Transnistria is a breakaway territory from the country of Moldova. It stretches from north to south along the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border near Ukraine. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, independence was declared in 1990. In 1992 the tensions escalated into war. During that year, this portion of land separated from the country of Moldova and proclaimed its independence. It became known as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) or Pridnestrovie. The territory of Pridnestrovie (1,607 square miles) is a little smaller than the land area of Rhode Island (2,000 square miles).
Pridnestrovie is an unrecognized state which claims this territory, including the city of Bendery and its surrounding localities. The republic of Moldova, as well as the United Nations, does not recognize the secession of the PMR and considers this area to still be part of the country of Moldova. Yet, as part of the agreement, a Joint Control Commission of Russia, Moldova and Transnistria supervise the security arrangements in this area, comprising 20 localities on both sides of the river.
The political status of Pridnestrovie remains unresolved, yet they consider themselves an independent state with their own government, parliament, military, police and currency. Pridnestrovie has also adopted its own constitution, flag and national anthem. Most people are citizens of Moldova, but there are also many individuals with citizenship from Russia or Ukraine. The population consists of 530,000 people. The official languages are Russian, Moldovan and Ukrainian. The capital and largest city is Tiraspol with a population of 160,000 people.
There are 23 evangelical churches and 10 home groups in the territory of Pridnestrovie. Within these churches are 1,100 members. (80% of the congregations constitute women.) Because of the lack of male leadership, many of the pastors have to serve in two or three churches.
Since 1996 Slavic Missionary Service has been active in ministry within the countries of Moldova and Pridnestrovie. Peter Korotash, a native of Pridnestrovie, has been serving with SMS in Varnitsa for 15 years. (Varnitsa is located within Moldova, outside the territory of Pridnestrovie.) Since 2002, Peter has also been the pastor of Grace Church in Bendery, where he lives with his wife Tatyana and their four children; David, Vlad, Victor and Sveta.
The Korotash Family.
Bendery is situated on the western bank of the Dneister River. It is geographically outside of Transnistria but is controlled by the PMR. It is the second largest city of Pridnestrovie with a population consisting of 130,000 people. Within this city are three evangelical churches: the Central Baptist Church, Grace Church and New Ark Church.