Nordisk Østforum, Vol 30, No 2, 2016, pp. 80-97. In Norwegian.
In the autumn of 2015, 5500 migrants traveling through Russia along the "Arctic route" applied for asylum in Norway. Some observers claimed that Russia deliberately channeled migrants towards the north with the purpose of destabilizing Norway and that Russia had changed procedures in their border zone to facilitate the wave of migrants. In this article we briefly discuss the hybrid warfare theory and assess alternative explanations that might account for the sudden increase in migrants. Detailing formal and informal practices in the Norwegian-Russian border regime we argue that Russian practices were not altered in any significant way in 2015, but that the Norwegian side had an incorrect impression of the Russian border regime being more restrictive than it really was. Finland was in a similar situation. The most convincing explanation for the wave of asylum-seekers is the self-interest of migrants who found a cheaper and less risky route. Both in Norway and Finland the border regimes were tightened as a consequence of the increased migration, however. As a result, their policies became more aligned with Russian priorities.