Misha Glenny - US Department of State Report - Simon Reeve TV -
Odessa is only sixty miles from the border with the Republic of Moldovan Transnistria, which looks and sounds like the perfect setting for a Tintin adventure. This thin sliver of territory is the quintessential gangster state whither many criminals would scuttle having carried out their missions in Odessa. It has been a problem ever since the Transnistrian authorities proclaimed independence from Moldova in 1990, triggering a bloody, dirty little war that lasted for two years. Misha Glenny, McMafia
The 14th (Russian) Army could have organised its return, but preferred to remain instead in Transnistria as a ‘peacekeeping force’. ibid.
It is a pariah state. Since then, Transnistria’s President, Igor Smirmov, a former ‘red dictator’ of a factory in the capital Tiraspol, has relied for support on a coterie of KGB officers, oligarchs and an uncharacteristically forgiving attitude of Gazprom to the huge debt that Transnistria has run up with the energy giant. ibid.
As well as a revenue-raising post, the Transnistrian border acts as a time machine. As you enter Tiraspol, Lenin rises on a pillar in front of the parliament building ... That unforgettable Soviet combination of boredom and exhaustion etched on their faces as they drudge along the bare streets. The vision of this social anachronism doubles the shock on arrival at the astonishing home of FC Sheriff Tiraspol. ibid.
The Sheriff complex has two full-sized soccer stadia, an arena ... a five-pitch training ground ... I have never seen so sophisticated a training and playing complex ... there is even a Mercedes car showroom in the grounds. ibid.
Remember that stockpile of Russian weapons? And indeed the estimated two to three factories that produce weapons unmonitored? ibid.
The right of citizens to change their government was restricted ... Authorities reportedly continued to use torture and arbitrary arrest and detention ... In Transnistria authorities limited freedom of speech and of the press ... Authorities usually did not permit free assembly ... In the separatist region of Transnistria the authorities continued to deny registration and harassed a number of minority religious groups ... The separatist region remained a significant source and transit area for trafficking in persons ... Homosexuality was illegal, and gays and lesbians were subject to governmental and societal discrimination. US Department of State: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2006
There are almost 200 official countries in the world today but there are dozens more breakaway states determined to be separate. Simon Reeve, Holidays in the Danger Zone: Places that Don’t Exist I: Somaliland, BBC 2005
Moldova, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Two-thirds of the people were of Romanian descent and wanted closer ties with neighbours to the west. But the eastern side of the country wanted to retain close links with Ukraine and Russia. War broke out and the east split to form Transnistria, a new country which even now remains unrecognised by the rest of the world. Simon Reeve, Holidays in the Danger Zone: Places that Don’t Exist II: Transnistria
Young adults have gone abroad in search of work. ibid.
The Russian army still provides security for Transnistria. ibid.