DNESTROVSK – This project looks at the environmental issues caused by two industrial objects which both stem from the Soviet era, Moldovan Thermal Power Plant in the self-proclaimed Transnistrian Republic in Moldova, and a granite quarry in the floodplain of the beautiful Yuzhny Bug River, in the Nikolaev district of Ukraine.

The Soviet Union, after its collapse, left the former republics that were part of it with many environmental problems, the basis for large-scale corruption and complex property issues. Both of our investigations involve facilities inherited from the USSR in both Moldova and Ukraine.

Our investigations show that old Soviet enterprises are a source of environmental pollution, corruption and mismanagement. Furthermore, solutions to these problems are complicated by russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine, which, among other things, aims to restore the Soviet Union.

In the case of the Pervomaisky granite quarry, this also includes a gang war with the murder of a man and attempts to raid the enterprise by a russian company. The journalistic investigation of the Moldovan SDPP, among other things, shows how the russian federation uses energy blackmail to put pressure on Moldova and the entire region.

Prisoners of Moldova // How Russia-occupied Transnistria makes money, Ukraine faces environmental problems, and Moldova faces energy blackmail

The investigation presents the environmental problems caused by the Moldovan Thermal Power Plant (MSDPP) located in Transnistria, a territory of the Republic of Moldova that has been under the control of the russian federation since 1992.              The thermal power plant, located on the border with Ukraine, operates without an environmental permit and without systematic control by the environmental authorities of the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, Ukrainian villages located near the MSDPP suffer from the environmental problems caused by this thermal power plant: flooding, contamination of agricultural land, air pollution due to carbon dioxide emissions that far exceed the permissible standards, and destruction of the aquatic ecosystem. An increase in the number of cancer cases due to the toxic waste from MSDPP was recorded in the Ukrainian village of Hradenytsi in the mid-2000s.                        

The refusal of the MSDPP administration to contribute to solving the environmental problems leads to excessive expenses for Ukrainian village councils. For example, the village of Kuchurhan spends one third of its local budget on maintainance of the MSDPP water pumping station to avoid flooding.

MSDPP, owned by the Russian company RAO UES, is an instrument of energy blackmailing used by Russia against the Republic of Moldova. More than 70% of Moldova's energy consumption is provided by MSDPP. The money paid by the Moldovan authorities for this energy has been used for more than 30 years to maintain the separatist region of Transnistria, which is de-facto under the Russian control.

Fighting for the fragments of a dead empire: Raider attacks on Moldovan quarries in Ukraine

The investigation focuses on the environmental problems and raider attacks on a granite quarry owned by the Republic of Moldova in Ukraine. The quarry became Moldovan property after the collapse of the Soviet Union and has been the subject of raider attacks ever since.                                                                                  

The capacity of the granite quarry in Pervomaisk (Mykolaiv region, Ukraine) is estimated at over €40 million. A former MP and pro-Russian businessman from Ukraine, as well as high-ranking officials and civil servants from Moldova, have been involved in the fight for the right to develop it. In addition, the struggle for control of the quarry 15 years ago led to the contract killing of the former director of the company that owns the quarry.

Due to legal disputes and criminal cases, the quarry's operations are blocked. For several years now, the quarry has been flooded, causing environmental concerns. The water from the quarry flows into the river, which supplies water to the neighbouring communities.                                                                                               Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine has further complicated the efforts of the Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities to resolve the problems surrounding the granite quarry in Mykolaiv region. In addition, there is still a risk of a raider attack on the enterprise.


Team members

Elena Chernyshova

Elena Chernyshova is a Ukrainian investigative journalist.

Elena Chernyshova

Mariana Raţă

Mariana Raţă is an investigative and TV journalist from Moldova.

Mariana Raţă

Ilie Gulca

Ilie Gulca is an investigative journalist at TV8, based in Chisinau, Moldova.

Vladyslav Balinskyy

Vladyslav Balinskyy (Ukraina) is a cameraman.

Vladyslav Balinskyy

Yulia Braslavskaya

Yulia Braslavskaya is a Ukranian TV journalist.


Iulia Braslavskaya journalist

Green Leaf

News and articles on the Green Leaf (GL) website have been the main source of environmental information for residents of Odesa region since its since its launch in 2017.

Green Leaf


TV8 (formerly TV7) is a nonprofit television network based in Chișinău, Moldova.

Media Alternativa - TV8

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