Weird War, Weird Peace, Real Worries Across the Dniester

Over the weekend, I forgot to mention a blogpost by David McDuff of A Step at a Time about the weird war between post-Soviet Moldova and its breakaway province of Transdniestria. Kommersant ran the story on 12 December.

When Moldova and Transdniestria were fighting, it was a weird war. The local military called it Drunken. Officers of the combatants met every night to have a drink together. They went away in the morning and opened fire on each other. At night, they got together again to drink for those they had met with the previous night and who they had killed.

Now that Moldova and Transdniestria are no longer at war, this peace is weird too. A new generation has grown up in the self-proclaimed republic who are almost sure that they live in Russia. A lot of young Trasndniestrians go to [the Moldovan capital of] Chisinau to study, have a good time or do shopping even though they despise everything associated with the word “Moldova”. Transdniestrian state propaganda has taught every citizen that the Moldovan president Voronin is a bloody dictator eager to annex his country to Romania.

Vladimir Voronin comes from Transdniestria, by the way. His mother still lives in the breakaway republic. Transdniestrian President Igor Smirnov is a Russian citizen as well as most of Transdniestrian ministers, many of whom are appointed in Moscow….

Europeans went to ask Viktor Yushchenko after the Orange Revolution to close down the frontier with Transdniestria to crack down on the smuggling. But nothing happened. The whole of Transdniestria live on the smuggling, and at least half of Odessa Region get their bread on that. That’s why arms are still being smuggled in, through and later sold.

The Interpol states that the arms produced in Transdniestria later drift away for terrorist groups worldwide. A major part of them go straight to Chechnya. So, the West is actually accusing Russia (with some help of Ukraine) of supplying Chechen militants with arms and, and wants to hamper it. Russia, in its turn, condemns the West for striving to lock it in the circle of enemies. One thing is not clear: is it a renewal of the Cold War or the continuation of the Drunken War?

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