>Pictured here: Four-term President of Transnistria Igor Smirnov (“ex”-CPSU).
Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR, Transnistrian Moldavian Republic, Transnistria)
Constituent republic of USSR: Semi-autonomous region of Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic prior to unrecognized declaration of independence on September 2, 1990
Previous names: Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (PMSSR), September 2, 1990-November 5, 1991
Type of state: Unrecognized “post”-communist “multiparty” presidential-dominant state under covert control of restored/continuing CPSU
Neo-communist renewal: “Collapse of communism,” 1991
1) Personalist government of “ex”-communist President Igor Smirnov: 1991-present
Communist Bloc memberships: none
Socialist International presence: none
Ethnic Russian composition: 30.3% (2004; Moldavian 31.9%, Ukrainian 28.8%)
Presidents of “post”-communist Transnistria:
1) Igor Smirnov (“ex”-CPSU, United Workers’ Collective Council, Republic Party; Chair, Provisional Supreme Soviet, PMSSR): December 3, 1991-present
Vice-presidents of “post”-communist Transnistria:
1) Alekxandee Korolev (Republic Party): December 10, 2006-present
2) Leontiev Fyodorovich (“ex”-CPSU; Graduate, Higher Party School, Central Committee, Communist Party of Ukraine): December 2001-December 10, 2006
3) Alexandru Caraman (“ex”-CPSU): September 2, 1990-December 2001
Prime ministers of “post”-communist Transnistria: This office does not exist since the president is both head of state and head of government.
Speakers of Transistrian Supreme Soviet:
1) Yevgeni Shevchuk (Renewal Party): December 11, 2005-present
2) Grigore Mărăcuţă (“ex”-CPSU, Republic Party): September 16, 1992 (or earlier)-December 11, 2005
Parliament of “post”-communist Transnistria: Unicameral 43-member Transnistrian Supreme Soviet
Communist parties of “post”-communist Transnistria:
1) Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Lenin-Stalin): The CPSU (Lenin-Stalin) is associated with Victor Anpilov’s faction of the CPSU.
2) Communist Party of Pridnestrovie-Communist Party of the Soviet Union (KPP-KPSS): Founded in 1996 as a split from the Pridnestrovie Communist Party (PKP), the KPP-KPSS is viewed as a “conservative” communist party, in contrast to the PKP. It operates under the leadership of Vladimir Gavrilchenko. The KPP-KPSS affiliates with the restored Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the chair of which is Oleg Shenin. The KPP-KPPSS boasts no representation in parliament and claims less than 100, mostly elderly, members. It supports an independent Transnistria, but “opposes” the Smirnov regime. The KPP-KPSS supported the candidacy of PKP member Nadesha Bondarenko for the December 10, 2006 presidential election. — According to a May 28, 2004 press release of the PMR government: “In the afternoon the President [Smirnov] met with Oleg Shenin, the Chair of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The goals of the communist movements of the Russian Federation, PMR and RM [Republic of Moldova] were discussed in the course of the meeting with the guest from Moscow. In Oleg Shenin’s opinion, they should combat the expansion of imperialism on the post-Soviet territory retaining the best ideas of communists of the Soviet Union and increasing the prestige of the party among people.”
3) Pridnestrovie Communist Party (PKP): The PKP is the local successor to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Like many other communist parties throughout the USSR, it was “banned” in August 1991, but reorganized in 1993. The PKP operates under the leadership of Oleg Khorzhan. Although the party fielded candidates for the 2005 parliamentary election, it obtained no seats in the Transnistrian Supreme Soviet and boasts no political representation above local government. It supports an independent Transnistria, but “opposes” the Smirnov regime. — The PKP’s candidate for the December 10, 2006 presidential election was Nadesha Bondarenko, editor of Dnestrovskaya Pravda. Following Smirnov’s victory, Transnistria’s two communist parties nevertheless offered their support to the president. Khorzhan affirmed: “We will propose that Igor [Smirnov] meet with us and discuss the problems of economic and social policy.” The neo-communist government of Moldova, based in Chisnau, has condemned Tiraspol for “impeding” the activities of both the PKP and the Communist Party of Pridnestrovie-Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Crypto-communist parties of “post”-communist Transnistria:
1) Liberal Democratic Party of Pridnestrovie (LDPR-Pridnestrovie or LDPP): Founded on August 1, 2006 by followers of suspected KGB agent Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the LDPP affiliates with the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. It operates under the leadership of Roman Khudyakov.
2) Party of Democracy: This left socialist party was founded in 1995.
3) Patriotic Party of Pridnestrovie: Founded on August 4, 2006 by merging the Union of Defenders of Pridnestrovie, the Union of Afghan War Veterans, and the Women’s League of Pridnestrovie. The pro-presidential PPP operates under the leadership of Oleg Smirnov, the son of President Igor Smirnov. Oleg chairs the Transnistria branch of Gazprombank, a fully owned subsidiary of Gazprom. In his acceptance speech, Oleg stated that the party’s goal is Transnistria’s integration into “Mother Russia” and that the party’s propaganda activities would utilize Gazprom resources. The PPP supported Igor Smirnov’s candidacy in the December 2006 presidential election.
4) People’s Power Party: Founded in 1994 by ethnic Russian and former Soviet military officer Alexander Radchenko. During the February 2001 parliamentary election in Moldova, Radchenko urged Transnistrians to participate and campaigned in support of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova. The Transnistrian Minister of Justice accused Radchenko of crimes against the state. As a result, on May 14, 2001 the Supreme Court of Transnistria imposed a ban upon People’s Power. The ban was lifted in June, reintroduced in December, lifted again on March 7, 2002, and imposed a third time in October 2002.
5) Republic Party: This pro-presidential party supports Igor Smirnov (“ex”-CPSU). Although formerly the majority party in parliament, in the 2005 parliamentary election Republic won 13 out of 43 seats and, according to one source, found itself in the minority for the first time since the formation of the country in 1990. Defying the communist elite of Moldova, Smirnov praised the August 1991 “hardline” communist coup. On a visit abroad on August 29, 1991, the Moldovan secret service arrested Igor Smirnov and he was taken to solitary confinement in Chisinau. Peaceful protests led to Smirnov’s release. Writing in the December 2003 issue of The Eurasian Politician, Marco Pribilla refers to Smirnov as a “Stalinist.” Based on scanty English-language documentation, the party’s origin is not clear. Republic might have evolved from the pro-independence (anti-Moldovan, pro-Russian) United Workers’ Collective Council with which Smirnov was associated during the early 1990s.
Russian military presence: The War of Transnistria (1992) initially took the form of armed clashes on a limited scale between Transnistrian separatists and Moldovan police as early as November 1990 at Dubăsari. The main armed conflict occurred between March 2 and July 21, 1992, when a ceasefire brokered that year came into effect. At the time the 14th Russian Army in Moldova, operating under the command of General Alexander Lebed (1950-2002), numbered about 14,000 professional soldiers. The Transnistrians mustered 9,000 militiamen, trained and armed by Lebed’s troops. In addition, there were 5,000 to 6,000 volunteers who came forward after an appeal on Russian television urged fighters to join the Transnistrian separatist cause. Volunteers came from all over Russia. On April 5, 1992, Vice-President Rutskoy of the Russian Federation, in a speech delivered to 5,000 people in Tiraspol, the Transnistrian capital, encouraged the breakaway region to obtain its independence. — As per its 1992 agreement with Moldova, Russia has a right to maintain up to 2,400 troops in Transnistria. As of 2006, however, under the terms of the Joint Control Commission, Moldova supplies 403 troops to the ceasefire maintenance force, Transnistria 411, and Russia 385. — In 1992 Transnistrians elected General Lebed as Man of the Year. The next year Lebed (“ex”-CPSU) was elected as a deputy of the Transnistrian Supreme Soviet, but resigned later that year during the constitutional crisis in Moscow. — On March 3, 2006, Ukraine imposed new customs regulations on its border with Transnistria. Ukraine declared it will only import goods from Transnistria with documents processed by Moldovan customs offices, as part of the implementation of the joint customs protocol between Ukraine and Moldova on December 30, 2005. Transnistria and Russia termed Ukraine’s new policy an “economic blockade.” — In a September 17 referendum that was not recognized by international organizations, 97.0% of Transnistrians voted in favor of independence and free association with the Russian Federation, rather than union with Moldova. Transnistria is a landlocked country surrounded by Moldova on the west and Ukraine on the east. The diminutive regime holds strategic value for Russia since Moscow maintains an armaments and ammunition depot here, as well as an air base that can support strategic bombers en route to the Balkans. — As of 2006 the flag and coat of arms of the PMR retains the hammer and sickle in recognition of, according to official sources, Transnistria’s “historic legacy” (of communism). Any current attachment to communism by the Smirnov administration is disavowed.