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Soviet Union Never Died in Enclave Dreaming of Putin Embrace

With the golden hammer and sickle on flags fluttering on public buildings and the monuments to Vladimir Lenin, Tiraspol doesn’t hide where its heart lies.

The city of 135,000 is the capital of Transnistria, the sliver of territory that runs along the border of Moldova and Ukraine. When the Soviet Union headed toward collapse in 1991, it wanted to remain part of the dying confederation as an independent republic, instead turning into an unrecognized breakaway patrolled by peacekeepers. As regions of Ukraine follow Crimea and agitate to return to Russian control, the people of Tiraspol are dreaming again.