They can choose their own independent republic with free association to Russia or they can opt to reject independence and integrate with Moldova.However, the result itself is not in any real doubt. The mainly Russian-speaking population want independence and links with Moscow. Anti-aircraft gunner Vladimir Lebedev says that Transnistrians want nothing to do with threats and provocation coming from the Moldovans.
The region, also known as Pri-Dnestrovia is a sliver of land on the Ukrainian border. On paper it is part of Moldova but declared itself independent in 1992. Like that declaration, today’s referendum is not recognised by the international community. Some in Europe fear however that other so-called ‘frozen conflict’ zones such as South Ossetia will follow suite, falling under Russian control.