Estonia - Russia
The Land Border

In summer 2015 during the Baltic Border Tour I visited some small parts of the Estonian - Russian border. Quiet and lovely areas, fields, woods, water, nature. I did some research work to compare the infrastructure of this border with other Schengen-borders. The higher you come in the North, the less tention at the border with Russia.
In the months after my trip, I got the idea to follow the whole border between Estonia and Russia. Starting in the South at the tripoint EE-RU-LV and ending north of Narva. A project that will take some years but on the other hand the (land)border is relatively short.
During my summer 2015 the authorities of Estonia were not that strict: I wasn't allowed to enter the sandstrip or to cross the border if there was no sandstrip. I had to look on my GPS if I wasn't sure. That was all.
When I prepared my trip for April 2016, the rules for me had changed a bit. The State Border Act mentions that you have to respect a distance of 10 meters from the state borderline. Not an easy task if you want to follow the border. It meant that in most cases I couldn't use the inspection paths scince these usualy run only until 5 meters from the real State Border.
This handicap could cause delay in my hikes and to avoid unpleasant situations I announced all my visits to the headquarters of the Border Guard Organisation in Tallinn and to the local Border Guard Services. They would not be surprised when they noticed me in the vicinity of the border. This approach worked all the times and luckely for me, they were not hunting for me to see if I always respected the 10 meter zone until the last centimeter. In fact, the Border Guards were always very polite and helpful. When I met some of them during my trip along the border, usually they immediately knew who I am. Never a bad or harsh word. I'm sure they noticed almost every move I made.
The main thing for them is, don't cross the border, keep a safe distance and don't cause any trouble. For me those are the main principles which I allways will respect. It's my experience that this is the best way to behave in these sensitive areas.
So, I april 2016 I made the first three days' trip. I started at the tripoint Estonia-Russia-Lativa and ended near the small village Sirgova. I found most of the 160 Russian bordermarkers. Only some I couldn't take a picture of, because they were located at the other side of a river or at the swampy edge of a lake.
In those days Estonia just started to place own border markers. During my later trips (October 2016, April 2017, July 2017) more and more Russian markers were covered by a Estonian copy. In May 2017 the last Estonian border markers were erected. So my collection of pictures contains a mixture of spots with only the Russian marker and spots with both Russian and Estonina markers.

The land borders starts at the tripoint under Misso, there you will find border marker 1.
The land border ends at Popovitsa / Värska, where you find the last land border markers 538.
There the lake border start which runs through Lake Pihkva, Lake Peipus und up through the Narva River via Narva/Ivangorod to Narva-Jõesuu where it ends in the Baltic Sea.
I didn't follow the lake border as there are no border markers on land: the border is indicated by buoys in the river.
Nevertheless I still plan to visit Narva and make a day trip to Ivangorod.

If you ever have the stupid idea to visit parts of the Estonian - Russian State border, please don't do this without proper preparation:
- get in contact with the Estonian Border Guard Service first to discuss your detailled plans;
- always keep a distance of at least 10 meter from the State border;
- respect all 'SEIS' (Stop) signs;
- in all cases: be aware that the Border Guards Service has very sophisticated methods to trace you: you will only experience this whenever you break any of their rules. Big brother is watching you. Penalties are high, you will loose their good-will and their confidence. So be warned!
Border markers 12 and 13 can easily be seen and approached from the road.
And as long as 'Saatse boot' is not exchanged and become Estonian, the border markers 448, 465, 466 and 486 in the vicinity of 'Saatse boot' can also be seen from your (running!) car.
I hope you will enjoy the pictures.

If you want more specific information or pictures in high resolution, please contact me any time.