“If they close the border, it will be unbearable.” What Russians think about the last open checkpoint
Yuri is a driver in one of the transport companies that carries passengers between Russia and Norway. Every day, his company brings passengers from Murmansk to the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes and back.
“We ourselves don’t understand anything,” Yuri comments on the possible closure of the Norwegian-Russian checkpoint. “Everything has become more complicated now. There are great inconveniences for both Finns and Russians (due to the closure of the border). Norway may close down if the refugees who flee to Finland come here, these are the thoughts I have.”
As we were talking with Yuri, people began to come to the bus to leave for Russia with him. One of them was businessman Oleg, who has his own company in Norway.
“It will be bad if they close it,” Oleg told The Barents Observer. “I have my own business interests here (in Norway). If the border is closed, I, as the owner of the company, will not be able to come here. My family is in Russia. But this will be Norway’s choice, I do not intend to comment on it.”
Angela also visits Norway often. Before heading to Murmansk by bus to visit her family, she told us about her worries about the possible closure of the last land checkpoint where Russians are allowed into the Schengen area on tourist visas.
“We will lose our jobs if the border is closed. We think and worry about it. My family is in Russia,” Angela said.
“If they close the border, it will be unbearable,” says Daria. “As a person who has family in Russia, I’m very much against it. This is very worrying, I’m afraid that my relatives won’t be able to visit me, I’m afraid we won’t be able to visit them. I have two children, I want them to know their roots and their family. I have an elderly grandmother. Of course, flying is an option but it is very expensive.”
She works at a cosmetics shop in Kirkenes. Daria often meets people from Russia who buy goods for themselves.
“We have a group of regular customers from Russia in our store,” Daria said. “Now they only travel twice a week, but their visits are short as they are unable to cross the border in their cars. It’s stupid to say that it (the possible closure of the Russian border with Norway) won’t affect us – we live in a border town.”
On November 28, it became known that Finland had closed Raja-Jooseppi, the last operating land checkpoint on its border with Russia. Now the entire Finland-Russia border is closed. This restriction will be in effect until December 13.