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"Do you really understand?
This is Transdniestr!"

(A young MGB border guard looking at me with suspicion)

Transnistria is a small breakaway territory next to the river Dniestr between Moldova and Ukraine. Transnistria is not recognized by any other country and rumors say that illegal weapon trading and trafficing is the main competence of the country.

Visiting Transnistria is like travelling back in time to Soviet in the days when Lenin was still standing in every city. The country is heavily supported by Russia and part of the 14th Army is still located in the country. Monuments reminding of Soviet times or the war against Moldova (1990-1992) is found all over the country. If you have an orientation towards russophilia Transnistria is heaven. For its neighbouring countries though, Transnistria is a nightmare.

Igor Smirnov has been the president of Transnistria since 1990. His son, Vladimir Smirnov, is in control of much of whats happening in Transnistria. How about a petrol company "Sheriff Petrol", a football team "FC Sheriff" and the huge "Sheriff Football Stadium"? Not the kind of things you could expect to find outside a Tintin album, right?

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