Russian New Year celebrations, which run until mid-January, are normally a busy time for cross-border shopping. Not so this year.
It has been many years since the decline in border-crossings has been more noteworthy than over the last month. By the end of January, Norwegian immigration officials had counted 18,610 border-crossings, down 30 percent from December’s 26,798.
Compared with January last year, the decline is 15%.
The first month of 2019 had the lowest number of people crossing the Russian-Norwegian border since February 2016, statistics sent to the Barents Observer by Finnmark police district shows.
2018 had a 10-year-low in number of Russians applying for a visa to Norway, as reported by the Barents Observer last week.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Finland to upgrade Arctic border-crossing point to welcome more traffic from northern Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
Norway: Sliding Russian ruble brings down cross-border traffic with Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Cross-border traffic drops between Russia and Arctic Europe, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden’s security service now screens all who apply for residency, Radio Sweden
United States: Why are people moving away from Alaska?, Alaska Public Media