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Last Updated: Friday, 2 September 2005, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Trans-Dniester alone for 15 years
By Helen Fawkes
BBC News, Tiraspol

A sign hanging to celebrate independence in Tiraspol
Tiraspol has been decked out for the 'independence' parade
The breakaway Trans-Dniester region is to mark the 15th anniversary of its self-proclaimed independence from the former Soviet Republic of Moldavia.

Officially Trans-Dniester remains part of what is now Moldova, but Russian peacekeepers have guarded the borders since a civil war in the early 1990s.

Soldiers and tanks are expected to sweep through the capital, Tiraspol, in a Soviet-style military parade.

But 15 years on, the breakaway republic is not recognised internationally.

Sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova, there is growing concern in the West about this separatist state.

It is home to one of the largest stockpiles of weapons in Europe, left behind by the Red Army.

TRANS-DNIESTER REGION
Map of Moldova
Largely Russian and Ukrainian-speaking
Declared independence in 1990
Not recognised internationally
Separatist capital is Tiraspol
Population under a million
1,400 Russian troops established in Trans-Dniester
Analysts claim that the region is a smugglers paradise and that people and weapons are being trafficked.

Attempts to bring peace to the region have so far failed.

As part of the latest plan Trans-Dniester is to hold parliamentary elections in December, but the authorities fear there may be mass protests like the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, which led to the opposition leader coming to power.

In a speech ahead of the anniversary the president of the breakaway republic, Igor Smirnov, said that foreign funding of political parties would be banned like in Belarus.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Moldova
06 Jul 04 |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Trans-Dniester
22 May 05 |  Country profiles
OSCE condemns orphan evictions
28 Jul 04 |  Europe
Peace talks restart on Moldova
24 Feb 04 |  Europe


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