Following Poland’s 1989 overthrow of the commies, Soviet states toppled like pissed dominoes. Within two years the USSR had gone and socialism in Europe was finished. Or so you might think. Actually, as Poland and co. marched towards democracy, one sliver of Eastern Europe was left behind.
Transdniestr, a teensy region in the east of Moldova, broke away from the then Socialist Republic in 1990, following ominous rumblings of reform from Chişinău. After a two-year girly fight, a fresh yet familiar socialist system was formed under cuddly, pastry-faced autocrat Igor Smirnov… and it’s one which continues unopposed to this day.
For foreigners, getting into Transdniestr is a challenge in itself, as they are routinely subjected to a police interrogation and relieved of their imperialist cash. But it’s a price worth paying, as entering the eerily-silent capital Tiraspol is like going back to Cold War-era Russia. Flying hammer-and-sickle flags, imposing Lenin statues, anti-American sentiments scrawled on Soviet tanks: Transdniestr is a real commie cliché.
Although capitalism is slowly making its mark, with new high-end shops and swanky hotels in evidence, Transdniestr remains an unparalleled opportunity to see how life once was for millions of Europeans. The last kid on the Bloc. Just don’t leave it too long to visit, because Ronald McDonald can’t wait forever.
—- SURPRISE: The unrecognised state has its own flag, anthem, parliament, currency and police force —-
You can read the rest of the article – Top Marx: When Socialism Meets Tourism – in the July issue of stalkingElk