007 in Transnistria

November 17, 2014

In the midst of writing finals, I came up with this prompt.  I’m not sure where it came from, but my AP Gov students enjoyed reading about Transnisteria and writing informed and imaginative responses.

The Bus to Transnistria

The phone rings abruptly, waking you up out of a deep sleep.  It is M.  She begins to talk in that rapid fire way that reminds you of years gone by, of London fog and the Thames.

You glance out the window.  It is sunrise.  The snow has come down overnight, quietly.  You vaguely remember that you are in Kiev, not London.  You shake the cobwebs out of you head, try to concentrate on that rapid fire Queen’s English.

“and you’re to go West, across the border towards the Dneistr… to Transnistria the breakaway region in Moldova.  We want an analysis on the region based on Collier’s work.  Do you remember Collier?”

It’s years ago, now.  A large lecture hall in Oxford.  An economics professor.  With a beard possibly, and glasses.  Waving The Bottom Billion in his hand while he lectured.   It all comes flooding back… including Jane.  But you’re thrust back into the present, now.

“We need up to date research on Transnistria.  Analyze the development traps it faces.  Make sense of that breakaway region in light of Collier’s work.  Make recommendations for its future.  Get right on it.”

The phone goes dead.  You’re left holding it and silence again fills the room. You look outside again.  It is still a cold and snowy February morning in Kiev.  The kind of morning where the dry snow will crunch like styrofoam and your breath will rise like steam above the streets of the city.

You shake your head again.  Were you dreaming?  Of Oxford? Of Jane?  Of some place called Transnistria?  But the phone in your hand tells you that you have a job to do.  You roll off the bed and your feet hit the floor hard.  Time to get the bus to Transnistria…



Brad Clarke
Dr. Clarke is the Associate Dean of Academics and History Department Chair at Gould. He loves his family, trail running, playing baseball, and his epic collection of vinyl records.

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