Mikhail Kalarashan – documentary photographer

The messenger on the Dniester [2018-2019]

The oars plunged hard into the muddy water of the Dniester, splitting its entrails for two seconds. Then, squeaking her wrists, she rose victoriously into the air, then plunged back into the murky, garbage-filled water. The boatman, a 70-year-old man with a sun-bleached hat and swollen eyes, is paddling quietly and jerkily.

His chest curls and unfolds under his blue shirt, like the pleated bellows of an accordion, while his gnarled, rough hands tighten his blackish shovels. "You have to have the power to handle a boat. It seems simple, but it's also quite difficult ", confesses Nea Sașa.

Passively watch the slopes of the rocky hills tucked away with towering fir trees on the left bank of the Dniester, controlled by unrecognized authorities in Tiraspol. At their feet, the houses in the village of Rascov are barely emerging from behind the plentiful willows.

After paddling about 50 meters downstream, it turns slightly to the right bank, controlled by the constitutional authorities in Chisinau. Here the landscape is different - pastures with musty grass and sluggish cows, which throw long bullets after the naughty flies that have tassels on their eyes and back. And up on the top of the hill are the houses in Vadul-Rascov, the native village of the writer Dumitru Matcovschi.

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