Transnistria: A hopeful republic

Trip Start Dec 12, 2010
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Trip End Dec 16, 2012


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Saturday, March 23, 2013

On the 23rd March, 2013, we visited a country. This country is not really a country, but is inside a country. The country it is inside of doesn't really want to be a country, as it wants to be a part of another country. Are you confused yet? Do you have any idea where we went? Well in all honesty, we were also confused as we visited the hopeful republic of Transnistria.

Where, you may ask? Transnistria is an autonomous republic in the east of Moldova.  Transnistria takes itself very seriously, having its own government, currency, flag, factories, strong economy, and a border with Moldova. Moldova and most of the world don’t recognise Transnistria as its own country, though, therefore Transnistria is nothing but a hopeful republic.

After the breakup of the USSR, Transnistria kept its strong ties with Russia, and still today, Russia helps fund development in Transnistria, such as roads, which are so much better than the roads in Moldova. Transnistria has also remained quite soviet. Soviet reminders are all around. Lenin statue, flag, a beautiful theatre, the hammer and sickle, you name it. As we walked around the Transnistria’s capital of Tiraspol, we felt like we were in a smaller version of Minsk.

When we first talked about travelling to Transnistria, we thought that it would be run down, soviet, and in shambles. When we visited Transnistria, we found that it was quite the opposite. And to think, we thought that Moldova would be more developed, we were sadly mistaken. No wonder Moldova doesn’t want to let Transnistria go on its own.

In 1991, Transnistria and Moldova took part in a civil war that lasted for only one year. In 1992 a treaty was signed. Still to this day, Transnistrians live in their own little world, hoping to one day be their own country. And Moldova continues to ignore the fact that Transnistria is in fact more economically stable and self sufficient, yet they are still part of Moldova. Moldova on the other hand just want to be part of Romania instead of being their own country, as a way of making it into the European Union. Confused? We still are!

Anyway, our time in Moldova and Transnistria made us realise what a confusing part of the world this is. Up until now, we didn’t realise how corrupt countries in Europe were. And up until now, we really didn’t understand what being an Autonomous Republic truly meant. We had an interesting time in Transnistria seeing the sights (war and soviet monuments mainly), and trying to get our head around the politics of this 'republic’. As we left, we thought to ourselves, are we leaving another country, or a country within a country? In the end we can say we are leaving Transnistria, a hopeful republic.
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