Antonina Sheltova lives in Murmansk, where she works as a small scale entrepreneur with her own hats shop in the city center. Once a month she travels to Kirkenes in Norway to sell Russian goods and garments.
This is an important economic contribution for the group of Russian women who do this travel every month. Many of them are in pension, and this business is a welcome contribution to their economy.
And as Antonina says, it is also a pleasure for them to be able to take this little travel abroad. They like to bring their Russian garments to Norway, to the pleasure of local people and visitors from abroad. And they are not afraid to stand their ground when it comes to haggling.
“They like to bring their Russian garments to Norway”
The Russian small scale trade of this kind, has faced various restrictions throughout the years, according to Norwegian Broadcaster NRK also because of pressure from local businesses who has feared competition.
The visa procedure to enter Norway has been long and bureaucratic. Over the past years, visa regulations have changed between Norway and Russia. Visa free travel is now granted for people who live in the border area, but does not extend to Murmansk. To get hold of a business visa has become easier, but they still need a special permission from every commune where they would like to trade.