Arriving in Moldova and heading to Tiraspol in the state of Transnistria
27.10.2006 - 27.10.2006
The plane is small and pretty but don't give you that sense of safety that a big one gives you. There are only few passengers, mainly locals I think. The flight is short and the meal is good enough.
When we arrive in Chisinau the airport is a desert, I and two other people go to the immigration point to make the Visa.
It's a very easy procedure, all you need is the address where you are going to stay for the next days, fill up a form, pay 50 euros, be stared and looked oddly from the man on the other side and the Visa is done.
I receive my luggage directly from a man of the airport staff because in the airport there is not luggages reclaim structure.
Three meters after the immigration police there is the airport police. The policeman takes my passport and start to check the Visa like there was something strange in it. Your colleague did it to me just two minutes ago...?!? - I tell him. He stares down at me, some weird look and then let me pass.
After three other meters there is the luggage control, the man look at me and ask how much money I do have. He want to see them and then he tells me something in Russian: "Presenti... presenti...". Is not difficult to understand what it means, he want a present from my money. I expected something like this but not at my arrival, I give him 15 euros...
All the process didn't take very long, but it was intense. I finally manage to get out the airport and 4 or 5 taxi drivers offering their services immediately surround me.
I meet my friend; she came to pick me up with a taxi from Tiraspol so I don't have to pay the "tourist fare". And we go to Transnistria.
Flag of Transnistria
The journey is about one and a half hour, and the streets are without lights, the taxi driver seems to be very careful in the drive especially when we arrive at the border. Moldovan police patrols the border between Moldova and Transnistria from one side and Russian (and Transnistrian) police from the other side. Obviously you have to cross both the borderlines to go trough.
When we arrive on the border is a little intimidating, maybe because of all the story you read about this being a not very safe country or because is very dark and in the middle of nowhere or because they have their rifle in their hands and if they need to ask me something I'm not sure I'll be able to deal with them. Fortunately I'm with locals so I feel quite safe and I understand soon there is nothing to fear.
The Moldovan side is easy to pass, the police seems not to be too interested in us and we move slowly but smoothly.
When we arrive in the Transnistria side we have to stop to make the Visa, it can be an unrecognized country, but is still a country. They don't write anything on my passport anyway, just write my details and give me a small paper talon to keep with me.
Anyway this entire process of the border passing is very easy, really better than I thought. They are helpful and happy you are going in their country.
I discover that Russian have a "Paternal name", it means that they take the name of the father as part of their name together with father's surname.
For example if your father is Ivan Platonov:
- if you are Irina (girl) your name will be:
Platonov Irina Ivanovna where "Ivanovna" means daughter of Ivan
- if you are Vladimir (boy) your name will be:
Platonov Vladimir Ivanovich where "Ivanovich" means son of Ivan
The Transnistria (Pridnestróvskaia Moldávskaia Respública or PRM or Pridnestrovie in Russian) is since 1991 a self-declared and independent state with no international recognition. In Transnistria lives mainly three groups of people: Moldovans (31.9%), Russians (30.4%) and Ukrainians (28.8%), you can find things written in any of the three languages but mainly Russian.
We arrive in Tiraspol and we pass in front of the Sheriff Stadium a new and the only world-class stadium in Moldova and Transnistria, home to Football Club Sheriff.
Sheriff Ltd is a very important company in Transnistria, has been accused of running the country being controlled by the country's president and his family, but both Moldovan and Transnistrian press says is not and also there are not proof.
Anyway they make money run around the country and it make this little state seems healthier than Moldova itself.
We finally arrive at home which is in a very communist Russian style building, and inside is a cozy and nice flat as the few I saw in Ukraine and maybe more. I'm very tired and is quite late, after a small meal I go to sleep.