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Transnistria is a self-proclaimed state situated between the River Dniester and the Ukrainian border. The region is formerly part of Moldova, even if Transnistrian government controls de facto the whole territory, and it is recognised only by three other non-recognised states (Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia).
Generally, Transnistria is depicted in the foreign news as a unwelcoming place, where criminal and illegal activities are the principal resources of the country. Best case scenario, Transnistria is shown as the last remaining piece of the Soviet Union. Anyway, is Transnistria really stuck back in time, is it still a Soviet state? Does the society still attach value to socialist values?
Despite the abundance of Communist symbols all over the place — the flag here still displays hammer and sickle — Transnistria today looks like any other modern country. Transnistrian citizens follow the diktats of a consumeristic and globalized society, which often remains a pipe dream due to a fragile economic situation. A new modern icon seems to have backed up the traditional symbols of communism, which characterised each element of the urban landscape for decades: Vladimir Putin. The Russian president is more and more present, painted on the bodyworks of the off-roads or printed on the t-shirts while stroking a puppy.
In the unrecognised republic that looks towards Moscow and asked for a Russian annexation after the Crimean referendum, a stalemate affects the domestic status. The situation is well pictured by the paradox of Transistrian passports: available only within the national borders, they force citizens to ask for a foreign passport if they want to expatriate. Moldavian or Russian ones are the most requested, and lots of people usually own more than a document, waiting to understand the direction of future Transnistrian politics.