An aided economy: the characteristics of the Transnistrian economic model

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Series Details No.108 (14.05.13)
Publication Date May 2013
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The economy of breakaway Transnistria is a peculiar combination of the command-and-distribution model inherited from the USSR with elements of a free-market economy which is heavily dependent on Russian energy and financial subsidies. The main pillars of the region’s economy are several large industrial plants, built in the Soviet era, which generate more than half of its GDP (in 2012, Transnistria’s GDP reached around US$1 billion).

As a consequence, the condition of each of these companies, whose production is almost exclusively export- -oriented, has a huge impact on the economic situation in Transnistria. This makes the region extremely sensitive to any changes in the economic situation of its key trade partners. This problem is additionally aggravated by the extremely low diversification of Transnistrian exports. The only major economic entity in Transnistria which regularly yields profits and is not so heavily dependent on the external situation is Sheriff. This corporation controls the greater part of the local wholesale and retail trade, as well as a major part of the services sector on the domestic market.

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