Crime in Transnistria

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Crime in Transnistria covers criminality-related incidents in the breakaway Republic of Transnistria, still nominally part of Moldova. The police organisations of Transnistria are tasked with fighting crime in the republic.

EUBAM border controls and smuggling issues[edit]

Transnistria has a reputation of being a haven for smuggling. In 2002, the European Parliament's delegation to Moldova named Transnistria "a black hole in which illegal trade in arms, the trafficking in human beings and the laundering of criminal finance was carried on".[1] In 2005, The Wall Street Journal called Transnistria "a major haven for smuggling weapons and women".[2] However, in more recent statements, OSCE and European Union diplomats cited by Radio Free Europe called the smuggling claims "likely exaggerated".[3]

Since 30 November 2005 the European Union has had a Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) on Transnistria's borders with the United Nations Development Programme as implementing partner. In its official statements, the EU mission repeatedly confirmed an absence of any signs of weapons smuggling from Transnistria.[4]

Allegations of weapons trade[edit]

Foreign experts working on behalf of the United Nations confirm that the current situation in the region "has prevented effective small arms control and undermined reform of the security sector".[5]

In 2004, a Washington Times article claimed that a cache of surface-to-air missile launchers, and other weapons, may have disappeared from a former Soviet stockpile, and that officials were at the time unable to account for their whereabouts.[6] The OSCE and European Union officials state that there is no evidence that Transnistria has ever, at any time in the past, trafficked arms or nuclear material.[1]

Foreign experts working on behalf of the United Nations say that the historically low levels of transparency and continued denial of full investigation to international monitors has reinforced negative perceptions of the Transnistrian regime, although recent good levels of cooperation on the part of Transnistrian authorities in some areas may reflect a shift in the attitude of PMR.[7] Also it says that the evidence for the illicit production and trafficking of weapons into and from Transnistria has in the past been exaggerated, that although the trafficking of light weapons is likely to have occurred before 2001. The last year when export data showed US$900,000 worth of ‘weapons, munitions, their parts and accessories’ exported from Transnistria.

In 2006 special monitoring mission of Russia and Ukraine headed by deputy secretary of the Security Council of Russia Yuri Zubakov and deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Serhiy Pirozhkov visited Transnistria and inspected enterprises, suspected in arms production. Based on the results of the inspection Zubakov and Pirozhkov stated that there have been no signs that any of the enterprises ever produced armaments or their components.[8]

In 2013 Ukrainian Foreign Minister and Acting Chairman of the OSCE Leonid Kozhara gave an interview to El País newspaper, commenting on situation in Transnistria and results of work of the EUBAM mission. According to Kozhara, there have been no cases of arms traffic found.[9]

Antisemitic incidents[edit]

Over the past few years, there have been several minor antisemitic incidents in Transnistria.

  • 14–15 April 2001 the Synagogue of Tiraspol suffered a pipe bomb attack. The building was damaged, but the guard was not hurt.[10]
  • 13–30 March 2004 over 70 tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Tiraspol were vandalized. Local community leaders said the authorities refused to help clean up the anti-Semitic graffiti painted over the tombstones[11]
  • in May 2004, there was an attempt by a Russian neo-nazi organization to set on fire a synagogue in Tiraspol, using a Molotov Cocktail and a flammable liquid near a gas pipe.[11] The attack failed when passers-by extinguished the fire.[12]

Deadly explosions[edit]

  • in July 2006, a bomb killed eight in a Tiraspol minibus.[13]
  • in August 2006, a grenade explosion in a Tiraspol trolleybus killed two and injured ten.[14]

Certain countries, including the United States,[15] the United Kingdom,[16] Australia[17][not in citation given] and Spain[citation needed] cautions its citizens from traveling to both Moldova and Transnistria.


In April 2010 the journalist Ernest Vardanean was arrested on accusations of espionage in favour of Moldova.[18] In May 2011 Igor Smirnov signed a decree saying that Ernest can be released from the jail[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b European Parliament, "Chairman's Report—Ad Hoc Delegation to Moldova"[permanent dead link], 5–6 June 2002
  2. ^ The Wall Street Journal, "Moldova's Ruling Communists Are Leading a Swing to the West, Marc Champion in London and Alan Cullison in Moscow. 4 March 2005. pg. A.13
  3. ^ Moldova: Western Diplomats Say Reports Of Smuggling From Transdniester Likely Exaggerated - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  4. ^ EU confirms absence of weapons smuggling Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Tiraspol Times. 22 Oct., 2006. Retrieved 2007, 2-25
  5. ^ UNDP: 2006 Small arms and light weapons survey of Moldova Archived 6 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Washington Times, George Jahn: "Hotbed of Weapons Deals", 19 January 2004 Retrieved 2006, 12-24
  7. ^ UNDP: 2006 Small arms and light weapons survey of Moldova Archived 10 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine., SEESAC 1 July 2007, ISBN 86-7728-014-6
  8. ^ Moscow and Kiev improved Transnistria's Image Kommersant. 10 Feb., 2006.
  9. ^ Queremos zonas de libre comercio tanto al Este como hacia el Oeste El Pais. 4 Jun., 2013.
  10. ^ Anti-Semitic Incidents - April 2001 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1 Apr., 2001.
  11. ^ a b Briefs: Synagogue in FSU Hit with Arson Jewish Journal. 14 May 2004. Retrieved 2006, 12-24
  12. ^ Report on Global Anti-Semitism U.S. Department of State. 5 Jan., 2005. Retrieved 2006, 12-24
  13. ^ Trans-Dniester blast kills eight BBC
  14. ^ Grenade exploded in Tiraspol trolley bus
  15. ^ U.S. State Department travel warning for Moldova[dead link]
  16. ^
  17. ^ Australian Government - Travel advisories Archived 30 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ report about Vardanean case in Jurnal de Chişinău Archived 11 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Vardanyan has been released from the jail