– A village of nostalgia –
Lenina, so called in honour of Lenin, formerly Kolkhoz, is a small isolated village in Transnistria, an unrecognized country situated along the border with Moldavia and Ukraine that declared the independence in 1992.
Transnistria is a territory of about 16,000 square miles, designated for the annihilation of Jews deported from Romania by the pro-nazi government leaded by Ion Antonescu. Territorially, Transnistria was the largest killing field in the Holocaust. Many authors refer to it as “The Romanian Auschwitz”. The name of that territory was in existence until the spring of 1944, when the Soviet Army re-conquered southern Ukraine.
As Transnistria is not recognised by any country of the world, a Transnistrian passport is not valid for travel to any country in the world. As dual nationality is permitted, most people are entitled to either a Moldovan, Russian or Ukrainian passport.
The region is facing a problem of depopulation, as many young people go outside to find a job, especially to Russia or Ukraine. As the result, in rural areas like Lenina, kids grow up with grand parents (many of them have alcoholic probelms) and they meet their parents only a few times a year. According to the independent local newspaper, in Transnistria many young people – except a little percentage of pro-Transnistiria people – do not see any future in the region, they are awared of the local economical problems and they think to have more chance to find a work and better conditions of life abroad.
There are not many working people left, except the woodcutters in Lenina. Most of the parents of kids in the village are abroad. Kids themselves say they want to left the village when they get older. Lenina is an example that shows the reality of Transnistria, where people continue their ordinary life even if they are actually vanishing, as the result of losing the young generations.
We can find the same kind of problems in many rural areas of the former Soviet Union. However, the peculiarity of Transnistria lies in its identity that aims to resists against the Romanization.
Transnistria has been ethnically and culturally very Russian and it’s very different from the Romanian influenced Moldovan culture. The people of Transnistria speak Russian and 60% of residents have Russian or Ukrainian ethnicities. At the end of the day, as the population in Transnistria will become too small, it will be still possible for them to hold on their identity as either Transnistrian, or Russian or Ukrainian?