“We will always be with Russia” – Trandsnistrian president

Igor Smirnov, the president of Transdnistria, explained to RT who was behind the decision to break away from Moldova and how life's changed ever since.

“It wasn't me who made the decision [to separate from Moldova],” the president said. “The decision was made by the new form of government, by deputies of all levels – that is, by deputies at town, regional, and federal levels. It was at a time when we basically fell out of the state that was falling apart – I mean the Soviet Union – and the nationalist movements were on the rise and meeting no response either from the Soviet government or the Communist party. It was basically a matter of our survival.”

He also said that the decision was unanimous, as well as the decision to enshrine the fundamental principles in a constitution.

Those principles, he stated, are “three official languages, and a ban on any party whose platform implies superiority of any nation over any other – these things were pre-defined back then. They say that they are building democracy today, while we had it back then. We must take into account the facts of life – if the people made a decision, it must be so. And this way we'll achieve piece and harmony everywhere, including Europe, and all of the world.”

“We put an end to genocide and oppression of the Russian-speaking population here, in Moldova – not entirely, but definitely we stopped it from developing further,” Smirnov stated. “[The voters] at least started to be appealed to, especially before general elections, that's today's manner – either to buy your votes or appeal to the voters.”

Speaking on everyday life in Transdnistria, Smirnov said that of course they live in difficult circumstances, but all is relative.

“There's no way I'll say we are having a wonderful life here,” he claimed. “Try it out for yourself, living here, when you get a blockade every year and our natural right for trading is oppressed and thus cannot develop freely, when you get your bank accounts shut off, and charges laid against you that you're smuggling weapons – thank God, they've worked for 3 years now, for 4 years now in Ukraine – and they've confirmed that there is no ‘black hole’ here, nothing is smuggled, there is no traffic, and it's a normal border operated by normal people, and normal people live here.”

During the interview Smirnov also rejected accusations about crime skyrocketing in the region and gave his view on people’s death during the secession and relations with Russia.

“You can say we’re small if there’s a big country that wants to swallow us,” he claimed. “But they can’t swallow Russia. And we will always be with Russia. Why do you think we will be on our own? We trade with Russia, we trade with Ukraine, and we have seven to 10 other countries that we have economic ties with.”

“We will never bow to Moldova’s demands and become a discriminated part of Moldova,” the president concluded.