Breakaway celebrations

Transdniester is preparing to mark Independence Day on September 2, the 16th since the region broke away from Moldavia. Ahead of celebrations, the region’s president, Igor Smirnov, has been telling journalists in the capital, Tiraspol, of economic hardshi

Reporting from Tiraspol, Russia Today correspondent Anastasia Haydulina said Smirnov spoke of the stigma caused by the Moldavian government calling Transdniester a haven for smugglers and unstable. He looked ahead to a September 17 referendum seeking to confirm a current course towards subsequent free association status with the Russian Federation. The president said international observers were being invited to ensure the vote’s result reflected the will of the people. The republic already has its own currency, constitution, parliament, flag and emblem.