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In English

Finland to legalise 1920s-style alcohol smuggling

In a bid to make the nation work harder for its drunkenness, the Finnish government will ban its citizens from buying cheap alcohol on ferries or in Tallinn from the start of April.

Hinaaja etenee Pihlajasaaren vesillä
At the moment: alcohol not for sale on board. From the start of April perhaps?

Instead, the government plans to legalise smuggling, as long as it is done using methods and equipment from the prohibition era.

According to a press release, the state will sell its own pirtu (containing 100% alcohol) from ships anchored just outside of Finnish waters, in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Prospective customers should arrive in appropriately antiquated boats under the cover of darkness, or risk being refused service.

Once on board, the smugglers will have to negotiate a price for the alcohol, which, in keeping with the prohibition spirit, will be of an uncertain quality.

“In the best-case scenario, you might get 10 litres of premium vodka for 50€; in the worst, you’ll blow 500€ on 40 litres of mouthwash,” said Kai Nummela (Greens).

“Actually, sorry, no, in the worst-case scenario, you’ll enrage the sellers by bartering too hard and get a bullet in the head.”

The government stressed that the controversial move is not just about making cheap booze more difficult to get, but also about changing how alcohol abuse is understood in Finnish society.

“At the moment, binge drinkers see waking up in a puddle of their own urine as a right, but we want to show them that it is a privilege,” said Henrik Toivonen (Centre).

“On the other hand, many people look down on that kind of people, but we want them to be honoured as war heroes of the twenty-first century, who have unselfishly risked life and limb to bring cheap spirits to our shores.”

So far only the Finnish media production companies have shown interest to the new law. According to them a new reality show “Back to the 20’s” could be started even before the beginning of April.

Text: Richard Richardson, provincial correspondent

This article is available in Finnish.


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