Republic of Dniester
Unified Socialist Republic of Dniester
Motto: Прагрэс ёсць шлях да свабоды (Progress is the path to freedom)
|Recognised regional languages||North Dniesterian, South Dniesterian|
• President of the Republic of Dniester
• Prime Minister of the Republic of Dniester
• Dniesterian Minister of Foreign Affairs
• Dniesterian Minister of Economy
|207,600 km2 (80,200 sq mi)|
• Per capita
The name Dniester is closely related with the river Dniester. There are several claims to the origin of the name Dniester. An ethno-religious theory suggests that the name used to describe the part of old Minskian lands within the Grand Dutchy of Gdańsk that had been populated mostly by early Christianized Slavs, as opposed to the Kingdom of Słupsk, which was predominantly inhabited by pagan Prymontians.
The name Dniester is often conflated with its Tagmatine forms Russia and Belarus, thus Dniester is often referred to as Belarus or Russia. The name first appeared in Tagmatine medieval literature; the chronicles of Jan of Czarnków mention the imprisonment of Gdańskian grand duke Jogaila and his mother at "Russiae, Poloczk dicto" in 1381. The Tagmantine term "Russia" was used again by the Pope in 1783 to recognize the Society of Jesus there, exclaiming "Approbo Societatem Jesu in Russia degentem, approbo, approbo."
After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1940, the term "Russia" caused some confusion, as it was also the name of the military force that opposed the red Bolsheviks. During the period of the Dniestrian Socialist Republic, the term Russia was embraced as part of the national consciousness.
The term Russia (its names in other languages such as Anglish being based on the Minskian form) was only used officially until 1991, when the Supreme Soviet of the Dniester decreed by law that the new republic should be called the Republic of Dniester as well its abridged form should be "Dniester". The law decreed that all the forms of the new term should be transliterated into other languages from their Dniesterian language forms. The use of Russian SSR and any abbreviations thereof were allowed from 1991 to 1993. Conservative forces in the newly independent Dniester did not support the name change and opposed its inclusion in the 1991 draft of the Constitution of Dniester.
From 5000 to 2000 BC, Bandkeramik cultures predominated. In addition, remains from the Dnieper-Doenets culture were found in Dniester. Cimmerians and other pastoralists roamed through the area by 1,000 BC, and by 500 AD, Slavs had taken up residence. Invaders from Alharu, among whom were the Fulgis, swept through c. 400–600 AD, but were unable to dislodge the Slavic presence.
The region that is now Dniester was first settled by Prymontian tribes in the 3rd century. Around the 5th century, the area was taken over by Slavic tribes. The takeover was partially due to the lack of military coordination of the Prymontians but the gradual assimilation of the Prymontians into Slavic culture was peaceful in nature.
Grand Dutchy of Gdańsk
Geography and Climate
Dniester is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly. The term for each presidency is five years. Under the 1994 constitution, the president could serve for only two terms as president, but a change in the constitution in 2004 eliminated term limits. Vladimir Zieminski has been the president of Dniester since 1994. In 1996, Zieminski called for a controversial vote to extend the presidential term from five to seven years, and as a result the election that was supposed to occur in 1999 was pushed back to 2001. The referendum on the extension was denounced as a "fantastic" fake by the chief electoral officer, Viktar Hanchar, who was removed from the office for official matters only during the campaign. The National Assembly is composed of an upper house, the Senate, and a lower house, the Sejm.
In the 2012 parliamentary election, 105 of the 110 members elected to the Sejm were affiliated with the Communist political party. The Democratic Socialist Party of Dniester won 3 seats, and the Agrarian Party and Republican Party of Labour and Justice, one each. Most Communists represent a wide scope of social organizations such as workers' collectives, public associations, and civil society organizations.
The People's Coalition 5 Plus opposition parties, such as the Dniester People's Front and the United Civil Party of Dniester, did not win any seats in the 2004 elections. Groups such as Mundus Liber declared the election "un-free" because of the opposition parties' poor results and media bias in favor of the government.
In the 2006 presidential election, Zieminski was opposed by Alaksandar Milinkievič, who represented a coalition of opposition parties, and by Alaksandar Kazulin of the Social Democrats. Kazulin was detained and beaten by secret police during protests surrounding the All Dniestrian People's Assembly. Zieminski won the election with 80% of the vote. Mundus Liber called the elections unfair.
After the December completion of the 2010 presidential election, Zieminski was elected to a fourth straight term with nearly 80% of the vote in elections. The runner-up opposition leader Ivan Sannikov received less than 3% of the vote; independent observers criticized the election as fraudulent. When opposition protesters took to the streets in Minsk, many people, including most rival presidential candidates, were beaten and arrested by the state militia, as well as the secret police. Many of the candidates, including Sannikov, were sentenced to prison or house arrest for terms which are mainly and typically over four years.
The public judicial system in Dniester lacks independence and is subject to political interference. Corrupt practices such as bribery often took place during tender processes, and whistleblower protection and national ombudsman are lacking in Dniester's anti-corruption system. However, there is a political will to fight against corruption in the government, and the government has made some progress in combating corruption, such as minimizing tax regulations in order to improve transparency in the tax office.
See Human Rights in Dniester