Former Soviet Socialist Republic, Moldova constitutes an independent Republic (Republic of Moldova) within the Community of Independent States (CIS), born from the dissolution of the USSR. The town covers an area of 33,700 km 2 and at the 1989 census it counted 4,335,360 residents (of which 64.5% Moldovans, 13.9% Ukrainians, 13% Russians, 3.5% Gagauzi, 2% Bulgarians and 1.5% Jews). The capital, Kišinev, counted 665,000 residents in 1989. Other important cities are: Tiraspol ‘(182,000 residents), Belcy (159,000 residents), Bendery (130,000 residents).
According to Countries Please, the country’s economy is based on agriculture and related industries. In 1990 the cultivated area was equal to 2.9 million ha. Also in the same year, according to official estimates, Moldova produced 25% of the fruit and vegetables produced in total by the countries of the former USSR, 23% of the tobacco and 10% of the meat. Viticulture has assumed a certain importance in recent decades and currently the export of wines constitutes an important source of valuable currency.
The degree of industrialization is moderate: mainly the food, tobacco, textile and chemical sectors are active.
The overall development of the railway network is 1150 km; the road network measures 20,100 km (of which 14,000 are asphalted).
Since its establishment (1940) the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was subjected by Moscow to a profound process of Russification, aimed at severing its cultural and historical ties with Romania. The Cyrillic alphabet was introduced, favored the immigration of Russians and Ukrainians, while part of the population of Romanian origin was deported to Central Asia. With the advent of Moldova Gorbačëv, opposition groups also began to emerge in the Moldavian Republic, demanding the suspension of immigration policy, the restoration of the Latin alphabet, the recognition of Romanian as an official language. These groups gave life in May 1989 to the Popular Front of Moldova, whose first public release was, in June, a demonstration of dissent on the occasion of the anniversary of the annexation of Bessarabia (1940). The Front’s requests aroused strong opposition from the Russian, Ukrainian (resident in the area east of Dnestr, Transdnestr) and Gagauz (Christian Orthodox Turks), who organized themselves to counter the influence of nationalists in the government and in the party. However, this influence increased after the resignation of the secretary of the Moldovan Communist Party and his replacement (November 1989) by P. Luchinsky, a young reformer of Romanian origin more in tune with Gorbachev’s policy. This trend was confirmed in the elections for the Moldovan Supreme Soviet, held on February 25, 1990, without the official participation of the opposition, which recorded the overwhelming success of the candidates supported by the Front.
The new government launched a series of liberalizing measures, such as the transfer from the party to the state of control of the media or the elimination of the privileges granted to the Communist Party, up to the declaration of sovereignty of the Moldova, which took the name of the Socialist Republic. di Moldova (June 23, 1990) and to the denunciation of the illegality of the annexation of Bessarabia. These choices provoked a further tightening of relations with minorities and on 25 August the Gagauz Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed in the southern part of the country, while on 2 September the Dnestr Soviet Socialist Republic was established. Both declarations of independence were nullified by the Moldovan Supreme Soviet, and inter-ethnic tensions grew until it resulted in clashes and violence.
The divergence of positions also emerged on the occasion of the referendum for the Union proposed by Gorbačëv among the new Republics. The referendum (held on March 17, 1991) was attended by Russians, Ukrainians and Gagauz, who voted in favor of maintaining the Union, while it was officially boycotted by the Moldovans. In spite of the favorable vote, Parliament accelerated the process of secession from the Union through the direct assumption of control of the companies, the creation of a central bank independent from that of the USSR and the establishment of a national guard (carabinieri).) and prevailed, after the full support given to B. El’zin during the failed coup attempt in August, with the proclamation of independence (27 August 1991).
The new republic immediately took control of the border with Romania, established a border with Ukraine and finally joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), although in January 1993 it refused closer economic and political integration.
However, the issue of minorities did not find an easy solution, also due to the emergence, after the fall of the communist regime in Romania, of a tendency within the Front in favor of reunification with Romania itself, which materialized in December in the constitution of the Council national for reunification. In March 1992, a state of emergency was proclaimed due to the continuing clashes between the Moldovan police and the Russian-speaking population, which culminated in violence in the city of Bendery in June that resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of refugees. The situation was further complicated by the presence of Russian troops (as Russia had supported the independence of Transdnestr, in Moldovan territory).