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Historical Introduction

Transdniesterian deputy minister of defense looking lovingly at an Alazan missile in front of a scene from 1992 breakaway war with Moldova. J. Bendiksen 2004.

In 1940, Soviet Union continued to execute the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact concluded with Nazi Germany and threatened Romania with war, forcing it to surrender the Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia regions. These were occupied and incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia, after being merged with Moldavian ASSR that had fallen under Communist rule in 1917 already. The Soviet occupation of Bessarabia resulted in mass terror. Some 32.000 people were arrested and sent to Siberian prison camps, 8410 were executed or died in clashes with Communist forces. More than 90.000 were deported to Siberia and 200.000 perished in a 1946-47 famine deliberately induced by the Soviet regime. The deported and famine dead were replaced by immigrants from other parts of the Soviet Union. An intensive russification campaign was launched, bringing the number of Soviet immigrants to 35% of Moldavia’s population. Local culture, the Church and cultural and historical monuments fell under a threat. For example, the Communists shut down at least 200 churches. After proclaiming the independent Republic of Moldova in 1991, a war broke out with the newly settled Russian population of Transnistria and this „frozen” conflict remains unsolved.