Transnistria

Travel Guide Europe Transnistria

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Introduction

Transnistria is a breakaway state located mostly on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine. Since its declaration of independence in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria in 1992, it has been governed as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, a state with limited recognition that claims territory to the east of the River Dniester, and also to the city of Bender and its surrounding localities on the west bank, in the historical region of Bessarabia. The names "Transnistria" and "Pridnestrovie" both refer to the Dniester River. Unrecognised by any United Nations member state, Transnistria is designated by the Republic of Moldova as the Transnistria autonomous territorial unit with special legal status.

Because of the Russian military contingent present in Transnistria, the European Court of Human Rights considers Transnistria "under the effective authority or at least decisive influence of Russia.

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

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Brief History

After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between the newly created Moldova and the de facto sovereign state of Pridnestrovie (which unlike the rest of Moldova did not wish to separate from the Soviet Union) escalated into a military conflict that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire in July 1992. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarized zone, comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory's political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognized but independent presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, and currency. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms. However, after a 2005 agreement between 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 Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) started its activity in 2005. Most Transnistrians also have Moldovan citizenship, but many Transnistrians also have Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.

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Geography

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

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Cities

Tiraspol, the capital and largest city of Transnistria, has about 160,000 inhabitants.

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Getting There

By Plane

Transnistria does not have its own international passenger airport (it has a military or freight airport), so the best way is to fly to Chişinău in Moldova and travel from there. It is also possible to come from Odessa in Ukraine by bus.

By Train

The only major railway stations are Tiraspol and Bendery. There is one daily train between Odessa and Chisinau stopping at Tiraspol and Bender as of November 2014. There are local trains running between Chisinau and Bender but foreigners are not allowed to cross into Transnistria with these trains as no border control in them.

As of July 2012, there is train connection between Chisinau and Moscow, stopping at Tiraspol and Kiev (Leaves Chişinău 10:30pm, stops at Tiraspol around 01:30am and arrives in Kiev 12:30pm).

By Car

Cars can enter but expect delays of up to an hour at border crossings in busy times. Note that foreign nationals driving their own vehicles are prime targets for border guards trying to extract bribes. According to the official hotline of Transnistrian customs there is an official road tax (USD5). Ask for a receipt.

By Bus

There is a relatively frequent (about every 30 minutes 7:00am-6:00pm, less frequently as early as 5:00am and as late as 10:00pm) bus service connecting Chisinau and Tiraspol. Ask for return times when you arrive. Marshrutkas (minibuses) also run this route. Direct Odessa - Tiraspol buses are not so frequent. However, buses from Tiraspol to the border at Kuchurgan and from Kuchurgan to Odessa are frequent.

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Getting Around

By Bus

Marshrutkas (minibuses) zip between cities much faster (and often more frequently) than buses. They cost a little more, but travel much faster and can be hailed anywhere along their route. If you flag down a marshrutka, it's customary to pay on leaving.

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Red Tape

Entering Transnistria is fairly straightforward by bus, train or car from both west (Moldova, usually Chisinau) and east (Ukraine, usually Odessa). Upon entering Transnistria, you just present your passport and they'll enter your info on their computer and print out a card in Russian and English. Upon clearing immigration, this card, not your passport, is stamped – half the card stays at the crossing you entered, and half stays with you until you leave Transnistria.

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Work

See also Money Matters

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Language

The three official languages of Transdniestria are Russian, Moldovan and Ukrainian, although everybody speaks Russian, and Russian is the language of government.

Some people speak English, German, or even French. After the official languages, English and German are the most common. Young people especially may speak English.

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Safety

The physical dangers of Transnistria are almost non-existent. The major cities are much safer than Western European and American cities of similar size and economic makeup. Also, despite the political situation with Moldova, there is essentially no threat of being caught in a military action. There has not been fighting in Transnistria for many years. Indeed, Transnistria is a very safe place for travel. By far the biggest threat to the traveller is scamming.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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Transnistria Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Transnistria

This is version 1. Last edited at 10:28 on Jan 20, 15 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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