Hard to imagine the people of the Crimea might want to break away from Ukraine and link up with Mother Russia? Visit Transnistria and it is even harder.
Their friends across the Black Sea in the Moldovan breakaway state of Transnistria have been at it since 1990, including a war in 1992, and now it idles along in one of the world’s ‘frozen conflicts,’ sharing the distinction in ex-Soviet territory with Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia.
I visited a year ago when Russia was making mischief with Moldova over wine exports. Border formalities were a bit chaotic but no one asked for bribes or even a fee. Buses from Chisinau separate by locals who speed through non-locals who need to go through formalities. The office wrote “Go 21:00” on my entry card and made clear I was not welcome to spend the night.
Nothing much was happening in Transnistria except a holiday favored by newlyweds so I saw many groups taking pictures in front of propaganda statues and tanks.
Not much of a police state. In the cold weather I walked around totally unmolested, even walking the 10 km from Bendery back to the border through crumbling neighborhoods, a dilapidated amusement park, and across flat farmland. Nice people, sad state of affairs.