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Symbol for vote the region during the Second World War

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Transnistria, also known as Trans-Dniester, Transdniestria and Pridnestrovie (full name: Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic), is a breakaway republic[1][2] within the internationally recognised borders of Moldova. Although not recognised by any state or international organisation and de jure part of Moldova, it is de facto independent.[3][4][5]

Transnistria is located within the internationally recognised borders of Moldova mostly to the east of the Dniester river. After the collapse of the USSR Transnistria declared independence leading to the war with Moldova that started in March, 1992 and was concluded by the ceasefire of July, 1992. The ceasefire has held; however the territory's political status remains unresolved and Transnistria has been de facto independent since that time.

edit Overview

Although the PMR does not have such legal status within Moldova, it functions like a state, and is organized as a republic.[6]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in March 1992, a war between Moldovan and Transnistrian separatist forces started in the region. In mid April 1992, in accordance with the agreements concerning 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.[7] Volunteers came from Russia and Ukraine to help the separatist side ("Cossack Companies").[8] The former Soviet 14th Guards Army entered the conflict in its final stage, opening fire against Moldovan forces;[9] since then, Moldova has exercised no effective control or influence on PMR authorities. A three-party (Russia, Moldova, PMR) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the de-militarized zone, comprising 20 localities on both sides of the river.

Transnistria functions as a presidential republic[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much], with its own government and parliament. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, a national anthem, and a coat of arms. They organized and maintain a military and a police force. They have a postal system and stamps. Their stamps, though not internationally recognized, are of value to collectors.[10] Transnistrian institutions, like the state itself, have no international recognition. Nonetheless, the population is able to travel (normally without difficulty) in and out of the territory under PMR control to neighboring Moldovan-controlled territory, 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-Varna.[11] International air travellers rely on the airport in Chisanau, the Moldovan capital.

Despite the fact that when Moldova proclaimed its independence, the majority of Transnistrian territory was already controlled by separatists, 400,000 Transnistrians (the majority of the population) took Moldovan citizenship by 2007.[12].

A 1,200-strong Russian military contingent (the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Moldova of the Moscow Military District), as well as over 20,000 tons of Russian munitions are present in Transnistria.[13] Moldova and the OSCE demand the withdrawal of all Russian forces on the basis of the 1999 Istanbul accords. However, Russia insists that it has already fulfilled those obligations. It states that the remaining troops are serving as peace-keepers authorized under the 1992 ceasefire and are not in violation of the Istanbul accords. [14] According to a verdict issued by European Court of Human Rights, the presence of these troops is illegal (breaking the July 21 1992 agreement), and Transnistria is "under the effective authority or at least decisive influence of Russia".[15]

Transnistria is sometimes compared with Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. All four are post-Soviet frozen conflicts, and except for Nagorno-Karabakh, the tensions in these areas have risen to large-scale military conflict after the independence of Moldova and Georgia from the Soviet Union, while Russian troops and/or volunteers from Russia were largely present.[16][17]

edit Names

It is known in English as Transnistria (which is also the name of the region in Romanian), Trans-Dniester[18] or Transdniestria[19]. Its formal long name is its name in Russian Pridnestróvskaia Moldávskaia Respública (Moldovan: Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ, (Russian: Приднестровская Молдавская Республика, (Ukrainian: Придністровська Молдавська Республіка, ПМР), (English: Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic), as used by the breakaway Transnistrian authorities. This is abbreviated PMR. The short form of this name is Pridnestrovie (transliteration of the Russian "Приднестровье").[20]

Etymologically, all the names come down to similar spelling variants of Transnistria, meaning "beyond the river Dniester", or Pridnestrovie, meaning "by the river Dniester".

In a strict geographical sense, the terms "Transnistria" and "PMR" are not synonymous, since the city of Tighina and three communes from the Căuşeni district situated near Tighina, which are in the security zone, but under PMR administrative control, are situated on the right bank of the Dniester and thus not geographically in Transnistria. Breakaway authorities show on their maps these, as well as two more villages of the same district but not under their administration, as belonging to Transnistria. On the other hand, nine villages on the left bank (and thus geographically in Transnistria) have remained under the Moldovan control and administration. These villages are shown by the breakaway authorities on their maps as belonging to them.

File:View of the Dniester(Nistru) river in Tiraspol.jpg

edit Geography

See also Border issues

Transnistria is landlocked and borders Bessarabia (i.e. the rest of Moldova, for 411 km) to the West, and Ukraine (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 159,163 inhabitants.

The territory of Transnistria is mostly, but not completely coincident with the left (eastern) bank of Moldova (with respect to Dniester). It includes ten cities and towns, and 69 communes, with a totality of 147 localities (counting the unincorporated ones as well). Ten localities on the left bank are controlled by the Moldovan government, as part of the Dubăsari district. They are situated north and south of the city of Dubăsari, which itself is under Transnistrian control.

On the west bank, the city of Bender/Bendery/Tighina and six villages to its south and south-east, roughly opposite Tiraspol, are controlled by Transnistrian authorities.

The ten localities controlled by the Moldovan authorities on the eastern bank, the city of Dubăsari (situated on the eastern bank and controlled by Tiraspol), the seven localities controlled by the Transnistrian authorities on the western bank, as well as two (Varniţa and Copanca) on the same bank under Chişinău control form a security zone. The security situation inside it is subject to the Joint Control Commission 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 the central government (Doroţcaia, Cocieri, Roghi, while Vasilievca is entirely situated east of the road). Conflict erupted on several occasions when the Tiraspol authorities prevented the villagers from reaching their farmland east of the road.[21][22][23]

File:Rybnitsa.jpg

edit Administrative subdivisions

Transnistria is subdivided into five raions (Russian names are listed in parantheses):

and one (two) municipalities:

  • Tighina (Бендéры, Bender or Bendery), officially a separate municipality from Transnistria
  • Tiraspol (Тирáсполь)

edit Political status

Transnistria is internationally recognised as being a legal part of the Republic of Moldova, although de facto control is exercised by its internationally unrecognised government which declared independence from Moldova as the Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica or Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), in 1990 with Tiraspol as its declared capital. Prior to unification of the territory with Moldova in 1940, Tiraspol was the capital of the Moldavian ASSR, an autonomous republic within Ukrainian SSR, 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 July 22, 2005, which established Transnistria as a separate territorial unit within the Republic of Moldova, which can be given a status of a large autonomy. The law was passed without any prior consultation with the de facto government in Transnistria, which felt that it was a provocation and has since ignored it.

Russia has opened a consulate in Tiraspol (against the will of Moldova) and issued about 80,000 passports to Transnistrians by the end of 2006.[24]

There are unsettled border issues between the PMR and Moldova. Nine villages from the Dubăsari district, including Cocieri and Doroţcaia 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 and Copanca, near Tighina and Tiraspol, are claimed by the PMR. One city and six villages on the west bank are controlled by the Transnistrian authorities, but are considered by Moldova as a separate municipality (Tigina and two villages), or part of the Căuşeni district (four villages).

Tense situations have periodically surfaced due to these territorial disputes, for example in 2005, when Transnistrian forces entered Vasilievca[25], in 2006 around Varniţa, and in 2007 in Dubăsari-Cocieri area, when a confrontation between Moldovan and Transnistrian forces occurred, however without any casualties.

According to Moldovan sources, in 13 May 2007 the mayor of the village Corjova, which is under Moldovan government control, was arrested by Transnistrian police, together with a councillor of Moldovan-controlled part of Dubăsari district.[26]

edit Politics

File:Tiraspol government building.jpg

Transnistria has a multi-party system and a unicameral parliament named the Supreme Council. Its legislature has 43 members elected by proportional representation.[27] The president is elected to a five year term by popular vote.

Igor Smirnov has been the President of Transnistria since the declaration of independence in 1990 and he is currently serving his fourth mandate after being reelected in December 2006. In the latest parliamentary election in December 2005 the Renewal movement defeated the Republic movement and won an overall majority, its leader Yevgeni Shevchuk becoming speaker of parliament.[28]

According to official PMR data, only 15 of the 43 members of its parliament were born in the territory of Transnistria (including 12 in Transnistria proper, and 3 in the Bessarabian area of Tighina-Chiţcani, which is controlled by Transnistria), while 4 others in the rest of Moldova, with the remainder mainly born in Russia or Ukraine.[29] 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. [30] Despite the fact that Moldovans are around a third of Transnistrian population, no ethnic Moldovans are members in the Transnistrian council of ministers[31]

There is disagreement as to whether elections in Transnistria are free and fair.[32] The political regime has been described as one of 'super-presidentialism'. [33]

Election results are considered suspicious, as in 2001 in one region it was reported that Igor Smirnov collected 103.6% of the votes.[34] Nevertheless, some organizations, such as CIS-EMO, have participated and have called them democratic.

File:Dom Sovetov - the House of Parliament Tiraspol.jpg

The Narodovlastie party and Power to the People movement faced numerous problems in 2001-2002 and were eventually closed.[35][36]

A list published by the European Union bans travel to the EU of some members of the PMR leadership.[37]

In 2007 the registration of Social Democratic Party was allowed. This party, led by former separatist leader and member of PMR government Andrey Safonov, is allegedly in favor of a union with Moldova [38]. 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[39][40].

In September 2007, the leader of the Transnistrian Communist party, Oleg Horjan, was sentenced at a suspended sentence of 1,5 years imprisonment for organising unsanctioned actions of protest[41].

See also: List of political parties in Transnistria

A referendum was organised in September 17, 2006 by the PMR authorities. According to them, the population voted overwhelmingly in favour of "independence from Moldova and free association with Russia". Although the results may not be completely reliable, it is still likely that most Transnistrians support an eventual union with Russia.[24]

edit International relations

edit Ukraine-Transnistria border customs dispute

On March 3, 2006, Ukraine introduced new customs regulations on its border with Transnistria. Ukraine declared that it would only import goods from Transnistria with documents processed by Moldovan customs offices, as part of the implementation of the joint customs protocol between Ukraine and Moldova on December 30, 2005. Transnistria and Russia termed the act an "economic blockade".

The United States, the European Union and OSCE approved the Ukrainian move, while Russia saw it as a means of political pressure. On March 4, 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.[42] In the months following the regulations, exports from Transnistria nosedived. Transnistria declared a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the region, while Moldova called it "deliberate misinformation."[43] Cargos of humanitarian aid were sent from Russia in response.[44]

edit Russian military presence in Transnistria

While Russian troops from Moldova proper and from the security zone were evacuated to Russia by January 1993, Russia continued to have a significant military presence in Transnistria. On 21 October 1994, Russia and Moldova signed an agreement that committed Russia to withdrawal of the troops in three years "from the date of entry into force" of the agreement,[45] which however did not come into effect because the Russian Duma refused to ratify it[6]. Moldovan diplomacy took advantage of the negotiations concerning The Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), and managed to ensure that a special paragraph about the removal of Russian troops from Moldova’s territory was introduced into the text of the OSCE Summit Declaration of Istanbul (1999), through which Russia had committed itself to pulling out its troops from Transnistria by the end of 2002.[46] However, even after 2002, Russia continued to ignore the agreements made with the government in Chisinau and with the international community regarding the removal of its troops from Moldova. [47] President Vladimir Putin eventually signed the Law on the ratification of the CFE Treaty in Europe on 19 July 2004, which were committing Russia to remove from Moldova the heavy armaments limited by this Treaty by the end of 2001.[48]

During 2000-2001, in order to comply to the CFE Treaty, 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 only 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. Removal of troops has been stalled afterwards. [49] Andrei Stratan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova stated in his speech during the 12th OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Sofia on December 6-December 7, 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[…]"[50][47]

edit History

edit 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 and Scythia. The Ancient Greek Miletians founded about 600 BC a colony named Tyras, situated on the right bank, in the mouth of the Dniester river (Tyras), on the site of the present day city Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine. The city later fell to the Romans. Early Germanic and Mongolic tribes were present in the area during their invasions of the Roman Empire.

South Slavs were present in Transnistria from the second half of the 6th century. In the early Middle Ages, Slavic tribes of Tivertsi and Ulichs[51] populated larger areas, including Transnistria, followed by Turkic nomads such as the Petchenegs[52] and Cumans. Possibly an early part of Kievan Rus', after the Mongol invasion of Europe in 1241, the territory was briefly under Mongol control (yet probably without any permanent settlements), and later under the Crimean Khanate.

From the 15th century, northern Transnistria (current districts of Camenca and Rîbniţa) belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania[53][54][55][56][57], and later to the Kingdom of Poland, which encouraged the migration of peasants into the territory from the neighboring populated areas (from north and from west). Prince of Moldavia Gheorghe Duca (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, last mentioned in Moldavian hands in 1765.[58] [59] The localities Dubăsari, Raşcov, Vasilcău, 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 Tighina mentions the then title of the Mitropolitan of Moldavia as "Mitropolitan of Proilavia, of Tamarova, of Hotin, and of all the borders of the Danube, of the Dniester, and the Han's Ukraine"[60], the latter being a common reference to the then sparsely populated Dniester-Southern Bug-Dniepr area.

File:Avsuvorov.jpg

Prior to becoming part of the Russian Empire in 1792, the largest groups living between the Dniester and the Bug rivers were Moldavian (Romanian), Ruthenian (Ukrainian), and Tatar peasants.[61] 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. [62] The first candidate for the governor of the new Russian region was the Moldavian boyar Alexandru I. Mavrocordat. [63] The northern part of Transnistria had Ruthenian (Ukrainian) and Moldavian villages.

edit Russian Empire

In 1792 the region became part of the Russian Empire as a result of sixth Russo-Turkish War. In that year, the general Alexander Suvorov founded modern Tiraspol as a Russian border fortress.[64][65] Until the Russian Revolution of 1917, the current Transnistria was divided between imperial guberniyas of Podolia, Kherson, and Bessarabia. Most of the territory which now is Transnistria was part of the larger New Russia region[66], hence it witnessed a strong colonization process, with a multitude of ethnicities being settled: lands were given to enserfed peasantry from Russia and Ukraine (see also Nova Serbia), and Jews and Germans were brought to facilitate economic development.

File:Romania MASSR 1920.png

edit Soviet Union

Transnistria became an autonomous political entity in 1924 with the proclamation of the Moldavian ASSR, which included today's Transnistria (4,000 km²) as well as an adjacent area (9,000 km²) around the city of Balta in modern-day Ukraine, but nothing from Bessarabia, which at the time was part of Romania. One of the reasons for the creation of the Moldavian ASSR was the desire of the Soviet Union at the time to eventually incorporate Bessarabia. The Moldavian SSR, which was organised by a decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 2 August 1940, was formed from a part of Bessarabia (taken from Romania on 28 June, following the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact), and a part of the Moldavian ASSR which is roughly equivalent to present-day Transnistria.

In 1941, after Axis forces invaded the Soviet Union in the course of the Second World War, they defeated the Soviet troops in the region and occupied it. By March 1943, a total of 185,000 Ukrainian and Romanian Jews had been deported and the majority died or were murdered in ghettos and concentration camps situated in an area immediately north and east of the current Transnistria, which as the latter was under Romanian and partially German occupation.

edit Secession to the present

File:Igor Smirnov.jpg

Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of perestroika in the Soviet Union allowed political liberalisation at a regional level in 1980s which led to the creation of various informal movements in Moldavian SSR. By the end of 1988 they demanded from the central authority to declare Moldovan the state language, to adopt Latin alphabet and to recognise the shared identity of the Romanian and Moldovan languages. After the alphabet was changed and the plans for major cultural changes in Moldova were made public, tensions rose between the ethnic majority and minority populations, particularly the Slavs (mainly Russians and Ukrainians) and Gagauz, who felt threatened by the prospects of removing Russian as the de facto official language. The Yedinstvo(Unity) national front, established by the Slavic population of Moldova, pressed for the equal status given to both Russian and Moldovan.[67] The nationalist Popular Front won the parliamentary elections in the Moldavian SSR in the spring of 1990 and on 2 September 1990, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed as a Soviet republic by the "Second Congress of the Peoples' Representatives of Transnistria". Citing the restriction of civil rights of ethnic minorities by Moldova as the cause of the dispute, in the interest of preserving a unified Moldavian SSR within the USSR and preventing the situation escalating into violence the then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared this move to be lacking legal basis and annulled it by presidential decree on December 22, 1990.[68][69] Nevertheless, neither the USSR, nor Moldova, a component republic of the former Soviet Union at the time, took any significant practical action, hence the new authorities in Transnistria slowly got control over the region.

The War of Transnistria followed armed clashes on a limited scale which broke out between Transnistrian separatists and Moldova as early as November 1990 at Dubăsari. Starting from 2 March 1992, there was concerted military action between Moldova and Transnistria. Throughout early 1992 the fighting intensified, up to the signing of a ceasefire 21 July 1992, which has since held.

The OSCE is trying to facilitate a negotiated settlement. Under OSCE auspices, on 8 May 1997, the Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and the Transnistrian president Igor Smirnov, 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 had diverging legal and political interpretations in Chişinău and Tiraspol.

In November 2003, Dmitry Kozak, a counselor of the Russian president Vladimir Putin, proposed a memorandum on the creation of an asymmetric federal Moldovan state, with Moldova holding a majority and Transnistria being a minority part of the federation.[70] Known as "the Kozak memorandum", it did not coincide with the Transnistrian position, which sought equal status between Transnistria and Moldova, but was giving Transnistria veto powers, which hence agreed to sign it. Vladimir Voronin 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.[71] The refusal by the Moldovan side resulted in the sudden and long-term cooling of relations between Moldova and Russia, and halted further progress in the settlement negotiations.

edit Population

At the census of 1989, the population was 679,000 (including all the localities in the security zone, even those under Moldovan control). At the time of the 2004 census, the population was 555,347 (only localities under Transnistrian control)[72][73].

The Transnistrian authorities organized a separate census from the 2004 Moldovan Census, and therefore demographic statistics of Moldova do not include data from Transnistria.[74].

According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, ethnic Moldovans compose the plurality with 31.9%, followed by ethnic Russians 30.4%, and Ukrainians 28.8%. Smaller numbers of Bulgarians, Poles, Germans, Jews, Gagauz, Belarusians and others make up the rest, totaling 8.9%. 64.2% of the population belongs to some ethnic Slav group (Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Poles, Belorussians).

The ethnic composition of the region has not been entirely stable in the recent history.

See also: Demographic history of Transnistria and 2004 Census in Transnistria

edit Religion

Most religious Transnistrians are Orthodox Christians and the government has supported restoration and new construction of orthodox churches. Transnistria's government affirms that the republic has freedom of religion and 114 religious beliefs and congregations are officially registered. However, as of 2005, registration hurdles were encountered by some minor religious groups, notably the Jehovah's Witnesses.[75] In 2007, the US-based Christian Broadcasting Network denounced the persecution of Protestants.[76]

edit Economy

File:Transnistria rubla.jpg

Transnistria has a mixed economy. Following a large scale privatization process in the late 90s[77], most of the companies in Transnistria are now privately owned. The economy bases on a mix of heavy industry (steel production), electricity production and manufacturing (textile production), which together accounts about 80% of the total industrial output.[78]

Transnistria has its own central bank, which issues Transnistrian currency, the Transnistrian ruble. It is convertible at a freely floating exchange rate but only in Transnistria.[79]

edit 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[80] despite the fact that 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",[81] however, several years later, it decided to head toward a market economy.

File:PMRcentralbank.jpg

edit Macroeconomics

According to the government of Transnistria, the 2006 GDP was US$585.6 million and the GDP per capita was US$1,076. The GDP increased 7.7% and inflation rate was 10.1%.[82] Transnistria's government budget for 2007 is US$246 million, with an estimated deficit of approximately US$100 million[83] which the government plans to cover with income from privatizations.[84] Budget for 2008 is US$331 million, with an estimated deficit of approximately US$80 million.[85]

In 2004, Transnistria had debt of US$1.2 billion (two thirds of which are with Russia), which was per capita approximately 6 times higher than in Moldova (without Transnistria).[86] In March 2007 the debt to Gazprom for the 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, who controls Moldova Steel Works, 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 [to Gazprom]".[87][88] In November 2007, the total debt of Transnistria's public sector was increased up to US$1.64 billion.[85]

According to Yevgeni Shevchuk, speaker of Transnistrian Supreme Soviet, Transnistria is in a difficult economic situation. Despite a 30% tax increase in 2007 pension fund is still lacking money and emergency measures must be taken[89]. However, the situation is not hopeless and it can not be considered a crisis, as a crisis mean three-months delays in payment of pensions and salaries[90].

edit External trade

In 2006, the Transnistrian Republican Bank 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.[91] Over 50% of the export goes to the CIS, mainly to Russia, but also to Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.[78][77] Main non-CIS markets for the Transnistrian goods are Italy, Egypt, Greece, Romania and Germany.[77] 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.

edit Economic sectors

The leading industry is steel, due to the MMZ steel factory (part of the Russian Metalloinvest holding) in Rîbniţa (Rybnitsa), which accounts for about 60% of the budget revenue of Transnistria.[24] The largest company in the textile industry is Tirotex, which claimed to be the second largest textile company in Europe.[92] The energy sector is dominated by the Russian companies. The largest power company Moldavskaya GRES (Cuchurgan power station), which is located in Dnestrovsk, is owned by Inter RAO UES, the joint subsidiary of RAO UES and Rosenergoatom,[93] and the gas transmission and distribution company Tiraspoltransgas is probably controlled by Gazprom, although Gazprom has not confirmed the ownership officially. The banking sector of Transnistria consists 8 commercial banks, including Gazprombank. The oldest alcohol producer Kvint, located in Tiraspol, produces and exports brandy, wines and vodka.

edit 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, described Transnistria as a "non-free" territory, having an equally bad situation in both political rights and civil liberties.[94]

According to the U.S. Department of State report referring to year 2006, The right of citizens to change their government[95] was restricted[...] Authorities reportedly continued to use torture and arbitrary arrest and detention.[...]In Transnistria authorities limited freedom of speech and of the press.[...]Authorities usually did not permit free assembly.[...] In the separatist region of Transnistria the authorities continued to deny registration and harassed a number of minority religions groups.[...]The separatist region remained a significant source and transit area for trafficking in persons.[...] Homosexuality was illegal, and gays and lesbians were subject to governmental and societal discrimination.[96]

edit Incidents

The chairman of the Moldovan Helsinki Committee for Human Rights claimed that 20 people were killed in the village of Chiţcani, 5 km south of Tiraspol, between 1996 and 2000. He said that no government authority investigated these deaths because Moldova has no access to the village and Transnistrian authorities do not wish to investigate.[97]

In the best known political process, Ilie Ilaşcu was convicted in 1993 of killing two Transnistrian officials, and initially sentenced to death by Transnistria's Supreme Court, however this was repealed 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, following a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, while the other three were released in 2004 and 2007, when they finished serving their sentences.ECHR stated the authorities have broken the right of freedom and safety to all 4 members of his group, and the treatment Ilie Ilaşcu suffered is qualified as torture. 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. [98]. The members of Ilascu group were forced to exile after their release from prison.

Moldovan and Romanian press reported[99], that Transnistrian authorities had destroyed and profaned the Dragalina cemetery, where fallen Romanian soldiers from World War 2 rest, in Tighina in February 2007, removing the crosses and leveling the terrain with bulldozers. The Transnistrian authorities did not exhume or relocate the bodies.[100] Representatives of Transnistrian administration claimed that this is part of a plan to improve the cityscape.[101] The Romanian government offered to aid logistically and financially with the relocation, provided that it is performed with respect to the dead buried there, reflecting their sacrifice in the city. However, no relocation was performed, breaking the 4th Geneva convention. During the destruction process, armed police forces of the Transnistrian authorities patrolled the area, preventing the locals from approaching it. According to conflicting sourses, Transnistrian authorities plan to build a monument to Soviet solders or to all fallen solders over the leveled graves.

In March 2007 several opponents of Transnistrian regime were arrested as they made public appeals for a protest rally against the Tiraspol regime's policy[102]. On 19 March 2007 Transnistrian authorities had also arrested Ştefan Urîtu, the leader of Moldovan Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, and two other local political activists. They were released later[103]

According to the Moldovan InfoTag news agency, Transnistrian authorities blocked the polling station of the Corjova village, not allowing residents to participate in the Moldovan elections of June 3, 2007.[104] At the same occasion, Iurie Cotofana, a local antiseparatist councilor was arrested and beaten. Valentin Besleag, a candidate for mayoral office in Corjova was arrested in 2 June for carrying electoral material from Moldova[105]

edit Situation of the media

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.[106] Alternative viewpoints were stifled by widespread censorship

According to the same 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.[107]

edit Moldovan schools

Transnistrian local authorities insist that public education for ethnic Moldovans in their mother tongue is done using the Soviet-originated Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, having restricted the usage of the Latin script (the norm) for the Romanian language to only 6 schools. Four schools (of the remaining six) that performed their instruction into the Romanian language.[108] using the Latin script were forcibly closed by the authorities, who claimed this was due to the refusal of the schools to apply for official accreditation. The schools were later registered as private schools and reopened. This process may have been accelerated by pressure from the European Union [109]

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 located in the city. The unfinished building was nearing completion in 2004, when Transnistria took control of it during that year's school crisis.[110]

"In November 2005 Ion Iovcev, 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."[111]

See also: Russification and Anti-Romanian discrimination

edit Security concerns

edit Arms control and disarmament

Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union the Russian 14th Army left behind 40,000 tonnes of weapony and ammunition. In the subsequent years there were concerns that the Transnistrian authorities may try to sell these stocks internationally and intense pressure was applied to have these removed by the Russian Federation.

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 (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.[112][113] The onus of responsibility rests on the Russian Federation to remove the remainder of the supplies.

Transnistrian authorities declared that they are not involved in the manufacture or export of weapons.[114] Mark Almond of BHHRG stated that accusations of state-sponsored weapons smuggling in the PMR appear to be groundless and politically motivated, rather than based on any verified facts.[115]

The OSCE and European Union officials state that there is no evidence that Transnistria has ever, at any time in the past, trafficked arms or nuclear material.[116]

Foreign experts working on behalf of the United Nations say that the historically low levels of transparency and continued denial of full investigation to international monitors has reinforced negative perceptions of the Transnistrian regime, although recent good levels of cooperation on the part of Transnitrian authorities in some areas may reflect a shift in the attitude of PMR.[117] Also it says that the evidence for the illicit production and trafficking of weapons into and from Transnistria has in the past been exaggerated, that 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."[118]

edit Personal security

Some countries, including the United States,[119] the United Kingdom,[120] Canada, [121] Australia,[122] and New Zealand [123] announced travel warnings for their citizens traveling to Transnistria.

In October 2004, an international football match between Moldova and Scotland, originally due to have been played in Tiraspol, was moved to Chişinău, as Moldovan authorities were unable to guarantee the safety of Scottish supporters while in Transnistria.

On May 25, 2007, Valeri Emelianov, a Tiraspol city councillor, was shot dead.[124][125]

In March 2007, Victor Neumoin, a local politician was shot dead[126].

In July 2006, a bomb killed eight in a Tiraspol minibus[127], and in August 2006, a grenade explosion in a Tiraspol trolleybus killed two and injured ten.[128]

In April 2001, March 2004, and May 2005 there have been three isolated antisemitic incidents in Transnistria, involving a home made pipe bomb, tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Tiraspol vandalized, and a synagogue hit with arson.

edit See also

edit Removed edit to Oprah Winfrey

I wanted to let you know that I have removed the image of Jabba the Hut from the Oprah Winfrey article that reinserted to article. Oprah is not Jabba the Hut. Granted she is large and to some powerful, but it really is a diservice to Jabba the Hut to keep insisting that she and the great slug lord are one and the same. Dame PPsigPPlips.gifGUN PotY WotM 2xPotM 17xVFH VFP Poo PMS •YAP• 23:32, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

edit I've asked nicely, so lets try this again.

OK, I have asked nicely, so lets try this a different way. If you are going to add stock images - those that you have not enhanced in any way - to articles then you need to come up with the text to support it in the article. I would advise you to reread the article Uncyclopedia:How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid. You should also know that I have put a great deal of effort into the Oprah article and am prepared to defend my turf. Hugs! Dame PPsigPPlips.gifGUN PotY WotM 2xPotM 17xVFH VFP Poo PMS •YAP• 23:59, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Stock Image? Have you looked at it?

Yes - throwing a face onto the body of another being and crudely at that isn't high art. My point is that I have put a ton of wok into that article and sticking in a whole host of images without the proper formatting isn't contributing anything to article. If you want to trash Oprah, do it in an article that you create - what about writing Oprah the Hutt instead undoing someone elses hard work? Dame PPsigPPlips.gifGUN PotY WotM 2xPotM 17xVFH VFP Poo PMS •YAP• 00:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Also would you please try and keep the conversation going in one place instead of hopping from talk page to talk page. As for my erasing your edits, I would also point out that the text on your user page doesn't exactly paint a picture of someone who is open to discussion. Dame PPsigPPlips.gifGUN PotY WotM 2xPotM 17xVFH VFP Poo PMS •YAP• 00:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

At least I didn't put this one up

File:Oprahstrap.jpg

And look - I have this entirely ridiculous seveteen foot wide little country that exists on nothing but vodka to recreate.

I'd be happy to help you with ideas, images - name it, I'll back you up. By the way, you might ask an admin to delete the image with this post - Sexually graphic images like this a big no no. Dame PPsigPPlips.gifGUN PotY WotM 2xPotM 17xVFH VFP Poo PMS •YAP• 01:01, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

There must be an Oprah exemption for that. It can't be sexual. It's Oprah, for Christ's sake. How could it possibly be sexual. Disturbing maybe.

Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ
(Republica Moldovenească Nistreană)
Приднестрóвская Молдáвская Респýблика
(Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika)
Придністровська Молдавська Республіка
(Pridnistrovs'ka Moldavs'ka Respublika)
</div>
Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic
Transnistria
</th></tr>
Transflag Transnistria-coa.png
Flag Coat of Arms
Anthem: Anthem of Transnistria
Transnistria-map.png
Capital</th> Tiraspol
Official language(s)</th> Moldovan, Russian, Ukrainian
Government</th> Internationally unrecognized semi-presidential republic
‑ President of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic</th> Igor Smirnov
Currency</th> Transnistrian ruble1
Ethnic groups</th> 32% Moldovans
31% Russians
29% Ukrainians
Calling code</th> 373

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found
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