You know, even after having lived in Pridnestrovie for more than two years, it continues to surprise me just how poorly understood this country is by people who don’t live here.
A case in point is the new government of the Republic of Moldova where neither the president (Maia Sandu) nor her new Prime Minister (Natalie Gavrilita) nor even the new Speaker (Igor Grosu) have ever set foot in this country.
And all this despite the fact that the border is just one hour from Chisinau (the capital of Moldova), and still, they claim that they are the rightful rulers of this place.
Ugh, it drives me nuts, it really does.
Anyway, PMR is not North Korea – the internet is completely uncensored here, and there is news and information flowing out daily via thousands of channels.
And yet still people, even people who really ought to know better, keep acting like this place is a black hole where nobody ever does or says anything of note.
Revisiting 1990-1992 Revisited
Ever since PAS rigged the elections with America’s help, they’ve been cranking up the rhetoric about Tiraspol, including the perennial gripes about the peacekeepers, et cetera.
I’ve also heard more bullshit about the “Russian-Moldovan” War of 1992, which as I documented in great detail, is not anywhere close to what actually happened.
But there is a story about those days that I haven’t told yet, and I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long. It’s the story of the woman who won that war without firing a shot.
According to my notes, I was working on this topic in early 2019, and I honestly thought I had finished it and published it long ago.
My apologies to you, and to the woman at the heart of this story.
Chronos, the Father of Time
You will never hear this story in the Romanian or Moldovan press. You’ll probably also never hear about it in English either.
And yet it isn’t secret at all. It’s just that nobody wants to admit that they got their ass kicked by a girl.
But to give her proper justice, let’s do a quick recap of recent history, shall we?
In 1990, the fascist Popular Front swept the elections to the Soviet Moldovan parliament.
On August 27, 1990, the Soviet Moldovan parliament enacted a series of new laws (including the mandatory use of Moldovan language at work and at school) that led to people east of the Dniester River (today’s PMR) becoming very upset.
As political parties were illegal at that time, most of the highest local-level organizing was done through trade unions.
One trade union leader (of a company called Electromash that still exists and has a very interesting story of its own to tell, but not now) was named Igor Smirnov.
He had only arrived in Tiraspol just a few years earlier, but Igor Smirnov had been a union chief in Russia, and he soon emerged as one of the leaders of the resistance to Moldova’s new laws.
Together, the trade unions east of the river decided to form one “super union” that agreed to hold strikes as a way of protesting the Moldovan parliament’s new laws.
And that is when Galina Andreeva stepped onto the pages of history.
Oops, We Always Forget About This Part
In early 1990, Igor Smirnov and five other union leaders traveled to Kiev in order to find some way out of the impasse by meeting with Ukrainian leaders.
Remember, at this time, the Soviet Union was whole, so traveling from Tiraspol to Kiev was a simple domestic journey.
Well, somewhere along the way, Smirnov and his associates were kidnapped by Moldovan police and then taken back to Chisinau and thrown in prison cells.
When I say “kidnapped,” I truly do mean black bag thrown over the head and bundled into an unmarked car kidnapped.
Initially, Moldova denied having kidnapped Smirnov and the others, but then somebody found out which jail they were being held in, and a few folks started protesting. But still, the Moldovan authorities refused to let them go (or charge them with a crime).
Nobody in Moldova ever wants to talk about how they kidnapped Pridnestrovians, and you can see why. It was pretty shameful shit.
Furthermore, at this point, all Smirnov and the others had done was organize strikes. The declaration of independence was to come later.
With Smirnov and the other leaders languishing in a Moldovan torture center (oops, they always forget to tell you about the beatings, too), the resistance east of the Dniester was in disarray.
And that’s when a local Tiraspol woman named Galina Andreeva decided to do something about it.
In 1990, Moldova’s entire economy was enmeshed with that of the Soviet Union. In practical terms, it meant that nearly all of the goods going in and out of Moldova were passing through Tiraspol via rail.
Galina organized a group of women (it’s hard to say how many from the photos I’ve seen, but it’s probably between 50-80) to go to the train station in Tiraspol and sit on the tracks.
In other words, the women used their bodies to physically block all inbound trains to Chisinau.
The Belly is the Weak Spot
The fascists in Moldova had not been too terribly fazed by the strikes organized by the men of Pridnestrovie, but the women’s action at the train station hit them right in the biscuit.
In less than one week, Chisinau was desperately low on just about everyting except for food, and so the government capitulated.
Smirnov and the others were let go without a word of apology or official explanation as to why they had been kidnapped (and beaten).
Galina Andreeva and her sisters then let the trains resume their normal routes.
Furthermore, it is important to note that, although Tiraspol also controlled the gas and electricity supplies to Chisinau, these were never shut off.
Smirnov and the others returned to Tiraspol, and then everyone knew that Chisinau was hell-bent on annihilation rather than any form of a negotiated settlement.
Tensions between Chisinau and Tiraspol continued throughout 1990.
Some of the most hostile acts involved the Moldovan police, and again, Galina Andreeva stepped up.
In border areas like Dubasari, the majority of the population was against Chisinau but the police station was staffed primarily of pro-Chisinau people. Time and again, these cops would then sally forth from their heavily armed compounds to break up protests and strikes.
Galena and her sisters began picketing the police stations every single day, surrounding the building and braving violent retaliation from the police.
In some cases, shots were even fired over their heads, but Galina Andreeva and the other women never wavered.
And their steadfast determination to bottle up the police in cities like Dubasari probably saved quite a lot of lives.
When the looting and shooting of Bender started up in earnest in 1992, Galina Andreeva and the other women once again played vital roles.
The women showed outstanding courage in transmitting messages to and from the front lines, evacuating the wounded, transporting food and medicine, and organizing care for the families of the men defending their lands.
Not only was this help vital for the logistics of repelling the Moldovan invasion, it was also of critical importance for morale.
From the very beginning of Pridnestrovie’s struggle for freedom right until the last shot was fired, Galina Andreeva and her women’s organization played an instrumental role.
Without her help, Chisinau may have continued to kidnap and “disappear” people from east of the Dniester.
Without her help, pro-Chisinau police units may have used far more lethal force on protesters in 1990 and 1991.
And without the help that Galina Andreevna provided, the men of Pridnestrovie may not have been able to successfully repel Moldova’s full-scale assault in 1992.
Not bad for a woman who never touched a gun, eh?
Again, Pridnestrovie is not North Korea.
Pretty much everything is quite public (and accessible on the internet).
Here’s a photo of Galena Andreeva from 2014:
And here’s one from 2016 with the current president of PMR, Vadim Krasnoselsky:
As you might imagine, the people of Pridnestrovie are quite thankful for the contributions that Mrs. Andreeva provided in the struggle for freedom.
As such, she has a whole collection of awards and medals, but the one in the photo above is quite special.
It’s called the Order of Suvorov, and it’s only been awarded to three people in Pridnestrovie. One was to the first president of the country (Igor Smirnov), one was to the first head of the military, and the third was to Mrs. Andreeva.
So now you know why bitch ass Moldovans like to to pretend it was Russia that kicked their ass in 1992 instead of an unarmed woman and her friends 🙂