I see so much negative and misinformed reporting on the republic that I simply felt compelled to try and clear up some of the myths surrounding the “country that does not exist.”
Over the past 1,000 years, the area now known as Transnistria has had a lot of names, but none of them were ever “Transnistria” except for a brief period of time during World War 2 when it was under fascist occupation.
Starting on August 19, 1941, fascist soldiers renamed the region the Transnistrian Governorate or Guvernamantul Transnistriei in Romanian. That’s because, from Romania’s perspective, the country is “trans” (beyond) the Dniester River (“Nistru” in Romanian). But for the people living there, it is ludicrous to say they live “beyond” the river when they live right beside it.
In Russian, the name of the country is Приднестровская Молдавская Республика, and in Ukrainian it is Придністровська Молдавська Республіка. The word “Приднестровская” means “by the Dniestr River” (logical) rather than “beyond the Dniestr River” (absurd).
The transliteration of the Russian/Ukrainian to English is “The Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic” or “Pridnestrovie” for short. This is the correct name for the country in English and the one that is used in all official documents.
How the fascist invention “Transnistria” got to become the universal name for the country is something that I will never understand especially because the fascist occupation of Transnistria was extremely brutal. Jews were rounded up and executed en masse as part of the Holocaust. And other (non-Jewish) civilians were slaughtered. Even some graves were dug up and bodies dumped in the street.
It truly was a dark chapter of World War 2 in Eastern Europe.
Note: The correct name of the country in Romanian is Republica Moldovenească Nistreană. A literal translation of this into English would be the “Moldovan Nistrean Republic.”