Bridging the gap between Russia and Estonia

  • 2008-04-07
  • Monika Hanley in cooperation with BNS

Photo: Rolf Palmberg

In Narva, Estonia thismorning, at the sole border crossing in the northeast into Russia,260 trucks were lined up facing an estimated wait of 55 hours.

Long waiting lines of trucks began to emerge on the eastern borders of Finland,Estoniaand Latvia insummer 2006. In August and November the same year, more than 500 vehicles were linedup in Narva, facing a wait of over a week, inciting protests from truckers.

These long linesdeveloped after Russian President Vladimir Putindemanded more efficient work from the customs and Russian officers began morethorough searches of incoming vehicles.


Estonian and Finnish press have also pointed out that the long lines andwaiting times have become a source of easy money for dishonest customsofficials.

Latvian customs officers too have taken advantage of the situation. TheLatvian police detained a large group of customs officials last year onsuspicion of corruption.

 To give relief to this problem, a decisionhas been made to construct a new bridge across the Narva river at the border crossingas early as 2009.

During talks between Leningrad RegionalGovernor Valeri Serdyukov and Estonian consul general, Kristen Lahtein, thenotion was encouraged, laying a foundation for cooperation between the regions.