We wanted to visit Transnistria, the post-Soviet “frozen conflict” zone east of the Dniester River, which calls itself Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), but is internationally still part of Moldova. We were curious if they would let us in.
In the end, the border was uncomplicated, they took their time to check our documents and we paid 4 Euros as road charge, and that was it.
The present history of the region dates to 1990, when the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established in hopes that it would remain within the Soviet Union should Moldova seek unification with Romania or independence, the latter occurring in August 1991. Shortly afterwards, a military conflict started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire in July of the same year.
As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarised zone of Transnistria. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory’s political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognised but de facto independent semi-presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency and vehicle registration. Most Transnistrians have Moldovan citizenship, the main ethnic groups are Russians, Moldavians, and Ukrainians.
In the evening we visited Bender, where we met some locals, which were happy to talk to us, just that we speak neither Romanian nor Russian, and their English was also not that good.
To get back to Romania, and at the same time into the European Union, took us one hour for sure – the longest time we spent at a border yet, let’s see what awaits us on our way to the Caucasus.
We are visiting friends in Romania next, who want to show us their country a bit – more on our following post!