Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Transnistria - The Unrecognized State

I have some strong personal reasons for wishing to visit this place, but I'm advised not to do so, as it's considered dangerous zone - result of its political instability.

If you look it up on the internet you'll come upon expressions such as "improbable state","break away country", 'phantom nation", "nobody's land", "the Cuba of Europe", "frozen conflict zone", "self proclaimed republic", "illegal state", "separatist region", "disputed sovereignity".

I must say, it all sounds quite intriguing and even....thrilling. Good stuff for writers and movie makers , especially with all those rumors about activities such as smuggling, drugs, arms and human traffic going on there. Besides, it is said to have excellent ...cognacs.

Transnistria, or more accurately, Transdniestria , a strip of land beyond the Dniester River, is bordered by two ex-USSR countries :Ukraine (east) and Moldova (west), On the map, its shape is that of a snake (see the top picture with the stamps), 400 km long, 20 km wide. There is indeed something 'snaky' and obscure about this territory and its history.

The capital city is Tiraspol ('Tyras' being the greek name for the river Dniester). Transnistria has a population of some half a million people and the languages spoken are russian, ukrainien, and moldovan (a dialect of romanian but spelt in cyrillic ,not latin script). Russian, is the official language of the government.

Transnistria and its borders (Web map)

De juro,Transnistria is part of Moldova; de facto, it is an independent state since 1990 , though not recognized as such internationally.

It should be mentioned that in summer 1941 , Transnistria, was conquered by German and Roumanian troops and its territory used as concentration camps for jews residents of north Romania and Ukraine. It was the land of atrocities against thousands of innocent people. This lasted until 1944 with the arrival of The Red Army.

Peace talks and negotiations have been going on and off since the brief war between Moldova and Transnistria in 1992, the participants being representatives of the relevant sides: Transnistria, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Eu. It seems nobody's in a hurry to solve the problem , the present situation probably suits their interests. Transnistria is pro-Russia and has russian military protection. Moldova is pro-Romania and pro-EU (European Union), and although she wants her honor and piece of territory back, the Transnistria issue might confront her with Big Mother Russia and interfere with her own aspirations of possible integration in the EU .

My wild guess is Tranistria snake will stay like this, and eventually be accepted by the UN and its members. Nowadays, a tiny , breakaway, independent country is no longer considered a curiosity .

Moreover, I think the future belongs to small countries with more or less homogenous population. We're ,perhaps, going to witness a fragmentation of the world's bigger countries into smaller entities as a result of the constantly deterioration of world economy and rising of social tension.

In the meantime, my advice to those participating in the peace talks is: keep talking people! "Talk more - No war" is my slogan .


  1. I would like to see this place too but still something inside me is saying-this is a bit too risky!

  2. What an interesting blog, Duta, and very informative. I think you are right about this country being a buffer zone between two countries, and also that small is best in regards to the size of countries. Hope you do manage to get a visit there one day.

  3. This is new to me. I am not the most aware person regarding world events...but in the ten years or so you mention I have not heard anything about it.

    Interesting and educational post, Duta, thanks!

  4. My dear beautiful Duta, I can feel your desire to visit Transnistria but it's better to play it safe.

    Hopefully someday things will be settled and you can safely enter.

    I always enjoy your most informative post sweetie.

    God bless and have a fabulous day!!! :o)

  5. I've read about this country on a few different pages.

    I do understand that people with a common background, language and/or something else want to stay together in a country of their own but in my opinion this world would be better off, if there were no borders.
    No independent states/countries at all.

    What's the use of it anyway?
    I mean, we all live on the same planet, so why seperate???

  6. Ola,

    I suppose if the trip is planned carefully, it would run smoothly. I've read a few comments on the web by visitors , claiming there's no physical danger there, only scammation threat like in many other countries.


    Thank you. Yes, small is sometimes big when it comes to countries.


    If there's no war going on there, then the chance is the outer world hears nothing about this tiny place. No war, is good.


    Ye, hopefully I might visit there someday. I agree with your "..better to play safe".


    We're all in love with the concept of ' no borders'. I'm not so sure it's good.
    There used to be rich countries and poor countries on this planet, and the latter got help from the first ones.

    Now, in the globalization era we're all going to be poor. Look at what's going on in Europe.
    Greece would have been better off outside the Union, living within its means. Now all the member countries of the Union (including rich, powerful Germany) are going to be in debt and in big trouble.

  7. A place is most intriguing when it is off limits. I'm of the mind if you're interested, you should go visit and don't let your fears stop you. That said, still take whatever caution you need.

    Years ago, I went to Bogata, Colombia on business. It was then and still is today a very dangerous city. Even the hotel staff tried to warn me not to go out by myself at noon. Saying that if I insist on leaving, I should at least take off all my jewellery. Which I did.

    I took a walk around, there were tons of people and the most beautiful shops I've ever seen. I'm glad I went out instead of staying in the meeting room durning lunch.

  8. Interesting place! too far from here.

    Such as an adventure spirit.

    Happy weekend.

  9. I always feel I am more knowledgeable when I go out into blog land after reading your post. This was a really good one. I must read more about this tiny snaky country. Peace

  10. Angelina,

    I hear there's no real physical danger there, more of a psychological feeling.

    I like your story about the Bogota (Colombia) adventure. Smart move on your part!


    Far indeed. However, one never knows when he"ll be in need of some adventurous spirit.

    Lady Di Tn,

    Thank you for the compliment. I'm very glad my post arose your curiosity about this tiny country.

  11. The world is in a pitiful state of affairs and it make me worry for my grandchildren's future. Thanks for your post. I enjoyed learning these facts.

  12. Fascinating article, especially since I was unfamiliar with this country; however, I bet you could find a better place to visit. How about some beautiful Island paradise instead?


  13. I'm with you. No wars. We all love you Duta, so I'll go along with Joyce, go to Venice. Anywhere beautiful and romantic.
    Birds have no borders, but they seem to stay in the same SAFE places..

  14. Very interesting. I loathe the fighting in the world.
    Glad you like looking at my ice and snow!
    I love the changing seasons!
    Cheers from Cottage Country!

  15. Oh, Duta, once again I am learning so much from you. I, too, hate war and in addition I loathe the politicians of the world who flourish on the pain and suffering of the masses. I do agree that there may very well end up being smaller countries peopled with indigenous civilizations. In the beginning when America was forming, each state had it's own currency and bartering was a way to survive. It is scary for me to think about it, but this may happen again. I agree I am fearful for the futures on my grandchildren. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post, Duta.

  16. Lynda O'Conell,

    How true! The world is in a mess, and parents do have reason to be worried about the future of their offsprings.

    Joyce Lansky,

    Thank you.

    The reason for my wish to visit Transnistria is neither touristic nor romantic. It has to do with the past, with family members that died in the Holocaust and were probably burried in a mass grave.

    La Petite Gallery,

    I like your analogy with the birds
    I've been to Venice, it's a beautiful place. As for my wish to see Transnistria, my reasons are not touristic (pls. see my reply
    to Joyce Lansky).

    Jenn Jillks,

    So do I (loathe fighting), but it seems we, people, don't do enough
    to prevent it.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    Politicians are the source of all evil (Yes, just like money is).
    I share your fear regarding the future of our young generations.

  17. Good Morning Duta Sweetie...
    What a beautiful share my friend. I have never heard of this place, but if you are meant to be there, I know God will find a way for you to enter safely when the time is right. Patience dear friend, patience.

    Have a glorious week and thank you for sharing with me today. I so enjoyed my visit. You have such an informative blog. Love to read your writes. Many hugs and much love, Sherry

  18. I did not know about this place...hope you stay safe though

  19. I realize when I read your posts, sometimes, that there is so much about the world that I don't know. Places I've never heard of have relevance - thank you for reminding me of that. I would opt to be on the safe side, but that's me. Sometimes the dream is better than the reality.

  20. very interesting history Duta... I like your slogan!

  21. Country Wings in Phoenix,

    Welcome to my blog! Thanks for your warm words.
    Indeed ,God 'will find a way", and patience helps too.

    Kim @ Stuff,

    Well Kim, now you know. Knowledge is important. The more we know, the more confident we are.


    We never cease to learn about new things, new places. "..to be on the safe side.." - that's good advice. Thanks.


    Thank you.
    The slogan actually reflects my belief that talks could lead to peace and prevent armed conflicts.

  22. this place is new to me...
    after reading your blog i searched the net to learn more...

    i felt amazed and admired by your knowledge...

  23. jyothisethu,

    Well, it's never too late to learn about places. The Internet is of great help in this matter.

  24. That's a very interesting piece of information - never heard of Transnistria & Tirspol before. From your own descriptions of this state it does appear to be a "rogue" state quite insecure & unsafe for travel. Pl take necessary precautions before venturing there.
    Best Wishes

  25. R.Ramakrishnan,

    Thank you for your advice, but I don't plan to go in that direction in the near future, if at all.

    However, I must emphasize that there are contradictory opinions on the safety / unsafety of this place.