Hopes rise in Transnistria of a Russian annexation

Oleg Pankov, an avowed communist, runs a sex shop in Tiraspol. But in the backroom, he maintains a shrine to his country’s Soviet past. “Transnistria is not a rich country,” Pankov says, “but people are always going to have sex”

[Transnistria] is recognized by nobody except the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization… In some places, Transnistria is just a few kilometers wide.

On a map of Europe, it looks like a worm squashed between much larger animals, pressed as it is between Moldova and Ukraine. As a result, being Transnistrian is something of a challenge.
Transnistria, located on the eastern banks of the Dniester River, has an area hardly greater than the US state of Rhode Island (or the German state of Saarland) and is home to a half-million people who see themselves as Russians, Ukrainians or Moldovans. More than anything, though, they see themselves as Soviet citizens…