Having visited Transnistria on many occasions and recently managing and assisting on our tour for the Victory Day celebrations in early May 2023 – I’m frequently asked a series of valid questions about the self-governed state, even more so now since joining the YPT team.
What is Victory Day in Transnistria?
The 9th May is proudly and widely celebrated in the de facto state of Transnistria officially known as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR). As the last remaining true Soviet republic continues the celebration of Victory Day when the Soviets celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany and officially recognising their surrender.
The Red Army’s victory was officially recognised during the surrender of Nazi Germany on the 8th of May (9th in Moscow) and was commemorated in all of the 16 republics of the Soviet Republics. Marking the end of The Great Patriotic War which continues to be celebrated in Russia, Belarus and Transnistria.
To learn more about the meaning and events which took place to celebrate Victory Day, click here.
Events take place throughout Transnistria including military parades, memorial services and events in Houses of Culture which will extend to street parties. Join us on our next Victory Day tour, celebrating in Transnistria, for more details click here.
Travelling to Transnistria – Is it safe to visit Transnistria?
It’s a question I asked myself when I first visited the unrecognised state back in January 2019, like any trip I embark on, safety is always one of my main concern. Transnistria has no formal relations with the wider international community therefore, if you require your government’s assistance, there’s very little to none that can be done.
Having visited Transnistria many times and now guiding tours there, the simplest way to answer this is – be respectful of the local customs and law and follow your guides instructions when required, such as putting your phone and camera away when we’re visiting sensitive sites.
The most interactions you’ll have with the police is during the border crossing or in Tiraspol. On both occasions they’ll politely ask to see your passport – very different from western countries where stop and search can be enforced.
Secondly, with the recent invasion by Russian forces next door in Ukraine, I’m frequently asked if the conflict has affected Transnistria. The conflict hasn’t spilled over to Transnistria, it remains to the east of Ukraine far away from tours we operate in the region.
However, I did notice a greater presence of security personal during Victory Day celebration since my previous visit in December 2022. Having a greater security presence during any public event in Transnistria is no different from any other western capital city, such as London or Paris.
Is Transnistria safe for ethnic minority travellers?
Unfortunately, this is the third most frequent question that I’m asked and not just exclusively for Transnistria but also many other former Soviet Republics I’ve visited, including Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and many more.
Having visited almost the entirety of Eastern Europe searching for Soviet era monuments and the best local bars – being familiar with the culture, hospitality and having many friends from the region it’s not something that even crosses my mind.
Being of Indian descent and exploring regions less visited where the demographic is ethnically Slavic – even more so when I’m trying to find a remote Lenin statue in the middle of a rural village. Naturally I’m going to be the only person of ethnicity in these places, I have never experienced any hostilities or discrimination, amusingly it’s been the opposite.
Some of my favourite encounters in Transnistria is when I’m approached by retired locals who are curious about my visit and where I’m from, sometimes responding with just the “UK” isn’t sufficient so it’s easier to say, “British Indian”, these are often met with responses for their love of Bollywood – Indian films were extremely popular during the Soviet era.
Why should you visit Transnistria?
Being the last of the true Soviet Republic states makes Transnistria truly unique with beautifully preserved Soviet relics including bus stops, mosaics and many more. The most distinctive and interesting aspect I personally find – as I’ve travelled to Transnistria with friends who grew up in during the Soviet Union is their response, which is always the same “this is exactly how I remember growing up in Soviet times”.
Of course, precautions should be taken on every tour you go on, however comparing capitals Tiraspol is one of the safest European cities I’ve visited especially compared to London!
Join us and experience the least visited towns and cities of Transnistria, click here for more detail!