€1,000 fine for a few seconds ‘visit’ to Russia

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 15, 2024
Norway has no physical barrier along its 198 kilometers land border with Russia. Thomas Nilsen

Police in Finnmark on Friday fined a tourist for taking a short walk across the border.

The tourist, a European man in his 50s, was soon back in Norway, the Police says in a statement.

Friday’s illegal crossing is not the first time a tourist makes it into Russia by a few meters. But unlike previous years, fines make a much deeper impact on the travel budgets nowadays.

12,000 kroner (about €1,000) this time, the police informs. The man was then free to continue his vacation on Norway.

Russia’s shares a 198 kilometers long land border with Norway. Unlike Poland, the Baltic states and Finland, visitors are free to walk all the way to the actual border line, but not one centimeter longer. There are, however, no barriers hindering illegal crossings from the Norwegian side.

Last summer, three people crossed the border by foot from Norway, but did not come back. Russia’s FSB Border Guard was unwilling to answer questions about what happened with the illegal that entered in July 2023.

In April 2023, a Norwegian citizen walked in the snow into Russia. The man was detained by FSB near Borisoglebsk hydropower plant. He was charged by a court in Pechenga and spent long time in custody in Nikel. The man is now back in Norway.

Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

As a non-profit stock company that is fully owned by its reporters, its editorial decisions are free of regional, national or private-sector influence. It has been a partner to ABJ and its predecessors since 2016.