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    MURMASK, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian security officers have detected a channel for the illegal migration of Georgian nationals into Scandinavia, reports the regional Murmansk branch of the Federal Security Service (known by its Russian acronym, FSB).

    Over seventy citizens of Georgia have so far used the channel for illegally crossing into Scandinavia. The first group, fourteen people strong, came to Murmansk, in northern Russia, in December of 2003. Upon arrival in Norway, they applied for political asylum, citing security reasons. The Georgians told local authorities that they had been persecuted by the new government back home.

    Norwegian officials turned the applications down, expressing concern over the possible arrival of more asylum seekers from Georgia. Yet, it is only now that they have started considering the possibility of the Georgian refugees' deportation.

    Collaborative efforts by Norwegian and Russian security services have prevented thirty other Georgian nationals from illegally immigrating into Norway.

    To curb the flow of illegal Georgian immigrants into Scandinavian countries, Murmask law-enforcers have carried a number of investigative operations to detect the mechanism behind the migration. As has been found out, Scandinavia-bound Georgians come to Murmansk from Moscow, which they enter with tourist visas.

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