It’s sometimes hard to get solid news about Transnistria. No international news agencies report regularly from there, and it doesn’t have a good English-language site. News stories about the breakaway state tend to come out of Russia, Moldova or Ukraine, often in the local languages.
So it’s not clear what impact the recent flooding is having there. (For our non-European readers, the last week has seen huge floods across southeastern Europe. There are at least 13 people dead in Ukraine and several more in Romania and Moldova, thousands of people have been evacuated, and the damage is in hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars.) Since Transnistria is basically a thin sliver of low-lying land along the bank of the Dniester river, you would expect they’d have problems, but it’s not easy to find out what’s going on.
Still, a sharp-eyed commenter posted these links: here and here. They’re Russian-language, but with lots of pictures.
Meanwhile, Itar-Tass reports that Ukraine has decided to release a huge amount of water through their Novodnestrovsky hydroelectric dam. If this happens, Transnistria might have to evacuate about 50,000 people — roughly 10% of its population. That should be interesting.
– I mentioned there are no good English-language sites for Transnistria. But there are several bad ones, most notably the Tiraspol Times and the Deciphering Transnistria “blog”. Both of these are astroturf sites; they’re always biased (Transnistria good, Russia good, Moldova very bad) and will sometimes just outright lie. They’re part of a pretty good disinformatsiya effort (some people think it’s run by this guy, a former “youth organizer” now associated with Transnistria’s secret police) that’s aimed at international English-speaking readers.
Anyway, both these sites are pretty bogus, and seem to exist mostly to provide “neutral” cites for Russophile bloggers and wikipedia editors. That said, they’re bogus in interestingly different ways. The Tiraspol Times is more classically Soviet, with lots of headlines like “To Transnistria’s plan of peace, Moldova responds with plan of war”. The Deciphering blog is more vaguely lefty anti-globalist why-can’t-we-all-be-friends-ish. They’re both drawing from the same well, but they’re using different buckets. I mention this because the Tiraspol Times has, so far, completely ignored the floods — 10% of the country’s population may be displaced, but their headline today is about how Moldova is destroying press freedoms — while Deciphering has an angry article about how the whole thing is Ukraine’s fault.
(Oh, and there’s also one English-language forum: this one. It’s pretty good, and doesn’t seem to be anyone’s astroturf project. Alas, it doesn’t get a lot of traffic.)
Anyway. Possibly Transnistria will come through just fine? It’s to be hoped.