Editorial – Contraband

This months Plotki brings to you rumours on Contraband – a clandestine cross-border practice par excellence. Plotki authors dived deep into the – certainly not borderless – heart of Europe, just to bring to the surface that the Contraband has more facets than you might expect.

The Republic of Moldova and its separatist region Transnistria are of concern for two contributors to this issue of our “monthly updated rumours”. Explore Transnistria and its capital Tiraspol on a trip with Kollektiv Fischka. Many stories have been written about the rennegade state (and many rumours about contraband are in the air indeed). However, only Vienna’s PMR-specialists can tell a story that might come close to the truth about the region. [Nothing quiet on the eastern front]

While the issue of Transistria is certainly of concern to Moldovan policiticans, citizens of the Republic might be more concerned with how to make a decent living in one of the poorest countries in Europe. Having the European Union as your neigbour does not necessarily make things easier, as we may learn from the essay [In the backyard: Moldova and the EU].

A few borders further north, an inconspicuous signpost points the way into the other, illegal world of the Polish town Przemysl. When no other sources of income are available, contraband might turn out as an option. Meet the Ukrainan traders of [Hotel Maria] in this photo-essay.

Contraband may go beyond the infringement of custom regulations and it seems that we are all under threat. Read about the cultural contraband that a young East European brought to the West in [Smuggler at Europe’s door].

The merchandise of human organs may not deliver the richness some have a vision of. In the story [The Eastern European “Macondo” or how to sell a kidney] an underground medical business claims its victim.

A very different kind of contraband is the basis for Adam Dupaski’s propose poem [Valuska]. While on a trip with the memory of contraband, being told to see the whale carcass parked in the center of town might be the least [Valuska] would have expected.

The attentive Plotki reader might have seen during the last months, that Plotki features a special set of articles at the very bottom of our page: CHANGES FROM BELOW – irresistable articles about resistance is a fine collection of stories about colourful and sometimes unexpected movements in Eastern Europe before 1989. The brandnew releases are on our page now: www.plotki.net/cfb

Plotki likes art and artists. The [Plotki Gallery] features a new photographer every month. This month: Bulgarian photographer Tzvetana Tchakarova from Amsterdam.

We hope you will enjoy this month’s Plotki issue! You may want to forward the rumours to interested people and possibly write a comment to our address: contact(at)plotki.net

Christian Binder and Felix Wolf
Plotki Editorial Board

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