Transnistria
Overview
 
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. Since its declaration of independence
Declaration of independence
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

 in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria
War of Transnistria
The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

 in 1992, it is governed as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR, also known as "Pridnestrovie"), an unrecognized state which claims the territory to the east of the river Dniester, the city of Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

 and its surrounding localities located on the west bank.
Encyclopedia
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. Since its declaration of independence
Declaration of independence
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

 in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria
War of Transnistria
The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

 in 1992, it is governed as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR, also known as "Pridnestrovie"), an unrecognized state which claims the territory to the east of the river Dniester, the city of Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

 and its surrounding localities located on the west bank. The Republic of Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

 does not recognize the secession and considers territories controlled by the PMR to be part of Moldova's autonomous region of Stînga Nistrului ("Left Bank of the Dniester").

After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between the Moldovan government and the breakaway unrecognized state's authorities in Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic . The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River...

 escalated into a military conflict
War of Transnistria
The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

 that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 in July 1992. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission
Joint Control Commission
The Joint Control Commission , is a tri-lateral peacekeeping force and joint military command structure which operates in a buffer zone on the border between the Republic of Moldova and the disputed territory controlled by the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic .-History:Following the War of...

 supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarized zone
Demilitarized zone
In military terms, a demilitarized zone is an area, usually the frontier or boundary between two or more military powers , where military activity is not permitted, usually by peace treaty, armistice, or other bilateral or multilateral agreement...

, comprising 20 localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory's political status remains unresolved: though internationally unrecognized, Transnistria is, in effect, an independent state, organized as a presidential republic, with its own government
Government of Transnistria
The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic is the political leadership of the unrecognized, but de facto independent, Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, better known in English as Transnistria.-Executive branch:...

, parliament, military
Military of Transnistria
The Armed Forces of Transnistria are the military forces of the unrecognised state of Transnistria. The Armed Forces were created on Sept. 6, 1991 to protect the sovereignty and independence of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, in accordance with Article 11 of the Republic's Constitution.The...

, police, postal system, and currency. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and a coat of arms. However, following a 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine, all Transnistrian companies seeking to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the Moldovan authorities. This agreement was implemented after the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine
European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine
The European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine is a European Union structure, created to control the traffic on borders between Moldova and Ukraine....

 (EUBAM) started its activity in 2005. Most Transnistrians are Moldovan citizens, but there are also many Transnistrians with Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.

Transnistria is sometimes compared with other post-Soviet frozen conflict zones such as Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic , or Artsakh Republic is a de facto independent republic located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

, and South Ossetia
South Ossetia
South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region is a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic....

. The last two have recognised Transnistria as an independent state and have established diplomatic relations in return for Transnistria's recognition of them via the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations
Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations
The Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations , also commonly known as Commonwealth of Unrecognized States, or rarely as CIS-2 is an international organisation uniting several states in the former Soviet Union, all of whom have limited recognition from the international community.-History:The...

.

Names

The region is also known in English as Trans-Dniestr or Transdniestria. Etymologically, these names are adaptations of the Romanian name of the region, "Transnistria" meaning "beyond the river Dniester".

The documents of the government of Moldova refer to the region as Stînga Nistrului (Unităţile Administrativ-Teritoriale din Stînga Nistrului), which means "Left Bank of the Dniester" ("Administrative-territorial unit(s) of the Left Bank of the Dniester"). Colloquially it is called "Transnistria".

The name of the region according to the Transnistrian authorities is Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, abbreviated PMR . The short form of this name is Pridnestrovie . Pridnestrovie is a transliteration of the Russian "Приднестровье", that means "[a land] by the [river] Dniester.

Antiquity and Middle Ages

The area where Transnistria is now located has been inhabited by Indo-European tribes for millennia, being a borderland between Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

 and Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

. The Tyragetae
Tyragetae
The Tyrageti, Tyragetae, or Tyrangitae , literally, the Getae of the Tyras, were a sub-tribe of the Getae Thracians, situated on the river Tyras . They were regarded as an immigrant tribe of European Sarmatia dwelling E...

 (a Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

 Thracian tribe) inhabited the area around the Dniester river (called "Tyras" in ancient documents), as well as the Scythians. Early Germanic and Mongolic tribes were present in the area during their attacks and invasions of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.

Indeed in 56 AD the coastal area around the city of Tyras
Tyras
Tyras , was an ancient Greek city founded as colony of Miletus, probably about 600 BC, situated some 10 m from the mouth of the Tyras River...

 was occupied by the Romans and henceforth formed part of the province of Lower Moesia, from nearly four centuries. Tyras enjoyed great development during Roman times
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

: there it is a series of its coins with heads of emperors from Domitian
Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

 to Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235. Alexander was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, and was ultimately assassinated himself, marking the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century — nearly fifty...

. But in the second half of the fourth century the area was continuously attacked by barbarians and the Roman legionaries left Tyras.

Migrating from the North, Slavs were present on the shores of the Dniester river from the second half of the 6th century. In the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 tribes of Tivertsi
Tivertsi
Tivertsi, a.k.a. Tivertsy, Tiverians is a tribe of early East Slavs which lived in the lands near the Dniester, and probably the lower Danube, that is in modern-day western Ukraine and Moldova and possibly in eastern Romania and southern Odessa oblast of Ukraine...

 and Ulichs
Ulichs
The Ulichs were a tribe of Early East Slavs who between the eighth and the tenth century inhabited the territories along the Lower Dnieper, Bug River and the Black Sea littoral....

 populated larger areas, including Transnistria, followed by Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 nomads such as the Petchenegs and Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

. Possibly an early part of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

, after the Mongol invasion of Europe
Mongol invasion of Europe
The resumption of the Mongol invasion of Europe, during which the Mongols attacked medieval Rus' principalities and the powers of Poland and Hungary, was marked by the Mongol invasion of Rus starting in 21 December 1237...

 in 1241, the territory was briefly under Mongol control (yet probably without any permanent settlements), and later under the Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

.

Early modern period

From the 15th century, northern Transnistria (current districts of Camenca
Camenca
Camenca is a town in Transnistria, Moldova. It is composed of the town itself, population 10,323, and the village of Solnecinoe .Camenca is the seat of the Camenca sub-district....

 and Rîbniţa
Rîbnita
Rîbnița, also spelled Râbnița is a city in Moldova. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the Transnistria. According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, it has a population of 53,648. Rîbniţa is situated in the northern half of Transnistria, on the left bank of the...

) belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, and later to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1793), which encouraged the migration of peasants into the territory from the neighboring populated areas (from north and from west). Prince of Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

 Gheorghe Duca
Gheorghe Duca
Gheorghe Duca Moldovan academic and politician.- Biography :Gheorghe Duca has been the head of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova since February 5, 2004.- External links :* * -References:...

 (1665–66, 1668–72, 1678–84) built a court at Ţicanova on the east bank of the Dniester, and one at Nimirov on the Southern Bug
Southern Bug
The Southern Bug, also called Southern Buh), is a river located in Ukraine. The source of the river is in the west of Ukraine, in the Volyn-Podillia Upland, about 145 km from the Polish border, and flows southeasterly into the Bug Estuary through the southern steppes...

, last mentioned in Moldavian hands in 1765. The localities Dubăsari
Dubasari
Dubăsari is a city in Transnistria, with a population of 23,650. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic", and functions as the seat of the Dubăsari sub-district, Transnistria, Moldova.-Name:The origin of the town name is the plural...

, Raşcov, Vasilcău
Vasilcău
Vasilcău is a commune in Soroca district, Moldova. It is composed of three villages: Vasilcău, Inundeni and Ruslanovca.Vasilcău's official website is http://www.vasilcau.info.md...

, as well as four other currently in Ukraine are mentioned in 17th-18th centuries as fairs for the Dniester-Bug region. In 1769 a document dated at Bendery mentions the then title of the Mitropolitan of Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

 as Mitropolitan of Proilavia
Braila
Brăila is a city in Muntenia, eastern Romania, a port on the Danube and the capital of Brăila County, in the close vicinity of Galaţi.According to the 2002 Romanian census there were 216,292 people living within the city of Brăila, making it the 10th most populous city in Romania.-History:A...

, of Tamarova
Reni
-People:* Guido Reni , Italian Baroque painter* Alan Wren , nicknamed Reni, drummer for The Stone Roses* Reni Mimura, a Japanese pop singer who is known for using cosplay in her performances....

, of Hotin, and of all the borders of the Danube, of the Dniester, and the Han's Ukraine
, the latter being a common reference to the then sparsely populated Dniester-Southern Bug
Southern Bug
The Southern Bug, also called Southern Buh), is a river located in Ukraine. The source of the river is in the west of Ukraine, in the Volyn-Podillia Upland, about 145 km from the Polish border, and flows southeasterly into the Bug Estuary through the southern steppes...

-Dniepr area.

Before becoming part of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1792 (southern part) and 1793 (northern part), the largest groups living between the Dniester and the Bug rivers were Moldavian (Romanian), Ruthenian (Ukrainian), and Tatar peasants. The Russian census of 1793 of the Ochakov region (southern part of the Dniester-Bug area) mentions a totality of 67 villages, of which 49 are mentioned as Moldavian and 18 as Tatar. The first candidate for the governor of the new Russian region was the Moldavian boyar of Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 ancestry Alexandru I. Mavrocordat
Alexander Mavrocordatos
Alexander Mavrocordato was a member of the Greek family Mavrocordatos, a doctor of philosophy and medicine of the University of Bologna, and dragoman to Sultan Mehmed IV in 1673 - notably employed in negotiations with the Habsburg Monarchy during the Great Turkish War.Alexander Mavrocordatos was...

. The northern part of Transnistria had Ruthenian (Ukrainian) and Moldavian villages.

Russian Empire

In 1792, the region became part of the Russian Empire as a result of the sixth Russo-Turkish War
Russo-Turkish War (1787-1792)
The Russo–Turkish War of 1787–1792 involved a futile attempt by the Ottoman Empire to regain lands lost to Russia in the course of the previous Russo–Turkish War, 1768–1774. It took place concomitantly with the Austro-Turkish War of 1787-1791....

. In that year, the general Alexander Suvorov
Alexander Suvorov
Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov , Count Suvorov of Rymnik, Prince in Italy, Count of the Holy Roman Empire , was the fourth and last generalissimo of the Russian Empire.One of the few great generals in history who never lost a battle along with the likes of Alexander...

 founded modern Tiraspol as a Russian border fortress. Until the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, the current Transnistria was divided between the imperial guberniya
Guberniya
A guberniya was a major administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire usually translated as government, governorate, or province. Such administrative division was preserved for sometime upon the collapse of the empire in 1917. A guberniya was ruled by a governor , a word borrowed from Latin ,...

s of Podolia
Podolia
The region of Podolia is an historical region in the west-central and south-west portions of present-day Ukraine, corresponding to Khmelnytskyi Oblast and Vinnytsia Oblast. Northern Transnistria, in Moldova, is also a part of Podolia...

, Kherson
Kherson
Kherson is a city in southern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Kherson Oblast , and is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. Kherson is an important port on the Black Sea and Dnieper River, and the home of a major ship-building industry...

, and Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

. Most of the territory which now is Transnistria was part of the larger New Russia
Novorossiya
Novorossiya is a historic area of lands which established itself solidly after the annexation of the Crimean Khanate by the Russian Empire, but was introduced with the establishment of Novorossiysk Governorate with the capital in Kremenchuk in the mid 18th century. Until that time in both Polish...

 region, hence it saw a strong colonization process, with a multitude of ethnicities being settled: lands were given to enserfed
Russian serfdom
The origins of serfdom in Russia are traced to Kievan Rus in the 11th century. Legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants, the term for an unfree peasant in the Russian Empire, krepostnoi krestyanin , is translated as serf.-...

 peasantry from Russia and Ukraine in Nova Serbia
Nova Serbia
New Serbia was a territory of Imperial Russia from 1752 to 1764. It was mostly located in the territory of present-day Kirovohrad Oblast of Ukraine, although some of its parts were located in the territory of present-day Cherkasy Oblast, Poltava Oblast and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast...

, and Jews and Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 were brought to facilitate economic development.

Soviet and Romanian administration

Transnistria became an autonomous political entity in 1924 with the proclamation of the Moldavian ASSR
Moldavian ASSR
The Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic , shortened to Moldavian ASSR or, less frequently, Moldovan ASSR, was an autonomous republic of the Ukrainian SSR between 12 October 1924 and 2 August 1940, encompassing modern Transnistria The Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic...

, which included today's Transnistria (4,000 km2) as well as an adjacent area (9,000 km2) around the city of Balta
Balta, Ukraine
Balta is a small city in the Odessa Oblast of south-western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Baltsky Raion , and located approximately 200 kilometers from the oblast capital, Odessa...

 in modern-day Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, but nothing from Bessarabia, which at the time formed part of Romania
Kingdom of Romania
The Kingdom of Romania was the Romanian state based on a form of parliamentary monarchy between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947, specified by the first three Constitutions of Romania...

. One of the reasons for the creation of the Moldavian ASSR was the desire of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 at the time to eventually incorporate Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

. The Moldavian SSR, organised by a decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 2 August 1940, was formed out of a part of Bessarabia (taken from Romania on 28 June, after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

), and out of a part of the Moldavian ASSR roughly equivalent to present-day Transnistria.

In 1941, after Axis forces
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 invaded the Soviet Union during the Second World War
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, they defeated the Soviet troops in the region and occupied it. Romania controlled the entire region between Dniester and Southern Bug
Southern Bug
The Southern Bug, also called Southern Buh), is a river located in Ukraine. The source of the river is in the west of Ukraine, in the Volyn-Podillia Upland, about 145 km from the Polish border, and flows southeasterly into the Bug Estuary through the southern steppes...

 rivers, including the city of Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 as local capital.

The Romanian-administered territory - called the Transnistria Governorate - with an area of 44.000 km2 and a population of 2,3 mln inhabitants, was divided into 13 counties: Ananiev, Balta, Berzovca, Dubasari, Golta, Jugastru, Movilau, Oceacov, Odessa, Ovidiopol, Ribnita, Tiraspol and Tulcin. There were in this enlarged Transnistria nearly 200,000 Romanian/Moldovian-speaking residents.

The Romanian administration of "Transnistria" attempted to stabilise the situation in the area under Romanian control, implementing a process of Romanianization
Romanianization
Romanianization or Rumanization is the term used to describe a number of ethnic assimilation policies implemented by the Romanian authorities during the 20th century...

. By March 1943, a total of 185,000 Ukrainian and Romanian Jews had been deported and the majority were murdered
Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories...

 or died from other causes in ghettos and concentration camps in an area immediately north and east of the current Transnistria, which as the latter was under Romanian and partly German occupation.

After the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 reconquered the area in 1944, Soviet authorities executed, exiled and/or imprisoned (in gulags) many thousands of Romanian/Moldavians in the following months and years: the only ones who survived were in the area of actual Transnistria (from 1945 again part of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic), just east of the Dniester river. Indeed a campaign was directed towards the rich Moldavian peasant families, which were deported to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 and Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 as well. For instance, in just two days, July 6 and July 7, 1949, a plan named "Operation South" saw the deportation of over 11,342 Moldavian families by the order of the Moldovian Minister of State Security, I. L. Mordovets.

Secession

In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

's policies of perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 and glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 in the Soviet Union allowed political liberalization at a regional level. This led to the creation of various informal movements in the Moldavian SSR, and the resurgence of pro-Romanian nationalism among ethnic Moldovans. The most prominent of these movements was the Popular Front of Moldova
Popular Front of Moldova
The Popular Front of Moldova was a political movement in the Moldavian SSR, one of the 15 union republics of the former Soviet Union, and in the newly-independent Republic of Moldova. Formally, the Front existed from 1989 to 1992...

. In the spring of 1988, PFM demanded that the Soviet authorities declare Moldovan
Moldovan language
Moldovan is one of the names of the Romanian language as spoken in the Republic of Moldova, where it is official. The spoken language of Moldova is closer to the dialects of Romanian spoken in northeastern Romania, and the two countries share the same literary standard...

 the only state language, return to the use of the Latin alphabet, and recognize the shared ethnic identity of Moldovans and Romanians. The more radical factions of the Popular Front espoused extreme anti-minority, ethnocentric and chauvinist positions, calling for minority populations, particularly the Slavs (mainly Russians and Ukrainians) and Gagauz
Gagauz people
The Gagauz people are Turkic speaking group living mostly in southern Moldova , southwestern Ukraine , south-eastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria. Unlike most other Turkic speaking people, the Gagauz are predominantly Orthodox Christians...

, to leave or be expelled from Moldova.

On 31 August 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR adopted Moldovan as the only official language with Russian retained only for secondary purposes, returned Moldovan to the Latin alphabet, and declared a shared Moldovan-Romanian linguistic identity. As plans for major cultural changes in Moldova were made public, tensions rose further. Ethnic minorities felt threatened by the prospects of removing Russian as the official language, the possible future reunification of Moldova and Romania, and the ethnocentric rhetoric of the Popular Front. The Yedinstvo (Unity) Movement, established by the Slavic population of Moldova, pressed for equal status to be given to both Russian and Moldovan.
The nationalist Popular Front won the first free parliamentary elections in the Moldavian SSR in the spring of 1990, and its agenda started slowly to be implemented. On 2 September 1990, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was created on the eastern periphery of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990 by pro-Soviet separatists who hoped to remain within the Soviet Union when it became clear that the MSSR would achieve independence from the USSR...

 was proclaimed as a Soviet republic by an ad hoc
Ad hoc
Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning "for this". It generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes. Compare A priori....

 assembly, the Second Congress of the Peoples' Representatives of Transnistria. Violence escalated when in October 1990 the Popular Front called for volunteers to form armed militias to stop a Gagauz autonomy referendum. In response, volunteer militias were formed in Transnistria. In April 1990, nationalist mobs attacked ethnic Russian members of parliament, while the Moldovan police refused to intervene or restore order.

In the interest of preserving a unified Moldavian SSR within the USSR and preventing the situation escalating further, then Soviet President
President of the Soviet Union
The President of the Soviet Union , officially called President of the USSR was the Head of State of the USSR from 15 March 1990 to 25 December 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev was the only person to occupy the office. Gorbachev was also General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between...

 Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, while citing the restriction of civil rights of ethnic minorities by Moldova as the cause of the dispute, declared the Transnistria proclamation to be lacking legal basis and annulled it by presidential decree on 22 December 1990. Nevertheless, no significant action was taken against Transnistria and the new authorities were slowly able to establish control of the region.

War of Transnistria

The War of Transnistria
War of Transnistria
The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

 followed armed clashes on a limited scale which broke out between Transnistrian separatists and Moldova as early as November 1990 at Dubăsari
Dubasari
Dubăsari is a city in Transnistria, with a population of 23,650. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic", and functions as the seat of the Dubăsari sub-district, Transnistria, Moldova.-Name:The origin of the town name is the plural...

. Volunteers, including Cossacks, came from Russia and Ukraine to help the separatist side. In mid-April 1992, under the agreements on the split of the military equipment of the former Soviet Union negotiated between the former 15 republics in the previous months, Moldova created its own Defense Ministry. According to the decree of its creation, most of the 14th Soviet Army's military equipment was to be retained by Moldova. Starting from 2 March 1992, there was concerted military action between Moldova and Transnistria. Throughout early 1992 the fighting intensified. The former Soviet 14th Guards Army entered the conflict in its final stage, opening fire against Moldovan forces; since then, Moldova has exercised no effective control or influence on Transnistrian authorities. A ceasefire agreement was signed on 21 July 1992 and has held to the present day.

Further negotiations

The OSCE is trying to facilitate a negotiated settlement. Under OSCE auspices, on 8 May 1997, the Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi
Petru Lucinschi
Petru Chiril Lucinschi was Moldova's second President .- Biography :Petru Chiril Lucinschi was born on January 27, 1940 in Rădulenii Vechi village, Soroca County, Romania...

 and the Transnistrian president Igor Smirnov
Igor Smirnov
Igor Nikolaevich Smirnov , is the President of the internationally unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic, also known as Transnistria. He has held this post since 1990.- Childhood :...

, signed the "Memorandum on the principles of normalizations of the relations between the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria", also known as the "Primakov Memorandum", sustaining the establishment of legal and state relations, although the memorandum's provisions were interpreted differently by the governments of Moldova and Transnistria.

In November 2003, Dmitry Kozak
Dmitry Kozak
Dmitry Nikolayevich Kozak , is a Russian politician, serving since October 2008 as deputy Prime minister of the Russian Federation....

, a counselor of the Russian president Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

, proposed a memorandum on the creation of an asymmetric
Asymmetric federalism
Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation or confederation in which different constituent states possess different powers: one or more of the states has considerably more autonomy than the other substates, although they have the same constitutional status. The...

 federal Moldovan state, with Moldova holding a majority and Transnistria being a minority part of the federation. Known as "the Kozak memorandum
Kozak memorandum
The Kozak Memorandum, officially Russian Draft Memorandum on the Basic Principles of the State Structure of a United State in Moldova, was a 2003 proposal aimed at a final settlement of relations between Moldova and Transnistria...

", it did not coincide with the Transnistrian position, which sought equal status between Transnistria and Moldova, but was giving Transnistria veto powers over future constitutional changes, which hence agreed to sign it. Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Nicolaevici Voronin is a Moldovan politician. He was the third President of Moldova from 2001 until 2009 and has been the First Secretary of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova since 1994...

 was initially supportive of the plan, but refused to sign it after internal opposition and international pressure from the OSCE and US, and after Russia had endorsed the Transnistrian demand to maintain a Russian military presence for the next 20 years as a guarantee for the intended federation.

Talks were started in 2006 to deal with the problems, but without results for many years. In February 2011 the so called "5 + 2 Talks" (named so because done by Transnistria, Moldavia, Ukraine, Russia and OSCE, plus US and EU as external observers) were started again in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

.

Geography

Transnistria is landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 and borders Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 (i.e., the rest of Moldova, for 411 km) to the West, and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 (for 405 km) to the East. It is a narrow valley stretching in the North-South direction along the bank of the Dniester River, which forms a natural boundary along most of the border with (the rest of) Moldova. Tiraspol, the capital and largest city of Transnistria, has about 160,000 inhabitants.

The territory controlled by the PMR is mostly, but not completely, coincident with the left (eastern) bank of Dniester. It includes ten cities and towns, and 69 communes, with a totality of 147 localities (counting the unincorporated ones as well). Six communes on the left bank (Cocieri
Cocieri
Cocieri is a commune in the Republic of Moldova, and the administrative center of Dubăsari District. It is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River, consisting of two villages, Cocieri and Vasilievca....

, Molovata Nouă
Molovata Noua
Molovata Nouă is a commune located in Dubăsari district of the Republic of Moldova, on the eastern bank of the River Dniester. It consists of two villages, Molovata Nouă and Roghi....

, Corjova, Pîrîta
Pîrîta
Pîrîta is a commune in Dubăsari district, Moldova. It is composed of a single village, Pîrîta....

, Coşniţa
Cosnita
Coşniţa is a commune located in Dubăsari district of the Republic of Moldova, on the eastern bank of the River Dniester. It consists of two villages, Coşniţa and Pohrebea ....

, and Doroţcaia
Dorotcaia
Doroţcaia is a commune in the Republic of Moldova, situated on the eastern bank of the River Dniester. It is composed of a single village, Doroţcaia.The village was a place of fighting during 1992 War of Transnistria...

) remained under the control of the Moldovan government after the War of Transnistria in 1992, as part of the Dubăsari district
Dubasari district
Dubăsari district is a district in the east of Moldova, with the administrative center at Cocieri. As of January 1, 2011, its population was 35,200.This does not include the 715 people that live in the village of Roghi, which is controlled by the breakaway Tiraspol authorities.-History:The...

. They are situated north and south of the city of Dubăsari
Dubasari
Dubăsari is a city in Transnistria, with a population of 23,650. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic", and functions as the seat of the Dubăsari sub-district, Transnistria, Moldova.-Name:The origin of the town name is the plural...

, which itself is under PMR control. The village of Roghi of Molovata Nouă Commune is also controlled by the PMR (Moldova controls the other nine of the ten villages of the six communes).

On the west bank, the city of Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

 and four communes (containing a total of six villages) to its east, south-east, and south, on the opposite bank of the river Dniester from the city of Tiraspol (Proteagailovca
Proteagailovca
Proteagailovca is a commune in the municipality of Tighina , Moldova. It is composed of a single village, Proteagailovca, and had a population of 3,142 at the 2004 Census. The locality, although situated on the right bank of the river Dniester, is under the control of the breakaway Transnistrian...

, Gîsca
Gîsca
Gîsca is a commune near in Căuşeni district, Moldova, composed of a single village with the same name, population 4,841 at the 2004 Census...

, Chiţcani
Chitcani, Moldova
Chiţcani is a commune in Căuşeni district, Moldova. It consists of the village Chiţcani and two small villages , Mereneşti and Zahorna. Chiţcani is situated to the south-east of the city of Tighina...

, and Cremenciug
Cremenciug, Căuşeni
Cremenciug is a commune in Căușeni district, Moldova, composed of a single village with the same name, population 1,094 at the 2004 Census. The locality, although situated on the right bank of the river Dniester, is under the control of the breakaway Transnistrian authorities. On the opposite side...

) are controlled by the PMR.

The localities controlled by Moldova on the eastern bank, the village of Roghi, and the city of Dubăsari (situated on the eastern bank and controlled by the PMR), the six villages and one city controlled by the PMR on the western bank, as well as two (Varniţa
Varnita
Varniţa may refer to several villages in Romania:* Varniţa, a village in Şiştarovăţ Commune, Arad County* Varniţa, a village in Şirna Commune, Prahova County* Varniţa, a village in Răcoasa Commune, Vrancea Countyand to a commune in Moldova:...

 and Copanca
Copanca
Copanca is a commune in Căuşeni district, Moldova. It is composed of a single village, Copanca....

) on the same west bank under Moldovan control, form a security zone. The security situation inside it is subject to the Joint Control Commission
Joint Control Commission
The Joint Control Commission , is a tri-lateral peacekeeping force and joint military command structure which operates in a buffer zone on the border between the Republic of Moldova and the disputed territory controlled by the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic .-History:Following the War of...

 rulings.

The main transportation route in Transnistria is the road Tiraspol-Dubăsari-Rîbniţa. North and south of Dubăsari it passes through the lands of the villages controlled by Moldova (Doroţcaia
Dorotcaia
Doroţcaia is a commune in the Republic of Moldova, situated on the eastern bank of the River Dniester. It is composed of a single village, Doroţcaia.The village was a place of fighting during 1992 War of Transnistria...

, Cocieri
Cocieri
Cocieri is a commune in the Republic of Moldova, and the administrative center of Dubăsari District. It is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River, consisting of two villages, Cocieri and Vasilievca....

, Roghi, while Vasilievca
Vasilievca
Vasilievca may refer to several places in Moldova:*Vasilievca, a village in Cocieri Commune, Dubăsari district*Vasilievca, a village in Sovetscoe Commune, Transnistria...

 is entirely situated east of the road). Conflict erupted on several occasions when the PMR prevented the villagers from reaching their farmland east of the road.

Transnistrians are able to travel (normally without difficulty) in and out of the territory under PMR control to neighbouring Moldovan-controlled territory, to Ukraine, and on to Russia, by road or (when service is not interrupted by political tensions) on two international trains, the year-round Moscow-Chişinău, and the seasonal Saratov
Saratov
-Modern Saratov:The Saratov region is highly industrialized, due in part to the rich in natural and industrial resources of the area. The region is also one of the more important and largest cultural and scientific centres in Russia...

-Varna
Varna
Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, with a population of 334,870 inhabitants according to Census 2011...

. International air travellers rely on the airport in Chişinău
Chisinau
Chișinău is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc...

, the Moldovan capital, or the airport in Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, in Ukraine.

Administrative subdivisions

Transnistria is subdivided into five raion
Raion
A raion is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet countries. The term, which is from French rayon 'honeycomb, department,' describes both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district"...

s
(Russian names are listed in parentheses):
  • Camenca
    Administrative Region of Camenca
    Camenca sub-district is an administrative sub-region of Transnistria, Moldova. Its seat is the town of Camenca . The district contains this town and 12 communes :...

     (Кáменка, Kamenka)
  • Rîbniţa
    Rîbnita (Administrative Region)
    Rîbniţa sub-district, also spelled Râbniţa sub-district . It is located at . The district contains this city and 22 communes :...

     (Рыбница, Rybnitsa)
  • Dubăsari
    Administrative Region of Dubasari
    Dubăsari sub-district, is an administrative sub-region of Transnistria, Moldova. It is located along the river Dniester, in the center of Transnsitria. Its seat is the city of Dubăsari...

     (Дубоссáры, Dubossary)
  • Grigoriopol
    Administrative Region of Grigoriopol
    right|100pxGrigoriopol sub-district is an administrative sub-district of Transnistria, Moldova. It is located along the river Dniester, in the center of Transnsitria. Its seat is the city of Grigoriopol, located at , on the river Dniester...

     (Григориóполь, Grigoriopol')
  • Slobozia
    Administrative Region of Slobozia
    Slobozia sub-district is an administrative sub-district of Transnistria, Moldova. It is the southernmost sub-district of Transnistria, located mostly south of Tiraspol. Its seat is the city of Slobozia, located at , on the river Dniester...

     (Слободзéя, Slobodzeya)


and one municipality:
  • Tiraspol
    Tiraspol
    Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic . The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River...

     (Тирáсполь)


Also, Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

 (Tighina; Бендéры), situated on the western bank of the Dniester (in Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

), geographically outside Transnistria, is not part of territorial unit Transnistria of Moldova as defined by the central authorities, but is controlled by the PMR authorities, which consider it part of PMR's administrative organization.

Political status

Transnistria is recognised by the vast majority of countries as a legal part of the Republic of Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

. Only the partially recognised states of South Ossetia
South Ossetia
South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region is a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic....

 and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 recognize it as a sovereign entity after it declared independence from Moldova in 1990 with Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic . The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River...

 as its declared capital.

Between 1929 and 1940, Tiraspol was the capital of the Moldavian ASSR, an autonomous republic within Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic or in short, the Ukrainian SSR was a sovereign Soviet Socialist state and one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union lasting from its inception in 1922 to the breakup in 1991...

, which existed from 1924 to 1940.

Although exercising no direct control over the territory, the Moldovan government passed the "Law on Basic Provisions of the Special Legal Status of Localities from the Left Bank of the Dniester" on 22 July 2005, which established Transnistria as an autonomous territorial unit within the Republic of Moldova. The law was passed without any prior consultation with Transnistrian authorities, which called it a provocation and has since ignored it.

Between 300,000 and 400,000 Transnistrians (the majority of the population) acquired Moldovan passports by 2008. No country recognizes passports issued by the Transnistrian government. Russia opened a consulate in Tiraspol (against the will of Moldova) and issued about 80,000 passports to Transnistrians by the end of 2006.

There are unsettled border issues
Disputed status of Transnistria
The political status of Transnistria, an unrecognized state on the internationally recognized territory of the Republic of Moldova, has been disputed since the Transnistrian declaration of independence on September 2, 1990. This declaration established a Soviet Socialist Republic separate from...

 between Transnistria and Moldova. Nine villages from the Dubăsari district, including Cocieri
Cocieri
Cocieri is a commune in the Republic of Moldova, and the administrative center of Dubăsari District. It is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River, consisting of two villages, Cocieri and Vasilievca....

 and Doroţcaia
Dorotcaia
Doroţcaia is a commune in the Republic of Moldova, situated on the eastern bank of the River Dniester. It is composed of a single village, Doroţcaia.The village was a place of fighting during 1992 War of Transnistria...

 which geographically belong to Transnistria, have been under the control of the central government of Moldova after the involvement of local inhabitants on the side of Moldovan forces during the War of Transnistria. These villages along with Varniţa
Varnita
Varniţa may refer to several villages in Romania:* Varniţa, a village in Şiştarovăţ Commune, Arad County* Varniţa, a village in Şirna Commune, Prahova County* Varniţa, a village in Răcoasa Commune, Vrancea Countyand to a commune in Moldova:...

 and Copanca
Copanca
Copanca is a commune in Căuşeni district, Moldova. It is composed of a single village, Copanca....

, near Bendery and Tiraspol, are claimed by the PMR. One city and six villages on the west bank are controlled by the PMR, but are considered by Moldova as a separate municipality (Bender and two villages), or part of the Căuşeni district
Raionul Causeni
Căuşeni is a district in the central part of Moldova, with the administrative center at Căuşeni.The other major city is Căinari. As of January 1, 2011, its population was 92,300.-History:...

 (four villages).

Tense situations have periodically surfaced due to these territorial disputes, such as in 2005, when Transnistrian forces entered Vasilievca, in 2006 around Varniţa, and in 2007 in Dubăsari-Cocieri area, when a confrontation between Moldovan and Transnistrian forces occurred, however without any casualties.

International relations


Transnistria's minister of foreign affairs is Vladimir Yastrebchak
Vladimir Yastrebchak
Vladimir Valerevich Yastrebchak is the current acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Transnistria. He replaced longtime minister Valeriy Anatolievich Litskai on July 1, 2008....

. He is the replacement of longtime foreign minister Valeriy Anatolievich Litskai
Valeriy Anatolievich Litskai
Valeriy Anatolievich Litskai was the foreign minister of Transnistria from 2000 until July 2008. He was born in Tver in Russia in 1949 and obtained Transnistrian citizenship after Transnistria declared independence....

, who was fired on 1 July 2008, for not showing any progress in advancing Transnistria's still largely unrecognized status.

Politics

PMR has a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

 and a unicameral parliament named the Supreme Council. Its legislature has 43 members elected by Single-member district plurality
Plurality voting system
The plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system often used to elect executive officers or to elect members of a legislative assembly which is based on single-member constituencies...

. The president is elected to a five year term by popular vote.

Igor Smirnov
Igor Smirnov
Igor Nikolaevich Smirnov , is the President of the internationally unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic, also known as Transnistria. He has held this post since 1990.- Childhood :...

 has been the President of Transnistria
President of Transnistria
The President of Transnistria is the highest elected official of Transnistria, a small unrecognized country which declared independence from Moldova in 1990. The president of the republic is the country's head of state and is commander in chief...

 since the declaration of independence in 1990, and he is serving his fourth mandate after being reelected in December 2006
Transnistrian presidential election, 2006
The 2006 presidential election in Transnistria was held on December 10 of that year. Incumbent President Igor Smirnov won despite opposition having stiffened during the final weeks of the campaign...

. In the parliamentary election in December 2005, the Renewal
Renewal (Transnistria)
Renewal or Renovation , a pro-business political party in Transnistria. Since the legislative elections of 2005 it is the majority party in the Transnistrian Parliament but in opposition to the current PMR President Igor Smirnov.It was founded as a political NGO in 2000 and campaigned under its...

 movement defeated the Republic
Republic (Transnistria)
Republic is a political party in Transnistria. Although formerly the majority party in parliament, at the legislative elections of 11 December 2005 the party won 13 of the 43 seats and found itself in the minority for the first time since the founding of the country on September 2, 1990. The...

 movement and won an overall majority, its leader Yevgeni Shevchuk
Yevgeni Shevchuk
Yevgeny Vasilyevich Shevchuk or Evgheni Vasilievici Şevciuk is an ethnic Ukrainian and a politician from Transnistria, former speaker of Pridnestrovian Supreme Soviet and one of the leaders of the opposition party Renewal.Yevgeny Shevchuk is a lawyer who has worked in government and private...

 is the speaker
Speaker (politics)
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...

 of parliament.
According to PMR data, only 15 of the 43 members of its parliament (MPs) were born in the PMR territory (including 12 in Transnistria proper, and 3 in the Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

n area in and around the city of Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

, which is controlled by PMR), while 4 others in the rest of Moldova, with the remainder mainly born in Russia or Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. Igor Smirnov, the leader of PMR, arrived in the region in 1987. Most of the MPs who were born elsewhere had moved to the region ten years or more before the conflict erupted. Although Moldovans are around a third of Transnistrian population, no ethnic Moldovans are members in the Transnistrian council of ministers.

There is disagreement over whether elections in Transnistria are free and fair. The political regime has been described as one of 'super-presidentialism'. In the latest presidential election, the registration of opposition candidate Andrey Safonov was delayed until a few days before the vote, so that he had little time to conduct an election campaign. Some sources consider election results suspicious. In 2001, in one region it was reported that Igor Smirnov
Igor Smirnov
Igor Nikolaevich Smirnov , is the President of the internationally unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic, also known as Transnistria. He has held this post since 1990.- Childhood :...

 collected 103.6% of the votes. The PMR government said 'the government of Moldova launched a campaign aimed at convincing international observers not to attend' an election held on 11 December 2005 - but CIS election monitors had ignored that and had declared the ballot democratic.

The opposition Narodovlastie party
Power to the People (political party)
Power to the People is a political party in Transnistria.At the 10 December 2000 legislative elections the party won 1 out of 43 seats. At the 11 December 2005 elections the party supported independent candidates who are today allied with the party Renewal....

 and Power to the People movement were outlawed at the beginning of 2000 and eventually dissolved.

A list published by the European Union bans travel to the EU for some members of the Transnistrian leadership.

In 2007, the registration of a Social Democratic Party was allowed. This party, led by former separatist leader and member of the PMR government Andrey Safonov
Andrey Safonov
Andrey Safonov is a politician from Transnistria. He lives in Bender, Transnistria's second largest city.- Biography :He ran for president against incumbent president Igor Smirnov in the election held on December 10, 2006, and came in third place with 3.9% of the vote.He is a former teacher of...

, allegedly favors a union with Moldova.

In September 2007, the leader of the Transnistrian Communist party, Oleg Horjan, was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 1½ years imprisonment for organizing unsanctioned actions of protest.

According to the Transnistrian referendum, 2006
Transnistrian referendum, 2006
The 2006 referendum in Transnistria took place in Transnistria on 17 September 2006. On that date, Transnistria voted to continue its de facto independence and seek closer ties with Russia.- Political climate :...

, carried out by the PMR government, 97.2% of the population voted in favor of "independence from Moldova and free association with Russia." EU and several other countries refused to recognise the referendum results.

Transnistria border customs dispute

On 3 March 2006, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 introduced new customs regulations on its border with Transnistria. Ukraine declared that it would import only goods from Transnistria with documents processed by Moldovan customs
Customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

 offices as part of the implementation of the joint customs protocol agreed between Ukraine and Moldova on 30 December 2005. Transnistria and Russia termed the act an "economic blockade".

The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and OSCE approved the Ukrainian move, while Russia saw it as a means of political pressure. On 4 March, Transnistria responded by blocking the Moldovan and Ukrainian transport at the borders of Transnistria. The Transnistrian block was lifted after two weeks. However, the Moldovan/Ukrainian block remains in place, and holds up progress in status settlement negotiations between the sides. In the months after the regulations, exports from Transnistria declined drastically. Transnistria declared a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the region, while Moldova called the declaration "deliberate misinformation". Cargoes of humanitarian aid were sent from Russia in response.

Russian military presence in Transnistria

A 1,200-strong Russian military contingent is present in Transnistria. The status of this contingent is disputed. The 1992 cease-fire agreement between Moldova and Transnistria established a Russian peace-keeper presence in Transnistria. Russian troops stationed in Moldova proper since the time of the USSR were fully withdrawn to Russia by January 1993.

On 21 October 1994, Russia and Moldova signed an agreement that committed Russia to the withdrawal of the troops in three years from the date of entry into force of the agreement; this did not come into effect, however, because the Russian Duma
State Duma
The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

 did not ratify it. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
The original Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was negotiated and concluded during the last years of the Cold War and established comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment in Europe and mandated the destruction of excess weaponry...

 (CFE) included a paragraph about the removal of Russian troops from Moldova's territory and was introduced into the text of the OSCE Summit Declaration of Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 (1999), in which Russia had committed itself to pulling out its troops from Transnistria by the end of 2002. However, even after 2002, the Russian parliament did not ratify the Istanbul accords. On 19 July 2004, after it finally passed through parliament President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 signed the Law on the ratification of the CFE Treaty in Europe, which committed Russia to remove the heavy armaments limited by this Treaty. During 2000-2001, although the CFE Treaty was not fully ratified, to comply with it, Moscow withdrew 125 pieces of Treaty Limited Equipment (TLE) and 60 railway wagons containing ammunition from the Transnistrian region of Moldova. In 2002, Russia withdrew 3 military equipment trains (118 railway wagons) and 2 of ammunition (43 wagons) from the Transnistrian region of Moldova, and in 2003, 11 rail convoys transporting military equipment and 31 transporting ammunitions. According to the OSCE Mission to Moldova, of a total of 42,000 tons of ammunitions stored in Transnistria, 1,153 tons (3%) was transported back to Russia in 2001, 2,405 tons (6%) in 2002 and 16,573 tons (39%) in 2003.

Andrei Stratan
Andrei Stratan
Andrei Stratan is a Moldovan politician.He was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in Vasile Tarlev Cabinet and Zinaida Greceanîi Cabinet.-References:...

, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova stated in his speech during the 12th OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Sofia
Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

 on 6–7 December 2004 that "The presence of Russian troops on the territory of the Republic of Moldova is against the political will of Moldovan constitutional authorities and defies the unanimously recognized international norms and principles, being qualified by Moldovan authorities as a foreign military occupation illegally deployed on the territory of the state". As of 2007 however, Russia insists that it has already fulfilled those obligations. It states the remaining troops are serving as peacekeepers authorized under the 1992 ceasefire, are not in violation of the Istanbul accords and will remain until the conflict is fully resolved.

In a NATO resolution on 18 November 2008, Russia was urged to withdraw its military presence from the "Transdnestrian region of Moldova".

Demographics


In 2004, Transnistrian authorities organized a separate census
2004 Census in Transnistria
The 2004 Census in Transnistria was organized in Transnistria at roughly the same time that Moldova held its own census, which Transnistria refused to participate in out of principle and deference to its September 2, 1990 Declaration of Independence....

 from the 2004 Moldovan Census
2004 Moldovan Census
The 2004 Republic of Moldova Census was carried between October 5 and October 12, 2004. The breakaway Transnistria failed to come into an agreement with the central government in Chişinău, and carried out its own census during between November 11 and November 18, 2004...

.

In total, in the areas controlled by the PMR government, there are 555,347 people, including 177,785 Moldovans
Moldovans
Moldovans or Moldavians are the largest population group of Moldova...

 (32.10%), 168,678 Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 (30.35%), 160,069 Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 (28.81%), 13,858 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 (2.50%), 4,096 Gagauzians (0.74%), 507 Roma (0.09%), 1,259 Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 (0.23%), 1,791 Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 (0.32%), and 27,454 others (4.94%).

Of these, 439,243 live in Transnistria itself, and 116,104 live in localities controlled by the PMR government, but formally belonging to other districts of Moldova (the city of Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

 (Tighina), the communes of Proteagailovca
Proteagailovca
Proteagailovca is a commune in the municipality of Tighina , Moldova. It is composed of a single village, Proteagailovca, and had a population of 3,142 at the 2004 Census. The locality, although situated on the right bank of the river Dniester, is under the control of the breakaway Transnistrian...

, Gîsca
Gîsca
Gîsca is a commune near in Căuşeni district, Moldova, composed of a single village with the same name, population 4,841 at the 2004 Census...

, Chiţcani
Chitcani, Moldova
Chiţcani is a commune in Căuşeni district, Moldova. It consists of the village Chiţcani and two small villages , Mereneşti and Zahorna. Chiţcani is situated to the south-east of the city of Tighina...

, Cremenciug
Cremenciug, Căuşeni
Cremenciug is a commune in Căușeni district, Moldova, composed of a single village with the same name, population 1,094 at the 2004 Census. The locality, although situated on the right bank of the river Dniester, is under the control of the breakaway Transnistrian authorities. On the opposite side...

, and village of Roghi of commune Molovata Nouă
Molovata Noua
Molovata Nouă is a commune located in Dubăsari district of the Republic of Moldova, on the eastern bank of the River Dniester. It consists of two villages, Molovata Nouă and Roghi....

).

Moldovans (Romanians) are the most numerous ethnic group, representing an overall majority in the two sub-districts in the central Transnistria (Dubăsari sub-district, 50.15%, and Grigoriopol sub-district, 64.83%), a 47.82% relative majority in the northern Camenca sub-district, and a 41.52% relative majority in the southern (Slobozia sub-district). In Râbniţa sub-district they are a 29.90% minority, and in the city of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic . The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River...

, they constitute a 15.24% minority of the population.

Russians are the second numerous ethnic group, representing a 41.64% relative majority in the city of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic . The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River...

, a 24.07% minority in Slobozia, a 19.03% minority in Dubăsari, a 17.22% minority in Râbniţa, a 15.28% minority in Grigoriopol, and a 6.89% minority in Camenca.

Ukrainians are the third numerous ethnic group, representing a 45.41% relative majority in the northern Râbniţa sub-district, a 42.55% minority in Camenca, a 32.97% minority in Tiraspol, a 28.29% minority in Dubăsari, a 23.42% minority in Slobozia, and a 17.36% minority in Grigoriopol.

Bulgarians are the fourth largest ethnic group in Transnistria, albeit much less numerous than the three larger ethnicities. Most Bulgarians in Transnistria are Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bessarabian Bulgarians
The Bessarabian Bulgarians are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine and Moldova.- Location and number :-Modern Ukraine:...

, descendants of expatriates who settled in Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 in the 18th–19th century. The major centre of Bulgarians in Transnistria is the large village of Parcani, which has an absolute Bulgarian majority and a total population of around 10,000.

In Bender (Tighina) and the other non-Transnistria localities under PMR control, ethnic Russians represent a 43.43% relative majority, followed by Moldovans (Romanians) at 26.15%, Ukrainians at 17.08%, Bulgarians at 2.89%, Gagauzians at 1.03%, Jews as 0.34%, Poles at 0.17%, Roma at 0.13%, and others at 7.78%.

At the census of 1989
1989 Census in Transnistria
The 1989 Census in Transnistria was organized by the authorities of the MSSR in the final days of its existence as a Soviet republic. It took place as part of the Soviet Census of 1989....

, the population was 679,000 (including all the localities in the security zone, even those under Moldovan control). The ethnic composition of the region has not been stable in recent history
Demographic history of Transnistria
A demographic history of Transnistria shows that actual Transnistria has been home to numerous ethnic groups, in varying proportions, over time. Until the early 19th century, it was sparsely populated...

, with the most notable change being the decreasing share of Moldovan and Jewish population segments and increase of the Russian. For example, the percentage of Russians grew from 13.7% in 1926 to 25.5% in 1989 and further to 30.4% in 2004, while the Moldovan population decreased from 44.1% in 1926 to 39.9% in 1989 and 31.9% in 2004. Only the proportion of Ukrainians remained reasonably stable - 27.2% in 1926, 28.3% in 1989 and 28.8 in 2004.

Religion

PMR official statistics show that 91 percent of the Transnistrian population adhere to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, with 4 percent adhering to Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholics are mainly located in Northern Transnistria, where a notable Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 minority is living.

Transnistria's government has supported the restoration and construction of new orthodox churches. It affirms that the republic has freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

 and states that 114 religious beliefs and congregations are officially registered. However, as recently as 2005, registration hurdles were met with by some religious groups, notably the Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

. In 2007, the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network
Christian Broadcasting Network
The Christian Broadcasting Network, or CBN, is a fundamentalist Christian television broadcasting network in the United States. Its headquarters and main studios are in Virginia Beach, Virginia.-Background:...

 denounced the persecution of Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 in Transnistria.

Economy

Transnistria has a mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

. Following a large scale privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 process in the late 90s, most of the companies in Transnistria are now privately owned. The economy is based on a mix of heavy industry
Heavy industry
Heavy industry does not have a single fixed meaning as compared to light industry. It can mean production of products which are either heavy in weight or in the processes leading to their production. In general, it is a popular term used within the name of many Japanese and Korean firms, meaning...

 (steel production), electricity production and manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 (textile production), which together account for about 80% of the total industrial output.

Transnistria has its own central bank
Transnistrian Republican Bank
The Transnistrian Republican Bank is the central bank of Transnistria. It issues its own currency, the Transnistrian ruble and also a series of memorable gold- and silver coins, among them The Outstanding People of Pridnestrovie....

, which issues Transnistrian currency, the Transnistrian ruble
Transnistrian ruble
The ruble is the official currency of Transnistria. It is divided into 100 kopecks. Since Transnistria is a state with limited international recognition, its currency has no ISO 4217 code. However, unofficially some Transnistrian organisations such as Agroprombank and Gazprombank used the code PRB...

. It is convertible at a freely floating exchange rate but only in Transnistria.

Economic history

After World War II, Transnistria was heavily industrialised, to the point that in 1990, it was responsible for 40% of Moldova's GDP and 90% of its electricity although it accounted for only 17% of Moldova's population. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Transnistria wanted to return to a "Brezhnev-style planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

". However, several years later, it decided to head toward a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

.

Macroeconomics

According to the government of Transnistria, the 2007 GDP was 6789 mln Transnistrian roubles (appx US$799 million) and the GDP per capita was about US$1,500. The GDP increased by 11.1% and inflation rate was 19.3%. Transnistria's government budget for 2007 was US$246 million, with an estimated deficit of about US$100 million which the government plans to cover with income from privatizations. Budget for 2008 is US$331 million, with an estimated deficit of about US$80 million.

In 2004, Transnistria had debts of US$1.2 billion (two-thirds of which are with Russia), which was per capita about six times higher than in Moldova (without Transnistria). In March 2007 the debt to Gazprom
Gazprom
Open Joint Stock Company Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and the largest Russian company. Its headquarters are in Cheryomushki District, South-Western Administrative Okrug, Moscow...

 for the acquisition of natural gas has increased to US$1.3 billion. On 22 March 2007 Gazprom sold Transnistria's gas debt to the Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov
Alisher Usmanov
Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is an Uzbek-born Russian businessman.According to the 2011 edition of Forbes magazine, the oligarch is one of Russia's richest men, with a fortune estimated at US$17.7 billion, and the world's 35th richest person.Usmanov is married and is a graduate of Moscow State...

, who controls Moldova Steel Works
Moldova Steel Works
Moldova Steel Works is a steel producing company in Transnistria. It accounts more than half of Transnistrian industrial output. The company was privatized in 1998, when 75% of shares was sold to Russian energy company Itera, and 28.8% of shares was given to the employees of the company...

, the largest enterprise in Transnistria. Transnistria's president Igor Smirnov has announced that Transnistria will not be paying off its gas debt because "Transdnistria has no legal debt ". In November 2007, the total debt of Transnistria's public sector was up to US$1.64 billion.

According to Yevgeni Shevchuk
Yevgeni Shevchuk
Yevgeny Vasilyevich Shevchuk or Evgheni Vasilievici Şevciuk is an ethnic Ukrainian and a politician from Transnistria, former speaker of Pridnestrovian Supreme Soviet and one of the leaders of the opposition party Renewal.Yevgeny Shevchuk is a lawyer who has worked in government and private...

, speaker of Transnistrian Supreme Soviet
Transnistrian Supreme Soviet
The Supreme Council of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic is the parliament of Transnistria. The unicameral legislature consists of 43 seats, all of which are determined by single mandate constituencies...

, Transnistria is in a difficult economic situation. Despite a 30% tax increase in 2007, the pension fund is still lacking money and emergency measures must be taken. However, Shevchuk mentions that the situation is not hopeless and it cannot be considered a crisis, as a crisis means three-month delays in payment of pensions and salaries.

External trade

In 2006, the Transnistrian Republican Bank
Transnistrian Republican Bank
The Transnistrian Republican Bank is the central bank of Transnistria. It issues its own currency, the Transnistrian ruble and also a series of memorable gold- and silver coins, among them The Outstanding People of Pridnestrovie....

 reported exports of US$422.0 million and imports of US$738.4 million. Compared to 2005, export decreased 27.2% and import decreased 13.7%. The trade deficit reached US$316.3 million. Over 50% of the export goes to the CIS
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

, mainly to Russia, but also to Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova (whom Transnistrian authorities consider foreign). Main non-CIS markets for the Transnistrian goods are Italy, Egypt, Greece, Romania, and Germany. The CIS accounts for over 60% of the imports, while the share of the EU is about 23%. The main imports are non-precious metals, food products and electricity.

Economic sectors

The leading industry is steel, due to the Moldova Steel Works
Moldova Steel Works
Moldova Steel Works is a steel producing company in Transnistria. It accounts more than half of Transnistrian industrial output. The company was privatized in 1998, when 75% of shares was sold to Russian energy company Itera, and 28.8% of shares was given to the employees of the company...

 (part of the Russian Metalloinvest
Metalloinvest
Metalloinvest Management Company LLC is a Russian mining and metallurgy company specializing in the manufacture of steel.Metalloinvest was founded in 1999...

 holding) in Rîbniţa
Rîbnita
Rîbnița, also spelled Râbnița is a city in Moldova. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the Transnistria. According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, it has a population of 53,648. Rîbniţa is situated in the northern half of Transnistria, on the left bank of the...

, which accounts for about 60% of the budget revenue of Transnistria. The largest company in the textile industry is Tirotex
Tirotex
Tirotex is a Transnistrian textile company producing clothing and other textile products. It is located in Tiraspol. The company was established in 1972....

, which claims to be the second largest textile company in Europe. The energy sector is dominated by Russian companies. The largest power company Moldavskaya GRES (Kuchurgan power station)
Kuchurgan power station
Kuchurgan power station is the largest power station of Moldova, located in Dnestrovsc, Transnistria, on the shores of Lake Cuciurgani bordering Ukraine. It was commissioned on 26 September 1964.-Technical features:...

, which is located in Dnestrovsc
Dnestrovsc
Dnestrovsc is a town in southern Transnistria, Moldova, near the border with Ukraine. It is located at the shores of the Cuciurgan Reservoir and is home to the Kuchurgan power station, also known as Moldavskaya GRES....

, is owned by Inter RAO UES
Inter RAO UES
Inter RAO UES is a Russian energy company engaged in power generation and electricity trading. It has electricity export and import monopoly in Russia.- History :...

, and the gas transmission and distribution company Tiraspoltransgas
Tiraspoltransgas
Tiraspoltransgas-Pridnestrovie is the leading gas supplier in Transnistria, with headquarters in Tiraspol. It was established in 1993.The majority shares of Tiraspoltransgas is probably controlled by Russia's Gazprom, although Gazprom has not confirmed the ownership officially.Tiraspoltransgas...

 is probably controlled by Gazprom
Gazprom
Open Joint Stock Company Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and the largest Russian company. Its headquarters are in Cheryomushki District, South-Western Administrative Okrug, Moscow...

, although Gazprom has not confirmed the ownership officially. The banking sector of Transnistria consists of 8 commercial banks, including Gazprombank
Gazprombank (Transnistria)
Gazprombank is a large Transnistrian bank with headquarters in Tiraspol. It was established in 1993 with a capital of US$ 5.5 million. It is claimed to be a subsidiary of Russia's Gazprombank , although Gazprombank has not confirmed the ownership officially.It has approximately 500 corporate...

. The oldest alcohol producer Kvint
Kvint
Kvint is a wine- and brandy distillery based in Tiraspol, the administrative center of Transnistria . Locals consider Kvint a national symbol. Its factory is shown on the 5 Transnistrian ruble banknote. Founded in 1897, the company is the oldest still-operating commercial enterprise in the region...

, located in Tiraspol, produces and exports brandy, wines and vodka.

Human rights

The human rights record of Transnistria has been criticised by several governments and international organizations. The 2007 Freedom in the World report, published by the US-based Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

, described Transnistria as a "non-free" territory, having an equally bad situation in both political rights and civil liberties.

According to the U.S. Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 report referring to year 2006;

Incidents

In the best known political trial, Ilie Ilaşcu
Ilie Ilascu
Ilie Ilaşcu is a Moldovan-born Romanian politician, famous for being sentenced to death by the separatist Transnistrian government for alleged involvement in two murders and for actions which have been described as Moldovan state-sponsored terrorism by Transnistrian government officials.-Political...

 was convicted in 1993 of killing two Transnistrian officials, and initially sentenced to death by Transnistria's Supreme Court; however, this was commuted to a life prison sentence. Three other members of his group were sentenced to terms of 12 to 15 years' imprisonment, and confiscation of their property. Ilaşcu was released in 2001, after the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 against Moldova and Russia, while the other three were released in 2004 and 2007, having served the full term of their sentences. The ECHR stated that authorities had violated the right of freedom and safety of all four members of the group, and that the treatment Ilie Ilaşcu suffered qualifies as torture. As part of the ruling the court also stated that they believed that Transnistria was "under the effective authority or at least decisive influence of Russia". The court also ordered Moldova and Russia — which backs Transnistria — to pay the four a total of €750,000 (US$1,000,000) in compensation for the deprivation of their freedom and for torture and inhumane treatment while in custody. The members of Ilaşcu group were forced into exile after their release from prison.

In March 2007 several opponents of Transnistria's government were arrested after they made public appeals during a protest rally against the its policy. On 19 March 2007 Transnistrian authorities also arrested Ştefan Urîtu, the leader of Moldovan Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
The Helsinki Committees for Human Rights exist in many European countries as volunteer, non-profit organizations devoted to human rights and presumably named after the Helsinki Accords...

, and two other local political activists. They were later released.

According to the Moldovan InfoTag news agency, Transnistrian authorities blockaded the polling station at Corjova village, not allowing residents to participate in the Moldovan elections of 3 June 2007. At the same occasion, Iurie Coţofană, a local antiseparatist councilor was arrested and beaten. Valentin Beşleag, a candidate for mayoral office in Corjova was arrested in 2 June for carrying electoral material from Moldova.

In April 2010 the journalist Ernest Vardanean
Ernest Vardanean
Ernest Vardanean is a journalist and political scientist who lives in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria...

 was arrested, being accused of espionage in favour of Moldova

A similar case was that of Ilie Cazacu from Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

, arrested in 19 March 2010 for high treason and espionage in favour of Moldova, and of Elena Dobroviţcaia, also from Bender, who was arrested because her mother went to a hospital in Chişinău instead of presenting herself at the request of the authorities from Bender. As the parents of Ilie Cazacu did not receive news about him, they started a hunger strike
Hunger strike
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not...

 in June 2010 in front of the Russian Embassy in Chişinău.

Situation of the media

There is a regular mix of modern news media in Transnistria with a number of television stations, newspapers, and radio stations.

According to the OSCE, the media climate in Transnistria is restrictive and the authorities continue a long-standing campaign to silence independent opposition voices and groups.

According to a U.S. Department of State report for 2006, "Both of region's major newspapers were controlled by the authorities. There was one independent weekly newspaper in Bender and another in the northern city of Rîbniţa.... Separatist authorities harassed independent newspapers for critical reporting of the Transnistrian regime.... Most television and radio stations and print publication were controlled by Transnistrian authorities, which largely dictated their editorial policies and finance operations. Some broadcast networks, such as the TSV television station and the INTER-FM radio station, were owned by Transnistria's largest monopoly, Sheriff, which also holds a majority in the region's legislature.... In July 2005 the Transnistrian Supreme Soviet amended the election code to prohibit media controlled by the Transnistrian authorities from publishing results of polls and forecasts related to elections."

Moldovan schools

Public education in the Romanian language
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

 is done using the Soviet-originated Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet. The usage of the Latin script was restricted to only 6 schools. Four of these schools
Moldovan schools in Transnistria
The Moldovan schools in Transnistria became an issue of contention in 2004 in the context of the disputed status of Transnistria, a breakaway region of since 1990/1992.- History :...

 were forcibly closed by the authorities, who claimed this was due to the refusal of the schools to apply for official accreditation. These schools were later registered as private schools and reopened. This process may have been accelerated by pressure from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

.

The OSCE mission to Moldova has urged local authorities in the Transnistrian city of Rîbniţa to return a confiscated building to the Moldovan Latin script school in the city. The unfinished building was nearing completion in 2004, when Transnistria took control of it during that year's school crisis.

"In November 2005 Ion Iovcev
Ion Iovcev
Ion Iovcev is a teacher for the Republic of Moldova. Since 1992, he has been the principal of a Romanian language school in Tiraspol and active advocate for human rights as well as a critic of the Transnistrian leadership...

, the principal of a Romanian-language school in Transnistria and active advocate for human rights as well as a critic of the Transnistrian leadership, received threatening calls that he attributed to his criticism of the separatist regime."

Military

As of 2007, the armed forces and the paramilitary of Transnistria
Military of Transnistria
The Armed Forces of Transnistria are the military forces of the unrecognised state of Transnistria. The Armed Forces were created on Sept. 6, 1991 to protect the sovereignty and independence of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, in accordance with Article 11 of the Republic's Constitution.The...

 were composed of 4,500-7,500 soldiers, divided into four motorized infantry brigades in Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol is the second largest city in Moldova and is the capital and administrative centre of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic . The city is located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River...

, Bender
Bender, Moldova
Bender or Bendery, also known as Tighina is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic since 1992...

, Rîbniţa
Rîbnita
Rîbnița, also spelled Râbnița is a city in Moldova. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the Transnistria. According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, it has a population of 53,648. Rîbniţa is situated in the northern half of Transnistria, on the left bank of the...

, and Dubăsari
Dubasari
Dubăsari is a city in Transnistria, with a population of 23,650. The city is under the administration of the breakaway government of the "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic", and functions as the seat of the Dubăsari sub-district, Transnistria, Moldova.-Name:The origin of the town name is the plural...

. They have 18 tanks, 107 armoured carriers, 73 guns, 46 anti-aircraft installations, and 173 tank destroyer units. The air force is composed of 9 Mi-8T helicopters, 6 Mi-24 helicopters, 2 Mi-2 helicopters, and several airplane of An-2, An-26 and Yak-18 models.

Arms control and disarmament

Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the Russian 14th Army left 40,000 tonnes of weapony and ammunition. In later years there were concerns that the Transnistrian authorities would try to sell these stocks internationally, and intense pressure was applied to have these removed by the Russian Federation
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

In 2000 and 2001, the Russian Federation withdrew by rail 141 self-propelled artillery and other armoured vehicles and destroyed locally 108 T-64 tanks and 139 other pieces of military equipment limited by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
The original Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was negotiated and concluded during the last years of the Cold War and established comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment in Europe and mandated the destruction of excess weaponry...

 (CFE). During 2002 and 2003 Russian military officials destroyed a further 51 armoured vehicles, all of which were types not limited by the CFE Treaty. The OSCE also observed and verified the withdrawal of the 48 trains with military equipment and ammunition in 2003. However, no further withdrawal activities have taken place since March 2004 and a further 20,000 tons of ammunition, as well as some remaining military equipment are still to be removed.

In the autumn of 2006 the Transnistria leadership agreed to let an OSCE inspectorate examine the munitions and further access agreed moving forward.

Recent weapons inspections were permitted by Transnistria and conducted by the OSCE.
The onus of responsibility rests on the Russian Federation to remove the rest of the supplies.

Transnistrian authorities declared that they are not involved in the manufacture or export of weapons. The OSCE and European Union officials stated in 2005 that there is no evidence that Transnistria "has ever trafficked arms or nuclear material" and much of the alarm is due to Moldovan government's attempts to pressure Transnistria.

In 2007, foreign experts working on behalf of the United Nations said that the historically low levels of transparency and continued denial of full investigation to international monitors have reinforced negative perceptions of the Transnistrian regime, although recent cooperation by Transnitrian authorities may have reflected a shift in the attitude of Transnistria. Their report stated that the evidence for the illicit production and trafficking of weapons into and from Transnistria has in the past been exaggerated, although the trafficking of light weapons is likely to have occurred before 2001 (the last year when export data showed US$900,000 worth of 'weapons, munitions, their parts and accessories' exported from Transnistria). The report also states that the same holds true for the production of such weapons, which is likely to have been carried out in the 1990s primarily to equip Transnistrian forces.

The OSCE mission spokesman Claus Neukirch spoke about this situation: "There is often talk about sale of armaments from Transnistria, but there is no convincing evidence."

See also

  • History of Transnistria
    History of Transnistria
    This is the history of Transnistria.See also the history of Europe.-Antiquity:In ancient times, the area was inhabited by Thracian and Scythian tribes...

  • Demographic history of Transnistria
    Demographic history of Transnistria
    A demographic history of Transnistria shows that actual Transnistria has been home to numerous ethnic groups, in varying proportions, over time. Until the early 19th century, it was sparsely populated...

  • War of Transnistria
    War of Transnistria
    The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

  • Disputed status of Transnistria
    Disputed status of Transnistria
    The political status of Transnistria, an unrecognized state on the internationally recognized territory of the Republic of Moldova, has been disputed since the Transnistrian declaration of independence on September 2, 1990. This declaration established a Soviet Socialist Republic separate from...

  • Transnistrian border customs issues
  • Crime in Transnistria
    Crime in Transnistria
    Crime in Transnistria covers criminality-related incidents in the breakaway Republic of Transnistria, still nominally part of Moldova.-EUBAM border controls and smuggling issues:Transnistria has a reputation of being a haven for smuggling...

  • International recognition of Transnistria
    International recognition of Transnistria
    International recognition of Transnistria, or Pridnestrovie, is a subject of controversy because it is a disputed region in Eastern Europe between Moldova and Ukraine. Although it declared independence in 1990, the vast majority of other countries do not recognise its sovereignty...


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