This small river forms the Norwegian-Russian border in Grense Jakobselv. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Border official was offered a bribe to sneak illegal migrants across Russia-Norway frontier

A man from southern Russia stands trial in Zapolyarny for giving $4,000 to a guard at an observation post, supposed to allow four Syrian citizens to make it over to Norway.
July 18, 2023


The four Syrians never made it to the Norwegian side of the border. The bribery attempt took place in May this year, and the 34-years old man is now charged, the Murmansk branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee informs.

The accused is from the Krasnodar region. 

Forty 100-dollar bills are part of the evidence in the upcoming trial. Photo: Investigative Committee of Murmansk Region

In a short brief, the Investigative Committee says the attempted bribery happened at a border post in the village of Pechenga. The location is close to the shores from where FSB Border Guards in 2020 arrested two other Syrian citizens in a well-directed drama at sea.

It is not said whether the four Syrians in May were supposed to make it to Norway on a boat from the Pechenga Bay or if they planned to walk the 10 km in the terrain to the border.

There is a small road uphill from Pechenga, but nobody can get through the gate, or over the barbed-wired fence, without being discovered by FSB Border Guards.

It is illegal to cross the Russian-Norwegian border at any location other than the main road where passport and customs control take place. The 198 km long frontier is for the most in the wilderness and very few people have made it across.

Last autumn, Norwegian officials tightened surveillance along the border in fear that Russian citizens fleeing the war would leave the country in the terrain. A police helicopter was sent north, but headed back to Oslo shortly after the media attention ended.


In mid-January, during polar night, Wagner defector Andrei Medvedev ran in deep snow across the Pasvik River to Norway. The mercenary is the first to illegally enter Norway from Russia during winter in the terrain since the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

During 2022, there were a few illegal border crossings, including in the Korpfjell area on the Norwegian side from Pechenga. 


Norwegian soldiers guard the border with Russia. Photo: Thomas Nilsen




The Barents Observer Newsletter

After confirming you're a real person, you can write your email below and we include you to the subscription list.

Privacy policy