Since the early 1990s, the reduction of border barriers has been seen as urgently necessary for the economic development of the Russian Far East. However, these intentions have been constantly weighed against the need to ensure the national security interests, which, in turn, involve restricting the free movement of people. These decisions have affected the way of life in border areas, which have more and more come to resemble economic deserts. Surprisingly though, confronted by a dearth of alternatives, very bad infrastructure, and other problems, residents of border areas have not only not sought to make changes but in fact have frequently even insisted on maintaining restrictions. The present article aims to explain this situation. It focuses on the discourses and practices of national security that influence perceptions of freedoms, and in turn, claims that securitized everyday perceptions of freedoms can affect economic development.