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Bessarabia

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Bessarabia

BACKGROUND

Information: Bessarabia is a historical region in Eastern Europe, bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut Tiver on the west. About two thirds of Bessarabia lies within modern-day Moldova, with the Ukrainian Budjak region covering the southern coastal region and part of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast covering a small area in the north.

In the late 14th century, the newly established Principality of Moldavia encompassed what later became known as Bessarabia. Afterwards, this territory was directly or indirectly, partly or wholly controlled by: the Ottoman Empire (as suzerain of Moldavia, with direct rule only in Budjak and Khotin, Russian Empire, Romania, the USSR. Since 1991, most of the territory forms the core of Moldova, with smaller parts in the Ukraine.

In 1859, Moldavia and Wallachia united to form the Romanian United Principalities (Romania), which included the southern part of Bessarabia. After the 1905 Russian Revolution, a Romanian nationalist movement started to develop in Bessarabia. The Romanian Army began a full-scale invasion of Bessarabia; following several skirmishes with Moldavian and Bolshevik troops, the occupation of the whole region was completed.

In spring of 1940, Western Europe was overrun by Nazi Germany. Romania yielded to German forces and began evacuation. During the evacuation, from June 28 to July 3, groups of local Communists and Soviet sympathizers attacked the retreating forces, and civilians who chose to leave. The casualties reported by the Romanian Army during those seven days consisted of 356 officers and 42,876 soldiers dead or missing. In 1944, the Soviet armies overran Bessarabia in a two-pronged offensive within five days.

National Dance: Hora

Language: Moldavian

Religion: Bessarabian Church


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