It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Pridnestrovie (aka Transnistria), and I’ve done my best to explain why, but I’m still getting a lot of flack from some quarters.
The presumption that my critics have, of course, is that Romanians (and/or Romanian speakers) are being mistreated in PMR.
This, even after I’ve told you that I’ve been to the country many times, and it’s my testimony that this simply isn’t true.
Well, here’s some rather definitive proof (PDF) for any doubters out there.
Since 2012, a Swedish diplomat named Thomas Hammarberg has been visiting Pridnestrovie in his official capacity as the United Nations Human Rights Expert. Every time he visits the country, he prepares a report.
He last visited Pridnestrovie in the summer of 2018, but the report was only published this week.
Here’s what he had to say about the treatment of ethnic minorities:
During the mission, the Expert had the opportunity to meet and interact with a broad range of representatives of ethnolinguistic minorities, including Armenians, Azeri, Belarussians, Gagauz, Georgians, Germans, Jews, Bulgarians, Tatars, and people of African descent.
Overall, the various ethnic groups seem to be cohabitating peacefully in Transnistria.
Hammerberg met literally everyone, including people of African descent(!) and found that everyone is getting along.
The ethnolinguistic groups reported that the general public has positive perceptions and attitudes about their respective groups and that there are no tensions in the society along ethnic lines.
Repeat after me: No tension along ethnic lines.
Very few people know just how involved the government of Sweden is with Pridnestrovie. Sweden is financing at least one NGO and two different businesses in Tiraspol that I know of, and there could be more.
This is partly because Sweden has a weird historical connection to Pridnestrovie. After an incredibly complex series of events unfolded in the 17th century, the Swedish king Charles XII took a really long and expensive vacation in the city of Bender.
At that time, Bender was a Turkish city (today, the Bender fortress is a popular tourist attraction) ruled by Sultan Ahmed III:
The Sultan Ahmed III’s subjects in the empire eventually got tired of Charles’s scheming. Charles’s entourage also accumulated huge debts with Bender merchants.
Eventually, crowds of townspeople attacked the Swedish colony at Bender, and Charles had to defend himself against the mobs and the Ottoman Janissaries involved. This uprising was called “kalabalik” (Turkish for “crowd”) which afterward found a place in the Swedish language as the word for a ruckus.
Well, that was then :P but things are much different today.
Pridnestrovie is a peaceful, multicultural society where all the different groups get along and have a generally positive attitude towards one another.