Anya Golomoz Featured
Tiraspol,  Transnistria

What’s it like to live in Transnistria?

Transnistria
Anya Golomoz
Placinte

The Place: Tiraspol, Transnistria

“…so far I’d experienced the essence of the Soviet Union as a memory; an anecdote told by a local here, or a monument or preserved building there… what struck me most was not the… atmosphere itself, but the meaning behind it. In Transnistria, it represents the here and now… Roses lie scattered, adorning the bases of statues of Lenin, standing proudly outside government buildings… the “Supreme Council”, and… “House of Soviets”. These aren’t memories, they’re hospitals and shops, parliaments and police stations, and monuments to the country’s heroes.”

Read More About Transnistria

Moldova’s horse-drawn farm carts and the wells at village roadsides hark back to another era, and at first glance life seems to move slowly here.  This quaint facade will have any newcomer underestimating the country’s complexity, and I must admit I fell victim to it’s allure. But scratch the surface, a few millimetres beneath a thin film of agricultural simplicity, and it doesn’t take long to uncover it’s fractures. Divides exist between those that speak Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian, between those that support Russia and those that are pro-EU and between the Gagauz autonomy and the rest of the country. But the most infamous geographical and political embodiment of the cracks in Moldovan society is undoubtedly Transnistria, a furiously stubborn sliver of land that hugs the border with Ukraine and declared independence from the rest of the country in 1990, sparking a war that dragged on for two years before Russian peacekeepers were sent to put a stop to the fighting. Now, just 60km from the capital, Chisinau, a hard border cuts through the countryside, manned by the Transnistrian and Russian military, that serves as a permanent reminder of Moldova’s wounds.

With four wheels bouncing over potholes beneath me instead of two, I gazed out of the hourly Marshrutka (a kind of bus) from Chisinau as I hurtled towards a relic of the U.S.S.R.; a bastion of Soviet architecture and culture that has clung on while the world around it has become unrecognisable. In my imagination, drizzle and uniform grey clouds are for some reason synonymous with the Soviet world, perhaps because of it’s likeness with the concrete it was so fond of, so it seemed fitting that a textureless grey colour blotted out the sun on my approach.

Even it’s name reflects a Soviet level of practicality, with “Trans” meaning across, and “nistria” referring to the Dniester river, and the whole thing translating to “Across the Dniester”, although those that reside there prefer the “P.M.R.”, or “Pridniestrovien Moldavian Republic”, and some have come to know it as “the country that doesn’t exist”. I’d been cycling through ex-USSR countries for months now, and so far I’d experienced the essence of the Soviet Union as a memory; an anecdote told by a local here, or a monument or preserved building there.

But what struck me most was not the surprisingly familiar atmosphere in the Transnistrian capital, Tiraspol, but the meaning behind it. There, it represents the here and now; the values of locals, the method of governing, and the political alignment of the region. Roses lie scattered, adorning the base of statues of Lenin, standing proudly outside government buildings, with the not-at-all Sith sounding name of the “Supreme Council”, and the rather unsubtle “House of Soviets”.  These aren’t memories, they’re hospitals and shops, parliaments and police stations, and monuments to the country’s heroes. The green and red of the Transnistrian flag, the only one in the world to still display the hammer and sickle, flutters side-by-side with the white, blue and red of the Russian one, a very public statement displaying who’s friends with who, and boldly displaying an icon that most other nations have chosen to forget.

Despite it’s fierce desire for independence, I couldn’t help but notice a fragility in the “little USSR”. While Moldova is small, Transnistria is tiny. Despite it’s symbols of sovereignty in the form of its own currency, license plates and flag, with all the political turmoil snatching headlines in it’s neighbours, I left wondering how much longer things could last the way they are. With its reliance on Russia for protection, Transnistria’s foundations seemed shaky and vulnerable, and its future dependent on the actions of the countries around it. But, for now, it remains an improbable and peculiar part – or not, depending on who you ask – of an equally peculiar country that still exudes the ambience of the Soviet world.


Please note that we do not fact-check our interviewees, and that their views do not necessarily represent our own.

The Person: Anya Golomoz, 29, Assistant manager

“All of my family… are originally from Russia. They moved here because my grandfather was in the army. He was a soldier, and he was sent here to serve the USSR, and afterwards he decided to stay here because he enjoys making homemade wine – a very good reason to stay. And it ruined my future so thank you, grandfather.”

See Anya's Full Background

I work as an assistant manager in a stationary shop. I was born in Moldova in a small town with about 15,000 people. It’s a small but colourful town. All of my family – my grandparents and my parents – are originally from Russia. They moved here because my grandfather was in the army. He was a soldier, and he was sent here to serve the USSR, and afterwards he decided to stay here because he enjoys making homemade wine – a very good reason to stay. And it ruined my future so thank you, grandfather.

So grew up in a small town about 30km south of Chișinău, and studied in a Russian school, and then I got into university here in Transnistria. But I only studied for one year here, didn’t like it, and then moved back to study in Chișinău. I graduated university there, and then I worked and lived there for 8-9 months. But then I just got tired of it, and my best friend here gave birth to a child, and I felt really bad that I was there and they were here, so I made a decision to move here. I tried to find a job in my field of study as an interpreter here, but it seems like nobody needs any translators here in Transnistria. So I opened up a magazine, looked at the different jobs and that’s how I found this place. I’ve now worked here for 7 years.

 

What does ‘home’ mean to you?

It’s where my parents and where my kids are healthy and wealthy, and where I’m happy and can rest after a hard day at work.”

See Anya's Full Answer

Home, to me, is where my family is. It’s where my parents and where my kids are healthy and wealthy, and where I’m happy and can rest after a hard day at work. It’s where I can invite my friends to have some fun, to have drinks with them. Maybe my home is the town where I live, too, and where I know everyone. I know that if anything happens, I will have people who will be by my side, and who would help me go through anything.

What is special about Tiraspol and Transnistria?

“…travellers from other Western countries, who really want to feel the atmosphere of the Soviet Union should come to Tiraspol. We have so many monuments of Lenin, and other people whose names I don’t know.”

See Anya's Full Answer

There are many memorable monuments and other stuff from the Soviet Union. The travellers from other Western countries, who really want to feel the atmosphere of the Soviet Union should come to Tiraspol. We have so many monuments of Lenin, and other people whose names I don’t know. Other than that, there’s nothing crazy different here. It’s the same as other cities in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. We don’t have any malls or any MacDonald’s. I think we don’t have any MacDonald’s because it’s a franchise, and we’re not internationally recognised as a country. My child wants to go to MacDonald’s! I promised him, we’re going to Moscow in May and we will go to one. He even sings the song from the commercial. He wants the Happy Meal, because there’s a toy inside.

Transnistria is a beautiful place. There is a nice climate; it doesn’t really snow in winter, and it’s really warm in Summer, so you can spend your weekends on the Dniester, and swim and get a tan! The countryside is really beautiful, too.

Is it easy for people from Transnistria to travel?

“If you only have Transnistrian citizenship, that means you only have an ID, not a passport. So you cannot go abroad. You can go to the rest of Moldova, but you can’t even cross the customs into Ukraine.”

See Anya's Full Answer

You see, our country is this type of country where it’s not internationally recognized. So our people have either Ukrainian, Russian or Moldovan citizenship, or even all three. It’s illegal to have all three, but some still have that. So you can travel if you have any of those citizenships. If you only have Transnistrian citizenship, that means you only have an ID, not a passport. So you cannot go abroad. You can go to the rest of Moldova, but you can’t even cross the customs into Ukraine. Practically, we’re a part of Moldova, so you can visit Moldova from Transnistria with just a Transnistrian ID.

Transnistria is a tiny, unrecognised country with it’s own currency. How does that work?

I’m paid in Transnistrian rubles, which isn’t much of a problem; I can buy Moldovan money here in our banks, as well as dollars or Euros, or any other money. But, if you cross the border with our money, you won’t be able to exchange it anywhere.”

See Anya's Full Answer

It’s pretty stable compared to Russian or Moldovan money. When the price of the dollar has risen in other places, it has stayed the same in our country for about 6 months before it reacts, maybe even a year. It takes a while for our currency to change here. The currency is held here, and it isn’t tied to any foreign currencies. I think our government decides whether to inflate the currency or not. When the cost of the dollar went up in Russia and Ukraine and so on, it stayed the same here just as it was for the past year. It was really nice; we could buy dollars here and then go to Chișinău and get more things than we could have at home. 

I’m paid in Transnistrian rubles, which isn’t much of a problem; I can buy Moldovan money here in our banks, as well as dollars or Euros, or any other money. But, if you cross the border with our money, you won’t be able to exchange it anywhere. When I used to study in Moldova, the bus station where I used to take the bus to and from Tiraspol accepted our rubles, but I think they’ve stopped doing that now. They only accept Leu. 

Transnistrian Coins
Is there a lot of tension between people from Moldova and people from Transnistria?

“Some people do not like Moldova. In fact, they hate them because of the war that took place here in 1992.”

See Anya's Full Answer

Some people do not like Moldova. In fact, they hate them because of the war that took place here in 1992. Honestly, I was born in Moldova, so I cannot say that I hate the country. It did not do anything wrong, first of all. I think the whole situation is stupid. Most of the people in our country, Transnistria, love Russia. But honestly, we don’t even have a common border with Russia. How can we be a part of Russia? We’re not even situated close to it, like Crimea. We’re so far away. Many other small countries that broke from bigger countries are recognized already. But in our situation, we are not recognized, and nobody knows how much more time we need for that to happen.

Why do you think there has been such a fierce desire for Transnistrian independence?

“…back when the Soviet Union collapsed, and Moldova became an independent country, there were a lot of people who didn’t like Russians… In Transnistria there are more Russians than Moldovans and Ukrainians, and they don’t want… this Moldovan nationalism to take place here as well.”

See Anya's Full Answer

One of the reasons I think is because back when the Soviet Union collapsed, and Moldova became an independent country, there were a lot of people who didn’t like Russians. I don’t know why, because Moldova used to be an agricultural country, and they didn’t even have doctors, teachers or builders. The Soviet Union sent workers from Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Georgia and many other countries, who then built schools, factories, hospitals and everything else. But for some reason Moldova became very anti-Russian. Moldovans would go outside to get in fights with Russian people and tell them to “go back home to Russia”. In Transnistria there are more Russians than Moldovans and Ukrainians, and they don’t want the same thing happening. They didn’t want this Moldovan nationalism to take place here as well. I don’t know all the other reasons, but I think that’s one thing. 

Do you think Transnistria will ever be internationally recognised as an independent state?

“Don’t you think that if someone really wanted our country to be recognized, it would have happened many years ago? Like with Crimea, they wanted to be a part of Russia, so they became a part of Russia within several days. It’s taken already more than 25 years for Transnistria…”

See Anya's Full Answer

Don’t you think that if someone really wanted our country to be recognized, it would have happened many years ago? Like with Crimea, they wanted to be a part of Russia, so they became a part of Russia within several days. It’s taken already more than 25 years for Transnistria to become a recognised country. It could happen as a part of the Russian Federation or a separate state.

I wouldn’t say that I love Moldova or Russia. I honestly don’t care either way. I work here. I live here. My family is here. I just stick with everything that goes on here. I don’t care if we’ll be a part of Moldova or a part of Russia, I’m not that interested in that. All I care about is my salary, how to pay the bills and how to feed my children.

If it’s never recognised, do you think Transnistria could ever reunify with the rest of Moldova?

I think the majority of people here would not be ok with reunification… The only way for Transnistria to reunify with Moldova without having an armed conflict is for it to become an autonomy in the territory of Moldova.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I honestly think it depends on the government. It doesn’t depend on the people. If there is a different government, or if right now the President and the Parliament decided to reunify, then it will happen. In the UK, does anyone ask people want to do and what they don’t want to do? They just make decisions and that’s it (I couldn’t help but think of Brexit when Anya mentioned that). We have people that go out and ask the opinions of regular people, but I think that’s just for the papers. I think the majority of people here would not be ok with reunification, though. The only way for Transnistria to reunify with Moldova without having an armed conflict is for Transnistria to become an autonomy in the territory of Moldova. They would have to let us have the money, our own government and president who would then be underneath the Moldovan government. Gagauzia is an autonomy like that.

Right now, at this very moment, the Moldovan government is not interested in Transnistria I think. Haven’t you heard what’s happening? In Moldova, there is a huge businessman called Vlad Blahotniuc who owns almost everything in the country. He put his own people into leading positions in government. So pretty much whatever he wanted, he got. Whatever he wanted to happen in Moldova, it happened. But right now, there is a coalition between two totally different groups; this is honestly a historic moment, and I’m pretty sure it will never happen again. One group is the socialist party of Moldova, which is against the European Union, and want to be friendly with Russia. The other group is the one that wants to become a part of Romania and wants to join the European Union. But those two groups came together to fight this businessman. They’re working together right now. The parliament had a meeting behind closed doors, and they removed all the people who were put in place by that Vlad Blahotniuc. The leading party of the country was basically owned by Blahotniuc, but these two groups removed them from their positions. They made a new parliament consisting of the Socialist party and the other Pro-EU party. So they have bigger problems at the moment, and they are not thinking of Transnistria at all right now. They’re just thinking of how to run their country.

How independent is Transnistria?

“We have a president… who is elected by the people and many ministers. We have a parliament, but it has a different name which I don’t really know in English. It’s something like ‘Supreme Council’, or “Supreme Soviet’… Our economy is completely separate. We have another type of money, the Transnistrian Ruble and our own flag.”

See Anya's Full Answer

We have a president , currently Vadim Krasnoselsky, who is elected by the people and many ministers. We have a parliament, but it has a different name which I don’t really know in English. It’s something like “Supreme Council”, or “Supreme Soviet”, and is one of the many buildings here with a statue of Lenin outside. Of course, it’s Transnistria, so there are Lenin statues everywhere. Our economy is completely separate. We have another type of money, the Transnistrian Ruble and our own flag.

The green in our flag is because there’s a lot of fruit trees here, and because our economy is a lot to do with agriculture, and the red relates to communism. The hammer and sickle is the sign of communism, and it represents hard work. The sickle is used when you cut the grass when you’re working in the fields, so that’s for those who work in agriculture – there are many villages where the people work on farms – and the hammer is for those who work in a factory or in construction. So that’s most of the workforce back in the Soviet Union. They had many factories, and produced everything on their own because they never brought anything from abroad. It’s the only place in the world where the hammer and sickle is still on the flag.

Transnistrian Flag

Why is Transnistria the only country in the world that still uses Moldovan as a language?

In Chișinău, Moldova, they speak Romanian. But in Transnistria, they speak Moldovan. The difference is in the letters; the Romanian language is written with latin letters, while Moldovan is written with Russian letters.”

See Anya's Full Answer

In Chișinău, Moldova, they speak Romanian. But in Transnistria, they speak Moldovan. The difference is in the letters; the Romanian language is written with latin letters, while Moldovan is written with Russian letters. But it sounds more like Italian or Spanish than Russian. Moldovan is a really old language. Back in the day, Moldovans didn’t know how to write, and Moldovan was only a spoken language. Then, a guy who’s name I forget went to Russia and worked there as an ambassador of sorts hundreds of years ago, and he brought the Russian alphabet back with him when he returned to Moldova. So that’s how it began to be written with Russian letters. But then Romania appeared, and they started speaking the same language, but the difference was that because of the Roman influence over Europe, they wrote with Latin letters. So right now at this very moment, Transnistria is the only country in the whole world that officially kept the Moldovan language. It’s pretty much dead everywhere else. There are also some differences in pronunciations, and there are different words for blue, grey and a few others. So Moldovan language is like the parent of the Romanian language. I can write the Moldovan language, but it’s difficult for me. It doesn’t make much sense. In my head they are two separate things; one is the Moldovan language and the other is the Russian alphabet. I find it hard to combine them. 

Not only Russians, Moldovans and Ukrainains live in Transnistria, but we also have several Bulgarian villages where people speak Bulgarian, and we also have Gagauzians. So our language now is almost a mixture of all of them, because you can just pick a word in one of the languages and everyone will understand you. 

Do you think people are better off in Moldova or in Transnistria?

“I don’t think it’s better here or worse there. I think we have pretty much the same quality of life. It’s just that the Moldovan economy, education and medicine get a lot of sponsorship from the European Union, so they are developing more, while Transnistria is developing really, really slowly.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I don’t think it’s better here or worse there. I think we have pretty much the same quality of life. It’s just that the Moldovan economy, education and medicine get a lot of sponsorship from the European Union, so they are developing more, while Transnistria is developing really, really slowly. We get money coming in from Russia, and Russia builds new hospitals because the older ones are in such bad conditions, and send us medical technology like ultrasound machines. 

But let me add to that. Have you ever been to Russia? No. You’ve never been to the smaller towns in Russia, and you haven’t seen how people live there, and their schools and hospitals. They’re awful. Some of these villages don’t even have electricity or gas. But still they provide technology and money to Transnistria. They should be looking after their own villages and small towns that are struggling, instead of sending money to Transnistria for political reasons. 

Does the culture here differ much from that of Moldova?

“I think the mentality of people is just a little bit different. They are more European now. But in here, it’s a mix between Russian mentality and the mentality from the old days in the Soviet Union.”

See Anya's Full Answer

You see, in our country there are three populations; Russians, Moldovans, and Ukrainians. So we all are friendly together. Of course in Moldova, there is a slightly different culture. I think the mentality of people is just a little bit different. They are more European now. But in here, it’s a mix between Russian mentality and the mentality from the old days in the Soviet Union. You can’t say that we’re very different, because in Moldovan there are also Russians and Ukrainians who live there, along with many other populations. We drink as much wine as Moldovans, and as much vodka as Russians!

What do people from Transnistria think of the European Union?

“I don’t think anyone likes the European Union here. I think the majority of the people here want to be a part of the Russian Federation… I think the ones who miss the Soviet Union are the people who do not want to change in their lives.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I don’t think anyone likes the European Union here. I think the majority of the people here want to be a part of the Russian Federation. You know what I think? I think the ones who miss the Soviet Union are the people who do not want to change in their lives. You know how it was in the Soviet Union; they had everything equal. The same furniture in all the apartments, people were wearing the same clothes. They looked like twins! Towns full of multiple twins. Maybe some people like that. But for me, personally, it’s not the best way of life. I’d rather work harder, get paid more, form my own plan for my life, and know that I’m able to do whatever I want as long as it’s within my power. I can go anywhere. Nobody will tell me I’m not allowed to go the United States because we have problems with them. I can go where I want to go, and I can study what I want to study. So I think it’s better now than it was in the Soviet Union. But that’s just me as a younger person. Of course older people preferred the Soviet Union; pensions are small now, and many people don’t have enough money to survive.

Can you think of a time you have been proud of Transnistria?

“I’m proud of the population of Transnistria for really believing in what they want. They’re moving towards their goal. They really believe they will be a part of Russia someday, and they are pushing for that.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I’m proud of the population of Transnistria for really believing in what they want. They’re moving towards their goal. They really believe they will be a part of Russia someday, and they are pushing for that. They are hoping that one day, this day will come, and they have never given up on that idea. That’s the only thing I can think of, because we don’t have anything really fantastic in our country.

What is your main concern or worry about Transnistria?

I’m really worried about the situation with Ukraine. I’m really worried that a war will happen, and I really don’t want that to happen. That will have a big impact here.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I’m really worried about the situation with Ukraine. I’m really worried that a war will happen, and I really don’t want that to happen. That will have a big impact here. We’re a really small country, and Ukraine is friendly with the United States and the European Union, and of course they would be armed better than our country. Look around you, we don’t even have normal soldiers here. They don’t even have this physical training. They are supposed to, but they just drink, eat, sleep, watch TV and play video games. I honestly don’t think they the physical training they are supposed to.

Many outsiders think Transnistria is still communist. Is that true?

“In villages, they grew vegetables and fruits, and it was common to share the income from selling those fruits and vegetables equally with everyone. That’s not the same anymore. Nobody thinks about anyone else any more, they just think about themselves.”

See Anya's Full Answer

The ruling party right now is not communist. But the way of living might be a little. But what was the point of communism? For everything to be equal. They shared everything. In villages, they grew vegetables and fruits, and it was common to share the income from selling those fruits and vegetables equally with everyone. That’s not the same anymore. Now, as much as you work, that’s how much you get paid. So we are not communist anymore. Nobody thinks about anyone else any more, they just think about themselves.

Is corruption a big problem here?

“I’ve heard of corruption here, but it’s not like I’ve faced it. I’ve never had problems with it; never had to bribe anyone in my life.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I’ve heard of corruption here, but it’s not like I’ve faced it. I’ve never had problems with it; never had to bribe anyone in my life. I only got what I deserved, and whenever I needed to do something, I go and do it legally. I hear on TV that someone took a bribe here and there. But I’ve never faced anything like that.

There are certain things that happen, but they happen in every country. There are secrets that people aren’t supposed to find out about, and there are special services to protect those secrets.

I am 90% sure that nothing illegal happens in our elections. It’s a really small country; you talk to your friends and relatives, and you know who they are voting for. You go to the elections and you vote for your choice, and then you hear who’s elected and can compare what you’ve heard from your friends. It would be easy to hide something, because nobody would ever be that interested on the international level. 

But, did you know our ex-president has run away to Russia, and he was sentenced to 16 years in jail? He is hiding there now. He wasn’t even at the court when he was sentenced. They found a lot of corruption that traced back to him, and many things that he did wrong. He’s now just travelling around Russia, going to Moscow and St. Petersburg, taking pictures of himself and posting them on social media. It’s like he’s rubbing it in to people here. From his social media you’d never guess he’s supposed to be in jail. If he came back he’d be arrested. And do you really think it’s impossible for Russia to catch him? I think the special services would have caught him a really long time ago, and they would have brought him here.

I’m not sure if it’s the correct information, and if what we were told is exactly what happened. We were told he did a lot of illegal things. It happens sometimes in smaller countries that when a new president is elected the previous one goes to jail because he said he did something wrong. He got 16 years in prison, which means he must have done something really bad. When you kill someone, you get 7. I haven’t really looked into it too much, but I heard he had these smaller companies that he was in charge of, but he wasn’t officially the owner. So he would transfer governmental funds to those companies for things like construction projects and would take a big chunk of it.

Are people able to freely and publicly express themselves here?

“If you go outside and scream, you’re free to scream whatever you want. But no one can guarantee that you won’t go to jail after that.”

See Anya's Full Answer

If you go outside and scream, you’re free to scream whatever you want. But no one can guarantee that you won’t go to jail after that. I’ve heard several cases about this website; it’s like Facebook but a Russian version. I heard about a couple of cases where people posted something critical about our president or any members of our government. One of them I know for sure is in jail now.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen here in Transnistria?

“7 years ago, people used to drive cars from the 1990s. Now, they drive cars from 2010 and higher. So I’m assuming people are living better now.”

See Anya's Full Answer

I’ve only lived here for 7 years. But 7 years ago, people used to drive cars from the 1990s. Now, they drive cars from 2010 and higher. So I’m assuming people are living better now. Somehow, even though we still have all those buildings that are from the Soviet Union, still our government is doing something to change the face of Transnistria, and it’s capital, Transnistria.

I think people are happy here. I may be wrong, but I think if you have money and health, you have happiness. The people who work have the money to see the world, to travel, dress well and have fun. Mostly people work here. I look around, and people have such nice cars here. They’re not cheap, they are really expensive, so the people who have those cars have money. I’m happy, but I’m not quite as happy as the person who drives a Lexus.

What food should I try to get a “taste of Moldova”?

Have you tried those things that are like Tortillas with stuff inside? It’s called Placinte.

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Anya Golomoz


The Plate: Placinte

“Though Transnistria may be independent from Moldova in economy, national identity and politics, the two will remain forever married in the world of food. Moldova doesn’t exactly boast diversity in it’s national cuisine, so what it does have can be found pretty much everywhere, and I’d eaten Placinte what felt like every other day during my cycle to the country’s Southern border with Romania.”

Read More About Placinte

Though Transnistria may be independent from Moldova in economy, national identity and politics, the two will remain forever married in the world of food, and neither offers a dish that can’t be found in the other. Moldova doesn’t exactly boast diversity in it’s national cuisine, so what it does have can be found pretty much everywhere, and I’d eaten Placinte what felt like every other day during my cycle to the country’s Southern border with Romania.

Handheld and contained within a golden parcel of crust that opens into fissures with each bite, releasing straggling flakes that clung to my hands and clothes long after I’d finished, it was a perfect refuelling option that powered me through frigid afternoons. That crisp shell stands in stark contrast to it’s filling; a potato centre so soft it’s almost oozing, and risks spilling out if you over-tighten your grip.

While it’s ideal for snacking during a pitstop, Placinte never satiated my desire for a “real meal”, and served only to give me a boost until I could find one. Starch with more starch, it’s supplemented with enough grease that it can become a little sickly towards the end. Though mine concealed potato within, it’s prevalence and variety reminded me of that of Polish pierogi, with options ranging from the sweet to the savoury, and from meat fillings to fruit ones.

Their simplicity reflected the aesthetic of the world I’d entered when I crossed the border from Ukraine, but with its flavour persistent and unwavering no matter how tiresome it becomes, Placinte didn’t knock me off my feet – or wheels. Though it did provide an opportunity to load up on carbohydrates before a big day, and acted a source of warmth when the snow and ice became too much to take.

Placinte


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Attempting to cycle from Tromsø in Northern Norway to Baku, Azerbaijan while interviewing locals en route. Despite my chequered history with bikes, here’s to me returning home with an intact facial structure and at least as many body parts as I left with.

2 Comments

  • Hilda

    What a conundrum of a country – absolutely fascinating reading. You may not have been that enthused with Placinte, but it sounds right up my street.

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