Leningrad oblast (Russia) - Southern Karelia (Finland)


The overall Finnish-Russian border region is vast in size. Euborderregions focuses on its southernmost section. The Case Study Area (CSA) covers the southeastern Finnish NUTS3 regions of Etelä-Savo, Etelä-Karjala and Kymenlaakso, and the adjacent Russian regions of Leningrad Oblast’ and the City of St. Petersburg (see Map). Etelä-Karjala and Kymenlaakso belong to the NUTS2 region of Etelä-Suomi (Southern Finland), whereas Etelä-Savo belongs to the NUTS2 region of Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi (Northern and Eastern Finland). The CSA more or less coincides with the ENPI Southeast Finland – Russia cooperation programme area.

The change of the border regime after the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in positive anticipations in the early 1990s, and this was the region where expectations were actually fulfilled in terms of becoming a ‘gateway to the East’. Compared to the more northern parts of the border area (which are sparsely inhabited and depopulating, endowed with very few border-crossing points), this section of the Finnish-Russian border has recently experienced high levels of cross-border interactions and flows. 4 out of the 9 border-crossing points can be found here, which deal with the largest volumes of passengers and goods. About a third of the total cross-border traffic between the two countries goes through the busiest crossing point at Vaalimaa-Torfyanovka (to St. Petersburg and Vyborg), also acting as the primary connection to Russia via Finland. This southern east-west corridor is also part of the EU’s TEN-T Nordic triangle railway/road axis. However, this very region has recently suffered from industrial restructuring, a problem to which the potential and realized economic benefits from this gateway location have not yet provided a solution.

Research team:

Dr. James W. Scott:  Research Professor at the Karelian Institute. He is also Senior Research Fellow at Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS), Erker, Germany.

Dr. Heikki Eskelinen: Deputy Director of the Karelian Institute. During recent years his main research themes have been European spatial planning, the problems of peripheral regions and crossborder co-operation. He has acted as Finnish expert in the ESPON initiative for several years.

Dr. Sarolta Németh, project researcher

Matti Fritsch, project researcher

Research area:

SF7 logo

Dr. James Scott
Project manager
Ph: (+358) 50366 0653
Project information
Project duration: 01.03.2011-28.02.2015
Lead partner: University of Eastern Finland
Total budget: 3 386 700 €
EU contribution: 2 644 090 €