Stuck in Time

The self-declared Republic of Transnistria which sits along the banks of the Dniester river in Eastern Moldova and Western Ukraine, has fought for recognition for the past 28 years. In 1990 the state declared independence from Moldova, after that country broke away from the collapsing Soviet Union. Transnistria, which had a large Russian population, hoped to form a country that could remain a part of the USSR. After a two-year war, the Moldovan government granted the country limited recognition as an "autonomous territorial unit," with some control over its economy.

Today, although it has its own government, currency, and military, Transnistria survives off loans from Russia and isn't formally recognized by the United Nations. The state seems stuck in a bygone Soviet-era; a statue of Vladimir Lenin overlooks the main parliament building, Transnistrian currency has images of Soviet generals printed on it, and the official flag still contains the hammer and sickle.

Even the people within the country seem stuck in time. Photographer Maarten Delobel documented the lives of regular people engaged in everyday activities and rituals, like shopping on a market, waiting at the busstop or suntanning at the river.