Pechengsky District

Pechengsky District

Pechenga District ( _ru. Пече́нгский район; Finnish and _sv. Petsamo; _no. Petsjenga; _se. Beahcán; _sm. Peäccam) is an administrative subdivision ("raion") in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. Its capital is Nikel settlement.

It is located on the Kola Peninsula and borders with Finland (southwest, west) and Norway (west, northwest, north) and shares the shore of the Barents Sea by the Rybachi Peninsula, which is included into the district.

Pechenga District is important for its ice-free harbor, Liinakhamari, and deposits of nickel.


The Pechenga area was indigenously inhabited by Samis. In 1533 it became part of Russia (Archangelsk krai and guberniya), in 1920 part of Finland and part of the Soviet Union from 1944.

The Pechenga settlement was founded as the Pechenga Monastery in 1533 at the influx of the Pechenga River into the Barents Sea, 135 km west of modern Murmansk, by St. Tryphon, a monk from Novgorod. Inspired by the model of the Solovki, Tryphon wished to convert the local Skolt Sami population to Christianity and to demonstrate how faith could flourish in the most inhospitable lands.

The area was resettled by the Pomors and other Russians; its development considerably accelerated in the late 19th century, when the monastery was reestablished there. The harbour of Liinakhamari in Petsamo was important for the Russian economy during World War I as the Baltic Sea was blocked by the Germans. In the Treaty of Tartu (1920), Soviet Russia ceded Petsamo to Finland.

Deposits of nickel were found in 1921, after Petsamo became a part of Finland, and in 1934 it was estimated that the deposits contained over five million tonnes of nickel. Mining operations were started in 1935 by Canadian and French corporations.

Construction of a road from Sodankylä through Ivalo to Liinakhamari started in 1916 and was completed in 1931. This made Petsamo a popular tourist attraction, as it was the only port by the Barents Sea that could be reached by automobile.

In the Winter War the Soviet Union occupied Petsamo. In the following peace agreement only the Finnish part of the Rybachiy Peninsula ( _fi. Kalastajasaarento) was ceded to the Soviet Union, although the Soviet Union had occupied all of Petsamo during the Winter War.

In 1941, during the Continuation War, Petsamo was used by Nazi Germany as a staging area for the attack towards Murmansk. In 1944 the Red Army occupied Petsamo again. Petsamo was ceded to the Soviet Union as part of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1946. In 1947 Finland in addition sold the Jäniskoski (Rayakovski) area, with its hydroelectric plant, in exchange for Soviet confiscated German investments in Finland.

Following the Paris Peace Treaty the local Skolt Sami were given the choice of staying in Soviet Russia or moving to Finland. Most opted to resettle in Finland.

External links

* [ Skolt Sámi History]
* [ Website of Pechengsky District]
* [ News of Pechengsky District]

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