Officially, Transnistria is a part of Moldova. The narrow strip of land forms the northeastern border with Ukraine. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, the region declared independence from Moldova because it opposed the Romanianization of public life. Since the civil war in 1992 the central government has lost control over the area - a de-facto-regime was established, including an own currency, border controls, a parliament, a national anthem and citizenship. But the self-proclaimed state is not recognized by anybody - not even by Russia.
There is a huge Russian impact on political, economical and public life. Without aid from Russia the country wouldn't be able to survive. In March 2014, in the course of the Ukraine crisis and the annexation of Crimea the Transnistrian government asked to become a part of Russia. In contrast to this Moldova has put in efforts to join the European Union. The parallels to the Ukraine are obvious.
How is life in such an illusory country? While staying there I got to know a lot of people who introduced me to their everyday lives - in a state without a nation, without a history, without a sorted present and a foreseeable future.
On the one hand, my pictures display places and people that do not seem to have changed for centuries. Especially the elderly reminisce wistfullly about Soviet times, when they were part of a world power: the vanguard of one of the two great ideologies after WWII - which they had won. But on the other hand, you also see melancholy and sadness in people's faces. Especially the younger generation dreams of a more colorful and more hopeful world - of a life which allows what represents youth: rebellion, perspectives and finding yourself.