Transnistria: Voices of Tiraspol

Movie theater, downtown Tiraspol, originally uploaded by lyndonk2

In recent years, it seems like a solution to Moldova's long-unresolved secessionist conflict is always being forecast but never quite materializes. Meanwhile, the people who live in the unrecognized Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (a.k.a. the PMR, Transnistria, Transdniester, Pridnestrovie, etc.), a little strip of land that's been trying to secede from Moldova since the breakup of the USSR, just try to get by.

It seems that at least a couple of the territory's netizens are unhappy with some of the initiatives of their de facto government. Here are my translations of a couple of recent posts to ocity, a Russian-language LiveJournal community set up by residents of Tiraspol, Transdniester's capital (which also exists outside of LJ):

Demand and complaint addressed to Evgeny Shevchuk, Chairman of the “Renewal” (Obnovlenie) party (posted by LJ user 06_07_1970)

Dear Evgeny Vasil'evich!

We woke up this morning and left our apartments intending to head to the cemetery and honor our dearly departed.

In the entryway of the building where we live, we found a huge quantity of “Renewal” party newspapers – they are strewn on the landing on every floor, in the stairwells, in people's mailboxes (several copies of this spam in each mailbox), and in the elevator. Part of the area in front of the building is already besmirched with your party's newspapers – some of the building's residents have tossed them out of the stairwell.

It should be noted that this is not the first time when the entryway of our residential building has been littered with such trash.

Based on these facts, I request that you organize the cleanup of the stairwells of the building at Zapadnyi Per. 19/1 in Tiraspol as soon as possible.

Otherwise, we will have to go to court with a complaint against the Renewal party and against you personally as the director of that organization.

With respect,

Residents of the besmirched [засранного] building

This complaint was also posted on a more traditional online forum, where it has generated some 25 comments. On LiveJournal, it generated the following comment by LJ user verba77:

They say our government is impoverished, but think how much money was spent on this garbage. Our authorities don't do anything useful for the people, instead they rub in the people's faces what good rulers we have.

I should note, in fairness to Obnovlenie and Shevchuk, that it's not unheard of for political parties in the post-Soviet space (and probably elsewhere) to engage in the “dirty trick” of placing their opponents’ materials in locations designed to annoy voters. I seem to recall that one example of such “black PR” involved party A sticking party B's stickers on cars parked on the street. In this case, though, if I had to guess, I'd say the offending newspapers were probably left by overzealous “Obnovlentsy.”

Here's another assessment of the local government by a regular commenter at the ocity forum:

Defense of human rights, Transnistrian-style (posted by LJ user verba77, whose blog is subtitled “life with a ‘special’ child in a ‘special’ country”)

Two years ago, on June 7, 2006, Pridnestrovie first appointed a representative on human rights issues. A 10-room office was set up and luxuriously renovated to European standards. Dozens of new computers and other office equipment was purchased, excellent furniture, air conditioners, etc. There are plans to open branch offices of the human rights representative in other cities in Transdniester.

Interruptions in – and later complete denial of – the government's supply of essential medication to disabled children began around the same time.

Is it possible that the funds which had previously been devoted to saving the lives of disabled children are now going toward the human rights representative's office?

From my conversation with Transnistria's human rights representative V. Kol'ko last week:

- Does the non-issue of medications which are legally provided for to disabled children constitute a violation of human rights?
– Yes, of course, but what can I do about it?
– What do you mean, what, you are the human rights representative. Can you defend the rights of a sick child?
– There isn't any money in the budget for those medications, our government is very poor.
– Then why does the government have money for such luxurious facilities for a human rights office which is unable to protect human rights?
– What, it's my fault that the Supreme Soviet decided to create this office?

I might also suggest that our rulers do away with pensions and use the money saved to create an office of the representative of pensioners’ rights. Or they could close the hospitals and open an office of the representative for the rights of sick people.

In the comments, verba77 explains that his family pays for a couple of more expensive medications, but is trying to get the government to pay for one cheaper item prescribed for their child, which is included in the official list of medications the government is supposed to provide:

This has become a matter of principle, because those animals are buying themselves expensive official cars, building lordly estates, and renovating their offices to European standards, using the money of the Transnistrians who break their backs working for them, but they refuse to comply with the law guaranteeing medication to sick children. But they spit on my requests and on all of us put together. The animals have made it to the trough.


And on a more humorous note, here's a comment from the same forum titled “[Customer] Service” (posted by LJ user sasha_ethna):

Tiraspol’. The train station. We get on the number 3 minibus, hoping to get to Balka.

…I was already handing the driver my fare when a one-lady orchestra came up to the minibus. She had a guitar on her shoulder, fancy luggage and several musical instruments. She tossed her first bag into the minibus and was getting ready to toss in the second, when the driver spat out “I'M NOT GOING TO BALKA!”

All of the passengers were baffled, the one-lady orchestra quickly retrieved her bags, and many people prepared to get off the minibus.

“But we all want to go to Balka!” said a few people.

“Everything's OK – that's where we're going. I just wanted to avoid all of that baggage,” said the driver, revealing the logic behind his trick.


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