Frontier and Customs Infrastructure Development
The Government looks at development and maintenance of the frontier and customs
infrastructure as an essential basis for developing both external economic and international
relations of the republic, as an important factor of trans-border cooperation with the Northern
Europe and cross-border cooperation with Finland.
The Government of the Republic of Karelia defines frontier and customs infrastructure,
with regards to the given Programme, as follows:
- cross-border stations;
- cross-border zone and a cross-border regime, containing various rules and limits, laid down
within its boundaries;
- buildings, facilities, engineering structures, communication, power and water supply
networks, power and water supply sources, control devices and other technological equipment
intended for maintenance of cross-border stations;
- road and railway networks, waterways and airways;
- frontier units, frontier posts, custom houses, customs posts, warehouses, terminals, apartment
houses for the personnel, etc.
During this year, the Government together with federal agencies has observed cross-border
stations and some other facilities of frontier and customs infrastructure to clarify the situation with
their actual development and functioning.
At the moment, there are 17 auto transport cross-border stations along the Karelian part of
the state border. Of them two stations bear the status of international auto transport cross-border
stations – Vartsila and Lutta, and they are aimed for multilateral cargo and passenger flows; 15
stations have the status of simplified procedure cross-border stations with different specifications
(bilateral, cargo, permanent, temporary, seasonal). 2 railway frontier and customs checkpoints are
available (Vartsila and Kivijarvi railway stations). International auto transport cross-border
stations in Vartsila (Sortavala town) and Lutta (Kostomuksha town) are well- developed and serve
the Republic of Karelia and subjects of the Russian federation, its Northern and North-Western
The Government, in agreement with interested federal agencies, has spotted 5 simplified
procedure cross-border stations (Heksela, Kuolismaa, Konsojarvi, Vazhenvaara, and Rovkuly)
which are subject to conservation due to their underload over the last years.
Ten functioning simplified procedure cross-border stations are located in cross-border
districts of the republic: two in Loukhi district, one in Kalevala National district, three in
Muezerskiy district, two in Suojarvi district, and two in Lakhdenpohja district. According to
findings of the observation, only three of ten simplified procedure cross-border stations (Inari,
Ristilahti and Suopera) comply with minimal requirements.
The study showed that due to lack of technical projects to develop the functioning
simplified procedure cross-border stations it is practically impossible to estimate costs for each
cross-border station. Poor condition of the infrastructure adjoining to the simplified procedure
cross-border stations (communications, water supply, power supply) has been reported.
Supervision and control services suffer from staff shortage, and this shortage forces them to apply
a duty-based working method and have only sample checkups. Migration Service of the Republic
of Karelia acts only at international cross-border stations, and Sanitary Control does not appear
When determining tasks and approaches to develop frontier and customs infrastructure, the
Government takes into account a number of facts and conditions:
- existing condition of frontier and customs infrastructure;
- legislation in force which regulates this sector;
- availability of certain historic, economic and socio-political aspects;
- need of different approaches in development and financing activities of cross-border stations
regarding to their status and type (international, simplified procedure, temporary, permanent,
- difference in interests of parties in the process of development, maintenance and use of
elements and facilities of frontier and customs infrastructure;
- violations of legislation taking place at functioning cross-border stations and related to
shortcomings in the system and insufficient development of stations.
Currently, at federal level, issues of establishing, construction, development and
equipping, opening, limiting activities and closedown of cross-border stations are being regulated
by Russian Federation Act “State Border of the Russian Federation”, Russian-Finnish
Intergovernmental Agreement on Cross-Border Stations of March 11, 1994, Regulations on
Cross-Border Stations on Russian Federation’s State Border approved by Resolution #60 of the
Government of the Russian Federation of January 19, 1998, Protocol on Simplified Procedure
Cross-Border Stations (temporary Cross-Border Stations) at the Russian-Finnish Border of
January 23, 1995 between Federal Frontier Guards Service and Frontier Security of the Ministry
of Internal Affairs of Finland. There are still certain gaps in the legal system. There is a necessity
to regulate the question of model requirements of the Federal Frontier Guards Service and State
Customs Committee of the Russian Federation on development of cross-border stations of
different types and different carrying capacity, located along the Karelian part of the state border.
At republican level, there is no regulation nor coordination among federal and republican
agencies, and local authorities in matters of establishment, opening, development, maintenance,
conservation and closedown of cross-border stations.
At the moment, activity of 10 simplified procedure cross-border stations characterizes to a
certain extent the level and condition of Karelian-Finnish cross-border relation ship, and in the
first place – economic relationship.
The Government proceeds from the fact that the main objective of opening simplified
procedure cross-border stations is to meet economic needs of enterprises situated from both sides
of the border, and on basis of their petition to increase efficiency of transactions in logging trade.
The point of economic benefit for enterprises comes to reduction of costs on logs transportation
through reduction of distance between the seller and the buyer. The analysis of contracts displayed
that one timber lorry may save up to 450 US dollars per 100 km.
The Government’s main approach to handling the simplified procedure cross-border
stations in accordance with the co-ordinated requirements of the Government RK, State Customs
Committee RF and Federal Frontier Guards Service to secure their regular functioning and quality
control for export and labour migration is to estimate an economic expediency of establishing
each simplified procedure cross-border station out of a possibility to attract funding from the
enterprises concerned for equipping and maintaining of such simplified procedure cross-border
Taking into account the deficit of the Republic’s budget funds, the Government considers
funds of enterprises concerned to be the key source to finance equipping and maintaining of the
simplified procedure cross-border stations. However, it is possible that the Republican authorities
and/or local authorities may also support projects financially, in particular, when the
establishment of a simplified procedure cross-border station may substantially influence the
complex social and economic development of the area.
The simplified procedure cross-border stations properly established and equipped will be
transferred to the authority of Federal Services for the uncompensated use. However, all
commercial interests of the enterprises that have invested their funds in equipping the customs
infrastructure will be considered and taken into account.
The Government proceeds from the fact that the cross-border stations development,
including the simplified procedure cross-border stations development, meets both interests of the
Republic in general and cross-border areas.
At the same time the Government has information on a great number of violations of
migration and tax laws, improper timber export, including misleading data on timber quality and
grades, improper timber measuring at the simplified procedure cross-border stations that causes
big economic losses both for exporters and the budgets. Therefore, the Government emphasises
that its interest in developing the simplified procedure cross-border stations should be closely
connected to putting to rights the operations of the simplified procedure cross-border stations. The
control and order are also closely connected to the matter of equipping the simplified procedure
cross-border stations. The Government will have to give up the simplified procedure cross-border
stations that will not finally meet the co-ordinated requirement relating to their infrastructure and
An important role in equipping the simplified procedure cross-border stations is given to
the cross-border areas’ local administration authorities as partners who are also interested in the
simplified procedure cross-border stations development. It is not possible to develop the
simplified procedure cross-border stations without the initiative and interest of the local
Another approach will be taken by the Government in respect of international cross-border
stations development on the basis of the existing simplified procedure cross-border stations.
However, the priority of such projects does not mean that the status and Federal and Republican
budgeting of the cross-border stations will be obligatorily changed. The Government will support
such projects only after they are properly developed and a feasibility study is co-ordinated with
and approved by the local administration authorities according to Regulation # 60 of the
Government RF of January 19th, 1998. An exñeption may be granted in respect of the cross-
border station in Suopera that has already received an international status under Resolution # 152
of the Government RF of August 20th, 1992 and then may claim to a partial financing from the
Taking into account the named approaches and proceeding from the present situation with
the infrastructure condition, deficit of budget funds and the Republic’s economic losses from the
simplified procedure cross-border stations, the Government RK determines the main objective
for the planned period to be as follows: to develop and equip all existing simplified
procedure cross-border stations and to improve the mechanism of co-operation between all
federal and republican services and authorities concerned in order to remove all existing
violations; to close down temporarily the cross-border stations that will not be properly
developed and equipped and will not provide for proper conditions for functioning of the
export control authorities.
It is planned that the equipping of the simplified procedure cross-border stations will be
jointly financed, first of all, by exporters concerned and also by Federal, Republican and Local
The Government also aims at piecemeal changing of status of the perspective
simplified procedure cross-border stations and equipping them up to the standards of
international cross-border stations. The Government determines the following auto transport
cross-border stations to be developed to the standards of international cross-border stations in first
Suopera - Kortesalmi - Loukhi District;
Lonka- Karttimo - Kalevala District;
Syvaoro - Kolmikanta - Lakhdenpohja District.
In addition to the named cross-border stations the Government pays special attention to projects
on construction of international cross-border stations as follows:
Railway Station of Kiviarvi, Kostomuksha;
Railway Station of Vartsila, Sortovala;
Airport of Besovetz.
The named stations will be developed by reconstructing railway stations in Kiviarvi and
Vartsila and building a new passenger terminal in Besovetz.
The initial tasks to realise the planned objectives are determined by the Government as
- to develop and approve the Order Of Decisions Adoption On Establishment,
Opening, Equipping and Temporary Closing-Down Of Cross-Border Stations that will divide
powers and responsibilities between federal, republican and local authorities;
- to develop and approve The Federal Frontier Guards Service RF And State
Customs Committee RF (Northwest Departments)’s Development And Equipment Standards Of
Cross-Border Stations Of Different Status For Karelian Frontier;
- to develop a special republican instrument - a special Programme of equipping and
developing each cross-border station depending on a planned status and load.
The given tasks will be realised by a Interministerial Committee on Frontier and Customs
Infrastructure Development in the Republic of Karelia that was established by Resolution # 421 of
the Chairman of the Government RK of August 30th, 1999 in connection to currency-export
control and foreign labour issues.