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Useful Notes / Transnistria

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Transnistria is a breakaway country in Eastern Europe that is de jure a part of Moldova, with Ukraine on its Eastern border. The name means 'East of the Dniester River' and the name indicates the location. Its full name is the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The official languages are Russian, Ukrainian, and Romanian (officially called Moldovan and in the Cyrillic Alphabet). While it declared independence from Moldova in 1990 and gained it after a short but intense conflict from 1990 to 1992, it is not considered an independent European country and is only recognized by fellow breakaway states from the former Soviet republics. It is also commonly regarded as a Russian satellite state and widely considered a remnant of the Soviet Union; it still uses the flag Moldova once used as a Soviet Republic as its symbol. Its anthem was a rejected proposal for a new Soviet national anthem. Its capital and largest city is Tiraspol.

Its origins lay back in 1924, when the Soviets created a Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in Ukraine to woo Moldovans into revolting against the new Romanian state (which included modern Moldova at the time) and to annex Bessarabia to the USSR. When the opportunity came on August 2, 1940, the Soviets simply transformed the MASSR and most of former Bessarabia that was demanded from Romania into the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. During World War II, the Romanians, as part of the Axis, recovered the territories and the lands that composed modern Transnistria and Odessa Oblast of Ukraine were converted to the Transnistria governorate. The Romanian government was infamous in its atrocities there against the Jewish and Roma population. After the war, the situation reverted to the status before the invasion of the USSR.

The part that is now called Transnistria was heavily settled by Russians and Ukrainians, and they were not happy to join Moldova, let alone join Romania if unification of the two Romanian speaking lands happened. The fact that the Moldovan SSR government declared the Moldovan form of Romanian as the sole official language, and reverted the official script back to Latin from Cyrillic, also was seen by separatists as a sign that the majority Moldovan people will forcibly assimilate the Russian and Ukrainian minorities. Indeed, the new government of the Moldavian SSR has been trying to stop a similar independence movement in Gagauzia, a region in Moldova with a Turkish population. And so when the Moldavian SSR declared sovereignty, a dissident group in 1990 declared that a new SSR has been formed, named the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic. A war ensued against the Moldovan government where Transnistria had the support of Russian cossacks, ultranationalists, Gagauz separatists, elements of the Russian Army and Ukrainian ultranationalists (with the agenda of absorbing Transnistria into Ukraine), and was not resolved until 1992 where the Russian garrison in Transnistria helped the breakaway government to become independent. However, it was not de jure recognized even by The New Russia, a situation that continues to this day (not helped by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine). Negotiations continued to settle the Transnistrian issue in various formats with some success that allowed limited foreign trade with Moldovan supervision, but efforts stalled and perhaps shelved further as of 2023.

With three decades passing since the political limbo, Transnistria received some limited attention from the outside world. Transnistria is accessible by Moldova, where they have their own border guards. YouTube influencers visit the breakaway state with interest in the Soviet "time capsule" the state became depicted as. The state recognised the novelty tourism that they are receiving, and worked on cleaning the corruption previously complained in the immigration procedure.

The Transnistrian economy is reliant on foreign trade, where they have to often mark their produce as "Made in Moldova" to legally reach European market. As a result, manufacturers are taxed both by Transnistria and Moldova. The Transnistrian Ruble that is exclusively legal tender in Transnistria is perhaps the only currency in the world issuing plastic tokens.

Transnistria's local football club FC Sheriff plays in the top flight of the Moldovan football, occasionally making to the UEFA Champion's League and the Europa League, leading to high-ranking football clubs such as Real Madrid playing in Tiraspol for their matches.

For musical talents, Sunstroke Project (of Eurovision's Epic Sax Man fame) is perhaps the most well-known musical act internationally.

The Transnistrian Flag
The Transnistrian flag reuses the design of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic flag, consisting of three equal horizontal bands of red, green and red with the golden hammer and sickle and a gold-bordered red star in the upper canton, the only difference from the old Soviet Moldovan flag being that the center bar is a more blueish shade of green.

  • Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic
    • President: Vadim Krasnoselsky
    • Prime Minister: Aleksandr Rozenberg
    • Chairman of Parliament: Aleksander Korshunov