frozen conflict zone


Transnistria: My visit to a country that doesn’t exist

In 1990, as the Soviet Union began to fall apart, a small sliver of modern day Moldova declared independence from greater Moldova. Two years later the Moldovan government attempted to bring the would-be country back into the fold and sparked the War of Transnistria. The Russians stepped into restore order and then things just kind of froze. Today the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistria, remains a post-Soviet frozen conflict zone. As far as the Transnistrians are concerned, they are in independent country; they have their own government, military, and currency. As far as the world is concerned, Transnistria doesn’t exist. It is only recognized by three other unofficial states: Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

Although Transnistria is no longer a communist country, it has continued to embrace its soviet past, leading some to refer to it as a soviet Disneyland. I was naturally keen to check the place out, so I headed to the central bus station in Chisinau and, after a few failed attempts, caught a bus across the boarder. The following photos were taken around the unrecognized state.  Aside from a bunch of semi-hidden  military equipment around the border and mess of Lenin statues though, the place was pretty sterile.