Kirkenes is located in Sør-Varanger Kommune and is the only municipality that borders to Russia. The municipality has around 10 000 inhabitants, and the most important industries are mining, trade and travel. Kirkenes has a close connection to both Russia and Finland.
In 2012 the inhabitants of the municipality got the opportunity to visit their neighbouring municipality on the Russian side without a visa, through the arrangement of the Local Border Traffic permit. The Local Border Traffic permit gives inhabitants in Sør-Varanger, Nikel and Pechenga the opportunity to travel freely in a visa-free area that is 30 km in both countries. With this Samovarteateret got 40 000 new potential audiences in their local area. In 2012 the first theatre bus drove from the nearby Russian cities to Samovarteateret's stage in Kirkenes.