This is nearly 68,000 more crossings than in 2012.
Russians made up for most of the traffic, with 239,000 border crossings, the latest statistics from the Eastern Finnmark Police Department show.
The number of Norwegians traveling to Russia via Storskog has gone considerably up the last year. 58.446 Norwegians crossed the border in 2013 – more than 50 percent more than in 2012. The main reason for the increased Norwegian traffic is the system of visa-free travel for border citizens, which was introduced in May 2012.
Most people cross the border to do shopping in the neighboring country. Many Russians are also using Kirkenes airport when leaving for holidays in Europe.
The existing border-crossing station is dimensioned for 150.000 passengers annually, so cars and people are queuing up on the busiest days. Russia in November 2013 announced a €26 million funding planfor a brand new check-point at Borisoglebsk.Norwegian authorities, on the other hand, have for years been discussing how to find funding for a new border check-point on the Norwegian side of the border.
The Barents Region has some of the last largest areas of intact natural woodlands in Europe. Scientists, bureaucrats and environmentalists from all four Barents countries cooperate on preserving the forest, but an international initiative is needed.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.