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TRANSNISTRIA (Romanian : ), officially the PRIDNESTROVIAN MOLDAVIAN REPUBLIC (PMR; Russian : Приднестровская Молдавская Республика; Romanian : _Republica Moldovenească Nistreană_, RMN; Moldovan : Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ; Ukrainian : Придністровська Молдавська Республіка), and also called TRANSDNIESTER, TRANS-DNIESTR, TRANSDNIESTRIA, or PRIDNESTROVIE, is a landlocked self-proclaimed state situated between the River Dniester
Dniester
and the border with Ukraine , recognised only by three other non- United Nations
United Nations
(UN) states : Abkhazia
Abkhazia
, Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
and South Ossetia
South Ossetia
. The region is considered by the UN to be part of Moldova
Moldova
. The PMR controls a narrow strip of territory to the east of the River Dniester, and also the city of Bender
Bender
and its surrounding localities on the west bank, in the historical region of Bessarabia.

Unrecognised by any United Nations
United Nations
member state , Transnistria
Transnistria
is designated by the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
as the Transnistria
Transnistria
autonomous territorial unit with special legal status (Romanian : _Unitatea teritorială autonomă cu statut juridic special Transnistria_), or _Stînga Nistrului_ ("Left Bank of the Dniester").

After the dissolution of the USSR , tensions between Moldova
Moldova
and the breakaway Transnistrian territory escalated into a military conflict that 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 Commissionsupervises the security arrangements in the demilitarised zone , comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory's political status remains unresolved: Transnistria
Transnistria
is an unrecognised but _de facto_ independent presidential republic with its own government , parliament , military , police , postal system, currency and license plates. Its authorities have adopted a constitution , flag , national anthem , and coat of arms . It is the only country still using the hammer and sickle on its flag.

After a 2005 agreement between Moldova
Moldova
and Ukraine, all Transnistrian companies that seek to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the Moldovan authorities . This agreement was implemented after the European Union
European Union
Border Assistance Mission to Moldova
Moldova
and Ukraine
Ukraine
(EUBAM) took force in 2005. Most Transnistrians also have Moldovan citizenship, but many Transnistrians also have Russian and Ukrainian citizenship. The largest ethnic group is Moldovans
Moldovans
(32.1%), who historically had a higher share of the population, up to 49.4% in 1926.

Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
, Abkhazia
Abkhazia
, and South Ossetia
South Ossetia
are post-Soviet "frozen conflict " zones. These four partially recognised states maintain friendly relations with each other and form the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations.

CONTENTS

* 1 Names

* 2 History

* 2.1 Antiquity and Middle Ages
Middle Ages
* 2.2 Early modern period * 2.3 Russian Empire
Russian Empire
* 2.4 Soviet and Romanian administration * 2.5 Secession * 2.6 War of Transnistria * 2.7 Further negotiations

* 3 Geography * 4 Administrative divisions

* 5 Political status

* 5.1 International relations

* 6 Politics

* 6.1 Transnistria
Transnistria
border customs dispute

* 6.2 Russian military presence in Transnistria
Transnistria

* 6.2.1 Law punishing the denial of the positive role of Russian Army

* 7 Demographics * 8 Religion

* 9 Economy

* 9.1 Economic history * 9.2 Macroeconomics * 9.3 External trade * 9.4 Economic sectors

* 10 Human rights

* 10.1 Media * 10.2 Moldovan schools

* 11 Military * 12 Arms control and disarmament * 13 See also * 14 References

* 15 External links

* 15.1 Local links

NAMES

Main article: Names of Transnistria

The region is also known in English as "Trans-Dniestr" or "Transdniestria". Etymologically, these names are adaptations of the Romanian colloquial name of the region, "Transnistria" meaning "beyond the River Dniester".

The documents of the government of Moldova
Moldova
refer to the region as _Stînga Nistrului_ (in full, _Unitățile Administrativ-Teritoriale din Stînga Nistrului_) meaning "Left Bank of the Dniester" (in full, "Administrative-territorial unit(s) of the Left Bank of the Dniester").

The name of the region according to the Transnistrian authorities is _Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic_ (PMR) (Russian : Приднестровская Молдавская Республика, ПМР, _Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika_; Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet: Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ, РМН, Romanian : _Republica Moldovenească Nistreană_; Ukrainian : Придністровська Молдавська Республіка, ПМР, _Prydnistrovs'ka Moldavs'ka Respublika_). The short form of this name is _Pridnestrovie_ (Russian : Приднестровье, _Pridnestrovye_; Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet : Нистрения, _Nistrenia_; Ukrainian : Придністров'я, _Prydnistrovya_). "Pridnestrovie" is a transliteration of the Russian "Приднестровье" meaning " by the Dniester".

HISTORY

Main article: History of Transnistria

ANTIQUITY AND MIDDLE AGES

Indo-European tribes had for millennia inhabited the area where Transnistria
Transnistria
now is when it was a borderland between Dacia
Dacia
and Scythia . The Tyragetae(a Getae
Getae
Thracian
Thracian
tribe) inhabited the area around the River Dniester
Dniester
(called "Tyras" in ancient documents) as well as the Scythians
Scythians
. Early Germanic and Turkic tribes were present in the area during their attacks and invasions of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
.

From 56 AD, the coastal area around the city of Tyraswas occupied by the Romans for nearly four centuries, forming part of the province of Lower Moesia. Tyrasenjoyed great development during Roman times : there is a series of its coins with heads of emperors from Domitian
Domitian
to Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
. But in the second half of the fourth century the area was continuously attacked by barbarians and the Roman legionaries left Tyras.

In the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, Slavic tribes of Tivertsiand Ulichs populated larger areas, including Transnistria, followed by Turkic nomads such as the Petchenegs and Cumans.

Possibly an early part of Kievan Rus\' , after the Mongol invasion of Europe in 1241, the territory was briefly under Mongol control (yet probably without any permanent settlements) and later under the Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
.

EARLY MODERN PERIOD

From the 15th century, northern Transnistria
Transnistria
(current districts of Camencaand Rîbniţa ) were part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
, and later to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
(1569–1793) which encouraged the migration of peasants into the territory from the neighbouring populated areas (from north and from west). Prince of Moldavia
Moldavia
George Ducas(1665–66, 1668–72, 1678–84) built a court at Țicanova on the east bank of the Dniester, and one at Nimirov on the Southern Bug, last mentioned in Moldavian hands in 1765. The localities Dubăsari, Rașcov, Vasilcău, as well as four other currently in Ukraine
Ukraine
are mentioned in 17th–18th centuries as fairs for the Dniester-Bug region. In 1769, a document dated at Bender mentions the then title of the Mitropolitan of Moldavia
Moldavia
as _Mitropolitan of Proilavia , of Tamarova , of Hotin , and of all the borders of the Danube, of the Dniester, and the Han's Ukraine_, the latter being a common reference to the then sparsely populated Dniester– Southern Bug Dnieprarea.

Before becoming part of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
in 1792 (southern part) and 1793 (northern part) the largest groups living between the Dniester
Dniester
and the Bug rivers were Moldavian, Ruthenian (Ukrainian) and Tatar peasants. The Russian census of 1793 of the Ochakov region (southern part of the Dniester-Bug area) mentions a totality of 67 villages, of which 49 are mentioned as Moldavian and 18 as Tatar. The first candidate for the governor of the new Russian region was the Moldavian boyar of Greek ancestry Alexandru I. Mavrocordat . The northern part of Transnistria
Transnistria
had Ruthenian (Ukrainian) and Moldavian villages.

RUSSIAN EMPIRE

Grigoriopolwas founded by Russian Empress Catherine II in 1792.

In 1792, the region became part of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
as a result of the sixth Russo-Turkish War . In that year, the general Alexander Suvorov founded modern Tiraspol
Tiraspol
as a Russian border fortress. Until the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
, the current Transnistria
Transnistria
was divided between the imperial guberniyas of Podolia , Kherson , and Bessarabia . Most of the territory which now is Transnistria
Transnistria
was part of the larger New Russia
Russia
region, hence it saw a strong colonisation process, with a multitude of ethnicities being settled: lands were given to enserfed peasantry from Russia
Russia
and Ukraine
Ukraine
in Nova Serbia, while Jews and Germans
Germans
were brought in to facilitate economic development.

SOVIET AND ROMANIAN ADMINISTRATION

Main articles: Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Republic
and Moldavian SSR Moldavian ASSR(orange) and Romania, 1924–1940

Transnistria
Transnistria
became an autonomous political entity in 1924 with the proclamation of the Moldavian ASSR, which included today's Transnistria
Transnistria
(4,000 km2) and an adjacent area (9,000 km2) around the city of Balta in modern-day Ukraine
Ukraine
, but nothing from Bessarabia, which at the time formed part of Romania . One of the reasons for the creation of the Moldavian ASSRwas the desire of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
at the time to eventually incorporate Bessarabia. The Moldavian SSR, organised by a decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSRon 2 August 1940, was formed out of a part of Bessarabia(taken from Romania on 28 June, after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
) and out of a part of the Moldavian ASSRroughly equivalent to present-day Transnistria.

In 1941, after Axis forces invaded the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
during the Second World War , they defeated the Soviet troops in the region and occupied it. Romania controlled the entire region between Dniester
Dniester
and Southern Bug rivers, including the city of Odessa
Odessa
as local capital.

The Romanian-administered territory – called the Transnistria Governorate – with an area of 44,000 km2 and a population of 2.3 million inhabitants, was divided into 13 counties: Ananiev, Balta, Berzovca, Dubasari, Golta, Jugastru, Movilau, Oceacov, Odessa, Ovidiopol, Rîbnița, Tiraspol
Tiraspol
and Tulcin. This enlarged Transnistria was home to nearly 200,000 Romanian/Moldovan-speaking residents.

The Romanian administration of Transnistria
Transnistria
attempted to stabilise the situation in the area under Romanian control, implementing a process of Romanianization.

During the Romanian occupation of 1941–44, between 150,000 and 250,000 Ukrainian and Romanian Jews
Jews
had been deported to Transnistria and the majority were executed or died from other causes in ghettos and concentration camps of the Governorate.

After the Red Army
Red Army
reconquered the area in 1944, Soviet authorities executed, exiled or imprisoned hundreds of the Moldavian SSR inhabitants in the following months on charges of collaboration with the "German-fascist occupiers". A later campaign was directed against the rich peasant families, who were deported to Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
and Siberia . Over the course of two days, 6–7 July 1949, a plan named "Operation South" saw the deportation of over 11,342 families by the order of the Moldovian Minister of State Security, I. L. Mordovets.

SECESSION

Igor Smirnov, first president of Transnistria
Transnistria
from 1991–2011

In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
's policies of perestroika and glasnost in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
allowed political liberalisation at a regional level. This led to the creation of various informal movements all over the country, and to a rise of nationalism within most Soviet republics. In the Moldavian SSRin particular, there was a significant resurgence of pro-Romanian nationalism among ethnic Moldovans. The most prominent of these movements was the Popular Front of Moldova
Moldova
. In the spring of 1988, PFM demanded that the Soviet authorities declare Moldovan the only state language, return to the use of the Latin alphabet, and recognise the shared ethnic identity of Moldovans and Romanians. The more radical factions of the Popular Front espoused extreme anti-minority, ethnocentric and chauvinist positions, calling for minority populations, particularly the Slavs (mainly Russians
Russians
and Ukrainians) and Gagauz , to leave or be expelled from Moldova.

On 31 August 1989, the Supreme Council of the Moldavian SSRadopted Moldovan as the only official language with Russian retained only for secondary purposes, returned Moldovan to the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
, and declared a shared Moldovan-Romanian linguistic identity. As plans for major cultural changes in Moldova
Moldova
were made public, tensions rose further. Ethnic minorities felt threatened by the prospects of removing Russian as the official language , which served as the medium of interethnic communication, and by the possible future reunification of Moldova
Moldova
and Romania, as well as the ethnocentric rhetoric of the Popular Front. The Yedinstvo (Unity) Movement, established by the Slavic population of Moldova, pressed for equal status to be given to both Russian and Moldovan. Transnistria's ethnic and linguistic composition differed significantly from most of the rest of Moldova. The share of ethnic Russians
Russians
and Ukrainians
Ukrainians
was especially high and an overall majority of the population, some of them ethnic Moldovans, spoke Russian as a mother tongue. Ethnic Moldovans
Moldovans
accounted for less than 40% of Transnistria's population in 1989. Soviet symbols are still used in Transnistria.

The nationalist Popular Front won the first free parliamentary elections in the Moldavian SSRin the spring of 1990, and its agenda started slowly to be implemented. On 2 September 1990, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Republic
was proclaimed as a Soviet republic by an _ad hoc_ assembly, the Second Congress of the Peoples' Representatives of Transnistria. Violence escalated when in October 1990 the Popular Front called for volunteers to form armed militias to stop an autonomy referendum in Gagauzia
Gagauzia
, which had an even higher share of ethnic minorities. In response, volunteer militias were formed in Transnistria. In April 1990, nationalist mobs attacked ethnic Russian members of parliament, while the Moldovan police refused to intervene or restore order.

In the interest of preserving a unified Moldavian SSRwithin the USSR and preventing the situation escalating further, then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, while citing the restriction of civil rights of ethnic minorities by Moldova
Moldova
as the cause of the dispute, declared the Transnistria
Transnistria
proclamation to be lacking legal basis and annulled it by presidential decree on 22 December 1990. Nevertheless, no significant action was taken against Transnistria
Transnistria
and the new authorities were slowly able to establish control of the region.

WAR OF TRANSNISTRIA

Main article: War of Transnistria

The War of Transnistriafollowed armed clashes on a limited scale which broke out between Transnistrian separatists and Moldova
Moldova
as early as November 1990 at Dubăsari. Volunteers, including Cossacks
Cossacks
, came from Russia
Russia
to help the separatist side. In mid-April 1992, under the agreements on the split of the military equipment of the former Soviet Union negotiated between the former 15 republics in the previous months, Moldova
Moldova
created its own Defence Ministry. According to the decree of its creation, most of the 14th Soviet Army's military equipment was to be retained by Moldova. Starting from 2 March 1992, there was concerted military action between Moldova
Moldova
and Transnistria. Throughout early 1992 the fighting intensified. The former Soviet 14th Guards Army entered the conflict in its final stage, opening fire against Moldovan forces; since then, Moldova
Moldova
has exercised no effective control or influence on Transnistrian authorities. A ceasefire agreement was signed on 21 July 1992 and has held to the present day.

FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS

Igor Smirnovwith Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
and Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
in Barvikha, 18 March 2009

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) is trying to facilitate a negotiated settlement. Under OSCE
OSCE
auspices, on 8 May 1997, the Moldovan President Petru Lucinschiand the Transnistrian president Igor Smirnov, signed the "Memorandum on the principles of normalization of the relations between the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
and Transnistria", also known as the "Primakov Memorandum", sustaining the establishment of legal and state relations, although the memorandum's provisions were interpreted differently by the governments of Moldova
Moldova
and Transnistria.

In November 2003, Dmitry Kozak, a counselor of the Russian president Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
, proposed a memorandum on the creation of an asymmetric federal Moldovan state, with Moldova
Moldova
holding a majority and Transnistria
Transnistria
being a minority part of the federation. Known as "the Kozak memorandum", it did not coincide with the Transnistrian position, which sought equal status between Transnistria
Transnistria
and Moldova, but gave Transnistria
Transnistria
veto powers over future constitutional changes; this encouraged Transnistria
Transnistria
to sign it. Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
was initially supportive of the plan, but refused to sign it after internal opposition and international pressure from the OSCE
OSCE
and US, and after Russia
Russia
had endorsed the Transnistrian demand to maintain a Russian military presence for the next 20 years as a guarantee for the intended federation.

Talks were started in 2006 to deal with the problems, but without results for many years. In February 2011 the so-called "5 + 2 Talks" (thus named because they were carried out by Transnistria, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia
Russia
and OSCE, plus the US and the EU as external observers) were started again in Vienna
Vienna
. After the annexation of the Crimea by Russia
Russia
in March 2014 the head of the Transnistrian parliament asked to join the Russian Federation
Russian Federation
.

GEOGRAPHY

See also: Disputed status of Transnistria: Territorial issues and List of places in Transnistria Dniester
Dniester
River in Bender
Bender

Transnistria
Transnistria
is landlocked and borders Bessarabia(i.e., the rest of Moldova, for 411 km) to the West, and Ukraine
Ukraine
(for 405 km) to the East. It is a narrow valley stretching in the North-South direction along the bank of the Dniester
Dniester
river , which forms a natural boundary along most of the border with (the rest of) Moldova.

The territory controlled by the PMR is mostly, but not completely, coincident with the left (eastern) bank of Dniester. It includes ten cities and towns, and 69 communes, with a total of 147 localities (counting the unincorporated ones as well). Six communes on the left bank ( Cocieri, Molovata Nouă
Molovata Nouă
, Corjova , Pîrîta, Coșnița, and Doroțcaia) remained under the control of the Moldovan government after the War of Transnistriain 1992, as part of the Dubăsari District . They are situated north and south of the city of Dubăsari , which itself is under PMR control. The village of Roghiof Molovata Nouă Commune is also controlled by the PMR ( Moldova
Moldova
controls the other nine of the ten villages of the six communes).

On the west bank, in Bessarabia, the city of Bender
Bender
and four communes (containing six villages) to its east, south-east, and south, on the opposite bank of the river Dniester
Dniester
from the city of Tiraspol ( Proteagailovca, Gîsca, Chițcani, and Cremenciug ) are controlled by the PMR.

The localities controlled by Moldova
Moldova
on the eastern bank, the village of Roghi, and the city of Dubăsari(situated on the eastern bank and controlled by the PMR) form a security zone along with the six villages and one city controlled by the PMR on the western bank, as well as two (Varnița and Copanca) on the same west bank under Moldovan control. The security situation inside it is subject to the Joint Control Commissionrulings.

The main transportation route in Transnistria
Transnistria
is the road Tiraspol-Dubăsari-Rîbnița. North and south of Dubăsariit passes through the lands of the villages controlled by Moldova
Moldova
( Doroțcaia, Cocieri, Roghi, while Vasilievca is entirely situated east of the road). Conflict erupted on several occasions when the PMR prevented the villagers from reaching their farmland east of the road.

Transnistrians are able to travel (normally without difficulty) in and out of the territory under PMR control to neighbouring Moldovan-controlled territory, to Ukraine, and on to Russia, by road or (when service is not interrupted by political tensions) on two international trains, the year-round Moscow-Chișinău, and the seasonal Saratov
Saratov
- Varna
Varna
. International air travellers rely on the airport in Chișinău
Chișinău
, the Moldovan capital, or the airport in Odessa , in Ukraine.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Districts of Transnistria

Transnistria
Transnistria
is subdivided into five districts (_raions _) and one municipality, the City of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
(which is entirely surrounded by but administratively distinct from Slobozia District), listed below from north to south (Russian names and transliterations are appended in parentheses). In addition, another municipality, the City of Bender, situated on the western bank of the Dniester, in Bessarabia, and geographically outside Transnistria, is not part of the territorial unit of Transnistria
Transnistria
as defined by the Moldovan central authorities, but it is controlled by the PMR authorities, which consider it part of PMR's administrative organisation:

NAME AREA (KM2) Population census 2015 Ethnic composition census 2004

Camenca District(Кáменка, Kamenka) 436 21,000 47.82% Moldovans, 42.55% Ukrainians, 6.89% Russians, 2.74% others

Rîbnița District(Рыбница, Rybnitsa) 850 69,000 29.90% Moldovans, 45.41% Ukrainians, 17.22% Russians, 7.47% others

DubăsariDistrict (Дубоссáры, Dubossary) 381 31,000 50.15% Moldovans, 28.29% Ukrainians, 19.03% Russians, 2.53% others

GrigoriopolDistrict (Григориóполь, Grigoriopol') 822 40,000 64.83% Moldovans, 15.28% Ukrainians, 17.36% Russians, 2.26% others

Slobozia District(Слободзéя, Slobodzeya) 873 84,000 41.51% Moldovans, 21.71% Ukrainians, 26.51% Russians, 10.27% others

City of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
(Тирáсполь) 205 129,000 18.41% Moldovans, 32.31% Ukrainians, 41.44% Russians, 7.84% others

City of Bender
Bender
(Tighina; Бендéры) 97 91,000 25.03% Moldovans, 17.98% Ukrainians, 43.35% Russians, 13.64% others

Each of the districts is further divided into cities and communes. License plate of Transnistria
Transnistria

POLITICAL STATUS

Main article: Political status of Transnistria

All UN member states consider Transnistria
Transnistria
a legal part of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
. Only the partially recognised states of South Ossetia , Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
, and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
have recognised Transnistria as a sovereign entity after it declared independence from Moldova
Moldova
in 1990 with Tiraspol
Tiraspol
as its declared capital.

Between 1929 and 1940, Tiraspol
Tiraspol
functioned as the capital of the Moldavian ASSR, an autonomous republic which existed from 1924 to 1940 within the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
.

Although exercising no direct control over the territory of Transnistria, the Moldovan government passed the "Law on Basic Provisions of the Special
Special
Legal Status of Localities from the Left Bank of the Dniester" on 22 July 2005, which established part of Transnistria
Transnistria
(territory of Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic
Republic
without Bender
Bender
and without territories, which are under control of Moldova) as an autonomous territorial unit within the Republic
Republic
of Moldova. The law was passed without any prior consultation with Transnistrian authorities, who called it a provocation and have since ignored it. President of Transnistria Yevgeny Shevchukand Sabbas , diocesan bishop of the Moldovan Orthodox Church

As of 2009 the population of Transnistria
Transnistria
comprised about 555,000 people. 90% of the population of Transnistria
Transnistria
are citizens of the unrecognised Transnistria. Transnistrians have dual or triple citizenship, including:

* Citizens of Moldova
Moldova
– around 300,000 people (including dual citizens of Moldova
Moldova
and Russia
Russia
(around 20,000 ) or of Moldova
Moldova
and the EU states (around 80%) of Romania, Bulgaria, or the Czech Republic) * Citizens of Russia
Russia
– around 150,000 people (including around 15,000 dual citizens of Belarus, Israel, Turkey); excluding those holding dual citizenship of Russia
Russia
and of Moldova
Moldova
(around 20,000) * Citizens of Ukraine
Ukraine
– around 100,000 people There are around 20,000–30,000 people with dual citizenship ( Moldova
Moldova
and Ukraine, or Russia
Russia
and Ukraine) or triple citizenship (Moldova, Russia
Russia
and Ukraine). They are included in the number of Ukrainian citizens. * Persons without citizenship – around 20,000–30,000 people

There are unsettled border issues between Transnistria
Transnistria
and Moldova. Fifteen villages from the eleven communes of DubăsariDistrict , including Cocieriand Doroțcaiawhich geographically belong to Transnistria, have been under the control of the central government of Moldova
Moldova
after the involvement of local inhabitants on the side of Moldovan forces during the War of Transnistria. These villages, along with Varnița and Copanca, near Bender
Bender
and Tiraspol, are claimed by the PMR. One city (Bender) and six villages on the west bank are controlled by the PMR, but are considered by Moldova
Moldova
as a separate municipality ( Bender
Bender
and village of Proteagailovca) or part of the Căușeni District(five villages in three communes).

Tense situations have periodically surfaced due to these territorial disputes, such as in 2005, when Transnistrian forces entered Vasilievca, in 2006 around Varnița, and in 2007 in the Dubăsari- Cocieriarea, when a confrontation between Moldovan and Transnistrian forces occurred, however without any casualties.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Main articles: International recognition of Transnistriaand Foreign relations of Transnistria
Transnistria
A Transnistrian passport

Nina Shtanskiserved as Transnistria's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2015; Vitaly Ignatiev (ru) succeeded her as minister.

POLITICS

Main articles: Politics of Transnistriaand List of political parties in Transnistria
Transnistria
The Transnistrian parliament building in Tiraspol
Tiraspol
, fronted by a statue of Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin

PMR has a multi-party system and a unicameral parliament named the Supreme Council . Its legislature has 43 members elected by single-member district plurality . The president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote .

Igor Smirnovwas the President of Transnistriasince the declaration of independence in 1990 for four consecutive terms. He ran for president in 2011 also, but was defeated in the first round .

The majority in the Parliament of Transnistriabelongs to the Renewal movement which defeated the Republic
Republic
party affiliated with Igor Smirnov in 2005 and performed even better in 2010 elections. Its leader, Yevgeni Shevchuk, won the 2011 presidential elections .

There is disagreement over whether elections in Transnistria
Transnistria
are free and fair. The political regime has been described as one of "super-presidentialism ". In the latest presidential election, the registration of opposition candidate Andrey Safonovwas delayed until a few days before the vote, so that he had little time to conduct an election campaign. Some sources consider election results suspect. In 2001, in one region it was reported that Igor Smirnovcollected 103.6% of the votes. The PMR government said "the government of Moldova
Moldova
launched a campaign aimed at convincing international observers not to attend" an election held on 11 December 2005 – but CIS election monitors had ignored that and had declared the ballot democratic. Tiraspol
Tiraspol
City Council

The opposition Narodovlastie party and Power to the People movement were outlawed at the beginning of 2000 and eventually dissolved.

A list published by the European Union
European Union
bans travel to the EU for some members of the Transnistrian leadership.

In 2007, the registration of a Social Democratic Party was allowed. This party, led by former separatist leader and member of the PMR government Andrey Safonov, allegedly favours a union with Moldova.

In September 2007, the leader of the Transnistrian Communist Party, Oleg Horjan , was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 1½ years imprisonment for organising unsanctioned actions of protest.

According to the 2006 referendum , carried out by the PMR government, 97.2% of the population voted in favour of "independence from Moldova and free association with Russia." EU and several other countries refused to recognise the referendum results.

TRANSNISTRIA BORDER CUSTOMS DISPUTE

Main article: Transnistria border customs issue

On 3 March 2006, Ukraine
Ukraine
introduced new customs regulations on its border with Transnistria. Ukraine
Ukraine
declared that it would import goods from Transnistria
Transnistria
only with documents processed by Moldovan customs offices as part of the implementation of the joint customs protocol agreed between Ukraine
Ukraine
and Moldova
Moldova
on 30 December 2005. Transnistria and Russia
Russia
termed the act an "economic blockade".

The United States
United States
, the European Union
European Union
and OSCE
OSCE
approved the Ukrainian move, while Russia
Russia
saw it as a means of political pressure. On 4 March, Transnistria
Transnistria
responded by blocking the Moldovan and Ukrainian transport at the borders of Transnistria. The Transnistrian block was lifted after two weeks. However, the Moldovan/Ukrainian block remains in place, and holds up progress in status settlement negotiations between the sides. In the months after the regulations, exports from Transnistria
Transnistria
declined drastically. Transnistria
Transnistria
declared a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the region, while Moldova
Moldova
called the declaration "deliberate misinformation". Cargoes of humanitarian aid were sent from Russia
Russia
in response. World War II-era Soviet T-34 in Tiraspol
Tiraspol

RUSSIAN MILITARY PRESENCE IN TRANSNISTRIA

See also: 14th Army involvement in Transnistria

The 1992 cease-fire agreement between Moldova
Moldova
and Transnistria established a Russian peace-keeper presence in Transnistria
Transnistria
and a 1,200 member Russian military contingent is present in Transnistria. Russian troops stationed in Moldova
Moldova
proper since the time of the USSR were fully withdrawn to Russia
Russia
by January 1993.

In April 1995 the former Soviet 14th Guards Army became the Operational Group of Russian Forces, which by the 2010s had shrunk to two battalions and no more than 1,500 troops.

On 21 October 1994, Russia
Russia
and Moldova
Moldova
signed an agreement that committed Russia
Russia
to the withdrawal of the troops in three years from the date of entry into force of the agreement; this did not come into effect, however, because the Russian Duma did not ratify it. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe(CFE) included a paragraph about the removal of Russian troops from Moldova's territory and was introduced into the text of the OSCE
OSCE
Summit Declaration of Istanbul
Istanbul
(1999) in which Russia
Russia
had committed itself to pulling out its troops from Transnistria
Transnistria
by the end of 2002. However, even after 2002, the Russian parliament did not ratify the Istanbul
Istanbul
accords. On 19 July 2004, after it finally passed through parliament President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
signed the Law on the ratification of the CFE Treaty in Europe, which committed Russia
Russia
to remove the heavy armaments limited by this Treaty. During 2000–2001, although the CFE Treaty was not fully ratified, to comply with it, Moscow withdrew 125 pieces of Treaty Limited Equipment (TLE) and 60 railway wagons containing ammunition from the Transnistrian region of Moldova. In 2002, Russia withdrew 3 military equipment trains (118 railway wagons) and 2 of ammunition (43 wagons) from the Transnistrian region of Moldova, and in 2003, 11 rail convoys transporting military equipment and 31 transporting ammunitions. According to the OSCE
OSCE
Mission to Moldova
Moldova
, of a total of 42,000 tons of ammunitions stored in Transnistria, 1,153 tons (3%) was transported back to Russia
Russia
in 2001, 2,405 tons (6%) in 2002 and 16,573 tons (39%) in 2003.

Andrei Stratan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova
Moldova
stated in his speech during the 12th OSCE
OSCE
Ministerial Council Meeting in Sofia on 6–7 December 2004 that "The presence of Russian troops on the territory of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
is against the political will of Moldovan constitutional authorities and defies the unanimously recognized international norms and principles, being qualified by Moldovan authorities as a foreign military occupation illegally deployed on the territory of the state". As of 2007 however, Russia insists that it has already fulfilled those obligations. It states the remaining troops are serving as peacekeepers authorised under the 1992 ceasefire, are not in violation of the Istanbul
Istanbul
accords and will remain until the conflict is fully resolved. On the other hand, Moldova
Moldova
believes that fewer than 500 soldiers are authorised pursuant to the ceasefire and, in 2015, began to arrest and deport Russian soldiers who are part of the excess forces and attempt to use Moldovan airports. Russian peace keeping soldiers at the border between Transnistria
Transnistria
and Moldova
Moldova
at Dubăsari

In a NATO
NATO
resolution on 18 November 2008, Russia
Russia
was urged to withdraw its military presence from the "Transdnestrian region of Moldova".

In 2011, US Senator John McCain
John McCain
claimed in a visit to Moldova
Moldova
that Moscow is violating the territorial integrity of Moldova
Moldova
and Georgia and one of the "fundamental norms" of "international behavior".

On 21 May 2015, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law terminating five co-operation agreements with Russia. This law effectively terminates the "Agreement on transit of Russian military units temporarily located on the territory of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova through the territory of Ukraine" dated 4 December 1998. One point of access for Russian soldiers travelling to Transnistria
Transnistria
remains Chișinău
Chișinău
International Airport and the short overland journey from there to Tiraspol. Over the years, Moldova
Moldova
has largely permitted Russian officers and soldiers to transit the airport on their way to Transnistria, though at some points (for example in 2015) Chișinău has periodically blocked and deported soldiers who were not clearly identified as international peacekeepers or who have failed to give sufficient advance notice. Chișinău
Chișinău
would likely only ever agree to the possibility of moving employees, officers, and soldiers of the peacekeeping forces. The passage of soldiers of the 14th Army would be illegal.

Law Punishing The Denial Of The Positive Role Of Russian Army

On 27 June 2016 a new law entered in force in Transnistria, punishing actions or public statements, including through the usage of mass media, networks of information and telecommunications or internet, expressing disrespect for the peace-keeping mission of the Russian Army in the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic
Republic
or are directed to distort the positive role that the Russian Army had here. The punishment is up to 3 years of jail for ordinary people or up to 7 years of jail if the crime was committed by a person of responsibility or a group of persons by prior agreement.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of Moldova
Moldova
Demographic evolution in Transnistria
Transnistria
Rîbnița
Rîbnița
, northern Transnistria
Transnistria

In October 2015, Transnistrian authorities organised a separate census from the 2014 Moldovan Census. According to the 2015 Census, the population of the region was 475,665, a 14.3% decrease from the figure recorded at the 2004 census. The urbanization rate was 69.9%.

In 2004, Transnistrian authorities organised a separate census from the 2004 Moldovan Census. As per 2004 census, in the areas controlled by the PMR government, there were 555,347 people, including 177,785 Moldovans
Moldovans
(32.10%) 168,678 Russians
Russians
(30.35%) 160,069 Ukrainians
Ukrainians
(28.81%) 13,858 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
(2.50%) 4,096 Gagauzians (0.74%), 1,791 Poles
Poles
(0.32%), 1,259 Jews
Jews
(0.23%), 507 Roma (0.09%) and 27,454 others (4.94%).

Of these, 439,243 lived in Transnistria
Transnistria
itself, and 116,104 lived in localities controlled by the PMR government, but formally belonging to other districts of Moldova: the city of Bender
Bender
(Tighina), the communes of Proteagailovca, Gîsca, Chițcani, Cremenciug , and the village of _Roghi_ of commune Molovata Nouă
Molovata Nouă
.

Moldovans
Moldovans
were the most numerous ethnic group, representing an overall majority in the two districts in the central Transnistria ( DubăsariDistrict , 50.15%, and GrigoriopolDistrict , 64.83%) a 47.82% relative majority in the northern Camenca District, and a 41.52% relative majority in the southern ( Slobozia District). In Rîbnița Districtthey were a 29.90% minority, and in the city of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
, they constituted a 15.24% minority of the population.

Russians
Russians
were the second numerous ethnic group, representing a 41.64% relative majority in the city of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
, a 24.07% minority in Slobozia, a 19.03% minority in Dubăsari, a 17.22% minority in Râbnița, a 15.28% minority in Grigoriopol, and a 6.89% minority in Camenca.

Ukrainians
Ukrainians
were the third numerous ethnic group, representing a 45.41% relative majority in the northern Rîbnița District, a 42.55% minority in Camenca, a 32.97% minority in Tiraspol, a 28.29% minority in Dubăsari, a 23.42% minority in Slobozia, and a 17.36% minority in Grigoriopol.

Bulgarians
Bulgarians
were the fourth largest ethnic group in Transnistria, albeit much less numerous than the three larger ethnicities. Most Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Transnistria
Transnistria
are Bessarabian Bulgarians
Bulgarians
, descendants of expatriates who settled in Bessarabiain the 18th–19th century. The major centre of Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Transnistria
Transnistria
is the large village of Parcani (situated between the cities of Tiraspol
Tiraspol
and Bender), which had an absolute Bulgarian majority and a total population of around 10,000.

In Bender
Bender
(Tighina) and the other non- Transnistria
Transnistria
localities under PMR control, ethnic Russians
Russians
represented a 43.43% relative majority, followed by Moldovans
Moldovans
at 26.15%, Ukrainians
Ukrainians
at 17.08%, Bulgarians
Bulgarians
at 2.89%, Gagauziansat 1.03%, Jews
Jews
at 0.34%, Poles
Poles
at 0.17%, Roma at 0.13%, and others at 7.78%.

At the census of 1989 , the population was 679,000 (including all the localities in the security zone, even those under Moldovan control). The ethnic composition of the region has been unstable in recent history , with the most notable change being the decreasing share of Moldovan and Jewish population segments and increase of the Russian. For example, the percentage of Russians
Russians
grew from 13.7% in 1926 to 25.5% in 1989 and further to 30.4% in 2004, while the Moldovan population decreased from 44.1% in 1926 to 39.9% in 1989 and 31.9% in 2004. Only the proportion of Ukrainians
Ukrainians
remained reasonably stable – 27.2% in 1926, 28.3% in 1989 and 28.8 in 2004.

* v * t * e

Largest cities or towns in Transnistria State Statistics Service of Pridnestrovie (1 January 2004)

RANK

DISTRICT POP.

Tiraspol
Tiraspol

Bender
Bender
1 Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol
Tiraspol
129,000 (2015 census)

Rîbnița
Rîbnița

Dubăsari

2 Bender
Bender
Bender, Moldova
Moldova
91,000 (2015 census)

3 Rîbnița
Rîbnița
Rîbnița District 46,000 (2015 census)

4 Dubăsari DubăsariDistrict 23,650 (2004 census)

5 Slobozia Slobozia District 16,062 (2004 census)

6 Dnestrovsc Slobozia District 10,000 (2015 census)

7 Camenca Camenca District 10,323 (2004 census)

8 Grigoriopol GrigoriopolDistrict 10,252 (2004 census)

9 Sucleia Slobozia District 10,001 (2004 census)

10 Parcani Slobozia District Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title= Transnistria
Transnistria
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