Moldova: Independence, Unification, Disintegration?

By King, Charles | Contemporary Review, June 1993 | Go to article overview

Moldova: Independence, Unification, Disintegration?


King, Charles, Contemporary Review


THE failed Moscow coup of August 1991 provided the opportunity for the fifteen 'union republics' of the USSR to declare their independence and to set about the task of creating their own independent state structures. Soviet ideologues were always fond of discovering the dialectical moments in history, and the disintegration of the USSR provided the final dialectical irony in the Soviet system itself: the demise of the world's oldest Communist regime allowed the birth of the world's newest republics -- Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine and others. Most of these new states were unfamiliar to persons outside the field of Soviet studies; even 'Sovietologists' themselves paid far less attention to the events in the non-Russian republics than to the machinations of the Communist party leadership in the Kremlin.

Of all the former Soviet republics, perhaps the least studied was the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic (the present Republic of Moldova), situated in the western Soviet Union on the border with Romania. Often known as 'Moldavia' in the West (an anglicised rendering of the Russian name for the republic), Moldova was distinguished from its fourteen sister republics by several features. Moldova was the smallest of the fifteen union republics, roughly the same size as Belgium. Home to just over four million inhabitants, Moldova had the highest population density of any Soviet republic, some 129 persons per square kilometre. Most of Moldova's population was concentrated in the countryside, and only four Central Asian republics had smaller proportional urban populations.

The high population density and lack of urbanisation were a strain on Moldova's health care resources. According to Soviet figures from 1989, only the Central Asian republics and Azerbaijan had higher infant mortality rates, and the life expectancy among Moldova's rural population (67.6 years) was the second lowest in the USSR. Hence, despite its position on the western border of the Soviet Union, Moldova bore more resemblance to the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus than to the more developed Ukraine, Belorussia and Baltic republics.

Of all its exceptional features, the most important was Moldova's relationship to Romania. The area of the Republic of Moldova situated between the Prut and Dnestr rivers was a part of the Kingdom of Romania between the two world wars. The interfluvial region, known as 'Bessarabia', had been a part of the Russian empire since 1806, when Russian troops occupied the area then under Ottoman control. In the wake of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the region's ethnic Romanian majority elected to join the interfluve to Romania; in December 1918, following Romania's acquisition of ethnic Romanian lands formerly held by Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary and Russia, the creation of a 'Greater Romanian' state was declared. Unfortunately for the Romanians, however, the incorporation of Bessarabia into Greater Romania was recognised by neither the Western powers nor the new Soviet regime.

In June 1940, Greater Romania came to a tragic end. Encouraged by the German hands-off policy on Bessarabia proclaimed in the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop protocols, Stalin issued an ultimatum to the Romanian king demanding the immediate cession of Bessarabia and other territories. The Romanians had little choice but to accede to the demand. By the end of the month, Red Army troops had crossed the Dnestr river into Bessarabia. Shortly thereafter, the Bessarabian lands were carved up, with portions in the north and the south going to Ukraine, while the remainder was united with a strip of land east of the Dnestr (a region known as 'Transnistria') to form the 'Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic'.

After the annexation, Communist party cadres set about shoring up Soviet control over Bessarabia. In addition to the mass deportation of ethnic Romanians and the influx of ethnic Slavs into the republic, a major element of this effort was the stress on the existence of a 'Moldovan' language and ethnicity separate from Romanian. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Moldova: Independence, Unification, Disintegration?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.