- 13 December 2016
- From the section Europe
The separatist region of Trans-Dniester - a narrow strip of land between the Dniester river and the Ukrainian border - broke away from Moldova after a brief war in 1992.
The international community does not recognise its self-declared statehood, and the de facto government, which remains in a tense stand-off with Moldova, is economically, politically and militarily supported by Russia.
A referendum on independence in September 2006, not recognised by Moldova or the international community, saw the territory reassert its demand for independence and vote in support of ensuing a union with Russia.
Status: Breakaway region of Moldova
Main city Tiraspol
Area 4,000 sq km (1,500 sq miles)
Main religion Christianity
Main languages Russian, Moldovan, Ukrainian
Currency Trans-Dniester rouble
Outgoing president: Yevgeny Shevchuk
Yevgeny Shevchuk surprised many when he derailed longtime president Igor Smirnov's quest for a fifth term in the November 2011 presidential election.
Despite leading the opinion polls in the lead -up to the December 2016 presidential election, Mr Shevchuk lost to former speaker Vadim Krasnoselsky.
President-elect: Vadim Krasnoselsky
Vadim Krasnoselsky beat incumbent president Yevgeny Shevchenko in the December 2016 elections with 62% of the popular vote.
During his election campaign, Mr Krasnoselsky said he saw no point in Western-brokered talks as the region's goal was to join Russia, not to reintegrate with Moldova.
He later softened his stance however, suggesting the Dniester region would pursue an "evolutionary" accession to Russia..
A former speaker of the region's parliament, he enjoys the support of the opposition Renewal party, which in 2016 entered into a partner relationship with the Moscow-based United Russia party.
He served as the de facto government's interior minister from 2007 to 2012. He then left politics, returning as a member of parliament in 2015.
The separatist authorities exercise tight control over the media. Many outlets are owned either directly by the region's government or by business groups with close links to the authorities.
Western governments and media freedom groups say anti-government outlets face serious restrictions, adding that journalists often self-censor. These claims are denied by officials.