Union of Bessarabia with Romania


Union of Bessarabia with Romania

Background

In 1812, according to the Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman and the Russian Empires, the latter annexed the eastern half of the territory of the Principality of Moldavia, including Khotyn and Budjak (Southern Bessarabia). At first, the Russians used the name "Oblast' of Moldova and Bessarabia", allowing a large degree of autonomy, but later (1828) suspended the self-administration and called it Guberniya of Bessarabia, or simply Bessarabia. While the northeastern part of Moldavia, called Bukovina, was similarly annexed by the Habsburg Empire, the western part of Moldavia remained an autonomous principality, and in 1859, united with Wallachia to form the Kingdom of Romania. In 1856, the Treaty of Paris saw two out of nine counties of Bessarabia, Cahul and Ismail, returned to Moldavia, but in 1878, the Treaty of Berlin saw the Kingdom of Romania returning them to the Russian Empire.

Upon annexation, Romanian population of Bessarabia was predominant. [ [http://depts.washington.edu/cartah/text_archive/clark/bc_8.shtml#bc_8 "The first Russian census after the annexation (1816) revealed a province almost solidly Roumanian - of a population of about half a million, 92.5 % Moldavian and Ukrainian, 1.5 % Lipovans (Russian heterodox), 4.5% Jews, 1.6% other races"] ] The colonization of the region in the 19th century lead to a large increase of Russian, Ukrainian, Lipovan, and Cossack populations in the region; this together with a large influx of Bulgarian immigrants, saw an increase of the Slavic population to more than a fifth of the total population by 1920. [ [http://depts.washington.edu/cartah/text_archive/clark/bc_8.shtml#bc_8 text from a 1927 source:] "Today, the Bulgarians form one of the most solid elements in Southern Bessarabia, numbering (with the Gagaoutzi, Turkish-speaking Christians also from the Dobrudja) nearly 150,000. Colonization brought in numerous Great Russian peasants, and the Russian bureaucracy imported Russian office-holders and professional men; according to the Roumanian estimate of 1920, the Great Russians were about 75,000 in number (2.9% ), and the Lipovans and Cossacks 59,000 (2.2% ) ; the Little Russians (Ukrainians) came to 254,000 (9.6%). That, plus about 10,000 Poles, brings the total number of Slavs to 545,000 in a population of 2,631,000, or about one-fifth"] With the settling of other nationals such as Gagauz, Jews, and Germans, the proportion of the Romanian population decreased from cca. 90% to 64% during the course of the century. The Tsarist policy in Bessarabia was in part aimed at denationalization of the Romanian element by forbidding after the 1860s education and mass in Romanian. However, the effect was an extremely low literacy rate (in 1897 approx. 18% for males, approx. 4% for females) rather than a denationalization. [ [http://depts.washington.edu/cartah/text_archive/clark/bc_10.shtml#bc_10 Naturally, this system resulted not in acquisition of Russian by the Moldavians, but in their almost complete illiteracy in any language] ] Some Romanian historians claimed that a strong sentiment of frustration and resentment to the Russian control had started to appear before the beginning of the World War I. [] On June 28, 1940, these territories were occupied by the Soviet Union. During the retreat, the Romanian Army was attacked by the Soviet Army, which entered Bessarabia before the Romanian administration finished retreating. Some 42,876 Romanian soldiers and officers were unaccounted for after the retreat. [cite book | author= Paul Goma | title = Săptămâna Roşie | date= 2006 | page = 206 | url = http://paulgoma.free.fr/dl_links/publicistica/saptamana_rosie.php] The northern and southern parts, which had just over 1/2 ethnic minorities (Ukrainians, Bessarabian Bulgars, Bessarabian Germans, Lipovans) , were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR as Chernivtsi Oblast and Izmail Oblast. At the same time, the Moldavian ASSR, where ethnic Romanians were a plurality, was disbanded, and up to 1/2 of its territory was joined with the remaining territory of Bessarabia to form the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, coterminous with the present-day Moldova. Although Soviet troops were forced out in 1941 by the invasion of Axis forces, and Romania re-established its administration, the Soviet Union reconquered and reannexed the area in February-August 1944.

The official Soviet policy also stated that Romanian and Moldovan were two different languages and, to emphasize the distinction, Moldovan was written using a special Cyrillic alphabet (the Moldovan alphabet) derived from the Russian alphabet – unlike Romanian, written with its own version of the Latin alphabet. [Mackinlay, pg. 140]

Consequences in the present

ee also

*Union of Transylvania with Romania
*Greater Romania
*Moldavia

References


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