I have blogged a fair amount at Scraps of Moscow about the PMR, the secessionist entity (or de facto state, depending on your preferred terminology) located along Moldova's eastern border on a patch of land called Transnistria, Transdniestria, Transdniester, Transdnestr, or Pridnestrovie (again, depending on your preference and politics). A Fistful of Euros has recently blogged about this troubled territory – not once, but twice – and a couple of Austrian journalists have just published a book on the region that looks like it will be interesting; but it can be difficult to find voices from the region unfiltered by spinmasters working for or against the PMR's secession.
With that in mind, I decided to poke around in the universe of Russian-language LiveJournals and found a couple of interesting communities. Foto_pmr – the source of the photo above – is an interesting if not very often updated site with a diverse array of photos from the region. The Tiraspol city community ocity also has a wide array of postings – everything from the city's new anthem (picked up from Russian news agency Novyi Region 2) to photos of “the PMR's Paris Hiltons” and a post about “Electronic music in Pridnestrovie.” I decided to translate a couple of posts from the ocity community (RUS):
When you go into the recently built IDK [InterDnestrKom] service center, you feel like you're in a European country – everything is so awesome and captivating, and also unusual for this area (mirrored ceilings… I've been waiting to see them for a while, and the wall in the Quake room is cool). Then you go to the passport department at the MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs] and understand that you're in far-off 1993, and it's the same old sovok, and nothing has changed in all this time – you show up with your own forms/sheets of paper from a notebook and fill them out. Watching this contrast for an hour, you involuntarily start to think, “What sort of a state do we have? A wealthy one or a poor one? And that right there, bro’, is a dilemma. Practically a rhetorical question.
And a second post, in response to the first one:
Whenever I turn on the TV (although that's only rarely), on the TV PMR “news” I often see clips about the expenditure of budgetary funds on such things, that you can't help but think, “How much money must we have, if we can afford that?”
Today I saw a story about the restoration of the “Druzhba” hotel. Was this the government's idea?! The report talked about how they're going to make this so-called hotel into something beautiful. But literally the day before yesterday I was in the hospital. Probably 70% of the equipment there is older than I am [the poster's profile says he was born in 1987 – trans.]. And this equipment is going to check my health, make me well and keep me alive if something happens! Many operations could be done much more safely and with less pain, if the doctors had decent equipment. They showed my friend that if he got operated on here, they would have to make a hole in him the size of a fist, and if he got it done in Chisinau, then they would make a small incision a centimeter long. Because there they have more modern equipment. There must be thousands of such examples in EVERY ONE of our hospitals.
That's why I want to know, is the hotel's reconstruction really worth the danger posed to the health of the citizens of this republic if they should happen to come down with anything more serious than the flu[?]
I want to see a business plan showing the projected profitability of this hotel and in general all of the expenditures from the government's budget. For example, on the website of the Supreme Soviet.
Comments to the post are interesting and state that the hotel is actually being renovated by its owner, a private investor (but question the demand for a luxury hotel in the city), and that the PMR's budgets are published periodically and available by subscription.
The Hotel Druzhba received a mention in one of Edward Lucas's reports from the PMR earlier this year:
The misnamed Hotel Druzhba (Friendship) used to be the only place to spend the night in Tiraspol. For connoisseurs of truly dismal Soviet-style rudeness, apathy, squalor and clashing shades of muddy pastel, it is still unmissable. As a place to stay, its noisy, draughty rooms, with their nylon sheets, uneven tiles, flimsy locks and eccentric plumbing, leave a lot to be desired.
For other discussions by Tiraspolians and other Transnistrians, you can also check out this online forum.