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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Slavs in Moldova

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Date(s) Item
1988 Under pressure from Moldovan (Romanian) nationalists the Moldavian Supreme Soviet (still under Russian control) agrees to return the "Moldavian" language to the Latin alphabet. Under Stalin, the traditional Latin alphabet of the Romanian language was replaced with the Cyrillic alphabet in an attempt to foster the perception of Moldavia as a separate nationality from Romanian.
Jan 1989 Moldavian Supreme Soviet makes Romanian the only official state language in the Moldavian SSR.
1989 Yedintsvo first appears in Moldova to protect the rights of the Russian minority. Yedintsvo is part of a large pan-Soviet organization centered in Moscow. The group is more active in Moldova west of the Dniester as Dniester Russians have organized their own groups. Its primary issue of attraction was the language law originally.
Aug 16 - 21, 1989 Ethnic Slavs hold warning strikes in protest of Romanian being made the official state language by the Moldavian Supreme Soviet. They demand Russian be made an official state language along side Romanian and complain of a lack of concern for minority rights by Moldavian authorities.
Aug 27, 1989 Moldovans fill the streets of the capital (Kishinev) demanding that Romanian be made the official language of the Moldavian SSR. The protests were organized by the Popular Front which quickly organized the opposition around the restoration of Romanian as the national language and identity of Moldovans (as well as the eventual union with Romania). At a counter rally also in Kishinev held by Yedintsvo, some 2,000 protested against the language law. (A third rally was held as well by several thousand Gagauz against the law).
Aug 31, 1989 Moldavian Supreme Soviet makes Romanian the only official state language in the Moldavian SSR. The decision does reserve the rights of non-Moldovans to speak and write in their own languages (Russian is to be used for "inter-ethnic communication"), but all local and national authorities must be able to operate in Romanian (as well as Russian and Gagauz by the letter of the law in Russian and Gagauz areas). The law also designates the removal of officials who have not met the required proficiency. However, testing is not to begin until January 1994. (In 1993, the parliament postponed the beginning of testing.) Strikes in the Dniester region intensify in response to the law being passed.
Apr 1990 The Moldavian Supreme Soviet adopts a tricolor flag resembling the Romanian flag as the state flag. In response, local authorities throughout the Dniester region refuse to recognize the flag and continue to fly the Soviet-era flag.
May 1990 The Moldovan Supreme Soviet changes the republic's name to the Republic of Moldova.
Sep 1990 Moldovan Supreme Soviet declares its sovereignty and nullifies the transfer of Moldavia from Romania to the USSR by the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In response to this move, Slavs in the Dniester Region "create" the Dniester Soviet Republic and announce their intention to secede from Moldavia and they urged Gorbachev to admit them into the Soviet Union. It is largely a reaffirmation of the Soviet Union and call for continued Soviet control. In addition to the declaration by the Moldovan Supreme Soviet, the Moldovan parliament elects Mircea Snegur president with broad executive powers and calls for 10,000 Interior Ministry troops to protect residents in the Dniester and Gagauz regions.
Oct 1, 1990 Security forces clash with ethnic Russians and ethnic Gagauz in their self-declared autonomous regions over Moldovan authorities' attempts to hold elections there. Three Gagauz activists are killed. Both Dniester-Russian and Gagauz regions announced they would not participate in the upcoming Moldovan elections, but would instead be holding their own elections.
Nov 2, 1990 Moldovan authorities send troops to clear roadblocks set up by the separatists. In the resulting clashes between the police and armed civilians 6 people are killed and 30 wounded. Tension in the region escalates. Local officials declare a state of emergency and residents arm themselves and both Moldovan and Dniester Slavs form self-defense units.
Nov 12, 1990 A Russian stabs a young Moldovan patriot after an argument. Violence sweeps through Kishinev over the few days where Russian-speakers are randomly assaulted on the streets. After the youth's funeral service bands of Moldovan youths move through the city assaulting Russians and Russian-speakers. There are claims that these roaming bands killed some people, but these reports are unsubstantiated at this time.
Dec 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev warns the Moldovan authorities and ethnic minorities to end their conflict, otherwise Gorbachev will order Interior Ministry troops into the region. Gorbachev has also publicly ordered the leaders of the Dniester Region and Gagauz Region to retract their declaration of independence.
Feb 28, 1991 Moldovan President Snegur issues a decree providing state support for Ukrainian language instruction in schools, and initiated Ukrainian language television and radio broadcasts. The move is clearly intended to break the alliance which formed between Russians and the largely Russian-speaking Ukrainians (especially in the Dniester region). The Ukrainian government has been supporting the attempts to foster Ukrainian culture in Moldova.
Apr 1, 1991 The Dniester parliament declares that enterprises in the Dniester region will no longer contribute to the state budget. Instead, they intend to create their own state bank. The Dniester region is particularly important as the overwhelming bulk of Moldovan industry is located in this region.
Aug 27, 1991 The Moldovan Supreme Soviet declares its independence after the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. Ethnic Slavs in Dniester also repeat their intention to secede from Moldavia. Before the declaration, the Popular Front had successfully passed a ban on the Communist Party and the nationalization of its property. Moldovan security officials arrest the Dniester-Russian leader Igor Smirnov in Kiev, Ukraine on suspicion of supporting the attempted coup against Gorbachev. In response to the Moldovan declaration and the arrest of Smirnov, Russian-speakers throughout the Dniester region block roads and railways in protest. Industrial workers threaten to cut off gas and electric supplies to the rest of Moldova. Tensions between the protesters and Moldovan security forces are extremely tense as several minor clashes occur over the next two months injuring a dozen or more people -- some seriously. No deaths are reported. Following the formation of the government, some non-Moldovans reportedly were purged from the bureaucracy or demoted.
Sep 1991 Pro-Communist protesters vow to fight the removal of a statue of Lenin in the half-Slav / half-Moldovan town of Balti. One of the protesters was quoted as saying, "Good or bad, Lenin was part of our history and he must stay here" (Reuters, 9/7/91).
Nov 1, 1991 - Mar 31, 1992 Following the elections, Dniester leaders begin a low-key military campaign through the winter to prod action from Moldovan authorities and to allow their secession. Fighting in the region takes dozens of lives through the winter. The fighting is punctuated by several ceasefires, some negotiated by the governments of Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. Snegur accuses Russia of sending in Cossacks to fight on behalf of the Dniester-Russians and many report the 14th Army actively engaging in battles on the side of the Russians.
Dec 1, 1991 The Dniester Moldavian Republic holds elections in which Igor Smirnov was elected President of the republic.
Dec 8, 1991 Moldovan Presidential elections are held amid high ethnic tensions. The only candidate running in the elections is Mircea Snegur (due in large part to the election law). Separatists both in Gagauz and Dniester declare they will not participate in the elections. Not surprisingly, Snegur wins the elections and becomes the first president of Moldova. The elections were not only boycotted in the Dniester Region, but Dniester guardsmen (and by some reports, 14th Army) patrols shut down the Moldovan polling stations in the region. Dniester government polling stations were set up instead for the Dniester Moldavian Republic's elections. In response to the closing of the Moldovan polling stations, local reporters say that rural Moldovans in the Dniester region crossed the Dniester River to vote in the Moldovan elections in large numbers.
1992 The Moldovan parliament passes a law ensuring freedom of religious practice, but only for those religions which are officially recognized by the government.
Mar 1992 Dniester President Smirnov issues a decree forbidding peasants from going to work on the collective farms without special Dniester government registration papers. The overwhelming majority of rural people throughout Moldova are ethnically Moldovan. The 14th Army comes under the command of General Aleksandr Lebed who officially professes its neutrality in the conflict. The Dniester government's relations with both the army and the Russian government show signs of strain. Lebed has accused the Dniester government of corruption and incompetence. The Moldovan parliament proposes setting up the Dniester region as a separate administrative district and a free economic zone. In a related move, it agreed to delay implementation of clauses of a new language law, thus delaying further restrictions on the Slavic (and Gagauz) minorities.
May 19, 1992 Fighting intensifies between Dniester separatists and Moldovan forces. 10 tanks from the 14th Red Army join the fighting on the side of the separatists. Other units are also reported to be fighting on the side of the ethnic Russians. This marks the beginning of a major escalation, the overt support of Dniester separatists by the 14th Red Army. The death toll would rise to over 700 by July 1992 (nearly 400 die in May alone).
Jul 21, 1992 A peace agreement is reached that provides Dniester with special status in Moldova, as well as the right to self-determination if Moldova moves to reunite with Romania. Peacekeepers from Moldavia, Ukraine and Russia are deployed to Dniester under the command of the 14th Red Army.
Dec 1992 A group within the Orthodox church in Moldova (a part of the Patriarch of Moscow) split from the church and joined the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch. This new group advocates complete union with Romania and has not been recognized by the government as of 1993. The Moldovan government continues to support the Russian Orthodox church.
1993 Members of the Russian-speaking minority throughout Moldova charge that are not receiving equal treatment before the courts, though the U. S. State Department has reported they have found no pattern of discrimination in the judicial system (Moldova Human Rights Practices, 1993). The State Department also reports that the availability of instruction in Russian has declined due to shortages of buildings for schools, though Russian-based education continues to be offered through the university-level.
Sep 1993 General Lebed of the 14th Army runs and is elected to the Supreme Soviet of the Transdniester (TMR). The Moldovan Foreign Ministry protests the general's actions to Moscow. (Eventually, due to this and many other controversial actions by the general, Moscow would announce the disbanding of the 14th Army.) Moldovan parliament re-legalizes the Communist party.
Oct 1993 Commandos storm government and media buildings in Moscow. The assaults are part of an attempted putsch led by Aleksander Rutskoi against Yeltsin and some of the commandos come from the Transdniester.
Feb 27, 1994 Moldova holds its first multi-party parliamentary elections. Voter turnout was 79% and results strengthened the position of the Agrarian Democrats (winning 56 of 104 seats) who advocate an independent Moldova. Finishing second (with 22% of the vote and 28 seats) was a predominantly Slavic bloc, the Unity / Socialist Bloc (a descendant of the Yedintsvo organization). No polling occurred in the Dniester Region as officials there banned participation in the election. With the renewed victory of the Agrarian Party, Moldovan independence has been strengthened. The Agrarian Party has moved Moldova away from reunification with Romania. While this has assuaged the fears of many non-Romanians, especially the Gagauz, it has irritated the Romanian nationalists in the country. These nationalists, represented mainly by the Christian Democratic Popular Front, have complained about political repression by the Moldovan government. A CSCE plan for resolution of the Transdniester conflict is accepted by the Moldovan parliament. The plan offers considerable autonomy, but does not offer federalization and is rejected by the Transdniester government as a result.
Mar 1994 A referendum is held in which Moldovans "overwhelmingly" supported the independence of Moldova (according to the U. S. State Department).
Jun 1994 The Moldovan parliament votes to delay the implementation of the language testing of Moldovan government employees from the 1989 Language Law until 1997.
Aug 27, 1994 Moldova adopts a new constitution providing for separate executive, legislative and judiciary branches. The new constitution improves protection for basic human rights and protects parents' rights to choose the language their children are to be instructed in. A subtle change has been to refer to the "Moldovan people" in the constitution as opposed to the "people of Moldova." Preliminary agreement has also been reached between Moscow and Moldova on withdrawal of the 14th Army. In a related development (one many observers link to the election of Gen. Lebed to the Transdniester Supreme Soviet) Moscow announces the 14th Army will be disbanded once it is withdrawn from Moldova.
Oct 21, 1994 Moldova and Russia sign the agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Army. It is to be withdrawn in stages over the next three years. General Lebed praises the agreement, while Transdniester President Igor Smirnov warns that it may cause renewed fighting.
Apr 1995 In local elections throughout Moldova, the Agrarian Party took the largest number of offices (62% of the valid mandates) while the opposition Alliance of Democratic Forces won approximately 21% of the valid mandates. The Unity-Socialist Bloc which has allied itself with the Agrarian Party in parliament and is made up of ethnic Slavs won less than 3% of the mandates.
Jun 7, 1995 Leaders of Moldova and its breakaway republic of Trans-Dniestr failed to agree on resolving their differences at their last meeting. Separatist leader Igor Smirnov rejected President Mircea Snegur’s proposal for autonomy. The proposal foresaw Kishinev retaining responsibility for foreign, security, currency and legal policy while the separatist leadership would decide other issues. The leadership in Tiraspol, the main city in Trans-Dniestr, demanded a share of all areas of government and also its own armed forces. A new meeting was set for July 5 1995 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).
Jun 28, 1995 Moldovian President Mirca Snegur expressed concern over Russian President Yeltsin’s intention to retain Russian military bases in Moldova after Russian troops withdraw from the former Soviet republic. President Yeltsin said that his country would seek to build a base to replace the Russian 14th Army, which has remained in Moldova since it was sent to stop a 1992 war between ethnic Moldovans and Russians in the Transdniester region. Moldova and Russia signed an agreement in the fall of 1994 that would phase the withdrawal of the Russian 14th Army over a three-year period. Over the past year, the agreement was not ratified by the Russian parliament. During his two-day visit to Moldova, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev promised that the withdrawal would take place as stipulated in the treaty (United Press International).
Jun 28, 1995 After a working meeting with President Yeltsin, President Mircea Snegur said that Russia will step into the role of a mediator in a bid to forge a political settlement between Moldova and its breakaway Transdnestr republic. Snegur said Yeltsin had supported his proposal for granting broad autonomous powers to the separatist region, whose independence drive in 1992 triggered a civil war. Snegur also said Yeltsin had finally handed over to parliament a draft agreement between the two countries on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova.(Agence France Presse)
Nov 1995 Prognoses on the outcome of the Moldovian presidential elections in December 1996 point to the pro-Moscow candidate, Premier Andrei Sangheli, as a winner. The rationale nearly five years after Moldova declared its largely nominal independence from the former Soviet Union, Moldovan politics remains dominated by the issue of relations with Russia. The possibility of re-unification with Romania is no longer on the political agenda. Instead, Moldova is firmly back in the Russian sphere of influence, analysts note. President Mircea Snegur, a nationalist figure supportive of re-unification with nearby Romania, is on the way out. Snegur split in July 1995 with the ruling and strongly pro-Russian Agrarian Democratic Party (ADP) in a belated attempt to capture the nationalist vote before the 1996 elections (Europe World Review of Information).
Dec 19, 1995 The population of the Dniester region in Moldova which consisted predominantly of a group of Russian troops formerly subordinated to General Lebed, took part in elections for the State Duma in Russia. The turn out was 90 per cent. The majority of the voters cast their ballots in favor of the Congress of Russian Communists Bloc led by the former commander of the 14th army General Lebed. Lebed remained the most popular politician among the Russians in Moldova even after he left the country (TASS).
Jan 3, 1996 The Moldovan delegation at the joint control commission (JCC), a group of Moldovan, Russian and Dnestr peacekeepers, said that it considered it unacceptable to transfer peacekeepers' status from the current Russian peacekeeping unit to subdivisions of the Dnestr-deployed Russian contingent. The Moldovan delegation asked the Russian JCC co-chairman to inform the Russian Defense Ministry of the inadmissibility of using the Russian contingent in the peacekeeping mission in Moldova's eastern districts. The statement contained a request that the Moldovan leadership study a proposal to replace the current peacekeeping units in the Dnestr region with a multinational force under the UN/OSCE aegis. Such units may certainly include Russian personnel, but under international control, said the document (BBC).
Jan 31, 1996 Moldovan President Mircea Snegur proposed changing the name of the country's official language from Moldavian to Romanian. A proposal to include this change in the constitution was put on the agenda of the session of the Moldovan parliament. The move was opposed by the Agrarian Party and by Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli. Local observers thought that Snegur's proposal was unlikely to be approved by parliament, and that this would intensify the struggle between the country leaders in the run-up to presidential elections (BBC).
Jun 30, 1996 On June 27th, Moldovan President Mircea Snegur met Boris Pastukhov, the deputy Russian foreign minister, and Dmitriy Ryurikov, Russian presidential adviser for international affairs. Snegur expressed hope that Russia would ratify the Principles of Interstate Relations Treaty. Snegur also spoke about the "importance and fitness of signing by the Moldovan, Russian, and Ukrainian presidents of the memorandum on the normalization of Moldovan-Dnestr relations". Snegur also said that, "the majority of his country population does not accept future confederal arrangement for Moldova" (BBC).
Aug 16, 1996 Moldovan president Mircea Snegur refused to sign a Russian-brokered peace memorandum to settle the conflict between Moldova and its eastern breakaway region of Dnestr. Snegur was quoted by the newspaper Adevarul (truth) as saying that the memorandum didn't set out the status of Dnestr as an integral part of Moldova (Xinhua News Agency).
Aug 23, 1996 It was announced that on September 2, the self-proclaimed Trans-Dniestrian republic would celebrate the fifth anniversary of its "independence." For four years the Moldovan leadership and the Trans-Dniestrian authorities have unsuccessfully sought to decide the status of the region (Russian Press Digest).
Sep 1, 1996 Trevor Waters, an analyst of Jane’s Intelligence Review, argues that the instability in Moldova is due to the presence of five different categories of armed forces. They are the armed forces of the Republic of Moldova themselves; the armed forces of the breakaway and self-proclaimed Transnistrian Moldovan Republic; the Russian armed forces in the Transnistrian region of Moldova; the trilateral peace-keeping forces on the Dniestr river; as well as the Bugeac Battalion and its successor force in Gagauzia. The analyst provides the following information regarding the armed forces of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (PMR) Transnistrian armed forces were established in a four month period following Transnistria’s secession form Moldova in September 1991. The forces were established with the decisive support of the heavily politicized 14th Soviet Army, the major formation of the (former Soviet) Odessa Military District, based in Moldova since 1952. The 14th Army provided weapons, training facilities, manpower and financed. According to sources in Chisinau, PMR regular military forces consisted of 5,000 troops serving in four motorized infantry brigades, an independent tank battalion, an artillery regiment, an air-defense brigade and supporting sub-units. In addition to the regular forces, however, there were internal security units, border guards and several hundred Cossack irregulars who arrived in the breakaway republic determined to 'defend their blood brothers' and to 'hold the frontier of the Russian state'. The total strength of PMR forces was thus assessed as 8,000, though it was by no means clear that all of them were under the control of the PMR authorities in Tiraspol. What was certainly a very conservative statement of equipment holdings included about 20 T-64 tanks (taken from Russia's 14th Army in May 1992), 50 armored combat vehicles, 18 (122 mm) guns, 16 anti-tank guns, 50 (120 mm) mortars, eight Mi-8 'Hip'/ Mi-2 'Hoplite' helicopters, one An-26 'Curl' aircraft, and at least 5,000 AK-47 assault rifles. PMR forces, - albeit with very substantial support from the 14th Army, - were able to win the decisive battle on 18-25 June 1992 for Tighina against Moldova’s inexperienced Interior Ministry Troops and fledgling army in the civil war. PMR soldiers were among the most active supporters of the red-brown’ rebels in Moscow in October 1993; they aided the Gagauz separatists; fought with Abkhazian rebels against Georgia, as well as with the Krajina Serbs against Croatia (Jane’s Intelligence Review).
Oct 21, 1996 The leaders of Moldova and the unrecognized Dnestr republic agreed to restore bridges across the Dnestr as a first step towards settling the conflict since Moldovan President Mircea Snegur refused to sign a memorandum on normalizing relations between Kishinev and Tiraspol in the summer (BBC).
Nov 2, 1996 The electoral commission of the breakaway Transdnestr Republic announced that only two candidates had gathered the required 10,000 signatures to run in presidential elections next month. They were President Igor Smirnov and businessman Vladimir Malakhov (Agence France Presse).
Nov 16, 1996 The Moldovan Foreign Ministry announced that it regarded the Russian Duma's resolution on cooperation with the Dnestr region as interference in Moldova's internal affairs and an unfriendly act against Moldova which contradicted the joint statement made by the presidents of Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine on the principles of resolving the Dnestr conflict (BBC).
Dec 5, 1996 Petru Lucinschi, speaker of Moldova's parliament and former top Communist official, won the presidential elections with 54% of the vote. This victory put an end to any ideas of uniting Moldova with Romania (Moscow News).
Dec 5, 1996 Outgoing Moldovan President Mircea Snegur supported the earliest possible removal of Russian troops from Moldovan territory and for the fulfilment of the army withdrawal agreement signed earlier between Chisinau and Moscow. Speaking at the OSCE summit of heads of state and government in Lisbon, he expressed confidence that the withdrawal may become a crucial factor for settling the Dnestr conflict (BBC).
Dec 6, 1996 The Moldovan president-elect, Petru Lucinschi, told Interfax that he would insist on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova. An agreement to this effect was signed on 21st October, 1994. It called for the complete withdrawal of the former Russian 14th Army within three years, but did not come into force because the Russian State Duma did not ratify it. Following his inauguration on 15th January 1997, Petre Lucinschi would hold talks with Russian leaders on the ratification of agreements and the withdrawal of troops. "We hope that first the basic political friendship and cooperation treaty and then the agreement on the withdrawal of troops will be ratified," Lucinschi said (BBC).
Dec 22, 1996 Presidential elections took place in Moldova's separatist Dniestr republic. It was the second presidential election since 1990 when the Dniestr republic declared its independence from Moldova. Out of about 700,000 residents of the Dniestr region, 428,000 were entitled to cast ballots. Incumbent president Igor Smirnov, casting his ballot in the capital Tiraspol, said, the election would be "another step towards legal recognition for our republic". Smirnov said he would not permit Russia's 14th Army to withdraw from Tiraspol as planned by the central government, as it was a guarantor of peace in the region. The other candidate was Vladimir Malakhov, a private businessman of Ukrainian descent. Both candidates supported independence for the Dniestr republic, a narrow strip of Moldovan territory between the Dniestr river and the Ukrainian border, which had a mostly Russian and Ukrainian population. A delegation of nationally-oriented Russian politicians came to Tiraspol to witness the elections. The Moldovan government led by newly elected President Pyotr Luchinski made it clear that it would not recognize the outcome. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that the elections were only of a "local nature" and would not change anything with regard to the indivisibility of Moldova as a subject under international law (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).
Dec 23, 1996 The president of Moldova, Petru Lucinschi said that the presidential elections in the breakaway Dniestr republic would have no juridical consequences. Such elections would have made more sense provided the status of the Dniestr republic was defined. Talks on this issue would resume late in this year or early in the following year. The status of the republic would be drawn "within a constitutional framework", the Moldovan president was quoted as saying by the Infotag news agency. It would include the right to broad autonomy but maintain the territorial integrity of the state, Lucinschi said (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).
Jan 6, 1997 Ukraine supports the territorial integrity of neighboring Moldova, Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko said as he summed up talks between Ukrainian and Moldovan presidents Leonid Kuchma and Petru Lucinschi in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Ukraine "takes the Moldovan side", Udovenko was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. The Dniestr Republic, which proclaimed its independence from Moldova in 1990, is to sign a peaceful memorandum with Moldova, with Ukraine and Russia acting as guarantors (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).
Feb 25, 1997 During his first state visit to Moscow since his election in December 1996, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi repeated an earlier demand that Russian troops leave Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester region (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).
Feb 27, 1997 The US Department of State reports that Moldova has adopted a liberal policy toward its ethnic minorities. The State Department points to the 1990 Citizenship Law as well as the Language Law and other regulations as evidence. The 1990 Citizenship Law offered an equal opportunity to all persons resident at the time of independence to adopt Moldovan citizenship. The law permitted dual citizenship on the basis of a bilateral agreement, but no such agreements were in effect. The Language Law was passed in 1989. It stipulated that in dealing with any official or commercial entity, citizens should be able to choose the language to use. Officials were therefore obligated to know Russian and Romanian/Moldovan "to the degree necessary to fulfill their professional obligations." Language testing was scheduled to begin in 1994. Since many Russian speakers did not speak Romanian/Moldovan (while educated Moldovans spoke both languages), the Parliament voted in 1994 to delay until 1997 the testing implementation in order to permit more time to learn the language. Addressing a minority concern, the Constitution provided parents with the right to choose the language of instruction for their children. (US Department of State)
May 13, 1997 A Memorandum on the normalization of relations between Moldova and the Trans-Dniester was signed in Moscow on May 8th in the presence of observers including the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine and OSCE representatives. Russia was the major player in restoring relations between Kishinev and Tiraspol. In 1994 the OSCE joined the talks at Moldova's insistence. A year later, the Ukraine also became a guarantor (WPS).
May 14, 1997 Recent talks in Chisinau helped move the process of settling the Dnestr conflict. The sides agreed to add a new, eleventh article to the yet unsigned memorandum on principles for the normalization of relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Dniester region. The article read "The sides shall develop their relations in the framework of a common state, within the borders of the Moldavian SSR as they existed in 1990." According to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Yevgeny Primakov, who was a mediator in the talks, no further changes would be made in the document and it should be signed in that form no later than 15 May of this year in Moscow. Primakov said the talks ended with no winners and no losers (Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press).
May 16, 1997 Left-wing and left-centrist parties and movements in this republic simultaneously supported the signing of the memorandum on the fundamentals of normalization of relations between Moldova and Dnestr and were enthusiastically publishing their comments and distributing statements and press releases in the local media (BBC).
Jul 5, 1997 Gen Valeriy Yevnevich, the commander of the Russian military contingent deployed in the Dnestr region, voiced a categorical protest against bringing in Ukrainian peacekeepers to the region. "With the Ukrainian colleagues brought in, the Russian peacekeepers will have nothing to do here," the general stated. An agreement on sending Ukrainian peacekeepers at the request of Chisinau and Tiraspol was achieved at the April meeting between the Moldovan and Ukrainian presidents and Dnestr leaders. The mechanism for deploying up to one platoon of the Ukrainian military was discussed during Dnestr leader Igor Smirnov’s recent visit to Kiev. A special commission was set up for this; it will submit its concrete proposals to the Ukrainian parliament and government (BBC).
Sep 5, 1997 The leaders of public and political organizations in Trans- Dniestria issued an appeal to Russia's Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin, to the Speakers of both chambers of the Russian Parliament, Yegor Stroyev and Gennady Seleznyov, as well as to Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev. The appeal expressed concern over the fact that the Defense Ministries of Russia and Moldova had signed an agreement on military cooperation which implied weapon deliveries to Moldova. The citizens of Trans-Dniestria are alarmed with the plans to conduct joint military exercises, the appeal said. The local population remembers that it was precisely the weapons handed over by Russia to Moldova that were used to kill people and destroy towns and villages in Trans-Dniestria in 1991. The public representatives of Trans-Dniestria ask all patriots in Russia not to render military aid to Moldova, not to ratify the "basic treaty" between Russia and Moldova, and not to pull out Russian troops from Trans-Dniestria. The preparations for joint military exercises with Moldova should be stopped while there is a real threat of resuming aggression against Trans-Dniestria, the appeal concludes (Russian Press Digest).
Oct 24, 1997 The leader of the self-proclaimed Dnestr republic, Igor Smirnov, appealed to the CIS summit in Chisinau to involve his republic in "full-scale political and economic integration processes of the commonwealth". Smirnov attended the summit as a member of the Moldovan delegation. He spoke in favor of the formation of a common state consisting of two equal members (BBC).
Oct 24, 1997 Russian President Boris Yeltsin said that he hoped that the CIS summit in Kishinev would boost CIS integration. He also told journalists before the summit opened that he had discussed the Dnestr question with the Moldovan and Ukrainian presidents and that Russian policy was that there must be "a single, undivided Moldova and nothing but that" (BBC).
Mar 20, 1998 The Union of Dnestr Ukrainians, Union of Dnestr Moldovans, Union of War Veterans, and representatives from the local Communist Party in Tiraspol have established a public movement to press for the Dnestr region to join the Russia-Belarus union. The movement’s leader, Dnestr vice-president Aleksandr Karaman, stated that his organization was trying to ensure that the Dnestr region obtains observer status in the Russia-Belarus union (BBC).
Mar 20, 1998 Moldova and Transdnestr separatists signed a troop-reduction accord aimed at building confidence between the two sides. The accord, mediated by Russia and Ukraine, provided for a reduction of 500 troops by both sides in the security zone which was established after the cessation of hostilities in 1992. The force currently comprises 2,000 Moldovan troops, 2,000 rebels and 500 Russians. Under the agreement, Ukrainian military observers would be sent into the security zone, but their number and date of deployment was not specified. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev ruled out the withdrawal of 3,500 Russian troops from Moldova until a political solution was found to the Transdnestr conflict.
Mar 22, 1998 Preparations for general elections are underway in Moldova. 15 political parties and 67 independent candidates will be participating (ITAR-TASS News).
Mar 23, 1998 Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi, Dnestr leader Igor Smirnov, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met in Odessa to discuss a solution to the long-standing conflict between Moldova and its secessionist Dnestr region. The meeting resulted in the signing of the following documents an agreement on confidence-building measures and on wider contacts between Moldova and Dnestr; a protocol on top priority political measures to settle the conflict; a statement by Russia and the Ukraine, the guarantors of the settlement process (BBC).
Apr 16, 1998 It is reported that the number of legislators representing national minorities in the newly elected Moldovan parliament has decreased (BBC).
Aug 20, 1998 The Moldovan Christian Democratic Popular Front, which supported unification with Romania, insisted on registration of the Bessarabian metropolis. For several years Moldova's government refused to consider the Bessarabian metropolis which was established in 1992 with the assistance of the Romanian Orthodox Church and politicians favoring unification with Romania. This led to a conflict with the Kishinev metropolis, which was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. A public movement supporting the unity of the Orthodox Church and the Kishinev metropolis was subsequently set up in Moldova (BBC).
Oct 30, 1998 Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov and his Moldovan counterpart, Ion Ciubuc, agreed to continue the withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova (Xinhua News Agency).
Dec 28, 1998 Moldovan authorities described Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovskiy's visit to Tiraspol as "crude interference in Moldova's internal affairs." Zgirinovskiy’s "provocative statements have obstructed the settlement process in the Dnestr region," Moldova's Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement. Zhirinovskiy voiced support for the independence of the Dnestr region and criticized "the aggressive plans of Chisinau" (BBC).
Jan 7, 1999 Moldova will be forced to leave the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly if the Russian State Duma passes a resolution recognizing the independence of the Dnestr region, the chairman of the Moldovan parliament, Dumitru Diacov, said in a statement sent to the leaders of the Russian Federal Assembly. He called on State Duma Chairman Gennadiy Seleznev "to remove this issue from the agenda" and expressed the hope that "the majority of Russian deputies would not allow dangerous and hasty political decisions to be adopted" (BBC).
Jan 15, 1999 In a short overview of the situation with the Orthodox church in Moldova, ITAR-TASS noted that Bucharest established the Mitropolia of Bessarabia in Moldova following the collapse of the USSR when Moldova’s unification with Romania was being considered. This sparked a conflict between the Mitropolia of Bessarabia and the Mitropolia of Moldova, the latter being under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox church. Analysts believe that the conflict should be solved at talks in Switzerland and Austria being held between the major Orthodox churches - the Russian and the Romanian (ITAR-TASS).
Feb 11, 1999 The chairman of the Moldovan parliament, Dumitru Diacov, said that Moldova encouraged the use of Russian and other languages in its territory. According to Diacov, there were 257 Russian schools in Moldova, in which 121,000 people studied. Diacov noted that 19,300 university students received education in Russian (BBC).
Feb 26, 1999 It was announced that OSCE countries were ready to offer financial aid for the withdrawal of Russian arsenals from Moldova. This aid might be given by the United States, Canada, France, Denmark, Norway and several other countries (Interfax Russian News).
Apr 28, 1999 Moldavia is ready to assume the debts of the Transdniester region to the Gazprom Russian giant gas company in exchange for the settlement of the Transdniester region problem and the restoration of the territorial integrity of the country, Prime Minister of Moldavia Ion Sturza stated (ITAR-TASS News).
Jul 12, 1999 The Moldovan president's press secretary Anatol Golea announced that Moldovan and Transdnestran leaders would meet in Chisinau. The meeting would cover numerous economic issues, the development of relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol, and the implementation of earlier accords, in particular the Memorandum on the Normalization of Relations signed in Moscow on May 8, 1997 and the Odessa agreements of March 20, 1998. Political issues related to the status of the Transdnestrian region would be discussed at a meeting in Kiev between Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi, Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin and Transdnestran leader Igor Smirnov, scheduled for July 16th (Interfax News).
Jul 16, 1999 Leaders from Russia, Ukraine and Moldova gathered in Kiev for talks on the withdrawal of Moscow's forces from the Transdnestr region, the breakaway Russian-speaking part of Moldova. "The withdrawal of Russian forces is the subject of negotiations between Transdnestr and Russia," Transdnestr leader Smirnov said after talks with Moldovan President Lucinschi. Some 2,500 Russian troops remain stationed in the region, equipped with several hundred armored vehicles and some 120 tanks. Eight documents were signed during the Smirnov-Lucinschi talks but the thorny issue of the Russian troop withdrawal and Transdnestr's political status were left unresolved. Foreign ministers from the pan-European security body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have given Russia until July to withdraw its forces from Transdnestr (Agence France Presse).
Aug 31, 1999 Moldova currently has the best political conditions for intensifying relations with Romania because the center-right coalition is in power in Kishinev, Moldovan Prime Minister Ion Sturza told journalists after meeting Romanian President Emil Constantinescu. The two officials discussed the state of bilateral economic relations, the development of infrastructure, and the conclusion of a Romanian-Moldovan political treaty (BBC).
Sep 3, 1999 On 2 September, the heads of the Russian and the Moldovan states held negotiations in Moscow which ended in the signing a long-term treaty "On Economic Cooperation in 1999-2008". The sides also reached other important agreements on the early possible discussion of problems which are in the interests of both Moscow and Kishinev (BBC).
Sep 23, 1999 Moldovan Prime Minister Ion Sturza said that political problems in the Dnestr region would be resolved via economic methods. "We pursue a tough fiscal policy towards this region's economic organizations. We hope that such economic pressure would help settle political issues related to the Dnestr region," Sturza told journalists in the Estonian capital of Tallinn (BBC).
Oct 11, 1999 Ion Sturza was dismissed from the position of Moldovan prime minister on 9th November. He would stay in politics but would not run for president in the 2000 elections. According to Sturza, the new cabinet would need at least six to eight months to restore relations with international financial organizations. The IMF and the World Bank had suspended relations with Moldova until a new cabinet was formed. Moldova’s ambassador to Russia, Valeriu Bobutac, seemed to be the most likely successor to Sturza (BBC).
Nov 11, 1999 A commentary in the Europe Review World of Information discusses the difficulties which Moldova experiences in its transition to democracy and a market-oriented economy. It notes that the Moldovan three party center-right government, elected in March 1998, fell in February 1999, and that political instability and protests ensued. The appointment of the outgoing deputy prime-minister Ion Sturza had been met with relief by international financial institutions. However, Moldova's eighth government in eight years had faced the same problems as its predecessors - a strong and unified parliamentary opposition (the Communist Party of Moldova) , an economy sinking into an abyss, growing public dissatisfaction with the reform process and constant infighting within the governing coalition (Europe Review World of Information).
Nov 21, 1999 Moldova is a neutral state and will never join NATO, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi said in an interview with the 'Interfax-Vremya' weekly. As such, Moldova is not involved in military relations between CIS countries, Lucinschi said. He declined to comment on the contention that GUUAM (Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova military alliance) was an anti-Russian organization in the CIS (BBC).
Nov 26, 1999 The Moldovan parliament passed a resolution that would allow the government to issue $US 90 million worth of bonds to turn them over to Gazprom in compensation for Russian gas. The decision followed a meeting in Kishinev between Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi and a member of the "Gazprom", Vasily Fadeyev. The meeting was devoted to the status of power supplies in Moldova. The situation became critical after November 1 when the Russian gas enterprise reduced gas supplies to Moldova by 40 percent (ITAR-TASS).
Dec 16, 1999 Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi attempted to overcome a political crisis after parliament failed on 7th December to approve the government formed by Communist leader Vladimir Voronin. This was the second cabinet rejected by the parliament. According to the constitution, Petru Lucinschi has the right to dissolve parliament. Instead, President Lucinschi started consultations with parliamentary factions to discuss new candidates for the post of prime minister (BBC).
Jan 5, 2000 The speaker of the Dnestr region parliament, Grigore Maracuta, expressed hope that acting Russian President Vladimir Putin would continue pursuing a balanced and well-weighed Dnestr policy. "The meetings that we have had with Vladimir Putin give us grounds to believe that he will preserve the continuity of policy towards the Dnestr region, with which Russia is tied by historical, geopolitical and cultural bonds”, Maracuta said (BBC).
Jan 17, 2000 Moldova will not grant refugee status to those arriving from Chechnya, Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi said. He stated that Kishinev considers the Chechen issue an internal matter of Russia and intends to act in close contact with Russian authorities. "It would be strange if we, suffering from separatism ourselves, encourage separatism in other countries... I have instructed the heads of the Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry to look into this misunderstanding with the arrival in Kishinev of people from Chechnya" , he said. About 60 people from Chechnya have arrived in Moldova recently. Many of them present themselves as "refugees". Their arrival in Moldova has been controversial. The chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities, Valery Klimenko, believes that "the republic will be drawn into a political adventure if it harbors them". The leaders of anti-Russian public organizations are of the opposite opinion. They organized pickets in front of the Russian embassy in Kishinev demanding that federal troops leave Chechnya (ITAR-TASS).
Jan 17, 2000 "Moldova will continue accepting Chechen refugees and render possible assistance in resolving this humanitarian problem. At the same time, the republican leadership condemns terrorism and secessionism, and does not intend to grant refugee status to persons suspected of terrorism," Moldova's presidential press service said in its report (BBC).
Jan 21, 2000 Moldova claims that it no longer needs Russian peacekeepers in the Trans-Dniester region. While negotiations continue, Moldovan politicians believe that 2000 should bring what they term as a breakthrough in matters related to the Russian military presence. At his press conference in Kishinev, President Pyotr Luchinsky announced that Russia should go "without setting any conditions", honoring the obligations it undertook in Istanbul. Appraising Moscow's stand on the matter as "biased", the Moldovan Foreign Ministry reminded its Russian counterpart that all weapons should be withdrawn from the Trans-Dniester region by the end of 2001, and all servicemen should be pulled out in 2002. In the meantime Moldova proclaimed 2000 a year of active cooperation with NATO (Defense & Security).
Jan 27, 2000 Authorities in Moldova's Dniester enclave endorsed the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement that the withdrawal of Russian troops could endanger security within the region. The external relations department of the Dniester enclave said that the "limited contingent of Russian troops is fulfilling a stabilizing and peacekeeping mission in Transdnestria” (ITAR-TASS).
Jan 29, 2000 Moldova's new government, which took office in December 1999, has taken over a virtually bankrupt economy. Politically, the government depends on support in the Parliament from the communist party, which has demanded a backtracking on market reforms. Economically, the Government depends on IFI assistance, but the International Monetary Fund and World Bank suspended lending in November 1999 after the fall of the previous reform-oriented government, which lost a confidence motion after privatization and budget tensions (European Report).
Feb 9, 2000 As of late 1999, Moscow did not intend to renounce the principle of synchronization in the Dnestr region, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesmen announced. Synchronization referred to coordinating the withdrawal of Russian military units stationed on the left bank of the Dnestr with the reaching of a final settlement of the Dnestr conflict (Current Digest of the Post Soviet Press).
Feb 29, 2000 The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized Tiraspol for boycotting international inspections of Russian military sites and bases in eastern Moldova. "For unknown reasons, the Dnestr authorities denied entry to an inspection team in January 2000, as it was agreed in accordance with the Conventional Arms in Europe Treaty." The formal reason was that Dnestr officials would not allow Moldovan experts to follow the team. Russia regards these actions as knowingly planned and believes that they not only hinder the normal development of events in Transnistria [the Dnestr region], but also complicate the process of political resolution of the conflict," reads a Foreign Ministry press release (BBC).
Mar 2, 2000 Moldovan police have arrested a suspected racketeer of Chechen origin amid rising concerns about a potential influx of criminals from Chechnya. Reports indicate that hundreds of Chechens calling themselves refugees arrived in Moldova over the past few months (BBC).
Mar 9, 2000 Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi urged Washington to intervene to help resolve the Transdnestr problem. "Intervention by international bodies and particularly the United States to resolve the Transdnestr conflict is absolutely vital," the president said following a meeting with US special envoy Carey Cavanaugh. "The US envoy said the United States was ready to bring political support for a definitive solution" and the issue was being discussed by Moscow and Washington, Lucinschi added in comments reported by his press service (Agence France Presse).
Mar 17, 2000 U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott confirmed Washington's intentions to offer political and financial support to Moldova to facilitate the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory. The Moldovan Foreign Ministry told Interfax that Talbott made the statement during his Washington meeting with Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicolae Tabacaru. Talbott expressed satisfaction with a decision by the OSCE summit meeting in Istanbul which set a deadline for the completion of the withdrawal. He said that the United States is ready to assign $33 million to speed up the process (Interfax Russian News).
Mar 23, 2000 Mass media distributed information stating that there was a camp of Chechen terrorists situated on the outskirts of Kishinev. The Minister for Security of the republic, Vladimir Antyufeyev, did not confirm the fact that people of Chechen nationality who had arrived in the republic were concentrated in a certain place. The Minister said that the actual problem was the size of the Chechen diaspora in Moldova and its influence (Economic News).
Mar 27, 2000 The Moldovan leader, Petru Lucinschi, has welcomed Russian acting President Vladimir Putin's victory in the 26th March presidential elections. Lucinschi stated to journalists this morning that he had perceived the election results as "a happy event" (BBC).
Mar 29, 2000 Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi has frowned upon a proposal by Christian Democrats to leave the Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS). "Within the framework of the commonwealth, Moldova is involved only in economic co-operation. It does not hamper its integration into Europe," Lucinschi told reporters. "None of Europe's leaders has ever told us that Moldova's membership of the CIS impedes its integration into European society," he said. The Christian Democrats and other right-wing parties insist on Moldova leaving the loose post-Soviet association. They believe that Moldova should integrate into Europe only though union with neighboring Romania (ITAR-TASS).
Apr 7, 2000 Moldovan Premier Dumitru Braghis believes that "Chisinau could accept the placement of a Russian military base in Moldova in exchange for free natural gas supplies". Asked to comment on an opinion poll in the De Facto' weekly, Braghis said "We must first see what are the advantages and losses of such a decision. If we get natural gases for free, books for free and tickets for free - why not accept this situation?” At the same time, the premier admitted that placing a Russian military base in Moldova would contradict the country's neutral status and the November 1999 resolutions of the OSCE summit in Istanbul. De Facto' published the results of a survey by the Republica, a party supporting President Petru Lucinschi, which having questioned some 2,000 respondents identified five "proposals to resolve the social, economic and political crisis in Moldova". Among these proposals is one which would allow Russia to keep a temporary military base in Tiraspol on the condition that this results in the settlement of the Dnestr crisis. Another proposal is the introduction of Russian as a second official language in Moldova, while the third important proposal is transforming the country into a presidential republic (BBC).
Aug 1 - Sep 1, 2004 In Transnistria, pro-Slav authorities restricted the use of Romanian language in Transnistria.(ANSA English Media Service, 08/03/2004, "Romania: Language Conflict Shakes Transnistria")
Aug 2 - 3, 2004 Women’s groups from Transnistria blocked railway traffic to protest central Moldovan authorities’ actions that stopped transport of goods from Transnistria. (BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 08/03/2004, "Moldovan-Dniester railway war enters second day")
Mar 3, 2006 Ukraine and Moldova start economic regulation of border with Transnistria (Transnistria and Russia label this an economic "blockade"). (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, “Transport chaos as Ukrainian blockade on Moldova province continues” 03/07/06)
Apr 25 - May 25, 2006 Russia provided humanitarian aid in the form of goods and cash to the Transnistrian region where mostly Slavs live. (RosBusinessConsulting Database, 04/28/2006, “Russia extends financial aid to Transnistria”)
Sep 16 - 19, 2006 "The International Council of Russian Compatriots living abroad" sent a mission of observers to the Transistria referendum on independence. 97% supported independence and reunification with Russia. (BBC Monitoring International Reports, 07/18/2006, “Russian Organization to Send Observers to Referendum in Moldova's Rebel Region”; SeeNews, 09/17/2006, “Update 1 - Moldova's Breakaway Transdniestria Votes on Independence, Future Attachment to Russia”; Christian Science Monitor, 09/19/2006, "Russian-speaking enclave votes to be in Moscow's fold")


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Information current as of July 16, 2010