In the 2nd millennium BC the area of today’s Moldova was populated by Indo-European Thracians, Dacians and Getens. From around the 7th century BC. the processing of iron into weapons, jewelry and tools is proven.
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Changing foreign rule
In the 1st century AD the area fell into the hands of the Roman emperor Trajan and became part of the Roman province “Dacia” (Dacia) together with today’s Romania. In the 3rd century, Roman troops withdrew from Dacia before the Visigoth raids. The Visigoths were followed by the Huns, Avars, Slavs and Magyars (Hungary) as foreign rulers over the next few centuries. The Slavic language and cultural heritage mingled with the Dacian-Roman, which led to the development of Romanian culture.
In the 10th century, the area of today’s Moldova became part of the Grand Duchy of Kiev. The Cyrillic alphabet and the Christian Orthodox religion spread.
After the Mongols invaded the area in the 13th century, it was ruled by the Wallachian-Hungarian princes of the Basarab family in the 14th century. The historical name “Bessarabia” was created accordingly. At the beginning of the 15th century, Bessarabia became part of the Principality of Moldova, which was founded in 1362 and today largely belongs to the neighboring country of Romania. In the middle of the 15th century, advancing troops of the Ottoman (Turkish) empire from the south began to conquer the areas of today’s Moldova. The Principality of Moldova had to submit to the Ottoman Sultan.
From the end of the 18th century, Moldova was occupied by Russian troops several times as part of the Russian-Turkish wars. In 1812, they conquered all of Bessarabia from the Ottomans. In 1856 Russia had to give up Bessarabia after its defeat in the Crimean War, which was now annexed again to the Principality of Moldova. A few years later, under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire (which had been made a protective power together with the Western powers in the Treaty of Paris in 1856), the Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia were united to form the unitary state of Romania. In 1877 Romania succeeded in shaking off the domination of the Ottomans, as a result of which Bessarabia (the area of today’s Moldova) came back under Russian rule.
At the end of 1917, Bessarabia initially declared itself an independent “Moldavian Republic” and a year later united with Romania. According to AbbreviationFinder, this was officially recognized by the Western Powers through the Paris Peace Treaty of 1920, but not by Soviet Russia, which founded the “Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova” (ASSR) with the capital Tiraspol west of the Nistru River. In a contract with Romania, the Soviet Union renounced Bessarabia in 1933, but occupied the area again in June 1940 (Bessarabia was also part of the secret protocol of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939). After the end of the Second World War, the political leadership of the USSR incorporated the north and south of Bessarabia into the “Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic”,while Central Bessarabia was united with the already existing Soviet Republic of Moldova to form the “Moldovan Socialist Soviet Republic”. As in the other Soviet republics, the “Sovietization” of the area began. The measures included the abolition of private property, the compulsory collectivization of agriculture, the introduction of the Soviet educational system and the re-education of the population in the sense of communism. The Romanian language was banned and replaced by Russian as the official language, the historical name “Moldova” was replaced by “Moldova”. Due to the geographic nature of the country, heavy industry was largely avoided in favor of agricultural areas.
As part of the “Perestroika” policy of the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, a national movement developed in Moldova at the end of the 1980s, demanding the country’s independence. In August 1991, the country proclaimed its independence as the “Republic of Moldova”. Chisinau was named the capital, and Moldavian replaced Russian as the official language. The winner of the first presidential election in December 1991 was the Moldovan Romanian Mircea Snegur, who had been appointed head of state by the Supreme Soviet in 1990. His stated goal of reintegrating Moldova into Romania led to two areas on Moldovan territory declaring their detachment from the young state: the Christian Turkic people of the Gagauz in the south of the country proclaimed their own republic. Transnistria (the area east of the Nistru River where Russians and Ukrainians were the majority) declared independence as the Dniester Republic in September 1991. The outbreak of fighting between government troops and separatists could only be resolved through the intervention of the Russian armed forces. While a political compromise was reached with the Gagauz (autonomy status of the Republic of Gagauzia and internal self-government from 1994), the Transnistrian conflict has not been resolved to this day. The political leadership of Moldova does not recognize the split off of the country, on the other hand, the leadership of the Republic of Dniester also rejects the wide range of autonomy. A separate president was elected here in December 1992 (Igor Smirnov).
In 1992 Moldova became a member of both the CIS (“Commonwealth of Independent States”) and the UN. In 1993, over 90% of the population of Moldova voted against the merger with Romania in a referendum. In the same year, the Russian ruble was replaced by its own currency (Moldova-Leu). The Moldovan economy suffered severe losses as a result of the collapse of the markets in the Eastern Bloc. About half of the population lived below the poverty line. The government concluded a partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union in February 1994 and tried to increase trade with the EU countries.
In 1994, a new constitution entered into force that gave the president extensive executive powers. Neutrality, a good relationship with Russia, Romania and Ukraine and the integration of the country in multilateral contexts were set as foreign policy goals. In 1995 Moldova was admitted to the Council of Europe as its 35th member, and in the same year the country received a loan of just under $ 300 million from the IMF (International Monetary Fund).
The pro-Russian “Democratic Agricultural Party” (PDAM) was first established as the strongest political force in Moldova, which won the majority of seats in the 1994 parliamentary elections. In the 1998 elections, it already failed due to the 4% clause that had been introduced. The “Communist Party” under the leadership of Vladimir Voronin, banned in 1991 and re-approved in 1994, became the strongest political force in parliament with 40 seats (out of a total of 101), followed by the “Democratic Convention” (CDM) of the former President Mircea Snegur (until 1996, then Petru Lucinschi).
The 21st century
In July 2000, a constitutional amendment was passed by the parliament, which gave parliament more powers and restricted the president, who is now no longer directly elected by the people but by parliament. After several changes in government and three unsuccessful ballots for the new post of President in December 2000, early elections to the Parliament were held in February 2001. The Communist Party led by Vladimir Woronin emerged as the clear winner, winning 71 of the 101 seats. Two months later, the parliament elected Voronin as the new President of Moldova.
In spring 2002, as in the autumn of last year, there were protests by the population against the current President Woronin. The reasons for this included the persistently poor economic situation of the population, the announced introduction of Russian as the second official language, the state’s press censorship and the short-term ban on an opposition party. Despite a series of negotiations and agreements (1994, 1997, Odessa 1998), the Transnistria conflict has still not been resolved.
In early parliamentary elections in July 2009, the opposition received the majority of the seats. Woronin announced his resignation from the presidency two months later. The President of Parliament Mihai Ghimpu (PL) took over his official duties. Subsequently, it was not possible to elect a new president. Parliamentary elections were held again in November 2010, in which the Communist Party suffered a loss of votes. Marian Lupu (PDM) was elected President of Parliament and thus interim head of state. After tough negotiations, Nicolae Timofti was elected President in March 2012. Prime Minister Vlad Filat’s termination of the coalition agreement in February 2013 plunged the country into another government crisis until the end of May.