Hey kids, here’s a question: what happens when you take a Romanian, send him to America for 40 years, and then ask him to write about Transdniestria? The answer is a mishmash of unfounded bullshit:
Yet on the face of it, that’s what tiny Transdniester has achieved over the past two years as its pro-Russian leadership in Tiraspol has clung improbably to a steady rate for its ruble against the U.S. dollar. Despite a running war and economic collapse in eastern neighbor Ukraine. And despite the dearth of business from main trade partner and benefactor Russia, where global oil prices and Ukraine-related sanctions have gutted that economy and sent the Russian ruble into freefall.
Christ, the English in this article is horrendous. What he’s trying to say here is that “Transdniester” (first of all, it’s Transnistria in Romanian and Transnistria, Trans-Dniestr or Transdniestria in English and Pridnestroye in Russian) somehow has managed to artificially inflate its exchange rate over the past few years.
Deconstructing a Pile of Bullshit
Let’s review. First of all, the “running war” in Ukraine has been a mostly steady ceasefire for more than a year as his own fucking organization wrote about on February 15.
Secondly, the Russian ruble hasn’t been in “freefall”. Yes, it went down in 2014 and it’s still weak, which is affecting the Russian (and Moldovan!) economy but that’s not what “freefall” means. In fact, the Russian ruble just went up this week due to changes in the price of oil.
Third, the photo used in this piece clearly contradicts what this moron Tomiuc is writing about because if you can read Russian then you can see that the signs are clearly saying that this is a protest against price increases. One woman is literally fucking holding a sign that says “When prices fluctuate, the people cry” (it rhymes in Russian).
Yet still we read this from Eugen Tomiuc:
Analysts believe that the Transdniestrian ruble’s exchange rate has been kept artificially high to avoid devastating price shocks for the region’s 142,000 pensioners, who are thought to make up 40 percent of a total population that’s estimated at around 300,000.
Uh, no. Some older people (pensioners) living in Transnistria have Russian citizenship and those people get the “Putinka” or a little bonus directly from Russia. As for the rest, you can clearly see that price fluctuations are what these people are already complaining about despite the “benefits” of a steady exchange rate of the Transnistrian ruble to the American dollar (which WTF why does anyone care about the exchange rate with the dollar?).
Furthermore, the currency in Transnistria is not like “regular” currencies. Yes, it looks like normal money and yes, if you go into a shop in Transnistria you will spend the money just like any other currency but that’s where the similarities end.
Most currencies are managed by a central bank that relies on complicated mechanisms involving international exchange rates and reserve holdings to determine its strength or weakness compared to other currencies. The way the Transnistrian economy (and despite the slurs like saying it is based on “aging heavy industry”, is actually doing incredibly well) works is a combination of 1) T-N citizens working in Russia and sending Russian rubles home (same as RM) 2) Selling products and goods to RM (in Moldovan lei) and Ukraine (crappy hryvna) and 3) Selling a boatload of stuff to the European Union (paid for in Euros).
The Forgotten Free Trade Deal
Yep. Outsiders love to sneer at Transnistria and call it a “Soviet theme park” with only Russian speakers (not even close to being true) but a huge percentage of T-N’s economy is now based on a super advantageous free trade deal with the European Union. No need to go into its entire history here but you can read this piece, about the only one in English I could find, about how T-N has a deal in place with the EU to export its steel and agricultural products (the best farmland in Moldova is in T-N) to the EU under a free trade deal.
It’s only the T-N government (due to low taxes and import tariffs) that depends on Russia whereas the economy is reliant on exports involving foreign currency. And what exactly is so weird about the T-N central bank pegging its currency at a fixed rate to the dollar? It’s what China did for more than 20 years and what many other countries still do, including Belize, Estonia and Lithuania.
Furthermore, the currency to worry about is the Moldovan lei as it’s actually RM that’s dependent on Transnistria, including for most of its energy needs. It’s a tough time all the way around in this part of the world as RM, Russia and Ukraine are having plenty of their own problems with their currencies so I don’t know what’s so weird about Transnistria in this respect.
Cold War Fantasies
Last bit of propaganda bullshit from Eugen Tomiuc:
Russia maintains some 1,400 troops in the [Transnistria] — a holdover from Soviet days.
Uh, no. Russian troops are in Transnistria as part of the Joint Control Commission, of which both Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova take part. And they’re there due to the post-Soviet war between RM-TN, as any person who takes a moment to learn recent history would know. T-N has some pretty righteous justifications for wanting Russian troops there, especially to to dissuade the official Romanian policy of political union with RM.
Even His LinkedIn Profile Is a Lie
So now you know how you write a propaganda piece after being a “senior correspondent” for the American government misinformation outlet Radio “Free” Europe for 19 years and 7 months. But what I love the most about this shill is his LinkedIn profile, in which he describes his school days thusly:
Scoala generala nr. 12 Brasov
1967 – 1975
Went to school every day.
Activities and Societies: Boy scout
Yep, during the Communist era he went to school every day (bravo!) for nine years (!) and was a member of the “Boy Scouts”, which is interesting because the Boy Scouts were disbanded in Romania in 1940 and replaced with the Soviet version called the Good Little Communist Pioneers for Stalin. хорошая работа, маленький товарищ!
If Eugen Tomiuc wrote that the sky is blue, I’d assume he’s lying. But that’s what happens when you work for an organization created by the CIA and currently known for its extreme incompetence and poor oversight.