Defender of the Fatherland day

By Vilhelm Stokstad – Kontinent photographer Vilhelm Stokstad went to Transnistria, a small russian-friendly breakaway region in Moldova, to cover the “Defender of the Fatherland Day” on the 23rd of February. But when there he noticed that all the celebrations were cancelled or had already been done a couple of days before, during a Russian state visit.
Vilhelm decided to just walk the streets of Tiraspol, the Capital, and Benderi, a border town with Moldova, documenting the daily life.
After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between Moldova and the breakaway Transnistrian territory escalated into a military conflict that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire in July 1992. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarized zone, comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory’s political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognized but de facto independent presidential republic with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, and currency. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms.