Blast from the Past
June 16, 2014 By Cezary Kaźmierczak
Anyone who thinks that the situation is bad in Poland and that nothing has changed here over the past 25 years should make a trip to Transnistria, the breakaway state between Ukraine and Moldova. Now that’s a place where nothing indeed has changed. When I went there, I felt like I was back in the Poland of 1988 - as if some mysterious force had thrown me right back into the past.
In Transnistria, there has been no process of rip-off privatization, they have never sold off state assets for a song. Everything remains in the hands of the locals, or more precisely, in the hands of just one company. Its name is Sheriff and it controls the local bank, soccer club, telephone company, gas stations, vodka and cigarette suppliers and many other things besides. There’s no wild capitalism like here in Poland. No, they have order.
The Polish Foreign Ministry discourages travel to Transnistria, saying that should anything happen to you, they are unable to help, as international law does not apply there. You will be told the same by Moldova and they will even have you declare in writing that you are entering Transnistria at your own risk.