Formation of cross-border socio-cultural space of Karelia (Republic of Karelia, Russia – North Karelia, Finland)

International relationships

Currently, integration processes can be observed in different parts of the world; provided good neighborly relations, these processes are accompanied by an increase in the number of contacts in various spheres between residents of the bordering territories. A cross-border territory is unique because of the “neighborhood effect” of a peculiar socio-cultural space forming, with features of local communities on different sides of the border. The integration processes and the “neighborhood effect” are the subject of both public and academic discussions, including the Russian-Finnish border. The border location of Republic of Karelia (Russia) and North Karelia (Finland) contribute to everyday neighborhood practices developing, to new forms of interaction based on past experience emerging. The goal of the study is to examine the formation of the cross-border socio-cultural space in the Russian-Finnish borderland. The analysis of everyday interaction practices in the Karelian-Finnish border area is illustrated by the examples of shopping tourism, joint projects and people’s diplomacy. The article outlines the prerequisites and stages in the formation of the cross-border socio-cultural space of the Republic of Karelia (Russia) and North Karelia (Finland). The increase of cross-border contacts in the Karelian-Finnish border has been revealed. It is concluded that cross-border cooperation has a positive effect on the development of good neighborly relations and stimulates local communities.