Boost in traffic at Finland’s northernmost checkpoint to the Kola Peninsula.
More Russian citizens are traveling to Finland, especially in the south where people from St. Petersburg go to Helsinki for shopping. 70% of all border-crossings last year were by Russians, the annual statistics from the Finnish Border Guard shows.
With a 3% year-on-year increase, 2017 counted a total of 9,067,974 border-crossings at Finland’s nine checkpoints to Russia.
Still, cross-border traffic between Russia and Finland is 30% lower than peak-year 2013 when more than 12 million crossings took place.
Cheap gas, big lure
In Lapland, where the two checkpoints Salla and Raja-Jooseppi link Finland with Russia’s Murmansk region, traffic was mixed. Salla had a 1,3% decrease in traffic, down to 132,658. At Raja-Jooseppi, the checkpoint on the road between Ivalo and Murmansk, traffic was up 13,5% to 77,119.
Still, compared with peak-year 2013, also Finland’s northernmost checkpoints see just half of the traffic today.
Like at Storskog, Norway’s checkpoint to Russia in the north, also Finland’s Raja-Jooseppi sees a boost in locals driving to the nearest petrol station for cheap gas. A dedicated Facebook group is frequently updated telling people in the Ivalo area about the current prices for gas and, even more important, if there at all is gas in the pumps.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence priorities, Radio Canada International
Norway: Norway beefs up military presence in Finnmark, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia engages in military exercises near Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Norway and Sweden in quarrel over cross-border reindeer grazing, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: No, CNN, US Marines do not train on Norwegian-Russian border, The Independent Barents Observer