Under a blazing sun, a Soviet T34 tank push his way through an immense crowd welcoming it on the huge « 25 October Avenue » in Tiraspol the capital of the small self-proclaimed Republic of Pridnestrovia (better known as Transnistria). 
Everything is in place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War ... The image is strong, symbolic, especially knowing that this year Transnistria also celebrates the 25th anniversary of its declaration of independence and honors hundreds of figthers who died "defending their young state against the will of assimilation of Moldovan nationalists" as well as the Russian big brother who came to his rescue to put a definitive end to the fighting in 1992.
Since then the conflict is frozen. Transnistria, this small territory located mostly between the Dniester River and the Ukrainian west border (half million inhabitants), has acquired all the attributes of a state (money, passport, parliament, government , hymn, etc.) but without obtaining any international recognition. All symbols of the communist era were held in the country as evidence of a deep attachment to the past, a deep attachment to Moscow especially! Indeed the egalitarian ideology conveyed by these symbols quickly shattered as in the rest of the former USSR republics. Local oligarghes Porsches Cayennes and other Land Rover overtake on a very good road network the old Ladas of a middle class whose monthly salary does not exceed 200 euros.
Only the support of Russia allows this small self-proclaimed republic (with no common border with its generous donor) to keep their heads above water since 25 years. In exchange, the Russia keeps on their territory an important military arsenal and a contigent of 2,000 special forces. A way for them to create a "buffer zone » with Europe and prevent a deeper EU/NATO integration of Moldova.
The recent events in Ukraine could dangerously destabilize this precarious balance …

click to view the complete set of images in the archive