“Today” is a world full of tension in Transnistria, a semi-autonomous region in eastern Moldova. For over 25 years, the country has led a brittle existence. Once independent, Transnistrians were made believe economic prosperity would follow. But it never did. In fact, Transnistria has remained exactly what it was: the poorest region of the poorest country in Europe. It is not hard to guess where the unilaterally declared independence has led to: a massive emigration.And yet, as I have seen it on my visits to the country, Transnistria’s today is not a void.

Today is the time of youngsters. They long for life. Their today is forever hopeful, yet rooted. When talking with young Transnistrians and their parents, mostly simple curiosity was enough to establish contact. Interest was met with cordiality and warmth that made me wonder about their resilience.

But tomorrow might be another country. Youngsters get glimpses on the Internet and in stories of their family members who have made home in Italy, Germany or elsewhere. At the same time, on the verge of existence, the families who stay live with a strong community feeling. They take well care of each other, because little can be expected from the state. For youngsters an unavoidable internal confict arises: Should I stay or should I go?

I look at the pictures I have done up to now. I wonder. Dilapidated houses. The intense colors. An excited disco night. Folk dance in the House of Culture. A military event. An empty busstop. My feelings are contradictory but the images are clear. I am by far not done yet. I will need to return again.


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