A tiny sliver of land on the Dniester river, Transdniestria declared its independence from Moldova in September 1990.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was on Wednesday brokering peace talks between the Moldovan president and the leader of the ex-Soviet state’s separatist Transdniestria region.
For a story on the talks, click on. Here are a few facts about Transdniestria:
* A tiny sliver of land on the Dniester river, Transdniestria declared its independence from Moldova in September 1990. The region is dominated by Slavs, who pressed for independence on fears Moldova’s Romanian-speaking majority would one day become part of Romania to the south, restoring the status quo before the Soviet Union took control in 1940. * The region’s Russian-speaking hardliners fought a brief war with Moldova in 1992 and hundreds were killed on both sides before Russian troops stopped the fighting. About 1,200 Russian soldiers remain and guard some 20,000 tonnes of Soviet-era weaponry and ammunition.
* Subsequent referendums inside Transdniestria have produced big majorities for independence and for joining Russia one day. Mediation led by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has made little progress and talks were halted in 2006. Last year rebel leader Igor Smirnov and Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin held two bilateral meetings after seven years marked by little dialogue and difficult attempts at conciliation. The meetings yielded no results.
* Transdniestria is home to 550,000 of Moldova’s 4.1 million residents and occupies one-eighth of its territory. But 40 percent of the country’s industrial might lies within it. Mostly Russian private investors own large industrial companies, which include a steel plant and hydroelectric station.
* Moldova rejected a proposal in 2003 to create a federal state and continues to offer Transdniestria broad autonomy. Smirnov insists on independence and wants Russian troops to stay, though officials say a federal solution would be acceptable.