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The district is located at the Barents Sea coast between Russia in the east, Norway in the west, and Finland to the south. The green area was the Finnish part of the Rybachy Peninsula, which was ceded to the Soviet Union after the Winter War. The red area is Jäniskoski, which was sold to the Soviet Union in 1947.

Pechengsky District (Russian: Пе́ченгский район; Finnish and Swedish: Petsamo; Norwegian: Petsjenga; Northern Sami: Beahcán; Skolt Sami: Peäccam) is a district (raion) of Murmansk Oblast, Russia, located to the north-west of the Kola Peninsula. It borders with Finland (south-west, west) and Norway (west, north-west, north) and shares the shore of the Barents Sea by the Rybachi Peninsula, which is included into the district. The administrative center of the district is the urban-type settlement of Nikel. District's population: 46,404 (2002 Census);[1] 59,495 (1989 Census).[2]

The 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 (Arkhangelsk krai and guberniya), in 1920—a part of Finland, and a part of the Soviet Union from 1944.

The settlement of Pechenga 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 re-established there. The harbor 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 the deposits were estimated to contain over five million tonnes. 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 Rybachy Peninsula was ceded to the Soviet Union (321 km²), 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, and Finland had to cede it to the Soviet Union as part of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1946 (8,965 km²). In 1947, Finland additionally sold the Jäniskoski area (nowadays Rayakoski), with its hydroelectric plant (169 km²), 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 re-settle in Finland.


  1. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2008-07-25.  
  2. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров. (All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers.)" (in Russian). Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989). Demoscope Weekly (website of the Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. 1989. Retrieved 2007-12-13.  

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