Published on 18th April 2019 by

How is the relationship of Moldova and Transnistria with Russia? What happened in Moldova after a change of regime and the cooperation agreement with the EU? Are Moldova and Transnistria depending on Russia and if so, why? A documentary about Moldova, Transnistria and its relationship with Russia.

In this eight-part travel series, the Dutch journalist and author Jelle Brandt Corstius travels through Russia and visits the neighbor countries Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. What image do the Russians have of their neighbors and vice versa? What are the relations between powerful Russia and the other former Soviet republics? And how do the countries around Russia treat their Russian inhabitants? A series about propaganda and identity.

Moldova seems to stand still. There are still Soviet buildings everywhere. And since the change of regime, the streets have not been serviced. Until 2009, the Communists still had the say. Recently, a pro-European coalition is at the power, signing a cooperation agreement with the EU. Russia was not pleased about it so that no Moldavian wine could be exported anymore. Wine is one of the most important export products in Moldova. Everywhere you go, you can see vineyards.

The two largest wine cellars of the world are in Moldova. In Cricova you can find a tunnel system of 120 kilometers. During the Second World War, Jews were hidden in the wine barrels. Today you can find wine collections that belong to personalities such as Putin, Angela Merkel or John Kerry.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. No wonder that many young job seekers are leaving the countryside. The remaining Moldovans have to be satisfied with the money from abroad, even though the pressure from Russia is as big as their dependency. The oil and gas come for example mainly from Russia. Jelle visits the territory of Transnistria, which freed itself from Moldavia after a bloody war in the 1990s and now wants to join Russia.

Original title: Grensland: Mistig land (1/8)

Director: Alexander Oey and Jelle Brandt Corstius
© VPRO September 2015

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English, French and Spanish subtitles by Ericsson and co-funded by the European Union.

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