The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldovan: Република Советикэ Сочиалистэ Молдовеняскэ or Republica Sovietică Socialistă Moldovenească; Молда́вская Сове́тская Социалисти́ческая Респу́блика Moldavskaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika), commonly abbreviated to Moldavian SSR or MSSR, was one of the former republics of the Soviet Union. In the late Soviet Union it was officially referred to as Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova.
The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was created after the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina on June 28, 1940, which occurred after an ultimatum delivered to Romania and according to the provisions of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Soviet Union and Hitler's Reich.
The old Moldavian ASSR was dismantled and the Moldavian SSR was organized on August 2, 1940 from six counties of Bessarabia and six westernmost rayons of the Moldavian ASSR (about 40% of its territory). The northern and southern regions of Bessarabia (the current eastern part of Chernivtsi oblast and Budjak), the most ethnically heterogeneous and Slavic parts, were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR, although their population also included 337,000 Moldovans. As such, the strategically important Black Sea coast and Danube frontage were given to the Ukrainian SSR, considered more reliable than the Moldavian SSR, which could have been claimed by Romania.
In the summer of 1941, Romania joined Hitler's Axis in the invasion of the Soviet Union with the declared goal to recover Bessarabia. By the end of World War II the Soviet Union re-conquered the same territory, and reconstituted the Moldavian SSR.
The collectivisation was implemented between 1946 and 1950. During this time, a large-scale famine occurred: a minimum of 115,000 peasants who died of famine and related diseases between December 1946 and August 1947. According to Charles King, there is ample evidence that it was caused by the Soviets and directed towards the largest ethnic group living in the countryside, the Moldovans. The main cause was the Soviet requisitioning of large amounts of agricultural products, but it was also favoured by a draught, the disruption by the war and the collectivisation.
Many Bessarabians who fled to Romania before the advancing Red Army were eventually caught by the Soviet security forces; a high percentage of these were shot or deported as collaborators of the Romanian and German fascists.
The Soviet authorities targeted several socio-economic groups due to their economic situation, political views, or ties to the former regime. They were deported to or resettled in Siberia; some were imprisoned or executed. Secret police struck at nationalist groups.
A de-kulakisation campaign was directed towards the rich Moldovan peasant families, which were deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia. For instance, in just two days, July 6 and July 7, 1949, over 11,342 Moldovan families were deported by the order of the Minister of State Security, I. L. Mordovets under a plan named "Operation South".
Other deportation campaigns were directed towards the Germans (whose number decreased from over 81,000 in 1930 to under 4,000 in 1959 due to voluntary wartime migration and forced removal as collaborators after the war) and religious minorities (700 families, especially Jehovah's Witnesses were deported to Siberia in April 1951 under the plan "Operation North").
In the 1970s and 1980s Moldova received substantial investment from the budget of the USSR to develop industrial, scientific facilities, as well as housing. In 1971, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a decision "About the measures for further development of Kishinev city" that secured more than one billion rubles of investment from the USSR budget. Subsequent decisions that directed enormous wealth and brought highly qualified specialists from all over the USSR to develop Moldova. Such an allocation of USSR assets was partially influenced by the fact that Leonid Brezhnev, the effective ruler of the USSR from 1964 to 1982, was the Communist Party First Secretary in the Moldavian SSR in 1950-1952. These investments stopped in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Moldova became independent.
Although Brezhnev and other CPM first secretaries were largely successful in suppressing Moldovan nationalism, Mikhail S. Gorbachev's administration facilitated the revival of the movement in the region. His policies of glasnost and perestroika created conditions in which national feelings could be openly expressed and in which the Soviet republics could consider reforms.
The MSSR's fight for independence from the USSR was marked by civil strife as conservative activists in the east (especially in Tiraspol), as well as communist party activists in Chişinău worked to keep the MSSR within the Soviet Union. In 1990, when it became clear that Moldova was going to secede, a group of pro-Soviet activists in Transnistria created the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic with its capital in Tiraspol. After the dissolution of the USSR it was renamed into Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic.
On May 23 1991, the Moldovan parliament changed the name from the Moldavian SSR to the Republic of Moldova. Moldova seceded from the USSR and became a sovereign, independent country on August 27, 1991, after the failed coup in the Soviet Union. Independence was quickly followed by civil war in the east (Transnistria), where the central government in Chişinău battled with separatists, who were supported by pro-Soviet forces and by different forces from Russia. The conflict left the breakaway regime (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) in control of Transnistria.
The political elite of the Moldavian SSR was one of the most loyal among the Soviet Republic. The little nationalism which existed in the Moldavian elite manifested itself in poems and articles in literary journals, before their authors being purged in campaigns against "anti-Soviet feelings" and "local nationalism" organized by Bodiul and Grossu.
The official stance of the Soviet government was that the Moldovan culture was distinct from the Romanian culture, but they had a more coherent policy than the previous one from the Moldavian ASSR. There were no more attempts in creating a Moldovan language that is different from Romanian, the literary Romanian written with the Cyrillic alphabet being accepted as the linguistic standard for Moldova, the only difference being in some technical terms borrowed from Russian.
Moldovans were encouraged to adopt the Russian language, which was required for any leadership job (Russian was intended to be the language of interethnic communication in the Soviet Union). In the early years, political and academic positions were given to members of non-Moldovan ethnic groups (only 14% of the Moldavian SSR's political leaders were ethnic Moldovans in 1946), although this changed as time went on.
Literary critics stressed the Russian influence on Moldovan literature and ignored the parts shared with Romanian literature. Some towns and villages were renamed after various Communist leaders.
Starting with the 1960s, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Ceauşescu began a policy of distancing from the Soviet Union, but the debate over Bessarabia was discussed only in scholarship fields such as historiography and linguistics, not at a political level.
As the Soviet-Romanian relations reached an all-time low in the mid-1960s, Soviet scholars published historical papers on the "Struggle of Unification of Bessarabia with the Soviet motherland" (Artiom Lazarev) and the "Development of the Moldovan language" (Nicolae Corlăţeanu). On the other side, the Romanian Academy published some notes by Karl Marx which talk about the unjustice of the 1812 annexation of Bessarabia and Nicolae Ceauşescu in a 1965 speech quoted a letter by Friedrich Engels in which he criticized the Russian annexation, while in another 1966 speech, he denounced the pre-WWII calls of the Romanian Communist Party for the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and Bukovina.
The issue was however brought whenever the relationships with the Soviets were waning, never being a serious subject of high-level negotiations in itself. As late as November 1989, as Russia support decreased, Ceauşescu brought the Bessarabian question and denounced the Soviet invasion during the 14th Congress of the Romanian Communist Party.
Although it was the most densely populated republic of the USSR, the Moldavian SSR was meant to be a rural country specialized in agriculture. Kyrgyzstan was the only Soviet Republic to hold a larger percentage of rural population.
While holding just 0.2% of the Soviet territory, it accounted for 10% of the canned food production, 4.2% of its vegetables, 12.3% of its fruits and 8.2% of its wine production.
At the same time, most of the Moldovan industry was built in Transnistria. While accounting for roughly 15% of the population of Moldavian SSR, Transnistria was responsible for 40% of its GDP and for 90% of electricity production.
Until the 1978 Constitution of the Moldavian SSR (15 April 1978), the republic had four cities directly subordinated to the republican government: Chisinau, Balti, Bender, and Tiraspol. By the new constitution, the following cities were added to this category: Orhei, Rabnita, Soroca, and Ungheni.
Note: "-" means the official census data does not identify that group in that year, i.e. counts it within other groups, not that the group is not present.
|yearofficial ethnic group||Moldovans||Ukrainians||Russians||Jews|
|name||period||place of birth|
|Nikita L. Salogor||1942-1946||Ukraine|
|Nikita G. Koval||1946 - July 1950||Moldova (Transnistria)|
|Leonid Ilych Brezhnev||July 1950 - October 1952||Ukraine|
|D.S. Gladki||October 1952 - 1954||Ukraine|
|Z.T. Serdiuk||1954 - May 1961||Ukraine|
|Ivan I. Bodiul||May 1961 - December 1980||Ukraine|
|Simeon Grossu||December 1980 - November 1989||Ukraine (South of Bessarabia)|
|Petru C. Lucinschi||November 1989 - February 1991||Moldova (Bessarabia)|
|Grigore I. Eremei||February-August 1991||Moldova (Bessarabia)|