You will probably start to hear a lot more about Transnistria in the near future. Transnistria sits in between Moldova and Ukraine and was formed in the 1990s as a pro-Soviet breakway state from Moldova. After a brief civil war it is now governed independently and its security is overseen by “a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission that supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarised zone, comprising 20 localities on both sides of the river.”
Wikipedia: Although the ceasefire has held, the territory’s political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognised but de facto independent semi-presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, currency, and vehicle registration. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms. After a 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine, all Transnistrian companies that seek to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the Moldovan authorities. This agreement was implemented after the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) took force in 2005. Most Transnistrians have Moldovan citizenship, but many also have Russian, Romanian, or Ukrainian citizenship. The main ethnic groups are Russians, Moldovans, and Ukrainians.
Now here is where it gets weird.
Wikipedia: Sheriff (Russian: Шериф) is the second-largest company in the unrecognised breakaway state Transnistria. It is based in the city of Tiraspol. Formed in the early 1990s by Viktor Gușan and Ilya Kazmaly, former members of the special services, Sheriff has grown to include nearly all forms of profitable private business in the unrecognised country, and has even become significantly involved in local politics and sport, with some commentators saying that company loyalists hold most main government positions in the territory.
…Sheriff owns a chain of petrol stations, a chain of supermarkets, a TV channel, a publishing house, a construction company, a Mercedes-Benz dealer, an advertising agency, a spirits factory, two bread factories, a mobile phone network, the football club FC Sheriff Tiraspol and its home ground Sheriff Stadium, a project which also included a five-star hotel.
And consider the following from 2021:
New Moldovan President Maia Sandu has said she wants her country to join the European Union and demanded Russian troops leave Transnistria.
But the breakaway statelet still affirms its allegiance to Moscow.
In Tiraspol, a billboard reads “Russia in our hearts,” while a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin hangs on a wall in Krasnoselsky’s offices.
Hat tip: The deputy, Kevin Lewis.