prednistrovia, 2011
This country, with 500.000 inhabitants that live in a narrow valley of 4000 km2, has its own borders, a flag, a national currency, army, police and a president, but you cannot find it as a separate state on any map, since it has no official international recognition. Transnistria is an open wound in Eastern Europe’s body, a contested zone in a diplomatic arm wrestling between Russia and Moldova and is internationally recognized as a ‘frozen conflict’. Transnistria declared its independence from Moldova in 1990, a decision ratified by its citizens in a referendum in 2006, where 93% of participants voted in favor of independence. It was at the same year that this region came under the scrutiny of secret services, who concluded that the rockets shown in various Al-Queda videos came from the east bank of the river Dniester. During the Soviet Era it functioned as a huge munitions depot for the USSR and until now it is unknown whether all these thousands of tons of armaments have been totally destroyed. It is a ‘black hole’ in Europe, where illegal arms trading meets trafficking, where extreme concentration of wealth is combined with mass poverty, where political corruption meets archaic social infrastructure, where geopolitical antagonisms mix with modern bonapartistic tendencies. It is a place where the life of everyday citizens oscillates between nostalgia for the past and a new vision for the future, where the dark of night is less dark than the prospect of successful diplomatic negotiations, where even brandy still tastes bittersweet. 20 years after the fall of ‘actually existing socialism’ it is a travel to a ‘non-existent country’ within the free market of globalization.