Switching Cars with the Militsiya and Other Ways the Finnish–Russian Borderland is ‘Lived’ by People in Their Everyday Lives

  • Virpi Kaisto University of Eastern Finland
  • Olga Brednikova Centre for Independent Social Research
  • Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro Juvenia Youth Research Development Centre, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences


Borderlands differ from more central areas of states as they are affected by different border effects, such as cross-border flows and the intermingling of societies and cultures. Yet, the ways people experience and practice borderlands by attaching meanings to the material and social space have received relatively little attention. The present study focuses on the Finnish–Russian borderland as ‘lived’ by people in their everyday lives. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Finnish border cities of Imatra and Lappeenranta and the Russian border cities of Svetogorsk and Vyborg in 2017 and 2018. The main finding is that the participants’ cross-border practices are intertwined with personal and socially shared meanings that they associate with the borderland and places within it. These meanings also play an important role in the ways the participants form relationships with the borderland. The paper argues that research on borderlands needs to pay more attention to the ever-evolving relationship between people and space for deepening the understanding of the specificity of borderlands as living environments.


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How to Cite
Kaisto, Virpi, Olga Brednikova, and Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro. 2022. “Switching Cars With the Militsiya and Other Ways the Finnish–Russian Borderland Is ‘Lived’ by People in Their Everyday Lives ”. Borders in Globalization Review 4 (1). Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 8-20. https://doi.org/10.18357/bigr41202220598.