BUSINESS IS BUSINESS
Podcast coming soon
“It’s a normal country, not a museum!” exclaims Kira, an entrepreneur from Tiraspol. “We don’t ride through the streets on horses and we don’t spend our days staring at Lenin! For us, it’s just a part of history.”
Kira, 24, lives in a flat with standards comparable to those in Europe. The spacious living room with leather armchairs and the high-end electrical appliances in the kitchen indicate a high standard of living. Kira studied marketing and economics in Odessa (southern Ukraine) and France but wanted to return to Transnistria. “We have everything we need here and everything is much easier than in Europe. You can achieve a lot if you want to.”
At 22, Kira opened a café in the centre of Tiraspol. To start her business, she needed US$5,000, the equivalent of about three years of an average salary in Transnistria. “We received the money as a wedding present. Part of it was for our honeymoon and the rest was for the business. My husband [Alex] knew I wasn’t going to stay at home with my son. We did the decorations ourselves and now my aunt works in the café.”
Alex, 28, also runs a plastics and packaging company. His main client is Sheriff’s supermarket network and his company is registered in Moldova. “It gives him access to a much broader market. Business is business,” adds Kira.
Kira considers herself to be patriotic and speaks proudly of her family’s achievements: her grandfather, Sergey Leontiev, one of the central figures in the fight for independence, served as vice president from 2001 to 2006; her father, Oleg Leontiev, is a deputy for Renewal, the political party currently in power. Kira smiles when I ask her if she plans to get involved in politics. “I have a lot of work with my business now. Maybe in the future.”