- Posted May 10, 2013 by
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Two days in a country that doesn't exist
- Jamescia, CNN iReport producer
Transnistria in English, Pridnestrovia in Russian, this poverty-stricken strip of disputed land struggles for international recognition. Legally in Moldova, but guarded by Russian peacekeeping soldiers to enforce a ceasefire against Moldova, Transnistria is a mysterious gem in Eastern Europe.
It has it's own currency, which is not recognized by any country in the world. Soviet symbols are ubiquitous. Since I stayed more than 24 hours, I had to check in at a police station to get my papers stamped again. Rather than asking how long I'd be staying, the official at the office barked "When will you leave our country?!"
Almost everyone I tried to speak to was baffled to encountered a foreigner.
Police and military wear emblems with the hammer and sickle over a red star. I never tried to photograph them, as suspicion runs deep. One police officer tried to detain me in a park, on account of my camera and inability to speak Russian. I played it off as a dumb tourist, smiled a lot, thanked him way too much for his "help," and walked away.
Approaching the vigilante "border" on the bus ride in, a man who spoke English told me that a lot of people are suspicious of foreigners because they fear they could be spies helping Moldova "take over" the region.
These photos are from 23 and 24 February.