“The Murmansk office processed 64,307 applications in 2013,” says Visa officer Kristiina Nurmela. That is a tripling of visas over the last five years. In 2009, Finland’s Counsulate branch office in Murmansk issued just over 19,000 visas.
Last year’s numbers are also an increase, although not that sharp, compared with 2012 when 63,488 applications were handled in Murmansk. Finland has outsourced the application handling to the private company VFS that since 2012 has operated a Finnish visa service center down-town Murmansk.
The increasing popularity of traveling to Finland is also highly visible in the statistics at the two northernmost border check-points between Lapland and the Kola Peninsula with a five percent increase in traffic last year to nearly 400,000 border-crossings.
Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk issued around 28,000 visas last year, less than half of Finland. The figures are, however, not directly comparable, since Norway issues multiple-entry visas valid for longer periods than Finland. A visa to Norway is often valid for three years, and even up to five years. Finland mainly issues one year valid multiple entry visas.
Ninety-five percent of all 1,57 million visas to Finland from world-wide last year were issued to Russians. The majority at Finland’s visa center in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
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.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.