from 2021, was accused of penning incendiary remarks in 2008, which included a number of racial, anti-Islamic, and anti-immigrant slurs, as well as threats of violence.
At the time, the author of the posts also disparaged immigrants, including Somalis and "Turkish monkeys."
In September 2008, she wrote about a confrontation on a suburban train with a group of young immigrants. "If they gave me a gun, there’d be bodies on a commuter train, you’ll see," she blatantly said.
Purra has also been accused of asking if anyone is "up for spitting on beggars," and used racist slurs historically used to demean Black people.
Vilhelm Junnila, another minister from the Finns Party, resigned in June due to statements of support for Nazis made earlier.
Junnila had made a joke about the election candidate number 88 being a reference to "Heil Hitler" during this year's parliamentary elections, because "H" is the eighth letter in the alphabet.