March 2009: Contraband

Editorial – Contraband

Traders, Transnistria and unexpected contraband goods. This months Plotki brings to you a selection of rumours on Contraband.
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In the backyard: Moldova and the EU

For many inhabitants of tiny Moldova, the enlargement of the EU has affected social and economic realities. This essay looks beyond visa regulations and border policies in order to find out how local inhabitants deal with the “Fortress Europe” in their everyday life.
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Hotel Maria

“Vodka, Papirosi!” the woman whispers and allows a glimpse into the plastic bag brimming full with packs of Malboro and Monte Carlo cigarettes… A photo essay about Ukrainian traders in Poland.

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Valuska

Valuska travels with the memory of his contraband, until he is told to go see the whale carcass parked in the center of town. Is he trapped in his remembering of small-time smuggling, or is the whale the forgetting he has been waiting for?

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Smuggler At Europe’s Door

There is not only illicit merchandise that one can smuggle over a border – thoughts, prejudice, ideas and fears, ways of living and judging are all easy to hide in your luggage, but sooner or later they will do their part of damage.

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The Eastern European “Macondo” or how to sell a Kidney

My young unemployed neighbor is a very optimistic guy. As a teenager he used to paint huge canvases, to sing Pink Floyd’s songs and to hang out all night long. Now the only thing he is doing is to hang out (or at least that’s what I observe). He can’t stand his cold, dark and ugly attic. I heard he wants to sell one of his kidneys for good money. Continue reading

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Nothing quiet on the eastern front

All you ever wanted to know about the contraband that one wouldn’t find in Transnistria, the renegade republic at the far end of the Europe.

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