Transnistria, also known as Transdniestria, Transdnestr, Pridnestrovje, Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – PMR, is a secessionist entity within the internationally recognised borders of Moldova, with the official status of an autonomous territory. Transnistria emerged after the break-up from the Soviet Union and is internationally unrecognized and isolated from international developments.
Starting from March 2, 1992, there was concerted military action between Moldova and Transnistria. A ceasefire agreement was signed on July 21, 1992 and has held to the present day, but the territory’s political status remains still unresolved. As part of that agreement, a three-party Joint Control Commission between PMR, Moldova and Russia, supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarized zone. The OSCE is trying to facilitate a negotiated settlement.
The region is organised as a presidential republic, with its own government, parliament, military, police and postal system. The authorities have adopted a constitution, a flag, a national anthem and a coat of arms. Transnistria has its own currency, the Transnistrian Ruble.
Transnistria is located mostly in a strip between the Dniester River, which forms a natural border with Moldova and the Ukraine. In this small valley with an area of 4.163 square km there live about 550.000 people. The population is predominantly Moldovian, Russian and Ukrainian, the language spoken on the streets is Russian. Tiraspol, the capital and largest city of Transnistria, has about 130.000 inhabitants.
Igor Smirnov has been the President of Transnistria since the declaration of independence in 1990 and he is currently serving his fourth mandate after being reelected in December 2006.
Transnistria’s economy is based on a mix of heavy industry (steel production), production of electricity and manufacturing (textile production), which together accounts about 80% of the total industrial output.