Information of the Ministry of Finance

November 8, 1908

…Almost from the very coast of the Ladoga Lake the bigger part of the inland area along the border of the Olonets gubernia represents the mixture of the hills covered with the forests and the swamps, full of rocks and lakes. Only somewhere there are small plots of arable land and mowings. Connection with Finland is convenient only in winter, when the land is frozen enough and the snow falls down. As the swamps are frozen unevenly, most roads and paths are laid differently each year. But even winter connection is relatively easy until the big snowfall. In some years the snows block the roads even between quite populated settlement, making the connection quite difficult and even impossible. In the summer the connection with Finland, except for two-three very bad roads, is possible only by water by the lakes-and-rivers systems. Yet the question about setting up the custom posts in the northern part of the Olonets gubernia was set up for several times already. It was set up in the 80’s and 90’s in the course of revision of “The status of the trade connection between the Empire and the Great Duchy of Finland”. But the question was decided to be inessential and is still open. On the other hand, the natural result of such a situation is a free exchange trade of the near-border population with Finland. Russian Karelians bring from Finland food and most needed goods in exchange for fresh or salted fish. The Finns buy here tobacco and vodka. But all these are exchanged in very modest amounts due to the extreme poverty of the local inhabitants. This crying poverty of the inhabitants of the Olonets gubernia and the lack of the cross-border connections are the serious reasons to sweep away any suspicions on the mass smuggling of the foreign valuable goods to Petrozavodsk through Lentiera…

Lentiera is situated on the local road, going from the Repola volost to Petrozavodsk and Povenets some 300 versts from Petrozavodsk. It is situated at about the same distance from Povenets. Such a distance from the main Russian trade points, where Lentiera inhabitants could buy all they need shows that they just cannot use the fairs in those towns and the difficult situation of the local peasants…

The main roads, connecting the northern part of the Olonets gubernia that in times are suitable for the cargo and passenger movement are:
1) summer road from Repola volost through Kivovaara village (on the border) to Pielisjärvi,
2) direct water way and winter road from Lentiera to Pielisjärvi,
3) winter road from Kostamus village to Kaidojärvi.

…The inhabitants of this empty poor region, consisting of 39 settlements along the border with the population of 2667 … does not even have the possibility to buy in Russia even such needed goods as flour or salt, as the distance to the nearby towns makes the transportation several times higher the cost of the goods themselves. The connections with Russian towns and with the Finland are still in the former unsatisfactory conditions…

National Archives of the Republic of Karelia, dep.1, inv.1, file 105/61, pp. 129-131, copy.