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Moldova Table of Contents


Postwar Reestablishment of Soviet Control

With the restoration of Soviet power in the Moldavian SSR, Joseph V. Stalin's government policy was to Russify (see Glossary) the population of the Moldavian SSR and destroy any remaining ties it had with Romania. Secret police struck at nationalist groups; the Cyrillic alphabet (see Glossary) was imposed on the "Moldavian" (see Glossary) language; and ethnic Russians and Ukrainians were encouraged to immigrate to the Moldavian SSR, especially to Transnistria. The government's policies--requisitioning large amounts of agricultural products despite a poor harvest--induced a famine following the catastrophic drought of 1945-47, and political, communist party, and academic positions were given to members of non-Romanian ethnic groups (only 14 percent of the Moldavian SSR's political leaders were ethnic Romanians in 1946).

The conditions imposed during the reestablishment of Soviet rule became the basis of deep resentment toward Soviet authorities--a resentment that soon manifested itself. During Leonid I. Brezhnev's 1950-52 tenure as first secretary of the Communist Party of Moldavia (CPM), he put down a rebellion of ethnic Romanians by killing or deporting thousands of people and instituting forced collectivization (see Glossary). Although Brezhnev and other CPM first secretaries were largely successful in suppressing "Moldavian" nationalism, the hostility of "Moldavians" smoldered for another three decades, until after Mikhail S. Gorbachev came to power. His policies of glasnost (see Glossary) and perestroika (see Glossary) created conditions in which national feelings could be openly expressed and in which the Soviet republics could consider reforms.

Data as of June 1995