In the capital of Smirnov’s empire
The town (like all Transnistria) is lead by Sheriff Smirnov, on the streets a lot of Renault Espace cars (so we felt very welcome) and… smiling faces: after 3 years I came back to Tiraspol.
And this time (or maybe times changed) it turned up quite colorful and happy. Starting from the border where everybody was very nice to our family, helping, giving chairs to sit, and finishing at kids-friendly restaurant with playing ground.
Tiraspol is the second largest city on ground of Moldova but still tiny capital of tiny empire of president Igor Smirnov. On the Dniester River (name comes from “Tyras”, the ancient Greek name for the river), with the statue of Lenin, Soviet T-34 tank, eternal flame, monument of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the War of Transnistria.
Again we were lucky enough to be at good time at good place. Sunny (ok, also rainy but mostly sunny) Saturday – the day of weddings. Why is it good? Because Transnistrian officials don’t like people which are taking pictures, especially of official buildings. But day of weddings means many couples with many guests taking many pictures in every corner of the town.
If you are in Transnistria for longer than 24 hours you must be registered by some local person and stay at her flat. That’s why we rented a small flat from Lena, which lives in Tiraspol for more than 20 years (there are 3 expensive hotels in Transnistria, so if anybody needs contact to Lena – just let me know).
Transnistria (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – PMR) is a breakaway territory located between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine. Since its declaration of independence in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria in 1992 is kind of independent state (organized as a presidential republic, with own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency, constitution, flag and national anthem).
But to real independence there is still a long way. President Smirnov (currently serving his fourth mandate) like to be shown on posters with Putin or Medvedev, or putting slogans: “Our strength in unity with Russia”. People also believe that he is the real boss of Sheriff company dominating on the market which owns not only football stadion and the team (which is relativly good one) but luxury hotel, bread factories, chain of supermarkets and petrol stations.
Second big brand is Kvint cognac (in the factory of Kvint Putin spend his 50th birthday). So we were able to leave this “country” (recognized only by two “countries”: Abkhazia and South Ossetia…) after spending all our Transnistrian rubles (you can’t exchange them anywhere outside).