Vita Litvak

evidence of unknown markers in time

silent picture show

from another world/here to stay

the day I set the sea on fire












Transnistria is a small autonomous region situated along the river Dniester, on the border of Ukraine and Moldova. In the early 90's, as the USSR was dissolving, ethnic tensions soared here, resulting in violence and Transnistria's seccesion from Moldova. Like Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it is a post-Soviet frozen conflict zone, a self-proclaimed independent state unrecognized by the rest of the world. 

Today, Transnistria's communist regime continues to print its own currency, hold elections, issue Transnistrian passports, and maintain a small armed force. The old Soviet industries and Russia's continued financial and military backing, has allowed it to survive in total international isolation for the past twenty years. Accusations of money laundering, weapons smuggling, and human trafficking have also earned Transnistria the unflattering label of "Europe's black hole". 

I was born and raised in Tiraspol, Transnistria's current capital. My family immigrated to the United States shortly after the violent civil war that raged through the region in the summer of 1992. In the fall of 2011, after a long absence, I returned to my childhood home to for a month long stay. The resulting images depict a nation full of contradictions and complexities, with tensions between the old traditions and new economic realities plainly visible on all the surfaces of daily life.