Capital : Kishinev
Size: 13 000 sq m Popn: 4 458 000
The principality of Moldavia was independent from the C14th to the C16th when it became part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1861, it was joined with the neighbouring principality of Wallachia to form Romania. The eastern part, Bessarabia, under Russian rule from 1912 until it was returned to Romania in 1918. In 1940, Romania was forced to cede Bessarabia to the USSR and it joined part of the Soviet-controlled Autonomous Moldavian Republic to form the Moldavian Socialist Republic. The western part remained in Romania.
There was brutal 'sovietization' during the 1940s, with agricultural collectives, nationalization of private enterprise and an influx of Russian and Ukranian settlers. During the 1950s, there was significant urban and industrial growth. Moldavian nationalism revived under the Glasnost policy in the 1980s and there were calls for language reform and a return to the Latin alphabet instead of the Soviet-imposed Cyrillic. The Moldavian Movement in Support of Perestroika was formed in 1988 and the Moldavian Popular Front, established in 1989, persuaded the government, under Mircea Snegur, to make Moldavian the state language and reinstate Latin script. There were strikes and demonstrations by Russian speakers and the Turkish-speaking Gagauz minority campaigned for autonomy.
The conservative leader of the Moldavian Communist Party, Semyon Grossu, was dismissed in November 1989 in favour of the more liberal Pyotr Luchinsky but riots and inter-ethnic clashes grew worse and a state of emergency was declared. The MPF did well in the 1990 Moldavian supreme soviet elections despite restrictions on campaigning imposed by a ban on public meetings and a declaration of sovereignty was made in June. Unofficial breakaway republics were formed by the Trans-Dniester region and the Gagauz in south-west Moldavia but both had declared states of emergency by November. The Moldavian republic boycotted the referendum on the preservation of the USSR in March 1991. President Snegur denounced the coup against reforming Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991, but it was supported by the two breakaway republics. The MCP was banned and Modavia declared its independence, being given immediate recognition by Romania. It joined the Commonwealth of Independent States which replaced the USSR in December 1991 and was admitted to the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in January 1992. In March 1992, it joined the UN and was given diplomatic recognition by the USA.
In Trans-Dniester, there was an upsurge in fighting between Moldavian security forces and ethnic Russians and Ukranians who feared a proposed merger with Romania and Russian troops in the republic were accused of helping the Slav separatists. President Snegur allowed in an outside peace-keeping force and began talks with Russia to try to bring peace in the Trans-Dniester region and improve economic ties between the two countries. Moldavia remains separate from Romania and the two breakaway republics are still officially part of the country. It is bordered by the Moldova region of Romania.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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