Several years ago during a lazy, warm summer in a time before the world went insane, I read Edward Gibbon’s lengthy masterpiece about the Roman Empire, never once thinking I would personally live to see anything like it.
Frankly? It’s terrifying. And now, I can only imagine how horrifying it must have been for ordinary folks minding their own business as the Roman Empire imploded.
Just this week, all of this crazy shit happened:
- Some top brass in the USA began floating the idea of negotiating a deal with Russia to end the fighting in Ukraine.
- Coke-head Zelensky immediately announced, “No talks!”
- Russia responded by hammering Ukraine with 100 missile strikes on a single day, obliterating Ukraine’s electrical system.
- A Ukrainian air defense unit in Lviv accidentally or intentionally fired a missile that hit a small village just across the border in Poland, killing two civilians.
- Zelensky immediately began calling for NATO to launch an all-out war against Russia.
Yep, that all really happened. Thankfully, World War 3 was narrowly averted this time. But who knows what might happen next week?
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian blackout tripped some kind of “circuit breaker” in Moldova that saw the entire country (of Moldova) lose power for about 30 minutes (and a few hours in some places), and there were reports that part of PMR lost power, too, although we personally were fine here in Tiraspol.
Nonetheless, we’re all hanging on by our fingernails, so I thought I’d take this opportunity while I’ve still got electricity and heat to get our story out there.
This year, Easter Sunday for followers of the Orthodox branch of Christianity fell on April 24. As just about everybody (who is Christian) in PMR follows the Orthodox faith, it was a major holiday in the country.
The following day, a Monday, was not an official holiday, but there’s a general tradition that few offices or businesses operate on “Easter Monday,” and that includes the MGB, which is the “intelligence service” of Pridnestrovie, equivalent to Moldova’s SIS, Romania’s SRI, or the FBI+CIA in the United States.
As for what the MGB actually does, I have no idea. I’ve literally never seen any news reports about them or any of their uniformed officers anywhere except for at their office building, which is in the heart of Tiraspol.
I used to pass by the MGB building all the time when I lived downtown because it’s located right in the middle of a residential area, surrounded on two sides by apartment buildings, and it’s across the street from an art school. I’ve seen guys going in and out of there, but it’s not an especially busy place, and mostly what I’ve seen is men yakking with the old geezer who sits in the guard booth that leads to the MGB parking lot.
Anyway, at just after 5:00 pm on April 25 (Easter Monday), an ordinary looking Subaru car pulled up on the street just down from the MGB building, and three young(er) guys hopped out, each armed with an RPG. All three men fired off one shot at the MGB building before dropping their launch tubes, hopping back in the car, and speeding off.
Thankfully, it appears that no one was inside the MGB building at the time, and two of the blasts hit the stairwell at the front of the building, so minimal damage was caused. Aside from the MGB building, the shockwave also cracked a few windows in the nearby apartment buildings, but not a single person was hurt, thank goodness.
Tiraspol, mind you, is not like London where there are CCTV cameras everywhere, but the MGB building is the intelligence headquarters, so one of their cameras caught the whole thing. Furthermore, the perpetrators drove north towards Tiraspol’s busiest street (named after Karl Liebknecht) where there are definitely a couple of traffic cameras.
The PMR government later published the footage of the attack, but the camera was too far away to see the license plate. The PMR government also published what was supposed to be the license plate number, claiming that it was Ukrainian, but the format made no sense and did not correspond to the system used by any country I know of in this region (including Ukraine).
No traffic cam footage was ever released of the getaway vehicle, and the government stated that the terrorists drove north to the city of Grigoriopol (about an hour away) before crossing into Ukraine and disappearing forever.
Obviously, the complete failure of the border guys to find three RPG launchers in the car when it crossed into PMR was embarrassing. Furthermore, the fact that nobody could put out an APB on the car and catch these guys before it left the country was also embarrassing. And the fact that the PMR government clearly lied or was misleading about the license plate is also embarrassing.
Since that time, nothing else has been released, not even information about the serial numbers or possible origin of the RPGs even though the attackers discarded the launch tubes right there on the street.
The only thing that did happen was that PMR instituted a “code red” for 30 days, something I’ve never heard of before, and all vehicles entering or leaving the country were given extra checks, and a bunch of cops with rifles now stand around at checkpoints on the roads leading to/from the country.
After that first period, it was downgraded to a “code yellow,” which the news “helpfully” described as “the same as code red, only public gatherings are permitted,” whatever that means.
Smash and Grab
The reaction to what was clearly a terrorist act (firing three RPGs in a residential neighborhood, ffs) varied. Russia and perhaps a couple of other places condemned the act.
Moldova, however, as well as the United States, Romania, and the rest of the Empire, all derided it as a “provocation” and all stated (using various weasel words) something to the effect of: PMR did it themselves in order to whip up support for Russia and to give Russia an excuse to mobilize and/or ramp up their military presence and/or do something else related to the war ongoing in Ukraine (which is, I might add, just two miles to the east of Tiraspol).
Well, nothing of that sort happened. The Russian soldiers in PMR did nothing, and the PMR military did nothing. Even the “readiness level” of the army did not change. No troops were moved anywhere. There were no mobilizations or call-ups. Literally, nothing changed here in PMR (except for the retarded “code yellow” stuff which is unrelated to the military).
In other words, if PMR really hired three goons to fire RPGs at their own intelligence headquarters, it was all in vain as literally nothing changed. The PMR government, I should add, has been completely neutral since Day 1 of the war and President Krasnoselsky has made numerous calls for peace and inter-ethnic harmony. And yes, he is definitely pro-Russian on a personal level, but he has never permitted either a pro-Russia rally or any kind of anti-Ukrainian talk in Pridnestrovie.
Keep in mind that PMR is now the only place left on the planet where Ukrainians and Russians live in harmony, where both Ukrainian and Russian are official languages, and where you can send your kid to either a Ukrainian or Russian school without any problems whatsoever (including accreditation and transferable credits, etc). Furthermore, there are some 15,000 Ukrainian refugees who have remained in PMR (as opposed to transiting through), most of which are ordinary families and children.
Nonetheless, the fiery rhetoric from the Empire about the “provocation” set off a chain of events that nearly wiped out my entire family.
Red Rover, Red Rover
Exactly two years ago this week, Moldova elected Maia Sandu as its president, defeating the incumbent, Igor Dodon.
At the time, most people in Moldova were getting sick of Dodon, primarily because the economy was stagnating, and also because he was caught making a few questionable deals with shady characters.
Maia Sandu, on the other hand, was seen as an Obama type “hope and change” figure, promising an end to corruption and a glorious future in the European Union, so she won the election rather easily.
Dodon, for all his many faults, is a Moldovan to his very core. I mean, the guy looks like a Moldovan and acts so Moldovan in everything he does that he really should be in textbooks under the heading “typical Moldovan.”
Sandu, on the other hand, is a batshit crazy little elf who is 50 years old but talks like she’s a 12-year-old girl. Unlike Dodon, who is happily married with several kids, Sandu has never been married (or dated anyone) and has no children. Furthermore, Sandu spent much of her adult life working in the United States (for the World Bank!) and is very proud of holding Romanian citizenship and being a “real Romanian.” 🤮
Underneath that “innocent little girl” facade, however, Sandu is a ruthless Empire operative. She quickly kneecapped the opposition by locking up the prosecutor general (who is from Gagauzia) and arresting Marina Tauber, the head of the opposition Shor Party. Later, after all the coronavirus stuff died down, she also had Dodon (and his elderly mother!) arrested.
Once the war in Ukraine began, Sandu’s virulent Russophobia flared up, and she made it against the law to “display” the letters Z and V or to wear a St. George’s ribbon (a popular symbol of Russian identity). She also made it a crime for Moldovans to volunteer or serve in the Russian military while simultaneously encouraging them to volunteer to fight on behalf of Ukraine.
Unlike in Romania, which is a NATO member and faithful American servant, Moldova’s constitution specifically requires military neutrality in all things. And I’m here to tell you that most folks in Moldova are quite adamant that the country stays out of foreign military entanglements of any kind.
Nonetheless, Sandu began pushing Moldova to the very brink of war by repeatedly making pro-Ukraine statements, inviting NATO troops into Moldova for “training” exercises, using a Moldovan airfield to repair Ukrainian (civilian) aircraft, and working hand-in-glove with Ukraine to transport its wheat and other crops overland to Romania for export.
Therefore, when the “provocation” in Tiraspol happened, she used the incident to try and make a deal with probably the slimiest guy in Ukraine (and that’s saying something), a disgusting troll named Alexei Arestovich (there are about 10 different ways to spell his name).
Let God Sort ‘Em Out
This spring and early summer, Ukraine was getting its ass kicked on the battlefield, and the Nazis in Kiev were getting desperate and looking for an easy win.
That’s when Arestovich made Sandu a deal she (almost) couldn’t refuse: Ukraine would invade PMR, kill or arrest everyone who was pro-Russian, and then hand over the territory to Moldova. In exchange, Ukraine would get its hands on the weapons depot in the PMR village of Cobasna.
First, I’m here to tell you that the weapons depot in Cobasna has been baking in the summer and freezing in the winter for about 40 years now, and although there are millions of rounds of bullets and all kinds of other military “goodies” in there, most of it is unusable junk. A lot of the crap is left over from the Soviet garrisons in East Germany and the Czech Republic, and none of the storage bunkers are air-conditioned or climate controlled, so the stuff has been left to rot away as the various political powers have argued over how to dispose of it all.
Nonetheless, crushing the tiny Russian army garrison in PMR (~1500 total people) would’ve been a huge PR victory for Ukraine, and who knows? Maybe they would’ve gotten some usable military stuff from Cobasna. Certainly, there are tens of thousands of AK-47s in there, and those things last forever.
For Sandu, the obliteration of PMR would’ve been a “win” in the eyes of the pro-Romania crowd, and goodness knows, there are plenty of folks in Moldova who still think that PMR is “their” territory. Without spending a cent or firing a shot, she could’ve “reintegrated” PMR into Moldova without losing a single soldier.
Certainly, the USA and its various bloodthirsty cheerleaders (including the psychopathic Ben Hodges who is Hannibal Lecter level crazy) were openly encouraging Arestovich to persuade Zelinsky to invade PMR and kill us all.
Around this time, an old friend of mine from Odessa contacted me to ask how I was doing. Years ago, I had done some work for an American client, but the project leader was this (Ukrainian) lady from Odessa, and when I found out she had some relatives in PMR, we developed a rapport. Had the pandemic never happened, I’m sure we would’ve met up for a coffee in Odessa at one point.
When we talked (this year), I asked her how she was doing. She told me she had initially left Ukraine as a refugee but then returned because she missed her home and family. She told me that yes, it was scary when Russian missiles hit near her house, and I told her that I wished for peace and for the war to end soon, and she concurred.
However, when I told her about the attack on the MGB HQ in Tiraspol, she also stated that it was a “provocation.” I then started sharing some of the statements and video clips of Arestovich (all of them linking to Ukrainian sources in the Ukrainian language, so definitely not “Russian propaganda”), promising to wipe us all out in Tiraspol, etc., and asked her to draw her own conclusions.
I never heard from her ever again.
Frankly, the only thing that stopped the bloodshed was the nature of the Moldovan people and their fierce desire to preserve military neutrality. Outsiders seem to forget that there are a hell of a lot of Moldovans who live in PMR and that plenty of folks in Moldova have friends and relatives across the border in PMR.
Without that intractable commitment to military neutrality of the Moldovan people (on both sides of the border), there is no doubt in my mind that Ukraine would’ve sent its Nazi battalions over the border and wiped us all out, even if it did mean killing a few thousand ethnic Ukrainians (because anyone who lives here is seen as suspect) along the way.
And Sandu would’ve had a grin on her stupid, crazy face as all those pesky “pro-Russian” Moldovans and filthy (ethnic) Russians in PMR were taken care of, once and for all.
Death by Slow Strangulation
Aside from all the PMR stuff, Sandu’s increasingly rabid anti-Russian rhetoric has led to a severe breakdown in relations with the government of Russia as well as Gazprom, the company that provided 100% of Moldova’s (and PMR’s) natural gas before the war.
As a result of her literally refusing to go to Moscow and negotiate a long-term contract (something she nearly got lynched for at a very contentious meeting (🇲🇩) in Gagauzia in September), the price of gas has quadrupled in Moldova.
After the Ukrainians tried to blow up the bridge to Crimea and Russia began knocking out Ukraine’s energy grid (starting October 12 and continuing to this day), Moldova was cut off from buying electricity from Ukraine. Previously, Moldova had gotten about 70% of its electricity from PMR and 30% from Ukraine, but Moldova had to switch over to Romanian sellers at roughly three times the previous price.
With inflation now around 20% and now the price of both electricity and gas shooting up, popular discontent in Moldova against Sandu is running very high, and there have been massive protests against her government every single weekend.
Her response? To get her party to pass new laws augmenting the powers of the police to make arrests and use heavier weaponry. The US Embassy also stepped up its support and sanctioned just about every opposition party and politician because they are “Russian agents.”
Sandu also expelled a Russian diplomat following a “Russian missile attack” on the tiny Moldovan village of Naslavcea in the far north of the country. Just as with the Polish incident this week, what clearly happened was that a portion of a Ukrainian air defense missile landed across the border, but Sandu remains adamant that it was a Russian missile even though she outlawed the publishing of any photographs of the fragments.
In response, Gazprom cut Moldova’s gas supply in half. In a surprise twist, even to me, this also meant that PMR’s gas supplies were cut in half as well. All of the natural gas from Russia enters Moldova through PMR, but somehow, PMR has never had the option to “tap into it” on their own. Instead, it goes to Chisinau first and then some gets rerouted back to PMR.
Because of this drastic cut to the gas supply, PMR told Moldova that it can no longer supply Moldova with electricity, as the big electricity generating plant here in PMR (normally) runs on gas.
This left Moldova without any electricity from PMR or Ukraine, so now every kilowatt used in Moldova is drastically more expensive than it was last year as it is purchased on the open market (and supplied via Romania via a single line).
Romania did gift some electricity to Moldova, but that left a rather bad taste in the mouths of plenty of people and politicians in Romania, who themselves are being exhorted to cut down on usage as their bills skyrocket as well.
Nothing but Gray Skies Ahead
As I sit here and type these words in Tiraspol, the air temperature is a frosty 8 degrees Celsius (46F) and the sky is a uniform gray, sullen and depressing, and none of my animals want to get out of bed and play.
The PMR electricity generating plant is now running on a backup reserve of coal to power it, but that will run out in about six to eight weeks. Due to the drastic reduction in natural gas supplies, all schools and non-essential government buildings are closed in order for households to stay warm.
Likewise, all industrial production in PMR has been shut down (including the exports that make up 80% of the PMR government’s revenue). The public buses are running on a limited schedule, and the supply of hot water (for those connected to the central system) has been reduced to just a few hours a day.
Currently, nobody knows if Moldova will be able to secure more gas from Gazprom in December or at what price. If Moldova refuses to buy or is cut off from buying gas from Russia, we here in PMR will be left high and dry, and it is uncertain just how long Moldova can afford to buy gas (with EU money) for itself from elsewhere (because it, too, is mostly just rerouted gas from Russia with a hefty mark-up).
Ukraine, meanwhile, has reached its maximum forward momentum in the war, and once the ground begins to freeze, Russia will unleash an enormous wave of newly recruited soldiers and newly manufactured armaments against Ukraine, which is now relying on a ragtag assortment of Western weapons, Western satellites, Western funding, and Western mercenaries to cling onto territory.
Should things continue to go poorly for Ukraine, the outlook for the ordinary folks of PMR and Moldova is grim.
Despite the fact that 99% of the people in PMR and Moldova want nothing to do with the war and just want peace, we’re all on the verge of freezing to death as the Empire flounders and sinks beneath the waves.
May God have mercy on all of our souls.