The Transnistrian Patriot
The true nature of national identity and our elemental need to bond with patriotism is questioned in the face of portraits of nationalists of a country that doesn’t exist, but whose symbols have exerted a potent enough influence to maintain a frozen conflict for 25 years. The meaning of the symbols seen in their environments, whether a picture of Putin or the hammer and sickle, are inextricably linked to each individuals associations and experiences; like the sitters we don't perceive these kind of objects as they are, we perceive them as we are.
During the split of the USSR this sliver of land at the edge of Moldova did not willingly secede but claimed independence as a Soviet Republic. Invisible on any maps outside of its borders, it remains unrecognized by any UN state. But in 1992 a bloody war was fought between Moldovans and Transnistrian separatists and now it remains caught in apparent confusion between its Soviet history, current isolation and a dream of annexation by Russia.