These migrants are assisted by Russia's FSB Border Guard service at Lotta [on the Russian side of the border from Raja-Jooseppi] checkpoint on Friday last week. Screenshot from video posted by Governor Andrei Chibis / Telegram

Operation “Tour de Helsinki” became a complete failure, war blogger claims

Migrants are now being sent back from the Murmansk region. Pressure on the Finnish border is less dramatic.
ноября 28, 2023


No asylum-seekers on Tuesday. On Monday, only two migrants arrived at the only still-open border crossing between Russia and Finland, the Raja-Jooseppi in Lapland. Both men were Yemen citizens, the Finnish border guard informs.

On Sunday, three people from Syria and Afghanistan were sent across the border, a number that stands in sharp contrast to the 55 that came on Saturday, the day after all other checkpoints were closed. 

While FSB border service last week assisted migrants to travel north as Finland closed its southern crossings, it now seems Russian authorities have decided to slow-down the hybrid operation against its western neighbor.

Regional media, with reference to Murmansk Governor Chibis, report about foreigners, mainly from North Africa and the Middle East, being sent south again. Some are expelled by court decisions, TV21 reports. The Barents Observer follows several Telegram channels where migrants now tell about retreat to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

A well-known security Telegram channel, the VTsk-OGPU, with more nearly 840,000 followers, on Tuesday referred to sources with the Cheka [security FSB structures] saying that the operation to send migrants to Finland was personally ordered by Putin’s close ally, Sergei Kiriyenko.


35 migrants crossed the border into Finland at Salla last Monday. Photo: Finnish Border Guard



The order to the Ministry of Internal Affairs was to gather illegal immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, give them bicycles and carry them towards the border for the “Tour de Helsinki” ride.

“They managed to gather several hundred migrants, who staged the ‘assault’ on the Finnish border,” the blogger writes.

All was done after model of the 2021 Belarusian experience when Minsk organized a migrant flow across the border to Poland.

The blogger, who is known for insights from FSB, says the operation “ended in complete failure” as Finland’s security forces quickly understood what happened and reacted promptly by closing all, but one, border crossing with Russia.

  • More than 900 migrants have entered Finland from Russia since August and asked for asylum.
  • Finland closed four checkpoints in the south on November 18.
  • On November 22, three more checkpoints were closed including Salla in Lapland.
  • From November 24, only Raja-Jooseppi in Inari is open.
  • Finland’s Prime minister Petteri Orpo says the migration wave is organized by Russian authorities.
  • Norway’s border crossing to the Murmansk region, at Storskog, has so far not seen any migrants this November asking for asylum. The Norwegian government has said the border can be closed in short notice if migrant troubles escalate.



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