65 years since the liberation of the Arctic

Eternal flame, Murmansk

These days towns on both sides of the Norwegian-Russian border mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet troops’ defeat over the Wehrmacht’s forces in the Arctic.


The Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive started October 7th 1944, when Soviet forces started a counter-offensive against the German strongpoint line just 70 kilometers northwest of Murmansk. The German forces were driven back into Norway, and the first Soviet troops crossed the border to Norway on October 18th.

On October 25th Soviet troops liberated the Norwegian town of Kirkenes from the German forces.

Yesterday the anniversary was marked in the Russian border town of Nikel, with Mayor of Kirkenes Linda Beate Randal as guest. See video from the event on TV21.

Murmansk is celebrating the occasion on Saturday with a military procession to the Alesha memorial. The same day Kirkenes is honoring the anniversary with several different events for the local population and the many invited guests from Russia and Norway.

Read more about the offensive on Wikipedia or in Major James F. Gebhardt’s detailed book “The Petsamo-Kirkenes Operation : Soviet breakthrough and pursuit in the Arctic, October 1944”.