The Other Moldova project portrays small towns outside of Chişinău

Screenshot of the video from The Other Moldova project, NewsMaker YouTube Channel. Fair use.

In a video project The Other Moldova, correspondents of the local news outlet NewsMaker explore the small towns of Moldova.  Typical questions they are asking include:  Where do locals work and relax? Are there sanitation and public transport services? Where do they get news there to understand what is happening around them? What is the condition of the roads and is it expensive to take a taxi? The project kicked off in June 2022, and seven series have been published already.  Global Voices translated the description of each of the series, and republished them with permission from NewsMaker

  1. Ungheni

Ungheni is a town located much closer to the Romanian city of Iasi than to Chisinau. This is the westernmost town of Moldova, which was often called “Western Gate.” In Soviet times, the city was completely closed: you could only get there with prior authorization or special passes. Today Ungheni is considered one of the key regions of Moldova, and European flags are displayed  there even more often than in the capital.

2. Telenesti

Telenesti is a city that usually appears in the news only in crime reports. This is the center of one of the least economically promising regions of Moldova. There is no big business there. One of the most notable enterprises is the production of tombstones. And yet this is a city of optimists.

In Telenesti, NewsMaker correspondents learned what the locals live on, why they talk about relations with Russia in terms of “slavery” and “colony,” why they love their city, and how it happened that Telenesti became a city of five cemeteries. 

3. Sholdanesti

Sholdanesti is a town in the central region of Moldova. Most people know it best for the Soviet bunker that is located nearby. Thanks also to that, Soldanesti was once an important industrial center. Now the city appears in the news mainly because of a multi-story building, which has been recognized as unsafe for many years, but people still live in it.

In this episode of The Other Moldova, NewsMaker correspondents went to Sholdanesti and found out how the famous bunker is being slowly taken away, what local and central authorities are going to do with the building that is literally falling apart and its inhabitants, why there is only one minibus in the city, and what locals are waiting for first and foremost

4. Orhei 

Orhei is a small town in the center of Moldova, with an area of just 16 square kilometers. Until recently it was a typical regional center. But, in 2015, Orhei became one of the symbols of Moldovan politics in general and the personal showcase of fugitive deputy Ilan Shor. The video explores how the city lives today, why the most unsociable [AN: antisocial?] residents ended up there, and why people from there, just like from all over Moldova, often go to live abroad.

5. Taraclia 

Taraclia is a small town in the south of Moldova. It is a place where the diaspora of  of Moldovan Bulgarians live, and it is thus a unique town. Because of it, the town has its own university and even a Bulgarian consulate. But a lot of things are still missing. For example, sometimes there are no elevators in high-rise buildings or sidewalks on roads.

In this episode of The Other Moldova, NewsMaker correspondents went to Taraclia. There they learned how local residents earn money, why it is dangerous for some to approach their own home, while others have been walking to the ninth floor for 20 years, how life is going on in a city where there is almost no public transport and normal water, and what the Shor party is doing there.

6. Bessarabka

Bessarabka is a southern town on the border with Ukraine, which was built around and for the railway. Now passenger trains don’t really run there, and usual connections with the neighboring country have practically been interrupted. The proximity of Ukraine frightens many local residents [because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started in February 2022].

This time, NewsMaker correspondents went to Bessarabka and found out how the city (does not) preserve the heritage of the Jewish shtetl and the German settlement, why even renovated schools cannot be approached by foot, how much workers earn on the railway, and why local residents are so afraid of filming from drones.

  1. Komrat

In Komrat, in the autonomous region of Gagauzia, NewsMaker correspondents found out who gets what kind of salary, why one area of the city regularly floods, whether war and Russia are expected there, and if the residents are still afraid of “5G towers.”  They have also discovered why people do not want to move from the town. 

There will be other stories about Moldovan towns, promises NewsMaker, which can be followed on their website or YouTube channel.

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