Moldova: Transnistria

Douglas Muir of A Fistful of Euros writes about Transnistria, “a sort of post-Communist gangster state”: “Travellers unanimously agree that Transnistria is weirdly fascinating for the first hour or two, then just depressing and boring.”


  • Press Censorship in Transdniestria

    With (among other things) a challenge, this post second guesses a recent BBC segment on the disputed former Moldavian SSR ( ) territory of Transdniestria (several related spellings), otherwise known as Pridnestrovie.


    Frozen Conflicts: Transnistria

    A good deal of inaccurate commentary in this post, which is promoted by Global Voices ( ). Hopefully, GV will show some balance by carrying material from Deciphering Transdniestria.

    The referenced Fistful of Euros post omits that prior to 1940, Moldova wasn’t part of the USSR like Pridnestrovie (Transnistria). It disingenuously suggests that Russians only arrived in Pridnestrovie during Soviet times. Pridnestrovie’s capital Tiraspol was founded by a famous Russian general ( ), with Pridnestrovie’s territory having been part of ancient Russia (Kievan Rus). Pridnestrovie was never part of an independent Moldova.

    Contrary to what’s stated in the post, Pridnestrovie has been without Russian aid since the beginning of this year. The post’s description of Russia’s position on Pridnestrovie overlooks what Russia has been ideally seeking; a reunited former Moldovan SSR confederation which is close to Russia ( ). It incorrectly claims that Moldova is wealthier than Pridnestrovie.

    It falsely suggests that Orthodox Christianity is the only tolerated faith in Pridnestrovie ( ).

    Its caricature of Pridnestrovie’s body politic grossly distorts aagainst a multi-political diversity, evident in that disputed former Moldavian SSR territory. Note how it employs a McCarthyite like labeling of Pridnestrovie as a Communist like land. Throughout the former Communist bloc, the red star has a somewhat redefined meaning. In Pridnestrovie, Russian Imperial General Alexander Suvorov is a considerably more revered figure than Vladimir Lenin. Meantime, Moldova has a duly elected Communist president (a point not noted in the Fistful of Euros post).

    Without any cited foundation, the post claims that Moldova offered autonomy to Pridnestrovie. In point of fact, Moldova turned down a settlement proposal on that very premise.

    Unlike Kosovo, the different ethnic groups in Pridnestrovie get along well. The post can’t seem to make up its mind on the issue of Moldova’s policy on ethnic groups. Note this quote in paragraph 10: “As for the conflict itself. well, it’s not so much frozen as dusty and abandoned. The original reason for it was that ethnic Russians didn’t want to be oppressed by ethnic Moldovans/Romanians. That has half disappeared. Moldova has promised autonomy and good treatment, and those promises are plausible; the Moldovans have treated their Russians inside Moldova pretty well, and have kept promises of autonomy made to their Gagauz. (The Gagauz are Christian Turks. Long story.)” Later on, the post states in paragraph 13: “Another problem is that the Moldovan leadership has shown a distinctly tin ear in relations with Moldova’s Russian and Ukrainian minorities. There are almost no Russians or Ukrainians in government, and the country has been undergoing a slow but steady process of Romanianization; in Chisinau, for instance, all the streets have been recently renamed after Romanian cultural heroes, and Russian signs are getting harder to find.”

    When belittling Pridnestroive’s case for independence, the post ignores how that land’s territory (about twice the size of Luxembourg) and population (roughly the same as Montenegro) is on par and in some instances greater than what’s evident with some other European countries. Pridnestrovie’s standard of living is noticeably higher than Albania’s and Moldova’s.

    The post’s conclusion ignores a point which is quite obvious to many in the former Moldavian SSR (Moldova and Pridnestrovie alike), regardless of their ethnicity. Moldova’s economy was much better off when it was linked to Pridnestrovie, Russia and the other lands making up the USSR. Due to Moldova’s developed post-Soviet poverty (it’s now considered the poorest country in Europe), it’s not likely to be picked up anytime soon by the EU, which hasn’t given full membership rights to two of its newest members (Romania and Bulgaria).

  • Michael Averko

    Forgot to mention that the calims of arms smuggling from pridnestrovie are bogus:

  • Ileana

    That’s such a load of bull. Everyone knows that Tiraspol Times is the main tool of a PR campaign and 99% of what it publishes is a lie. Do a bit of research before you quote something.

  • Gaucho

    Ileana is right. The “Tiraspol Times” is a bunch of bulls***. Imagine a “Pyongyang Times” saying nice things about Kim Jong Il. Zero credibility.

    My wife was born in Tiraspol, she still has many relatives living there and in villages nearby, where people are living like in the Middle Ages, depending on what they grow in their backyards to survive. I’ve been 10 or 12 times to Moldova in the past few years.

    In Moldova, ethnic russians and romanians are living side by side without any conflict, same as in Transnistria. The situation cannot be compared with Kosovo or South Ossetia.

    There’s no reason for Transnistria to exist except to keep a bunch of gansters in power. No one could seriously believe the result of any elections held there.

    The fact that Transnistria was not part of an independent Moldova and that Moldova was not part of the USSR until 1940 is also completely irrelevant. The geography of that area changed many times in the last centuries and the world also has changed quite a bit since 1940. Kaliningrad (or Königsberg) was also not a part of Russia until 1945.

  • Ileana:

    The bull, propaganda and lies are coming from you. Try PROVING your claims, which you can’t beacuse they’re FALSE.

    The Tiraspol Times (TTT) is far more objective than the three main Moldovan news orgs. At TTT, you will find material that’s pro and anti Kosovo independence, an anti-Pridnestrovie government petition signed by Moldovans outside of Pridnestrovie, a recent anti-Pridnestrovie commentary from one of the top three Moldovan news orgs. and regularly posted/published material from inside Pridnestrovie, which is critical of the Smirnov administration (Smirnov’s family included). In addition, I know that TTT invited a leading critic of it to submit an article, with the understanding that it wouldn’t be censored. That person declined the offer.

    Some aren’t sympathetic to Pridnestrovie having a Russocentric direction. TTT correctly reflects Pridnestrovie’s political climate, while being open to posting/publishing other views.

    Meantime, your commentary has been proven to be considerably more faulty.


    There’re a good number of multi-lingual, well traveled propagandists out there, providing all kinds of misinformation. Since the end of the hypocritically warped aggression against Yugoslavia, there’ve been a good number of Soros thinking folks who’ve been to Kosovo. Ethnically cleansed Kosovo, where repackaged KLA goons roam wild.

    Pridnestrovie has a much better case for independence that Kosovo.

    When Will Russia Apply “The Reverse Holbrooke”?

    Speaking Serbian in Kosovo can get you killed. On the other hand, speaking Moldovan in Pridnestrovie is more tolerated than utilizing the Russian language in Latvia and Estonia.

    Here’re two fact based and very informative articles on the former Moldavian SSR:

    Red Dawn in Moldova?

    Transdnestr: Myths and Realities

    As for corrupt families, check out Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin’s son:

    On the other hand, one can’t find such perks for the Smirnov family:

    So much for your faulty propaganda.

    The Tiraspol Times rocks!

  • Ileana


    with all due respect, aren’t you just quoting yourself and your cronies? I bet this is not the first time, either.

  • Ileana

    Referencing an anonymous crank in a totally non-substantive way doesn’t give credence to your views.

  • Just to add some further readings for this discussion: there is a new book out now on Transnistria. A pictorial book with interviews and personal histories and transcripts of transnistrian radio news casts. Is not yet listed on (only on More info at

  • Maria Swinson

    What is the main idea of this article, the subject you are writing about.
    You can answer me any language.
    Thank you.

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