Intriguingly, one of the top tourist attractions in Moldova is not a place inside Moldova.

Transnistria or the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, is a confetti strip of Russian-speaking territory on the left side of the Dniester River that declared itself independent in 1992 after fighting a brief but bloody war to break off from Moldova.

No country has so far recognized Transnistria as a sovereign nation, not even Russia which underwrites the territory’s de facto status by protecting it with its army and supplying it with money and free gas.

Today all visitors (even Moldovans) need to have a passport and fill out a simple form at the border to get into Transnistria. No entry stamp or visa is needed nor given as under international law and treaties, Transnistria does not exist.

Even so, the country has its own currency, president, army and a fiery flag.


Although the country occupies the region in Moldova where historically factories and industries are located, it now survives mainly by selling cognac, smuggling and on Russia’s goodwill.

Transnistria’s existence as a political terra nullius surrounded by unfriendly neighbours has allowed organised crime to flourish within its borders.

Many Moldavians blame Transnistrians for the bad publicity their country is getting overseas. They say that most of the smuggling of weapons and women people say are coming out of Moldova happen in fact in Transnistria.

On their part, Transnistrians (almost in equal numbers Russians, Ukrainians and ethnic Moldavians), are aghast at the prospect of being swallowed up by Romania as part of Moldova and have clung on to the security and nostalgia of the old soviet system. They held a referendum in 2006 in which they voted overwhelmingly (98%) to join Russia.

Not having visited Russia before and excited to visit what I had read on the Internet is the world’s last slice of the USSR, I half-expected to find in the capital Tiraspol, matryoshka-like matrons forming queues to buy bread, goose-stepping soldiers in huge grey public squares and rusting hammer and sickle signs everywhere.

Instead when Eugeniu drove me across from Chisinau in a red rented Chinese-made sedan on a warm and sunny afternoon a month ago, I found a surprisingly pleasant and ordinary place. Tiraspol looked to me, a spic, span and spacious place perhaps more like a New Zealand town on Boxing Day than the capital of a renegade Soviet-styled republic




























All images copyright Kerk Boon Leng Oct 2014

3 thoughts on “tiraspol

  1. Crimea, the Red Queen. Thomas Kerk has unwittingly produced a Czarist-Khazarist collage distilled from intrigue, treachery and violence, not to mention some much needed historical amnesia parlayed in the banksters in their perpetual victory parade. A preposterous narrative that fails even an unconventional Moldovan history exam is that the old Rus-Khazar beef is still in flux where the Khazarians recently moved to checkmate its old enemy with its prized Red Queen, Crimea.

    1907 – The Christian Czar is lured by Jewish Khazars of France and Britain to take out the Ottomans. The prize offered by the Khazarian banksters to the gullible Russian King is Constantinople and being as Christian as they come, he salivates and takes the bait. He does the heavy lifting in crippling the Sultan and when the job is done, the cunning banksters renege on the deal, instruct their Bolshevik arm to rise up, ‘crucify’ the Czar, introduce Marxism and destroy Christianity from within, not to mention usurp Europe and open its doors to exclusively populate Palestine. Did I miss anything?

    1948 – Israel is re-born. 1954 – Khrushchev gifts Crimea, home of the Black Sea fleet and the Rus power base, to Ukraine. 1989 – The Khazarians bring down their own Wall they erected three decades earlier ‘freeing’ Ukraine (with Crimea attached thereto). 2013 – Putin announces plans to de-dollarize Russia’s energy exports. The Khazarians respond by bombing Sochi and enabling the Maidan in Kiev (and you thought Malaysia’s Bersih was original) sacks the Russia-centric President and installs a Nato-centric puppet. 2014 – Crimea is checkmated by Putin vide a referendum. Reverting Crimea back to the old Rus is the first game the Khazar has lost the past century.

    In essence, Moldovans should be pleased that the Christian Rus, rather the Nato backed Jewish Khazars are on theirs and the side of Crimea, the Red Queen.

  2. How nice to see a report from Transnistria which is not just ‘Hey I’m in the USSR’. It’s a real place with real people, I spent three days there and found it.. well, you described it better than I could 🙂 It was also refreshing that people here did not seem to be filled with poisonous hatred towards their de facto country as in Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but more just seemed happy to be apart from them. On a crisp autumn day, a drive up the length of the country along the Dniestr, passing even sleepier towns that Tiraspol, is a very beautiful journey indeed.

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