Transnistria or by its official name, Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic is an unrecognized breakaway state that is a de jure portion of Moldova. However, Transnistria maintains de facto independence due to a ceasefire agreement signed by Moldova, Russia and the Transnistrian forces. It has the dubious distinction of using the older Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet for writing the Romanian/Moldovan language instead of the standardized Latin alphabet. It is perhaps the closest thing to a modern remnant of the USSR. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has designated Transnistria as a "Russia occupied territory" instead of a "Russian influenced territory". Even before the change in designation, Transnistria could be seen as a territory under illegal military occupation.
Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic days
On October 12, 1924, the Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was founded in response to an uprising. This was also a means to bolster Soviet propaganda and possibly start a communist revolt in Romania. In 1940, the Communist revolt took place. However, when Romania turned communist, things went horribly wrong for the Moldovan ASSR. Romania joined the Axis in World War 2 and began the occupation of the Moldovan ASSR, most notably the area of Transnistria. Once World War 2 drew to a close, the USSR reclaimed the area.
As the USSR neared its end, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established by the central government. The local government wanted to stay within the Soviet Union should Moldova unite with Romania or outright declare independence. When Moldova declared independence, the newly-formed nation claimed Transnistria as part of its territory. This created tensions between Moldova and the Transnistrian local government.
Conflict with Moldova
Originally part of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic in the USSR, Transnistria was considered an integral part of the former Soviet Republic. Near the fall of the Soviet Union, the central government proposed a small state where Transnistria was back in 1988. However, when Moldova declared independence from the doomed Soviet Union, it claimed the area of Transnistria as part of its sovereign territory. The international community shared this view. Despite that, the ethnic Russian population demanded their own country separate from Moldova. This began the Transnistria Conflict.
The first military action took place in the Cocieri-Dubăsari area near the Dniester River. On March 1, 1992, Igor Shipcenko, the PMR militia chief of Dubăsari, was killed by a teenager, and Moldovan police were accused of the killing. Although minor, this incident was a sufficient spark for the already very tense situation to blow up and cause the conflict to escalate. In response, Cossack regiments from the Caucasus region and the Russian military were brought in to fight against Moldova. The Russians, Cossacks, and Transnistrians united against Moldova in the Transnistria War which lasted from 1990 to 1992. The end result was an ad hoc ceasefire. The start of Transnistria's unrecognized independence began in 1992.
Possible Russian-Ukrainian conflict spillover
In early 2022, the Russian Federation launched the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Transnistria could play a potential role in a possible invasion of Moldova. Transnistria has 1400 Russian soldiers stationed in the region and its own soldiers, the Armed Forces of Transnistria.  As of 2 April 2022, Russia, after suffering major loses in Ukraine, is starting to redeploy troops into the occupied territory in order to likely regroup, although the Transnistrian and Russian governments deny this.. As of 27 April 2022, the risk of Russian invasion and annexation has increased due to the fact that the Russian military has revealed their plans to invade Transnistria and even Moldova proper. 
The government of Transnistria is semi-presidential republic with a Prime Minister who serves as the main leadership. A portion of the Transnistrian law indicates the level of authoritarianism in the territory.
1. The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic is a public authority of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
2. The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic exercises executive power in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
3. The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic is a collegiate body heading the unified system of executive power in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
Article 2. Legal basis for the activities of the Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic
The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic carries out its activities on the basis of the Constitution of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, constitutional laws, laws and legal acts of the President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
Article 3. Basic principles of activity of the Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic
The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic in its activities is guided by the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, constitutional laws and laws, the principles of democracy, separation of powers, responsibility, transparency and ensuring the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.
The Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, within its powers, organizes the implementation of the Constitution of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, constitutional laws, laws and legal acts of the President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, international treaties of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, exercises systematic control over their execution by the executive bodies of state power, takes measures to eliminate violations of the current legislation of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
Article 5. System and structure of executive bodies of state power
1. The Chairman of the Government of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic submits proposals on the structure of the executive bodies of state power to the President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic within a week after his appointment.
2. The system and structure of the executive bodies of state power is approved by the decree of the President of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
Human rights situation
Being a Russian puppet state, Transnistria has had a poor human rights record. People with diseases such as HIV were detained and placed into overcrowded prisons. These prisons have had outbreaks of tuberculosis; this was not helped by the fact that the prison cells were highly unsanitary. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus had spread among inmates and staff. Many inmates were brutally tormented by the staff. Forms of torture include: starvation, withholding of water, no bathrooms, beatings, psychological trauma, and sleep deprivation. The human rights abuses continue with the arbitrary arrest of anybody who speaks out against the corruption within the separatist government. In Transnistria, there is no freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, or freedom of assembly. Freedom of movement is heavily restricted. Sexism is a very serious issue in the separatist-held territory; while rape is illegal, there must be substantial proof of it (the separatist government does not define what counts as substantial proof). Racism and ableism is a problem, as ethnic minorities and disabled people often face discrimination.
Freedom of religion
All religions are required to register with the government. Translation: Freedom of religion is extremely limited. The only religious groups that have the right to establish places of worship are Christians. Not all Christian groups have been able to register; most notably, the Jehovah's Witnesses. Muslims and Jews have faced persecution
The only places that recognize Transnistria as a nation are other unrecognized breakaway regions. These include South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Artsakh. Each unrecognized country is viewed as de jure portions of other nations. Despite having a heavy Russian military presence, Russia does not recognize Transnistria as a sovereign nation. As of March 7, 2022, Transnistria sent an application to the Moldovan government requesting recognition of their independence. After Russia annexed the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in 2014, Transnistria and the other puppet states that recognize the breakaway region also requested admission to the Russian Federation.
The economy, like its society, is a lingering piece of the old Soviet era. The economy is a mix of a command economy and free market. The GDP of Transnistria is about $223 million. Do note that their debt to other countries is over $3 billion. The only official source of the breakaway region's economy is fuels, law enforcement, and tourism. In reality, a major source of income has been smuggling, with the country being described as a mafia state.
Issues with international trade
Being internationally recognized as a Moldovan territory and thanks to an agreement between Transnistria and Moldova, trade is registered at a jointly-administered customs office. Transnistrian exports are not subject to Moldovan tax laws. However, the local authorities did not honor the agreement. Moldovan officials are not allowed to enter the region. Shipping through Ukrainian borders is next to impossible due to their laws. Businesses registered with the Moldovan government have been largely spared the tedious border regulations. Transnistria has been a hub for black market shipping due to tight border regulations. While some things traded were legal to own, others were not. Notable illegal things shipped were weapons, drugs, and trafficked humans. However, the black market economy is slowly becoming less of a viable source of income.
In terms of culture, Transnistria is essentially like the old Soviet Union. Thanks to political oppression, there is practically no creativity. Everything is sterile in terms of culture. Do not expect statues, paintings, or murals.
- Yes, Transnistria has not one, but two official flags. The bottom one is very similar to the Russian flag, except it's wider and has brighter colors.
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