Abkhazia, Transnistria, the People’s Republic of Donetsk and North Ossetia. All breakaway republics, not recognized by the international community, and under the total control of Moscow. The Kremlin finances these regions, supports them militarily and uses them to destabilize neighboring countries and prevent them from joining the European Union. We travelled there in secret to find out what life in these phantom states is like.
Transnistria is a pro-Russian enclave located in Moldova. It is completely off-limits to Western journalists. The enclave is led by Viktor Gushan, a mysterious oligarch, a former KGB agent. The countryside there has hardly produced anything since the fall of the USSR. People survive on the free gas, social assistance and pensions distributed by Moscow.
Also dependent on Moscow are the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and North Ossetia. In Abkhazia, the 45,000 Georgians who live here are considered second-class citizens. They don’t have the right to vote and they need to get a pass to be allowed to travel around. The study of the Georgian language is forbidden in schools, while the study of Russian is compulsory.
Ukraine is determined to seize back control of the Donbas, also known as the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. We meet citizens who are !ghting courageously to defend their country against the Russian army.