You’ve surely heard: Sometimes a picture says more than a thousand words. We think this is especially true when talking about a journey. In this issue, E&M invites you to travel through Transnistria, right now.

Transnistria’s flag is red, with a green stripe across the middle and a golden hammer-and-sickle symbol in the upper left hand corner. Transnistria’s new president, Yevgeny Shevchuk, was only elected a few months ago. More than half a million people live in Transnistria and they have their own constitution, their own police force and postal service and even their own currency: the Transnistrian ruble.

In spite of these very real proofs of its existence, some of you perhaps just wondered whether Transnistria is an imaginary land; if you have never heard of it, its name surely sounds a bit like taken straight out from a fairy tale. The reason we have heard so little about Transnistria, so far, is very likely related to the fact that the only ones who have recognised it as an independent state are South Ossetia, Nakorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia. As these latter are actually struggling themselves for international recognition, they probably don’t make very strong advocates.

Nevertheless, and however you classify its degree of autonomy, Transnistria exists. It’s a very thin strip of land at the Eastern border of Moldova with Ukraine. Its capital is Tiráspol, and this is precisely where our journey begins…


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