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Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina

The Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina took place from June 28 to July 4, 1940, as a result of the ultimatum by the Soviet Union to Romania on June 26, 1940, that threatened the use of force. Bessarabia had been part of the Kingdom of Romania since the time of the Russian Civil War and Bukovina since the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, and Hertsa was a district of the Romanian Old Kingdom. Those regions, with a total area of 50,762 km2 (19,599 sq mi) and a population of 3,776,309 inhabitants, were incorporated into the Soviet Union. On October 26, 1940, six Romanian islands on the Chilia branch of the Danube, with an area of 23.75 km2 (9.17 sq mi), were also occupied by the Soviet Army.

Soviet occupation ofBessarabia and Northern Bukovina
Part of the military occupations by the Soviet Union

Soviet parade in Chișinău
DateJune 28 – July 3, 1940 (1940-06-281940-07-03)
Location
Result Moldavian SSR established
Belligerents
RomaniaSoviet Union
Strength
  • 55-60 infantry divisions
  • 1 tank battalion
  • 32 infantry divisions
  • 2 mechanized divisions
  • 6 cavalry divisions
  • 11 armored brigades
  • 3 airborne brigades
  • 34 artillery regiments
Casualties and losses
  • 40,000 deserters
  • 29 killed
  • 69 wounded

The Soviet Union had planned to accomplish the annexation with a full-scale invasion, but the Romanian government, responding to the Soviet ultimatum delivered on June 26, agreed to withdraw from the territories to avoid a military conflict. The use of force had been made illegal by the Conventions for the Definition of Aggression in July 1933, but from an international legal standpoint, the new status of the annexed territories was eventually based on a formal agreement through which Romania consented to the retrocession of Bessarabia and cession of Northern Bukovina. As it was not mentioned in the ultimatum, the annexation of the Hertsa region was not consented to by Romania, and the same is true of the subsequent Soviet occupation of the Danube islands. On June 24, Nazi Germany, which had acknowledged the Soviet interest in Bessarabia in a secret protocol to the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, had been made aware prior to the planned ultimatum but did not inform the Romanian authorities and was willing to provide support. On June 22, France, a guarantor of Romanian borders, fell to Nazi advances. This is considered to be an important factor in the Soviets' decision to issue the ultimatum. The Soviet invasion of Bukovina in 1940 violated the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, since it went beyond the Soviet sphere of influence that had been agreed with the Axis.

A column of Soviet armored vehicles entering Bessarabia, June 1940

On August 2, 1940, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed as a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, encompassing most of Bessarabia and part of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, an autonomous republic of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on the left bank of the Dniester (now the breakaway Transnistria). The Hertsa region and the regions inhabited by Slavic majorities (Northern Bukovina, Northern and Southern Bessarabia) were included in the Ukrainian SSR. A period of political persecution, including executions, deportations to labour camps and arrests, occurred during the Soviet administration.

In July 1941, Romanian and German troops occupied Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and Hertsa during the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. A military administration was established, and the region's Jewish population was executed on the spot or deported to Transnistria, where large numbers were killed. In August 1944, during the Soviet Second Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, the Axis war effort on the Eastern Front collapsed. The coup of 23 August 1944 caused the Romanian army to cease resisting the Soviet advance and to join the fight against Germany. Soviet forces advanced from Bessarabia into Romania, captured much of its standing army as prisoners-of-war and occupied the country. On September 12, 1944, Romania signed the Moscow Armistice with the Allies. The Armistice and the subsequent peace treaty of 1947 confirmed the Soviet-Romanian border as it was on January 1, 1941.

Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and Hertsa remained part of the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1991, when they became part of the newly independent states of Moldova and Ukraine. The Declaration of Independence of Moldova of August 27, 1991, declared the Soviet occupation illegal.

Contents

See also: Moldavia

As a historical region, Bessarabia was the eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia. In 1812, under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest, the region was ceded by the Ottoman Empire, to which Moldavia was a vassal state, to the Russian Empire.

Interwar Soviet-Romanian relations

Interwar Romania (1920–1940)

The Bessarabian question was both political and national in nature. According to the 1897 census, Bessarabia, then a guberniya of the Russian Empire, had a population that was 47.6% Moldovans, 19.6% Ukrainians, 8% Russians, 11.8% Jews, 5.3% Bulgarians, 3.1% Germans and 2.9% Gagauz. The figures showed a strong decrease in the proportion of Moldovans and Romanians compared to the census of 1817, which had been conducted shortly after the Russian Empire annexed Bessarabia in 1812. In that survey, Moldovans and Romanians represented 86% of the population. The decrease seen in the census of 1897 was caused by the Russian policies of settling of other nationalities and of Russification in Bessarabia.

During the 1917 Russian Revolution, a National Council was formed in Bessarabia to manage the province. The council, known locally as Sfatul Țării, initiated several national and social reforms, and on December 2/15 1917, it declared the Moldavian Democratic Republic an autonomous republic within the Russian Federative Democratic Republic.

The Rumcherod, a rival council that was loyal to the Petrograd Soviet, was also formed and by late December, it had gained control over the capital, Chișinău and proclaimed itself the sole authority over Bessarabia. With the consent of the Allies and, according to Romanian historiography, on the request of Sfatul Țării, Romanian troops entered Bessarabia in early January 1918 and, by February, had pushed the Soviets over the Dniester. Despite later declarations by the Romanian prime minister that the military occupation had been consented to by the Bessarabian government, the intervention was met with protest by the locals, notably by Ion Inculeț, the president of Sfatul Țării, and Pantelimon Erhan, the head of the provisional Moldavian executive. The executive even authorised the badly organised Moldavian militia to resist the Romanian advance although with little success. In the wake of the intervention, Soviet Russia broke off diplomatic relations with Romania and confiscated the Romanian Treasure, which was stored in Moscow for safekeeping. To calm the situation, Entente representatives in Iași issued a guarantee that the presence of the Romanian Army was only a temporary military measure for the stabilisation of the front, without further effecting the political life of the region. In January 1918, the Ukrainian People's Republic declared its independence from Russia, which left Bessarabia physically isolated from the Petrograd government and led to the declaration of independence of the Moldavian Republic on January 24/February 5. Some historians consider that the declaration was made under Romanian pressure. Following several Soviet protests, on February 20/March 5, the Romanian prime minister, General Alexandru Averescu, signed a treaty with the Soviet representative in Odessa, Christian Rakovsky, which provided that Romanian troops be evacuated from Bessarabia within two months in exchange for the repatriation of Romanian prisoners-of-war held by the Rumcherod. After the White Army forced the Soviets to withdraw from Odessa, and the German Empire agreed to the Romanian annexation of Bessarabia in a secret agreement (part of the Buftea Peace Treaty) on March 5/18, Romanian diplomacy repudiated the treaty by claiming that the Soviets were unable to fulfill their obligations.

On March 27/April 9, 1918, the Sfatul Țării voted for the Union of Bessarabia with Romania, conditional upon the fulfilment of an agrarian reform (despite having no quorum). There were 86 votes for union, 3 votes against, 36 deputies abstaining, and 13 deputies absent. The vote is regarded as controversial by several historians, including Romanian ones such as Cristina Petrescu and Sorin Alexandrescu. According to historian Charles King, with Romanian troops already in Chișinău, Romanian planes circling above the meeting hall and the Romanian prime minister waiting in the foyer, many minority deputies chose simply not to vote. On April 18 Georgy Chicherin, the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, sent a note of protest against the incorporation of Bessarabia into Romania.

In August 1916, the Entente and the neutral Romania signed a secret convention that stipulated Romania would join the war against the Central Powers in exchange for several territories of Austria-Hungary, such as Bukovina. During the end of World War I, national movements of the Romanians and the Ukrainians began to emerge in the province, but both movements had conflicting aims, each seeking to unite the province with their national state. Thus, on October 25, 1918, a Ukrainian National Committee, gaining the upper hand in Czernowitz, declared Northern Bukovina, populated by a Ukrainian majority, part of the West Ukrainian People's Republic. On October 27, the Romanians followed suit, proclaiming the whole region united with Romania, and calling in Romanian troops. The Romanian intervention quickly established the Romanian Assembly as the dominant force, and on November 28, a Congress of the Romanians, Germans, and Poles voted to unite with Romania. The representatives of the Ukrainian and Jewish populations boycotted the Congress, and the struggle between ethnic factions continued for several months.

During the Russian Civil War, the Soviet governments of Ukraine and Russia, prompted by the unrest in Bessarabia from the Romanian occupation, issued a joint ultimatum to Romania on May 1, 1919, for its withdrawal from Bessarabia, and the next day, Christian Rakovsky, the chairman of the Ukrainian Soviet government, issued another ultimatum for the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Bukovina as well. The Red Army pushed the Romanians over the Dniester, and a Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed. The ultimatum also came in the context of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, with the Soviets hoping to prevent a Romanian intervention in Hungary. A massive rebellion in Ukraine prevented further Soviet advances. Soviet Russia would continue its policy of non-recognition of Romanian sovereignty over Bessarabia, which it considered Romanian-occupied territory, until 1940.

During the negotiations before the Treaty of Paris, the United States' representative asked for a plebiscite to be held in Bessarabia to decide its future, but the proposal was rejected by the head of the Romanian delegation, Ion I. C. Brătianu, who claimed such an undertaking would allow the distribution of Bolshevik propaganda in Bessarabia and Romania. A plebiscite was also requested at the Peace Conference by the White Russians, only to be rejected again. The Soviets would continue to press for a plebiscite during the following decade, only to be dismissed every time by the Romanian government.

Romanian sovereignty over Bessarabia was de jure recognized by the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Japan in the Bessarabian Treaty, signed on October 28, 1920. Soviet Russia and Ukraine promptly notified Romania that they did not recognize the treaty's validity and did not consider themselves bound by it. Ultimately, Japan failed to ratify the treaty and so it never came into force, leaving Romania without a valid international act to justify its possession of Bessarabia. The United States refused to discuss territorial changes in the former Russian Empire without the participation of a Russian government. Thus, it declined to recognize the incorporation of Bessarabia into Romania, and, unlike its position of recognizing the independence of the Baltic States, it insisted that Bessarabia was a territory under Romanian military occupation and incorporated the Bessarabian emigration quota into the Russian one in 1923. In 1933, the US government tacitly included the Bessarabian emigration quota into that of Romania, an act that was considered a de facto recognition by Romanian diplomacy. However, during World War II, the US argued it had never recognized Bessarabia's union with Romania.

In 1924, after the failure of the Tatarbunary Uprising, the Soviet government created a Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on the left bank of the Dniester river within the Ukrainian SSR. The Romanian government saw that as a threat and a possible staging ground for a communist invasion of Romania. Throughout the 1920s, Romania considered itself a pillar in the cordon sanitaire, the policy of containment of the Bolshevik threat, and avoided direct relations with the Soviet Union.[citation needed]

On August 27, 1928, both Romania and the Soviet Union signed and ratified the Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of national policy. On February 9, 1929, the Soviet Union signed a protocol with its western neighbors, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Romania, confirming adherence to the terms of the Pact. In signing the Pact, the contracting parties agreed to condemn war as a recourse to solving conflict, to renounce it as an instrument of policy and to agree that all conflicts and disputes would only by peaceful means. At the time, the Soviet ambassador, Maxim Litvinov, made it clear that neither the pact nor the protocol meant renunciation of Soviet rights over the "territories occupied by Romanians". On July 3, 1933, Romania and the Soviet Union were signatories the London Convention for the Definition of Aggression, Article II of which defined several forms of aggression: "There shall be recognized as an aggressor that State which shall be the first to have committed one of the following actions: First—a declaration of war on another State. Second—invasion by armed forces of the territory of another State even without a declaration of war. (...)" and "No political, military, economic or other considerations may serve as an excuse or justification for the aggression referred to in Article II."

In January 1932 in Riga and in September 1932 in Geneva, Soviet-Romanian negotiations were held as a prelude to a non-aggression treaty, and on June 9, 1934, diplomatic relations were established between both countries. On July 21, 1936, Litvinov and Nicolae Titulescu, the Soviet and Romanian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, agreed upon a draft of a Mutual Assistance Pact. It was sometimes interpreted as a non-aggression treaty, which would de facto recognize the existing Soviet-Romanian border. The protocol stipulated that any common Romanian-Soviet action should be approved by France ahead of time. In negotiating with the Soviets for the agreement, Titulescu was highly criticized by the Romanian far right. The protocol was to be signed in September 1936, but Titulescu was dismissed in August 1936, leading the Soviet side to declare the agreement null and void. Subsequently, no further attempts were made to reach a political rapprochement between Romania and the Soviet Union. Moreover, by 1937, Litvinov and the Soviet press revived the dormant claim over Bessarabia.

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and aftermath

Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signs the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Behind him are (left) German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.

On August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty that contained an additional secret protocol with maps in which a demarcation line through Eastern Europe was drawn and divided it into the German and Soviet interest zones. Bessarabia was among the regions assigned to the Soviet sphere of interest by the Pact. Article III of its Secret Additional Protocol stated:

With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterestedness in these areas.

On 29 March 1940, Molotov declared on the Sixth session of the Supreme Soviet: "We do not have a pact of non-aggression with Romania. This is due to the presence of an unsolved issue, the issue of Bessarabia, the seizure of which the Soviet Union never recognized although it never raised the issue of returning it by military means". That was seen as a threat to Romania.

International context

Planned and actual divisions of Central Europe, according to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Animation of the European Theatre

Assured by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of Soviet non-interference, Germany started World War II one week later by invading Poland from the west on September 1, 1939. The Soviet Union attacked Poland from the east on September 17, and by October 6, Poland had fallen. Romanian Prime Minister Armand Călinescu, a strong supporter of Poland in its conflict with Germany, was assassinated on September 21 by elements of the far-right Iron Guard with Nazi support. Romania remained formally neutral in the conflict but aided Poland by providing access to Allied military supplies from the Black Sea to the Polish border and also a route for the Polish government and army to withdraw after their defeat. The Polish government also preferred a formally neutral Romania to ensure the safety from German bombardments of supplies transported through Romanian territory. (See also Romanian Bridgehead.)

On June 2, 1940, Germany informed the Romanian government that to receive territorial guarantees, Romania should consider negotiations with the Soviet Union.

From June 14 to 17, 1940, the Soviet Union gave ultimatum notes to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, and when the ultimata were satisfied, it used the bases that it had gained to occupy those territories.

The Fall of France on June 22 and the subsequent British retreat from the Continent rendered the assurances of assistance to Romania meaningless.

Soviet preparations

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By directives OV/583 and OV/584 of the Soviet People Commissariat of Defense, military units of the Odessa Military District were ordered into battle-ready state in the spring of 1940. Soviet troops were concentrated along the Romanian border between April 15 and June 10, 1940. To co-ordinate the efforts of the Kyiv and Odessa military districts in the preparation of action against Romania, the Soviet Army created the Southern Front under General Georgy Zhukov, which was composed of the 5th, 9th and 12th Armies. The Southern Front had 32 infantry divisions, 2 motorized infantry divisions, 6 cavalry divisions, 11 tank brigades, 3 paratrooper brigades, 30 artillery regiments and smaller auxiliary units.

On 25 June, the Soviet Southern Front received a directive:

1. The soldiery and the bourgeois-capitalist clique of Romania, preparing provocationary acts against the USSR, concentrated on the borders of the USSR large armed forces, increased the border posts to 100 persons, enlarged the number of commandos sent to guard the border and is with enforced tempo constructing defense facilities on its border and the close rear.
2. The commander of the Southern Front set the troops of the Southern district the task to: a) clear of mines, seize and hold bridges over the borderline rivers; b) firmly defend state borders in the front of the 12th army where the troops of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army are going to act; c) to provide the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army with guides; d) to cleanse the rear of the 12th army from possible pockets of enemy in the near-border belt of Romania.

Two action plans were devised. The first plan was prepared for if Romania did not agree to evacuate Bessarabia and Bukovina. The Soviet 12th Army was to strike southward along the Prut River towards Iași while the Soviet 9th Army was to strike westwards, south of Chișinău towards Huși. The objective of the plan was to surround the Romanian troops in the Bălți–Iași area.

The second plan took into consideration the possibility that Romania would agree to Soviet demands and evacuate its military forces. In such a situation, Soviet troops were given the mission to quickly reach the Prut River and oversee the evacuation of Romanian troops. The first plan was taken as the default course of action. Along the portions of the border in which the offensive was planned to take place, the Soviets prepared at least a triple superiority of men and materiel.

Soviet ultimatum

On June 26, 1940, at 22:00, Soviet People's Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov presented an ultimatum note to Gheorghe Davidescu, the Romanian plenipotentiary minister to Moscow, in which the Soviet Union demanded the evacuation of the Romanian military and civil administration from Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina. The Soviets stressed their sense of urgency: "Now that the military weakness of the USSR is a thing of the past, and the international situation that was created requires the rapid solution of the items inherited from the past, in order to fix the basis of a solid peace between countries...". The German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop, was informed by the Soviets of their intentions to send an ultimatum to Romania regarding Bessarabia and Bukovina on June 24, 1940. In the ensuing diplomatic co-ordination, Ribbentrop expressed mainly concern for the fate of the ethnic Germans in both provinces, claimed the number of Germans in Bessarabia to be 100,000, and affirmed that Soviet demands regarding Bukovina were new. He also pointed out that Germany had strong economic interests in the rest of Romania.[]

The text of the ultimatum note sent to Romania on June 26, 1940, incorrectly stated that Bessarabia was populated mainly by Ukrainians: "[...] centuries-old union of Bessarabia, populated mainly by Ukrainians, with the Ukrainian Soviet Republic". The Soviet government demanded the northern part of Bukovina as a "minor reparation for the enormous loss inflicted on the Soviet Union and Bessarabia's population by 22 years of Romanian reign over Bessarabia" and because its "fate is linked mainly with Soviet Ukraine by the community of its historical fate, and by the community of language and ethnic composition". Northern Bukovina had some historical connections with Galicia, annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939 as part of its invasion of Poland, in the sense that both had been part of Austria-Hungary from the second half of the 18th century to 1918. Northern Bukovina was inhabited by a compact Ukrainian population, which outnumbered Romanians, but Bessarabia was regarded as having a Romanian majority even though most of the population adopted a "Moldavian" identity.

On the morning of June 27, a mobilization of Romanian troops started. In the early hours of June 27, King Carol II had a meeting with his prime minister, Gheorghe Tătărescu, and his minister for external affairs, Ion Gigurtu, and he summoned the ambassadors of Italy and Germany. Carol communicated his wish to stand against the Soviet Union and asked for their countries to influence Hungary and Bulgaria in the hopes of not declaring war against Romania and to reclaim Transylvania and Southern Dobruja. Stating that it would be "in the name of peace" to accede to Soviet demands, the ambassadors urged the King to stand down.

On June 27, Molotov declared that if the Romanians rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet troops would cross the border. Molotov gave the Romanian government 24 hours to respond to the ultimatum.

On the same day, the Romanian government replied by suggesting it would agree to "immediate negotiations on a wide range of questions". The Soviets considered the Romanian government's response to be "indefinite" because it did not directly accept the immediate transfer of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. On June 27, a second Soviet ultimatum note put forward a specific time frame that requested the evacuation of the Romanian government from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina within four days. It stated the Soviet military's intention to enter the Bessarabian cities of Chișinău and Cetatea Albă and the Bukovinian city of Cernăuți.

On the morning of June 28, 1940, following advice by both Germany and Italy, the Romanian government, led by Gheorghe Tătărescu, under the semi-authoritarian rule of Carol II, agreed to submit to the Soviet demands. Soviet forces also occupied the Hertsa region, part of the Romanian Old Kingdom, which was in neither Bessarabia nor Bukovina. The Soviets said that was "probably a military error".

The decision to accept the Soviet ultimatum and to start a "withdrawal" (avoiding the use of ceding) from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina was deliberated upon by the Romanian Crown Council during the night of June 27–28. The second (decisive) vote outcome, according to the journal of King Carol II, was:

The same night, Carol II also convinced Alexandru Vaida-Voevod to be sworn in as minister. Vaida, along with all of the above, signed the final Crown Council recommendation in which Carol II ordered the army to stand down.

Romanian withdrawal

The division of Bukovina after June 28, 1940. The region labelled as Herța (Hertsa) and the land in white just to the right of Northern Bukovina between the rivers Nistru (Dniester) and Prut (Prut) were also taken by the Soviet Union.
Soviet Marshal Semyon Timoshenko in Bessarabia

On June 28, at 9:00, Communique no. 25 of the General Staff of the Romanian Army officially announced the terms of the ultimatum to the population, its acceptance by the Romanian government, and the intent to evacuate the army and administration to the Prut River. By 14:00, three key cities (Chișinău, Cernăuți, and Cetatea Albă) had to be turned over to the Soviets. The military installations and casemates, built during a 20-year period for the event of a Soviet attack, were relinquished without a fight, the Romanian Army being placed by its command under strict orders not to respond to provocations. In a declaration to the local population, the Soviet command stated: "The great hour of your liberation from the yoke of Romanian boyars, landowners, capitalists and Siguranța has arrived".

Part of the population left the regions with the Romanian administration. According to the April 1941 Romanian census, the total number of refugees from the evacuated territories amounted to 68,953, but as the ultimatum came unexpectedly, many people did not have time to evacuate, and over 70,000 request for repatriation to Romania were later recorded. On the other hand, by early August 1940, between 112,000 and 149,974 people had left the other territories of Romania for the Soviet-ruled Bessarabia. That figure comprised Romanians of the region but also included Jews, both from Bessarabia and from the Old Kingdom, who wanted to escape the officially endorsed anti-semitism in Romania.

Incorporation of annexed territories into the Soviet Union

Main article: Moldavian SSR
Romania in 1940 with Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina highlighted in orange-red
Soviet military parade in Chișinău on July 4, 1940

As Romania agreed to satisfy Soviet territorial demands, the second plan was immediately put into action, with the Red Army immediately moving into Bessarabia and north Bukovina on the morning of June 28. By June 30, the Red Army reached the border along the Prut River. On July 3, the border was closed completely from the Soviet side.

One month after the military occupation, on August 2, 1940, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established on the main part of the annexed territory, and smaller portions were given to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Six Bessarabian counties and small portions of the other three counties, along with parts of the Moldavian ASSR (formerly part of the Ukrainian SSR), which was disbanded on that occasion, formed the Moldavian SSR, which became one of 15 union republics of the Soviet Union. The Soviet governmental commission headed by Nikita Khrushchev, the Communist Party chief of Ukrainian SSR, allotted Northern Bukovina, Hertsa region and larger parts of Hotin (Northern Bessarabia), Ismail, and Cetatea Albă (Budjak) counties to the Ukrainian SSR.

In 1940 to 1941, political persecution of certain categories of locals took the form of arrests, executions and deportations to the eastern parts of the Soviet Union. According to Alexandru Usatiuc-Bulgăr, 32,433 people received a politically motivated sentence, of which 8,360 were sentenced to death or died during interrogations.

Refugees after the occupation

Serious incidents occurred in Northern Bukovina, where attempts by the locals to force the border towards Romania resulted in the Soviet border guards opening fire against unarmed civilians. In one case, at Fântâna Albă, that resulted in a massacre in which between 50 and 3,000 Romanians were killed. The situation was the same on the other side of the border: roughly 300 (or between 80 and 400, according to other sources) civilians, most of them Jews, waiting to leave for Soviet-controlled Bessarabia were shot by the Romanian army in Galați railway station on June 30, 1940.

The installation of the Soviet administration was also accompanied by major changes in the economic domain, as medium and large commercial and industrial enterprises were nationalized. The Soviet government also instituted a land reform thar redistributed 229,752 hectares to 184,715 poor peasant households and limited estates to 20 hectares in the south and 10 hectares elsewhere. A collectivisation drive was also started in 1941, but the lack of agricultural machinery made the progress extremely slow, with 3.7% of the peasant households being included in a kolkhoz or a sovkhoz by the middle of year. To bolster the government's image, much of the 1941 budget was directed towards social and cultural needs, with 20% allocated to health services and 24% to education and literacy campaigns. The theological institute in Chișinău was closed, but six new higher education institutions were created, including a conservatory and a polytechnic. Furthermore, the salaries of industrial workers and administrative personnel were increased two to three times the pre-Soviet levels.

In September 1941, Romanian authorities uncovered evidence of torture perpetrated at the NKVD headquarters and in the basement of the Metropolitan Palace in Chișinău. Some 80 bodies were discovered, of which 15 in a common grave, with their hands and feet tied. The bodies had been mutilated and burned, then doused with quicklime and acids; from the remains of the clothing it was inferred that the victims were priests and students.

International reactions

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Of all of the regional allies with which Romania had treaties with military clauses, only Turkey replied that it would live up to its treaty obligations by providing support against Soviet military aggression.[citation needed]

According to Time from Monday, July 1, 1940,

This week Soviet planes began making reconnaissance flights over Bessarabia. Then border clashes were reported all along the Dn[i]estr River. Though the Rumanian Army made a show of resistance for the record, it has no chance of stopping the Soviet without help, and Germany had already acknowledged Soviet's claim to Bessarabia in secret deals last year. Romania had accepted her destiny in the new Europe that Hitler plans. She will also lose Transylvania to Hungary and probably a part of the Dobruja to Bulgaria. (...) Soviet's Sphere. Soviet was preoccupied with consolidating her own position to the east of Hitler's Europe. On the heels of her occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, those three countries set up left-wing Governments that looked like steppingstones to complete sovietization. (...) Germany took the occupation calmly. Germany's calm was doubtless real, since last year's deals gave Soviet Union a free hand in the Baltic as well as Bessarabia.

Political developments in Romania

A train with refugees

The territorial concessions of 1940 produced deep sorrow and resentment among Romanians and hastened the decline in popularity of the regime led by King Carol II of Romania. Three days after the annexation, Romania renounced the 1939 Anglo-French guarantee. A new government of Ion Gigurtu was sworn in on July 5, 1940, which withdrew the country from the League of Nations on July 11 and announced its desire to join the Axis camp on July 13. A series of measures taken by Gigurtu, including official persecution of Jews inspired by the German Nuremberg Laws in July and August 1940, failed to sway Germany from awarding Northern Transylvania to Hungary in the Second Vienna Award on August 30, 1940.

Red Cross helping refugees in Romania in a government newsreel

That led to a near-uprising in the country. On September 5, King Carol II proposed to General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu to form a new government. Antonescu's first act was to force the King to abdicate, for the fourth and final time, and to flee Romania. An alliance was formed by Ion Antonescu with remnants of the Iron Guard (partly destroyed in 1938), an anti-Semitic fascist party, and took power on September 6, 1940. Mihai, the son of Carol II, succeeded him as King of Romania. The country was declared a National Legionary State. Between October 1940 and June 1941, around 550,000 German troops entered Romania. In November, Antonescu signed the Tripartite Pact, which tied Romania militarily to Germany, Italy and Japan. In January 1941, the Iron Guard attempted a coup, which failed and placed Antonescu firmly in power, with the approval of Hitler. The authoritarian regime of Antonescu (1940–1944) did not restore political parties and democracy but only co-opted several individual civilians in the government.

Overall, the desire to regain the lost territories was invoked as a justification by Romania for its entry into World War II on the side of the Axis against the Soviet Union.

Romanian recovery of Bessarabia and wartime administration

On June 22, 1941, Romania participated alongside Hungary and Italy on the side of the Axis Powers in the German invasion of the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina. The Axis armies accomplished this objective by July 26, 1941.

King Michael of Romania, his mother Helen, and Mihai Antonescu joined the opening ceremony of the monumental Liberation Tower in Ghidighici, on November 1, 1942.

On July 27, 1941, despite opposition from all political parties,[self-published source?] Romania's military dictator, Ion Antonescu, ordered the Romanian Army to continue the war eastward into Soviet territory proper to fight at Odessa, Crimea, Kharkov, Stalingrad and the Caucasus. Between late 1941 and early 1944, Romania occupied and administered the region between the Dniester and Southern Bug rivers, known as Transnistria, and sent expeditionary troops to several different areas to support the German advance further into the Soviet Union.

Military ordinance forbidding use of foreign languages and wearing of "Russian caps" in Bessarabia, 15 November 1941

On the backdrop of increased anti-Semitism in Romania in the late 1930s, the government of Ion Antonescu officially adopted the myth of Jewish Bolshevism, which made Jews responsible for the territorial losses Romania suffered during the summer of 1940. That made the government, in an agreement with Germany, embark on a campaign to "cleanse" the recaptured territories by deporting and/or killing the Jews of Bukovina and Bessarabia who did not flee to the interior of the Soviet Union before Romania regained the territory in July 1941. Only in 1941, between 45,000 and 60,000 Jews were killed in Bessarabia and Bukovina by the Romanian and German armies. Surviving Jews were quickly gathered in temporary ghettos and 154,449 to 170,737 were then deported to Transnistria; only 49,927 of them were still alive by September 16, 1943. Only 19,475 Jews of Bukovina and of Dorohoi County survived in those territories from 1941 to 1944 without being deported, most of them in Cernăuți. Romanian gendarmerie units also participated, along German troops and local militias, in the destruction of the Jewish community in Transnistria, by murdering between 115,000 and 180,000 local Jews. (See History of the Jews in Moldova#The Holocaust).

Jews being deported to concentration camps by the Romanian Army

In 1941 to 1944, many young male inhabitants of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were recruited into the Romanian Army. From February to August 1944, hostilities took place in the region, as Romania attempted to keep the territory from being overrun by the Soviet Union. Overall during World War II, the Romanian Army lost 475,070 people on the Eastern Front, of which 245,388 were killed in action, disappeared, or died in hospitals or non-battle circumstances, and 229,682 (according to Soviet archival documents) were taken as prisoners of war by the Red Army, of whom 187,367 were counted as Romanian prisoners of war in NKVD camps (on April 22, 1956, 54,612 were counted as having died in captivity, and 132,755 as freshly released), 27,800 were counted as Romanians released by the front levels of the Soviet Army and 14,515 as Moldovans released by the front levels of the Soviet Army.

Restoration of Soviet administration

Soviet Operations 19 August to 31 December 1944
Main article: Moldavian SSR

In early 1944, the Soviet Union gradually took over the territory through the Uman–Botoșani and Second Jassy–Kishinev offensives. On August 23, 1944, with Soviet troops advancing and the Eastern Front falling within Romania's territory, a coup led by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship, ceased military actions against the Allies and later put Romania's battered armies on their side. In the days immediately after the coup, as Romania's action was unilateral and no armistice had been agreed with the Allied Powers, the Red Army continued to treat the Romanian troops as enemy combatants, and in the confusion, the Romanian troops did not oppose them. As a consequence, the Soviets took a large number of Romanian troops as prisoners of war with little or no fighting. Some of the prisoners were Bessarabian-born. Michael acquiesced to Soviet terms, and Romania was occupied by the Soviet Army.

From August 1944 to May 1945, about 300,000 people were conscripted into the Soviet Army from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and were sent to fight against Germany in Lithuania, East Prussia, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

In 1947, as part of the Paris Peace Treaties, Romania and the Soviet Union signed a border treaty confirming the border fixed in 1940. Several additional uninhabited islands in the Danube Delta as well as the Snake Island, not mentioned in the treaty, were transferred from communist Romania to the Soviet Union in 1948.

Ethnic map of Interwar Romania (census 1930)

At the moment of the Soviet occupation, the regions had a total population of 3,776,309 inhabitants. According to Romanian official statistics, this was distributed among the ethnic groups as follows: Romanians (53.49%), Ukrainians and Ruthenians (15.3%), Russians (10.34%), Jews (7.27%), Bulgarians (4.91%), Germans (3.31%), others (5.12%).

Population movements

Volksdeutsche resettling after the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia

During the Soviet takeover in 1940, Bessarabian Germans (82,000) and Bukovinian Germans (40,000–45,000) were repatriated to Germany at the request of Hitler's government. Some of them were forcibly settled by the Nazis in the German-occupied Poland and had to move again in 1944–1945. The people affected by the resettlement were not persecuted, but they were given no choice to stay or live and had to change their entire livelihood within weeks or even days.

Deportations and political repression

Deportations of locals on grounds of belonging to the intelligentsia or kulak classes, or of having anti-Soviet nationalist ideas occurred in 1940 to 1941 and 1944 to 1951. The deportations touched all local ethnic groups: Romanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Bulgarians, Gagauz. Significant deportations happened on three separate occasions: according to Alexandru Usatiuc-Bulgăr, 29,839 people were deported to Siberia on 13 June 1941. In total, in the first year of Soviet occupation, no fewer than 86,604 people from Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, and Hertsa Region suffered political repression. That number is close to the one calculated by Russian historians following documents in the Moscow archives, of ca. 90,000 people repressed (arrested, executed, deported or conscripted for work) in the first year of Soviet occupation. The greater part of the figure (53,356) was represented by forced conscription for labour across the Soviet Union. The classification of such labourers as victims of political repression is, however, disputed since the poverty of the locals and Soviet propaganda are also considered important factors leading to the emigration of the local workforce. The arrests continued even after 22 June 1941.

Based on postwar statistics, the historian Igor Cașu has shown that Moldovans and Romanians comprised roughly 50 percent of the deportees, with the rest being Jews, Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauzes, Bulgarians and Roma people. Considering the ethnic make-up of the region, he concludes that the prewar and postwar repressions were not directed at any specific ethnic or national group but could be characterised as "genocide" or "crime against humanity". The 1941 deportation targeted "anti-Soviet elements" and comprised former representatives of the Romanian interwar administration (policemen, gendarmes, prison guards, clerks), large landowners, tradesmen, former officers of the Romanian, Polish and Tsarist armies and people who had defected the Soviet Union before 1940. Kulaks did not become main targets of repression until the postwar period. Before Soviet archives were made accessible, R. J. Rummel had estimated between 1940 and 1941, 200,000 to 300,000 Romanian Bessarabians were deported, of whom 18,000 to 68,000 were killed according to him.

Religious persecution

After the installation of the Soviet administration, religious life in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina underwent a persecution similar to the one in Russia between the World Wars. In the first days of occupation, certain population groups welcomed the Soviet power, and some of them joined the newly established Soviet nomenklatura, including the NKVD, the Soviet political police. The latter had used those locals to find and arrest numerous priests. Other priests were arrested and interrogated by the Soviet NKVD itself, deported to the interior of the Soviet Union and killed. Research on the subject is still at an early stage. As of 2007, the Orthodox Church has recognized the martyrdom to about 50 clergymen, who died in the first year of Soviet rule (1940–1941).

In the Soviet Union

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In early Soviet historiography, the chain of events that led to the creation of the Moldavian SSR was described as a "liberation of the Moldovan people from a 22-year-old occupation by boyar Romania." The Soviet authors went into great length to describe scenes how the liberated Bessarabian people eagerly welcomed Soviet troops ending the "22 years of yoke under the Romanian capitalists and landowners", organized demonstrations under red flags and liberated imprisoned communists from the Siguranța torture chambers. In 1940 to 1989, the Soviet authorities promoted the events of June 28, 1940 as a "liberation", and the day itself was a holiday in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.

However, in 2010, the Russian political analyst Leonid Mlechin stated that the term occupation is not adequate but that "it is more an annexation of a part of the territory of Romania".

Pre-independence Moldova

From June 26 to 28, 1991, an International Conference "Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its consequences for Bessarabia" took place in Chișinău, gathering scholars such as Nicholas Dima, Kurt Treptow, Dennis Deletant, Michael Mikelson, Stephen Bowers, Lowry Wymann, Michael Bruchis, in addition to other Moldovan, Soviet and Romanian authors. An informal Declaration of Chișinău was adopted, according to which the Pact and its Secret Protocol "constituted the apogee of collaboration between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and following these agreements, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were occupied by the Soviet Army on June 28, 1940 as a result of ultimative notes addressed to the Romanian government". It further stated that the events were a "pregnant manifestation of imperialist policy of annexation and diktat, a shameless aggression against the sovereignty (...) of neighboring states, members of the League of Nations. The Stalinist aggression constituted a serious breach of the legal norms of behavior of states in international relations, of the obligations assumed under the Briand-Kellog Pact of 1928, and under the London Convention on the Definition of the Aggressor of 1933". The declaration stated that "the Pact and the Secret Additional Protocol are legally null ab initio, and their consequences must be eliminated". For the latter, it called for "political solutions that would lead to the elimination of the acts of injustice and abuse committed through the use of force, diktat and annexations,... [solutions] in full consensus with the principles of the Final Act of Helsinki, and the Paris Charter for a new Europe".

United States

On June 28, 1991, the US Senate voted a resolution sponsored by Senators Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Larry Pressler (R-SD), members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which recommended the US government to

  1. support the right to self-determination of the people of Moldova and Northern Bukovina, occupied by the Soviets, and to draft a decision to this end;
  2. support the future efforts of the Government of Moldova to negotiate, if it desires so, a peaceful reunification of Moldova and Northern Bukovina with Romania, as established in the Treaty of Paris (1920), respecting the existing norms of international law and principle 1 of the Helsinki Act.

In the clauses of this Senate resolution it has been stated, among other things, that "(...) The armed forces of the Soviet Union invaded the Kingdom of Romania and occupied Eastern Moldova, Northern Bukovina and Hertsa Region. (...) The annexation was prepared beforehand in a Secret Agreement to a Non-Aggression Treaty signed by the Governments of the Soviet Union and the German Reich on August 23, 1939. (...) Between 1940 and 1953 hundreds of thousand of Romanian from Moldova and Northern Bukovina were deported by the USSR to Central Asia and Siberia (...)."

Modern Moldova

  • Mihai Ghimpu, interim president of Moldova in 2010, has decreed June 28, 1940, as the Soviet Occupation Day. The move was met with disapproval and calls for the decree's revocation inside the ruling coalition and for Ghimpu's resignation by the opposition parties. Dorin Chirtoacă, mayor of Chișinău and member of the same party as Ghimpu, ordered the erection of a memorial stone in the National Assembly Square, in front of the cabinet building, where a Lenin monument used to stand. The members of the coalitions argued that the time has not come for such a decree and that it would only help the communists win more votes. The Academy of Sciences of Moldova declared that "in the view of recent disagreements regarding June 28, 1940 [...] we must take action and inform the public opinion about the academic community views". The Academy declared: "Archival documents and historical research of international experts shows that the annexation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina was designed and built by Soviet Command as a military occupation of these territories. Ordinance of Interim President Michael Ghimpu reflects, in principle, the historical truth." The Constitutional Court cancelled Ghimpu's decree on July 12, 2010.
  • On June 30, 2010, First Vlad Filat Cabinet decided to create the Museum of Victims of Communism and Vlad Filat opened the museum on July 6, 2010.
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Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina
Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina Language Watch Edit The Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina took place from June 28 to July 4 1940 as a result of the ultimatum by the Soviet Union to Romania on June 26 1940 that threatened the use of force 1 Bessarabia had been part of the Kingdom of Romania since the time of the Russian Civil War and Bukovina since the dissolution of Austria Hungary and Hertsa was a district of the Romanian Old Kingdom Those regions with a total area of 50 762 km2 19 599 sq mi and a population of 3 776 309 inhabitants were incorporated into the Soviet Union 2 3 On October 26 1940 six Romanian islands on the Chilia branch of the Danube with an area of 23 75 km2 9 17 sq mi were also occupied by the Soviet Army 4 Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern BukovinaPart of the military occupations by the Soviet UnionSoviet parade in ChișinăuDateJune 28 July 3 1940 1940 06 28 1940 07 03 LocationBessarabia Northern BukovinaResultMoldavian SSR establishedBelligerents Romania Soviet UnionStrength55 60 infantry divisions1 tank battalion32 infantry divisions2 mechanized divisions6 cavalry divisions11 armored brigades3 airborne brigades34 artillery regimentsCasualties and losses40 000 deserters29 killed69 wounded The Soviet Union had planned to accomplish the annexation with a full scale invasion but the Romanian government responding to the Soviet ultimatum delivered on June 26 agreed to withdraw from the territories to avoid a military conflict The use of force had been made illegal by the Conventions for the Definition of Aggression in July 1933 but from an international legal standpoint the new status of the annexed territories was eventually based on a formal agreement through which Romania consented to the retrocession of Bessarabia and cession of Northern Bukovina As it was not mentioned in the ultimatum the annexation of the Hertsa region was not consented to by Romania and the same is true of the subsequent Soviet occupation of the Danube islands 1 On June 24 Nazi Germany which had acknowledged the Soviet interest in Bessarabia in a secret protocol to the 1939 Molotov Ribbentrop Pact had been made aware prior to the planned ultimatum but did not inform the Romanian authorities and was willing to provide support 5 On June 22 France a guarantor of Romanian borders fell to Nazi advances This is considered to be an important factor in the Soviets decision to issue the ultimatum 6 The Soviet invasion of Bukovina in 1940 violated the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact since it went beyond the Soviet sphere of influence that had been agreed with the Axis 7 A column of Soviet armored vehicles entering Bessarabia June 1940 On August 2 1940 the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed as a constituent republic of the Soviet Union encompassing most of Bessarabia and part of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic an autonomous republic of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic on the left bank of the Dniester now the breakaway Transnistria The Hertsa region and the regions inhabited by Slavic majorities Northern Bukovina Northern and Southern Bessarabia were included in the Ukrainian SSR A period of political persecution including executions deportations to labour camps and arrests occurred during the Soviet administration In July 1941 Romanian and German troops occupied Bessarabia Northern Bukovina and Hertsa during the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union A military administration was established and the region s Jewish population was executed on the spot or deported to Transnistria where large numbers were killed In August 1944 during the Soviet Second Jassy Kishinev Offensive the Axis war effort on the Eastern Front collapsed The coup of 23 August 1944 caused the Romanian army to cease resisting the Soviet advance and to join the fight against Germany Soviet forces advanced from Bessarabia into Romania captured much of its standing army as prisoners of war and occupied the country 8 On September 12 1944 Romania signed the Moscow Armistice with the Allies The Armistice and the subsequent peace treaty of 1947 confirmed the Soviet Romanian border as it was on January 1 1941 9 10 Bessarabia Northern Bukovina and Hertsa remained part of the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1991 when they became part of the newly independent states of Moldova and Ukraine The Declaration of Independence of Moldova of August 27 1991 declared the Soviet occupation illegal 11 Contents 1 Background 1 1 Interwar Soviet Romanian relations 1 2 Molotov Ribbentrop Pact and aftermath 1 3 International context 2 Political and military developments 2 1 Soviet preparations 2 2 Soviet ultimatum 2 3 Romanian withdrawal 2 4 Incorporation of annexed territories into the Soviet Union 3 Aftermath 3 1 International reactions 3 2 Political developments in Romania 3 3 Romanian recovery of Bessarabia and wartime administration 3 4 Restoration of Soviet administration 4 Social and cultural consequences 4 1 Population movements 4 2 Deportations and political repression 4 3 Religious persecution 5 Legacy 5 1 In the Soviet Union 5 2 Pre independence Moldova 5 3 United States 5 4 Modern Moldova 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External linksBackground EditSee also Moldavia As a historical region Bessarabia was the eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia In 1812 under the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest the region was ceded by the Ottoman Empire to which Moldavia was a vassal state to the Russian Empire Interwar Soviet Romanian relations Edit See also Polish Romanian alliance Interwar Romania 1920 1940 The Bessarabian question was both political and national in nature According to the 1897 census Bessarabia then a guberniya of the Russian Empire had a population that was 47 6 Moldovans 19 6 Ukrainians 8 Russians 11 8 Jews 5 3 Bulgarians 3 1 Germans and 2 9 Gagauz 12 13 The figures showed a strong decrease in the proportion of Moldovans and Romanians compared to the census of 1817 which had been conducted shortly after the Russian Empire annexed Bessarabia in 1812 In that survey Moldovans and Romanians represented 86 of the population 14 The decrease seen in the census of 1897 was caused by the Russian policies of settling of other nationalities and of Russification in Bessarabia 13 15 During the 1917 Russian Revolution a National Council was formed in Bessarabia to manage the province 16 The council known locally as Sfatul Țării initiated several national and social reforms and on December 2 15 1917 it declared the Moldavian Democratic Republic an autonomous republic within the Russian Federative Democratic Republic 17 18 The Rumcherod a rival council that was loyal to the Petrograd Soviet was also formed and by late December it had gained control over the capital Chișinău and proclaimed itself the sole authority over Bessarabia 17 19 With the consent of the Allies and according to Romanian historiography on the request of Sfatul Țării Romanian troops entered Bessarabia in early January 1918 and by February had pushed the Soviets over the Dniester 20 21 Despite later declarations by the Romanian prime minister that the military occupation had been consented to by the Bessarabian government 22 the intervention was met with protest by the locals notably by Ion Inculeț the president of Sfatul Țării and Pantelimon Erhan the head of the provisional Moldavian executive 23 The executive even authorised the badly organised Moldavian militia to resist the Romanian advance although with little success 24 In the wake of the intervention Soviet Russia broke off diplomatic relations with Romania and confiscated the Romanian Treasure which was stored in Moscow for safekeeping 25 To calm the situation Entente representatives in Iași issued a guarantee that the presence of the Romanian Army was only a temporary military measure for the stabilisation of the front without further effecting the political life of the region 21 In January 1918 the Ukrainian People s Republic declared its independence from Russia which left Bessarabia physically isolated from the Petrograd government and led to the declaration of independence of the Moldavian Republic on January 24 February 5 25 Some historians consider that the declaration was made under Romanian pressure 20 Following several Soviet protests on February 20 March 5 the Romanian prime minister General Alexandru Averescu signed a treaty with the Soviet representative in Odessa Christian Rakovsky which provided that Romanian troops be evacuated from Bessarabia within two months in exchange for the repatriation of Romanian prisoners of war held by the Rumcherod 26 After the White Army forced the Soviets to withdraw from Odessa and the German Empire agreed to the Romanian annexation of Bessarabia in a secret agreement part of the Buftea Peace Treaty on March 5 18 20 27 Romanian diplomacy repudiated the treaty by claiming that the Soviets were unable to fulfill their obligations 21 On March 27 April 9 1918 the Sfatul Țării voted for the Union of Bessarabia with Romania conditional upon the fulfilment of an agrarian reform despite having no quorum There were 86 votes for union 3 votes against 36 deputies abstaining and 13 deputies absent The vote is regarded as controversial by several historians including Romanian ones such as Cristina Petrescu and Sorin Alexandrescu 28 According to historian Charles King with Romanian troops already in Chișinău Romanian planes circling above the meeting hall and the Romanian prime minister waiting in the foyer many minority deputies chose simply not to vote 29 On April 18 Georgy Chicherin the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs sent a note of protest against the incorporation of Bessarabia into Romania 30 In August 1916 the Entente and the neutral Romania signed a secret convention that stipulated Romania would join the war against the Central Powers in exchange for several territories of Austria Hungary such as Bukovina 31 During the end of World War I national movements of the Romanians and the Ukrainians began to emerge in the province but both movements had conflicting aims each seeking to unite the province with their national state 32 Thus on October 25 1918 a Ukrainian National Committee gaining the upper hand in Czernowitz declared Northern Bukovina populated by a Ukrainian majority part of the West Ukrainian People s Republic 33 On October 27 the Romanians followed suit proclaiming the whole region united with Romania 34 and calling in Romanian troops 20 The Romanian intervention quickly established the Romanian Assembly as the dominant force and on November 28 a Congress of the Romanians Germans and Poles voted to unite with Romania The representatives of the Ukrainian and Jewish populations boycotted the Congress and the struggle between ethnic factions continued for several months 33 During the Russian Civil War the Soviet governments of Ukraine and Russia prompted by the unrest in Bessarabia from the Romanian occupation issued a joint ultimatum to Romania on May 1 1919 for its withdrawal from Bessarabia and the next day Christian Rakovsky the chairman of the Ukrainian Soviet government issued another ultimatum for the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Bukovina as well The Red Army pushed the Romanians over the Dniester and a Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed The ultimatum also came in the context of the Hungarian Soviet Republic with the Soviets hoping to prevent a Romanian intervention in Hungary A massive rebellion in Ukraine prevented further Soviet advances 20 35 36 Soviet Russia would continue its policy of non recognition of Romanian sovereignty over Bessarabia which it considered Romanian occupied territory until 1940 During the negotiations before the Treaty of Paris the United States representative asked for a plebiscite to be held in Bessarabia to decide its future but the proposal was rejected by the head of the Romanian delegation Ion I C Brătianu who claimed such an undertaking would allow the distribution of Bolshevik propaganda in Bessarabia and Romania 37 A plebiscite was also requested at the Peace Conference by the White Russians only to be rejected again 38 The Soviets would continue to press for a plebiscite during the following decade only to be dismissed every time by the Romanian government 39 Romanian sovereignty over Bessarabia was de jure recognized by the United Kingdom France Italy and Japan in the Bessarabian Treaty signed on October 28 1920 Soviet Russia and Ukraine promptly notified Romania that they did not recognize the treaty s validity and did not consider themselves bound by it 40 Ultimately Japan failed to ratify the treaty and so it never came into force 41 leaving Romania without a valid international act to justify its possession of Bessarabia 42 The United States refused to discuss territorial changes in the former Russian Empire without the participation of a Russian government 43 Thus it declined to recognize the incorporation of Bessarabia into Romania and unlike its position of recognizing the independence of the Baltic States it insisted that Bessarabia was a territory under Romanian military occupation and incorporated the Bessarabian emigration quota into the Russian one in 1923 44 In 1933 the US government tacitly included the Bessarabian emigration quota into that of Romania an act that was considered a de facto recognition by Romanian diplomacy 45 However during World War II the US argued it had never recognized Bessarabia s union with Romania 46 In 1924 after the failure of the Tatarbunary Uprising the Soviet government created a Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic on the left bank of the Dniester river within the Ukrainian SSR The Romanian government saw that as a threat and a possible staging ground for a communist invasion of Romania Throughout the 1920s Romania considered itself a pillar in the cordon sanitaire the policy of containment of the Bolshevik threat and avoided direct relations with the Soviet Union citation needed On August 27 1928 both Romania and the Soviet Union signed and ratified the Kellogg Briand Pact renouncing war as an instrument of national policy 47 On February 9 1929 the Soviet Union signed a protocol with its western neighbors Estonia Latvia Poland and Romania confirming adherence to the terms of the Pact 48 In signing the Pact the contracting parties agreed to condemn war as a recourse to solving conflict to renounce it as an instrument of policy and to agree that all conflicts and disputes would only by peaceful means 49 At the time the Soviet ambassador Maxim Litvinov made it clear that neither the pact nor the protocol meant renunciation of Soviet rights over the territories occupied by Romanians 50 On July 3 1933 Romania and the Soviet Union were signatories the London Convention for the Definition of Aggression Article II of which defined several forms of aggression There shall be recognized as an aggressor that State which shall be the first to have committed one of the following actions First a declaration of war on another State Second invasion by armed forces of the territory of another State even without a declaration of war and No political military economic or other considerations may serve as an excuse or justification for the aggression referred to in Article II In January 1932 in Riga and in September 1932 in Geneva Soviet Romanian negotiations were held as a prelude to a non aggression treaty and on June 9 1934 diplomatic relations were established between both countries On July 21 1936 Litvinov and Nicolae Titulescu the Soviet and Romanian Ministers of Foreign Affairs agreed upon a draft of a Mutual Assistance Pact 51 It was sometimes interpreted as a non aggression treaty which would de facto recognize the existing Soviet Romanian border The protocol stipulated that any common Romanian Soviet action should be approved by France ahead of time In negotiating with the Soviets for the agreement Titulescu was highly criticized by the Romanian far right The protocol was to be signed in September 1936 but Titulescu was dismissed in August 1936 leading the Soviet side to declare the agreement null and void Subsequently no further attempts were made to reach a political rapprochement between Romania and the Soviet Union 52 Moreover by 1937 Litvinov and the Soviet press revived the dormant claim over Bessarabia 53 Molotov Ribbentrop Pact and aftermath Edit Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov signs the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact Behind him are left German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin On August 23 1939 the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact a non aggression treaty that contained an additional secret protocol with maps in which a demarcation line through Eastern Europe was drawn and divided it into the German and Soviet interest zones Bessarabia was among the regions assigned to the Soviet sphere of interest by the Pact Article III of its Secret Additional Protocol stated With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia The German side declares its complete political disinterestedness in these areas 54 On 29 March 1940 Molotov declared on the Sixth session of the Supreme Soviet We do not have a pact of non aggression with Romania This is due to the presence of an unsolved issue the issue of Bessarabia the seizure of which the Soviet Union never recognized although it never raised the issue of returning it by military means 55 That was seen as a threat to Romania International context Edit Planned and actual divisions of Central Europe according to the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact Animation of the European Theatre Assured by the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact of Soviet non interference Germany started World War II one week later by invading Poland from the west on September 1 1939 The Soviet Union attacked Poland from the east on September 17 and by October 6 Poland had fallen Romanian Prime Minister Armand Călinescu a strong supporter of Poland in its conflict with Germany was assassinated on September 21 by elements of the far right Iron Guard with Nazi support Romania remained formally neutral in the conflict but aided Poland by providing access to Allied military supplies from the Black Sea to the Polish border and also a route for the Polish government and army to withdraw after their defeat The Polish government also preferred a formally neutral Romania to ensure the safety from German bombardments of supplies transported through Romanian territory See also Romanian Bridgehead On June 2 1940 Germany informed the Romanian government that to receive territorial guarantees Romania should consider negotiations with the Soviet Union From June 14 to 17 1940 the Soviet Union gave ultimatum notes to Lithuania Estonia and Latvia and when the ultimata were satisfied it used the bases that it had gained to occupy those territories The Fall of France on June 22 and the subsequent British retreat from the Continent rendered the assurances of assistance to Romania meaningless Political and military developments EditSoviet preparations Edit This section needs expansion You can help by adding to it June 2008 By directives OV 583 and OV 584 of the Soviet People Commissariat of Defense military units of the Odessa Military District were ordered into battle ready state in the spring of 1940 Soviet troops were concentrated along the Romanian border between April 15 and June 10 1940 To co ordinate the efforts of the Kyiv and Odessa military districts in the preparation of action against Romania the Soviet Army created the Southern Front under General Georgy Zhukov which was composed of the 5th 9th and 12th Armies The Southern Front had 32 infantry divisions 2 motorized infantry divisions 6 cavalry divisions 11 tank brigades 3 paratrooper brigades 30 artillery regiments and smaller auxiliary units 56 On 25 June the Soviet Southern Front received a directive 57 1 The soldiery and the bourgeois capitalist clique of Romania preparing provocationary acts against the USSR concentrated on the borders of the USSR large armed forces increased the border posts to 100 persons enlarged the number of commandos sent to guard the border and is with enforced tempo constructing defense facilities on its border and the close rear 2 The commander of the Southern Front set the troops of the Southern district the task to a clear of mines seize and hold bridges over the borderline rivers b firmly defend state borders in the front of the 12th army where the troops of the Workers and Peasants Red Army are going to act c to provide the Workers and Peasants Red Army with guides d to cleanse the rear of the 12th army from possible pockets of enemy in the near border belt of Romania Two action plans were devised The first plan was prepared for if Romania did not agree to evacuate Bessarabia and Bukovina The Soviet 12th Army was to strike southward along the Prut River towards Iași while the Soviet 9th Army was to strike westwards south of Chișinău towards Huși The objective of the plan was to surround the Romanian troops in the Bălți Iași area The second plan took into consideration the possibility that Romania would agree to Soviet demands and evacuate its military forces In such a situation Soviet troops were given the mission to quickly reach the Prut River and oversee the evacuation of Romanian troops The first plan was taken as the default course of action Along the portions of the border in which the offensive was planned to take place the Soviets prepared at least a triple superiority of men and materiel 56 Soviet ultimatum Edit On June 26 1940 at 22 00 Soviet People s Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov presented an ultimatum note to Gheorghe Davidescu the Romanian plenipotentiary minister to Moscow in which the Soviet Union demanded the evacuation of the Romanian military and civil administration from Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina 58 59 The Soviets stressed their sense of urgency Now that the military weakness of the USSR is a thing of the past and the international situation that was created requires the rapid solution of the items inherited from the past in order to fix the basis of a solid peace between countries 60 The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop was informed by the Soviets of their intentions to send an ultimatum to Romania regarding Bessarabia and Bukovina on June 24 1940 In the ensuing diplomatic co ordination Ribbentrop expressed mainly concern for the fate of the ethnic Germans in both provinces claimed the number of Germans in Bessarabia to be 100 000 and affirmed that Soviet demands regarding Bukovina were new 61 He also pointed out that Germany had strong economic interests in the rest of Romania a The text of the ultimatum note sent to Romania on June 26 1940 incorrectly stated that Bessarabia was populated mainly by Ukrainians centuries old union of Bessarabia populated mainly by Ukrainians with the Ukrainian Soviet Republic The Soviet government demanded the northern part of Bukovina as a minor reparation for the enormous loss inflicted on the Soviet Union and Bessarabia s population by 22 years of Romanian reign over Bessarabia and because its fate is linked mainly with Soviet Ukraine by the community of its historical fate and by the community of language and ethnic composition Northern Bukovina had some historical connections with Galicia annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939 as part of its invasion of Poland in the sense that both had been part of Austria Hungary from the second half of the 18th century to 1918 Northern Bukovina was inhabited by a compact Ukrainian population which outnumbered Romanians 62 but Bessarabia was regarded as having a Romanian majority even though most of the population adopted a Moldavian identity 63 On the morning of June 27 a mobilization of Romanian troops started 64 In the early hours of June 27 King Carol II had a meeting with his prime minister Gheorghe Tătărescu and his minister for external affairs Ion Gigurtu and he summoned the ambassadors of Italy and Germany Carol communicated his wish to stand against the Soviet Union and asked for their countries to influence Hungary and Bulgaria in the hopes of not declaring war against Romania and to reclaim Transylvania and Southern Dobruja Stating that it would be in the name of peace to accede to Soviet demands the ambassadors urged the King to stand down 65 On June 27 Molotov declared that if the Romanians rejected Soviet demands the Soviet troops would cross the border 64 Molotov gave the Romanian government 24 hours to respond to the ultimatum 59 On the same day the Romanian government replied by suggesting it would agree to immediate negotiations on a wide range of questions 66 The Soviets considered the Romanian government s response to be indefinite because it did not directly accept the immediate transfer of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina 67 On June 27 a second Soviet ultimatum note put forward a specific time frame that requested the evacuation of the Romanian government from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina within four days 67 It stated the Soviet military s intention to enter the Bessarabian cities of Chișinău and Cetatea Albă and the Bukovinian city of Cernăuți 67 On the morning of June 28 1940 following advice by both Germany and Italy the Romanian government led by Gheorghe Tătărescu under the semi authoritarian rule of Carol II agreed to submit to the Soviet demands 68 Soviet forces also occupied the Hertsa region part of the Romanian Old Kingdom which was in neither Bessarabia nor Bukovina 68 The Soviets said that was probably a military error 68 The decision to accept the Soviet ultimatum and to start a withdrawal avoiding the use of ceding from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina was deliberated upon by the Romanian Crown Council during the night of June 27 28 The second decisive vote outcome according to the journal of King Carol II was Reject the ultimatum Ștefan Ciobanu Silviu Dragomir Victor Iamandi Nicolae Iorga Traian Pop Ernest Urdăreanu Accept the ultimatum Petre Andrei Constantin Angelescu Constantin Argetoianu Ernest Ballif Aurelian Bentoiu Mircea Cancicov Ioan Christu Mitiță Constantinescu Mihail Ghelmegeanu Ion Gigurtu Constantin C Giurescu Nicolae Hortolomei Ioan Ilcuș minister of defence Ion Macovei Gheorghe Mironescu Radu Portocală Mihai Ralea Victor Slăvescu Gheorghe Tătărescu prime minister Florea Țenescu chief of the General Staff of the Army Abstained Victor Antonescu The same night Carol II also convinced Alexandru Vaida Voevod to be sworn in as minister Vaida along with all of the above signed the final Crown Council recommendation in which Carol II ordered the army to stand down Romanian withdrawal Edit The division of Bukovina after June 28 1940 The region labelled as Herța Hertsa and the land in white just to the right of Northern Bukovina between the rivers Nistru Dniester and Prut Prut were also taken by the Soviet Union Soviet Marshal Semyon Timoshenko in Bessarabia On June 28 at 9 00 Communique no 25 of the General Staff of the Romanian Army officially announced the terms of the ultimatum to the population its acceptance by the Romanian government and the intent to evacuate the army and administration to the Prut River By 14 00 three key cities Chișinău Cernăuți and Cetatea Albă had to be turned over to the Soviets The military installations and casemates built during a 20 year period for the event of a Soviet attack were relinquished without a fight the Romanian Army being placed by its command under strict orders not to respond to provocations In a declaration to the local population the Soviet command stated The great hour of your liberation from the yoke of Romanian boyars landowners capitalists and Siguranța has arrived 64 Part of the population left the regions with the Romanian administration According to the April 1941 Romanian census the total number of refugees from the evacuated territories amounted to 68 953 but as the ultimatum came unexpectedly many people did not have time to evacuate and over 70 000 request for repatriation to Romania were later recorded On the other hand by early August 1940 between 112 000 and 149 974 people had left the other territories of Romania for the Soviet ruled Bessarabia That figure comprised Romanians of the region but also included Jews both from Bessarabia and from the Old Kingdom who wanted to escape the officially endorsed anti semitism in Romania 69 Incorporation of annexed territories into the Soviet Union Edit Main article Moldavian SSR Romania in 1940 with Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina highlighted in orange red Soviet military parade in Chișinău on July 4 1940 As Romania agreed to satisfy Soviet territorial demands the second plan was immediately put into action with the Red Army immediately moving into Bessarabia and north Bukovina on the morning of June 28 By June 30 the Red Army reached the border along the Prut River On July 3 the border was closed completely from the Soviet side One month after the military occupation on August 2 1940 the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established on the main part of the annexed territory and smaller portions were given to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Six Bessarabian counties and small portions of the other three counties along with parts of the Moldavian ASSR formerly part of the Ukrainian SSR which was disbanded on that occasion formed the Moldavian SSR which became one of 15 union republics of the Soviet Union The Soviet governmental commission headed by Nikita Khrushchev the Communist Party chief of Ukrainian SSR allotted Northern Bukovina Hertsa region and larger parts of Hotin Northern Bessarabia Ismail and Cetatea Albă Budjak counties to the Ukrainian SSR In 1940 to 1941 political persecution of certain categories of locals took the form of arrests executions and deportations to the eastern parts of the Soviet Union According to Alexandru Usatiuc Bulgăr 70 32 433 people received a politically motivated sentence of which 8 360 were sentenced to death or died during interrogations Refugees after the occupation Serious incidents occurred in Northern Bukovina where attempts by the locals to force the border towards Romania resulted in the Soviet border guards opening fire against unarmed civilians In one case at Fantana Albă that resulted in a massacre in which between 50 and 3 000 Romanians were killed 71 72 The situation was the same on the other side of the border roughly 300 or between 80 and 400 according to other sources 73 civilians most of them Jews waiting to leave for Soviet controlled Bessarabia were shot by the Romanian army in Galați railway station on June 30 1940 74 The installation of the Soviet administration was also accompanied by major changes in the economic domain as medium and large commercial and industrial enterprises were nationalized The Soviet government also instituted a land reform thar redistributed 229 752 hectares to 184 715 poor peasant households and limited estates to 20 hectares in the south and 10 hectares elsewhere A collectivisation drive was also started in 1941 but the lack of agricultural machinery made the progress extremely slow with 3 7 of the peasant households being included in a kolkhoz or a sovkhoz by the middle of year 75 To bolster the government s image much of the 1941 budget was directed towards social and cultural needs with 20 allocated to health services and 24 to education and literacy campaigns The theological institute in Chișinău was closed but six new higher education institutions were created including a conservatory and a polytechnic Furthermore the salaries of industrial workers and administrative personnel were increased two to three times the pre Soviet levels 76 In September 1941 Romanian authorities uncovered evidence of torture perpetrated at the NKVD headquarters and in the basement of the Metropolitan Palace in Chișinău Some 80 bodies were discovered of which 15 in a common grave with their hands and feet tied The bodies had been mutilated and burned then doused with quicklime and acids from the remains of the clothing it was inferred that the victims were priests and students 77 Aftermath EditInternational reactions Edit This section needs expansion You can help by adding to it June 2008 Of all of the regional allies with which Romania had treaties with military clauses only Turkey replied that it would live up to its treaty obligations by providing support against Soviet military aggression citation needed According to Time from Monday July 1 1940 This week Soviet planes began making reconnaissance flights over Bessarabia Then border clashes were reported all along the Dn i estr River Though the Rumanian Army made a show of resistance for the record it has no chance of stopping the Soviet without help and Germany had already acknowledged Soviet s claim to Bessarabia in secret deals last year Romania had accepted her destiny in the new Europe that Hitler plans She will also lose Transylvania to Hungary and probably a part of the Dobruja to Bulgaria Soviet s Sphere Soviet was preoccupied with consolidating her own position to the east of Hitler s Europe On the heels of her occupation of Estonia Latvia and Lithuania those three countries set up left wing Governments that looked like steppingstones to complete sovietization Germany took the occupation calmly Germany s calm was doubtless real since last year s deals gave Soviet Union a free hand in the Baltic as well as Bessarabia 78 Political developments in Romania Edit A train with refugees The territorial concessions of 1940 produced deep sorrow and resentment among Romanians and hastened the decline in popularity of the regime led by King Carol II of Romania Three days after the annexation Romania renounced the 1939 Anglo French guarantee A new government of Ion Gigurtu was sworn in on July 5 1940 which withdrew the country from the League of Nations on July 11 and announced its desire to join the Axis camp on July 13 A series of measures taken by Gigurtu including official persecution of Jews inspired by the German Nuremberg Laws in July and August 1940 failed to sway Germany from awarding Northern Transylvania to Hungary in the Second Vienna Award on August 30 1940 Red Cross helping refugees in Romania in a government newsreel That led to a near uprising in the country On September 5 King Carol II proposed to General later Marshal Ion Antonescu to form a new government Antonescu s first act was to force the King to abdicate for the fourth and final time and to flee Romania An alliance was formed by Ion Antonescu with remnants of the Iron Guard partly destroyed in 1938 an anti Semitic fascist party and took power on September 6 1940 Mihai the son of Carol II succeeded him as King of Romania The country was declared a National Legionary State Between October 1940 and June 1941 around 550 000 German troops entered Romania In November Antonescu signed the Tripartite Pact which tied Romania militarily to Germany Italy and Japan In January 1941 the Iron Guard attempted a coup which failed and placed Antonescu firmly in power with the approval of Hitler The authoritarian regime of Antonescu 1940 1944 did not restore political parties and democracy but only co opted several individual civilians in the government Overall the desire to regain the lost territories was invoked as a justification by Romania for its entry into World War II on the side of the Axis against the Soviet Union Romanian recovery of Bessarabia and wartime administration Edit See also History of the Jews in Romania The Holocaust and Moldovan resistance during World War II On June 22 1941 Romania participated alongside Hungary and Italy on the side of the Axis Powers in the German invasion of the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina 79 The Axis armies accomplished this objective by July 26 1941 King Michael of Romania his mother Helen and Mihai Antonescu joined the opening ceremony of the monumental Liberation Tower in Ghidighici on November 1 1942 80 On July 27 1941 despite opposition from all political parties 81 self published source Romania s military dictator Ion Antonescu ordered the Romanian Army to continue the war eastward into Soviet territory proper to fight at Odessa Crimea Kharkov Stalingrad and the Caucasus Between late 1941 and early 1944 Romania occupied and administered the region between the Dniester and Southern Bug rivers known as Transnistria and sent expeditionary troops to several different areas to support the German advance further into the Soviet Union Military ordinance forbidding use of foreign languages and wearing of Russian caps in Bessarabia 15 November 1941 On the backdrop of increased anti Semitism in Romania in the late 1930s the government of Ion Antonescu officially adopted the myth of Jewish Bolshevism which made Jews responsible for the territorial losses Romania suffered during the summer of 1940 That made the government in an agreement with Germany embark on a campaign to cleanse the recaptured territories by deporting and or killing the Jews of Bukovina and Bessarabia who did not flee to the interior of the Soviet Union before Romania regained the territory in July 1941 Only in 1941 between 45 000 and 60 000 Jews were killed in Bessarabia and Bukovina by the Romanian and German armies Surviving Jews were quickly gathered in temporary ghettos and 154 449 to 170 737 were then deported to Transnistria only 49 927 of them were still alive by September 16 1943 Only 19 475 Jews of Bukovina and of Dorohoi County survived in those territories from 1941 to 1944 without being deported most of them in Cernăuți Romanian gendarmerie units also participated along German troops and local militias in the destruction of the Jewish community in Transnistria by murdering between 115 000 and 180 000 local Jews See History of the Jews in Moldova The Holocaust 82 Jews being deported to concentration camps by the Romanian Army In 1941 to 1944 many young male inhabitants of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were recruited into the Romanian Army From February to August 1944 hostilities took place in the region as Romania attempted to keep the territory from being overrun by the Soviet Union Overall during World War II the Romanian Army lost 475 070 people on the Eastern Front of which 245 388 were killed in action disappeared or died in hospitals or non battle circumstances and 229 682 according to Soviet archival documents were taken as prisoners of war by the Red Army of whom 187 367 were counted as Romanian prisoners of war in NKVD camps on April 22 1956 54 612 were counted as having died in captivity and 132 755 as freshly released 27 800 were counted as Romanians released by the front levels of the Soviet Army and 14 515 as Moldovans released by the front levels of the Soviet Army 83 Restoration of Soviet administration Edit Soviet Operations 19 August to 31 December 1944 Main article Moldavian SSR In early 1944 the Soviet Union gradually took over the territory through the Uman Botoșani and Second Jassy Kishinev offensives On August 23 1944 with Soviet troops advancing and the Eastern Front falling within Romania s territory a coup led by King Michael with support from opposition politicians and the army deposed the Antonescu dictatorship ceased military actions against the Allies and later put Romania s battered armies on their side In the days immediately after the coup as Romania s action was unilateral and no armistice had been agreed with the Allied Powers the Red Army continued to treat the Romanian troops as enemy combatants and in the confusion the Romanian troops did not oppose them As a consequence the Soviets took a large number of Romanian troops as prisoners of war with little or no fighting Some of the prisoners were Bessarabian born Michael acquiesced to Soviet terms and Romania was occupied by the Soviet Army From August 1944 to May 1945 about 300 000 people were conscripted into the Soviet Army from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and were sent to fight against Germany in Lithuania East Prussia Poland and Czechoslovakia In 1947 as part of the Paris Peace Treaties Romania and the Soviet Union signed a border treaty confirming the border fixed in 1940 84 Several additional uninhabited islands in the Danube Delta as well as the Snake Island not mentioned in the treaty were transferred from communist Romania to the Soviet Union in 1948 Social and cultural consequences Edit Ethnic map of Interwar Romania census 1930 At the moment of the Soviet occupation the regions had a total population of 3 776 309 inhabitants According to Romanian official statistics this was distributed among the ethnic groups as follows Romanians 53 49 Ukrainians and Ruthenians 15 3 Russians 10 34 Jews 7 27 Bulgarians 4 91 Germans 3 31 others 5 12 85 86 Population movements Edit Volksdeutsche resettling after the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia During the Soviet takeover in 1940 Bessarabian Germans 82 000 and Bukovinian Germans 40 000 45 000 were repatriated to Germany at the request of Hitler s government Some of them were forcibly settled by the Nazis in the German occupied Poland and had to move again in 1944 1945 The people affected by the resettlement were not persecuted but they were given no choice to stay or live and had to change their entire livelihood within weeks or even days Deportations and political repression Edit Main article Soviet deportations from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina Deportations of locals on grounds of belonging to the intelligentsia or kulak classes or of having anti Soviet nationalist ideas occurred in 1940 to 1941 and 1944 to 1951 The deportations touched all local ethnic groups Romanians Ukrainians Russians Jews Bulgarians Gagauz Significant deportations happened on three separate occasions according to Alexandru Usatiuc Bulgăr 70 29 839 people were deported to Siberia on 13 June 1941 In total in the first year of Soviet occupation 87 no fewer than 86 604 people from Bessarabia Northern Bukovina and Hertsa Region suffered political repression 88 That number is close to the one calculated by Russian historians following documents in the Moscow archives of ca 90 000 people repressed arrested executed deported or conscripted for work in the first year of Soviet occupation 89 The greater part of the figure 53 356 was represented by forced conscription for labour across the Soviet Union 90 The classification of such labourers as victims of political repression is however disputed since the poverty of the locals and Soviet propaganda are also considered important factors leading to the emigration of the local workforce 91 The arrests continued even after 22 June 1941 92 93 Based on postwar statistics the historian Igor Cașu has shown that Moldovans and Romanians comprised roughly 50 percent of the deportees with the rest being Jews Russians Ukrainians Gagauzes Bulgarians and Roma people Considering the ethnic make up of the region he concludes that the prewar and postwar repressions were not directed at any specific ethnic or national group but could be characterised as genocide or crime against humanity The 1941 deportation targeted anti Soviet elements and comprised former representatives of the Romanian interwar administration policemen gendarmes prison guards clerks large landowners tradesmen former officers of the Romanian Polish and Tsarist armies and people who had defected the Soviet Union before 1940 Kulaks did not become main targets of repression until the postwar period 90 Before Soviet archives were made accessible R J Rummel had estimated between 1940 and 1941 200 000 to 300 000 Romanian Bessarabians were deported of whom 18 000 to 68 000 were killed according to him 94 Religious persecution Edit Main article Religious persecution during the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina After the installation of the Soviet administration religious life in Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina underwent a persecution similar to the one in Russia between the World Wars In the first days of occupation certain population groups welcomed the Soviet power and some of them joined the newly established Soviet nomenklatura including the NKVD the Soviet political police The latter had used those locals to find and arrest numerous priests 95 Other priests were arrested and interrogated by the Soviet NKVD itself deported to the interior of the Soviet Union and killed Research on the subject is still at an early stage As of 2007 the Orthodox Church has recognized the martyrdom to about 50 clergymen who died in the first year of Soviet rule 1940 1941 95 Legacy EditIn the Soviet Union Edit This section needs expansion You can help by adding to it June 2009 In early Soviet historiography the chain of events that led to the creation of the Moldavian SSR was described as a liberation of the Moldovan people from a 22 year old occupation by boyar Romania The Soviet authors 96 went into great length to describe scenes how the liberated Bessarabian people eagerly welcomed Soviet troops ending the 22 years of yoke under the Romanian capitalists and landowners organized demonstrations under red flags and liberated imprisoned communists from the Siguranța torture chambers In 1940 to 1989 the Soviet authorities promoted the events of June 28 1940 as a liberation and the day itself was a holiday in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic However in 2010 the Russian political analyst Leonid Mlechin stated that the term occupation is not adequate but that it is more an annexation of a part of the territory of Romania 97 Pre independence Moldova Edit From June 26 to 28 1991 an International Conference Molotov Ribbentrop Pact and its consequences for Bessarabia took place in Chișinău gathering scholars such as Nicholas Dima Kurt Treptow Dennis Deletant Michael Mikelson Stephen Bowers Lowry Wymann Michael Bruchis in addition to other Moldovan Soviet and Romanian authors An informal Declaration of Chișinău was adopted according to which the Pact and its Secret Protocol constituted the apogee of collaboration between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and following these agreements Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were occupied by the Soviet Army on June 28 1940 as a result of ultimative notes addressed to the Romanian government It further stated that the events were a pregnant manifestation of imperialist policy of annexation and diktat a shameless aggression against the sovereignty of neighboring states members of the League of Nations The Stalinist aggression constituted a serious breach of the legal norms of behavior of states in international relations of the obligations assumed under the Briand Kellog Pact of 1928 and under the London Convention on the Definition of the Aggressor of 1933 The declaration stated that the Pact and the Secret Additional Protocol are legally null ab initio and their consequences must be eliminated For the latter it called for political solutions that would lead to the elimination of the acts of injustice and abuse committed through the use of force diktat and annexations solutions in full consensus with the principles of the Final Act of Helsinki and the Paris Charter for a new Europe 98 99 United States Edit On June 28 1991 the US Senate voted a resolution sponsored by Senators Jesse Helms R NC and Larry Pressler R SD members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations which recommended the US government to support the right to self determination of the people of Moldova and Northern Bukovina occupied by the Soviets and to draft a decision to this end support the future efforts of the Government of Moldova to negotiate if it desires so a peaceful reunification of Moldova and Northern Bukovina with Romania as established in the Treaty of Paris 1920 respecting the existing norms of international law and principle 1 of the Helsinki Act In the clauses of this Senate resolution it has been stated among other things that The armed forces of the Soviet Union invaded the Kingdom of Romania and occupied Eastern Moldova Northern Bukovina and Hertsa Region The annexation was prepared beforehand in a Secret Agreement to a Non Aggression Treaty signed by the Governments of the Soviet Union and the German Reich on August 23 1939 Between 1940 and 1953 hundreds of thousand of Romanian from Moldova and Northern Bukovina were deported by the USSR to Central Asia and Siberia 100 101 102 Modern Moldova Edit Mihai Ghimpu interim president of Moldova in 2010 has decreed June 28 1940 as the Soviet Occupation Day The move was met with disapproval and calls for the decree s revocation inside the ruling coalition and for Ghimpu s resignation by the opposition parties Dorin Chirtoacă mayor of Chișinău and member of the same party as Ghimpu ordered the erection of a memorial stone in the National Assembly Square in front of the cabinet building where a Lenin monument used to stand 103 The members of the coalitions argued that the time has not come for such a decree and that it would only help the communists win more votes 104 The Academy of Sciences of Moldova declared that in the view of recent disagreements regarding June 28 1940 we must take action and inform the public opinion about the academic community views The Academy declared Archival documents and historical research of international experts shows that the annexation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina was designed and built by Soviet Command as a military occupation of these territories Ordinance of Interim President Michael Ghimpu reflects in principle the historical truth 105 The Constitutional Court cancelled Ghimpu s decree on July 12 2010 106 107 On June 30 2010 First Vlad Filat Cabinet decided to create the Museum of Victims of Communism 108 and Vlad Filat opened the museum on July 6 2010 109 See also EditEuropean Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism Declaration on Crimes of Communism Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism Vilnius Declaration Comparison of Nazism and StalinismNotes Edit a b Deletant 2006 p 20 King 2000 pp 91 95 Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania PDF United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Retrieved March 17 2018 Motoc 2018 p 216 Bossy G H Bossy M A Recollections of a Romanian Diplomat 1918 1969 Volume 2 Hoover Press 2003 Joseph Rothschild East Central Europe between the two World Wars University of Washington Press Seattle 1977 ISBN 0 295953 57 8 p 314 Brackman Roman The Secret File of Joseph Stalin A Hidden Life 2001 p 341 James Stuart Olson Lee Brigance Pappas Nicholas Charles Pappas 1994 An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires Greenwood Publishing Group p 484 ISBN 9780313274978 The Armistice Agreement with Rumania September 12 1944 The Avalon Project Retrieved March 17 2018 United States Department of State Foreign relations of the United States 1946 Paris Peace Conference documents Volume IV 1946 Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova Archived from the original on August 30 2013 Retrieved March 17 2018 Istoriya Respubliki Moldova S drevnejshih vremyon do nashih dnej Istoria Republicii Moldova din cele mai vechi timpuri pină in zilele noastre Associaciya uchyonyh Moldovy im N Milesku Spetaru izd 2 e pererabotannoe i dopolnennoe Kishinyov Elan Poligraf 2002 S 146 360 s ISBN 9975 9719 5 4 a b King 2000 p 24 Keith Hitchins Rumania 1866 1947 Oxford History of Modern Europe 1994 Clarendon Press ISBN 0 19 822126 6 Marcel Mitrasca 2007 Moldova A Romanian Province Under Russian Rule Diplomatic History from the Archives of the Great Powers Algora Publishing pp 20 ISBN 978 0 87586 184 5 Mitrasca 2002 pp 32 33 a b Prusin 2010 p 84 Mitrasca 2002 p 34 Mitrasca 2002 pp 35 36 a b c d e Prusin 2010 p 86 a b c Mitrasca 2002 p 36 Mitrasca 2002 p 85 Charles Upson Clark Bessarabia Chapter XIX New York 1926 Chapter 19 Petre Cazacu Moldova dintre Prut și Nistru 1812 1918 Chișinău Știinţa 1992 pp 345 346 a b Mitrasca 2002 p 35 Mitrasca 2002 pp 36 37 Wim P van Meurs The Bessarabian question in communist historiography East European Monographs 1994 p 67 Cristina Petrescu Contrasting Conflicting Identities Bessarabians Romanians Moldovans in Nation Building and Contested Identities Polirom 2001 p 156 King 35 Mitrasca 2002 p 109 Livezeanu 2000 p 56 Livezeanu 2000 pp 56 57 a b Livezeanu 2000 p 58 Livezeanu 2000 p 57 Richard K Debo Survival and Consolidation The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia 1918 1921 McGill Queen s Press 1992 ISBN 0 7735 0828 7 pp 113 114 Mitrasca 2002 p 110 Mitrasca 2002 p 72 Mitrasca 2002 p 86 Mitrasca 2002 pp 111 112 Mitrasca 2002 p 111 Malbone W Graham October 1944 The Legal Status of the Bukovina and Bessarabia The American Journal of International Law American Society of International Law 38 4 667 673 doi 10 2307 2192802 JSTOR 2192802 Scholar search Mitrasca 2002 p 411 Mitrasca 2002 p 345 Mitrasca 2002 pp 368 369 Mitrasca 2002 pp 345 386 Mitrasca 2002 p 391 Kellogg Briand Pact at Yale University League of Nations Treaty Series 1929 No 2028 League of Nations Treaty Series 1928 No 2137 Mitrasca 2002 p 124 Mitrasca 2002 Keith Hitchins Rumania 1866 1947 pp 436 437 Oxford University Press 1994 ISBN 0 19 822126 6 ISBN 978 0 19 822126 5 Mitrasca 2002 p 137 German Soviet Non Aggression Treaty of August 23 1939 Complete text online at wikisource org MID Ministry inostrannyh del Vneshnyaya politika Rossii ot Lenina i Trockogo do Putina i Medvedeva by Leonid Mlechin a b Ioan Scurtu Istoria Basarabiei de la inceputuri pana in 2003 Editura Institutului Cultural Roman pg 327 https www memo ru en us HISTORY Polacy g 2 htm Ultimativnaya nota sovetskogo pravitelstva rumynskomu pravitelstvu ru convdocs org a b Rumania Delays Official Action on Russian Ultimatum Italy Jugoslavia Also Consulted Brooklyn Citizen Brooklyn New York United Press International June 27 1940 p 1 in Romanian Soviet Ultimata and Replies of the Romanian Government Archived May 27 2010 at the Wayback Machine in Ioan Scurtu Theodora Stănescu Stanciu Georgiana Margareta Scurtu Istoria Romanilor intre anii 1918 1940 University of Bucharest 2002 in Romanian 13 3 Nota lui Joachim von Ribbentrop către Viaceslav Molotov privitoare la Basarabia și Bucovina Istoria Romanilor Intre Anii 1918 1940 June 25 1940 Archived from the original on March 3 2016 Livezeanu 2000 p 50 Livezeanu 2000 p 92 a b c Prutskij pohod 1940 goda Ioan Scurtu Istoria Basarabiei de la inceputuri pana in 2003 Editura Institutului Cultural Roman pg 333 The actual result of the first vote was 11 Reject the ultimatum 10 Accept the ultimatum 5 For negotiations with the USSR and 1 Abstained a b c Russia s Own Story of Grab in Romania New York Daily News June 29 1940 p 10 a b c St John Robert June 30 1940 Report Axis to Aid Romania if Reds Overstep Associated Press Daily News New York New York p 3C Dobrincu Dorin February 21 2013 Consecințe ale unei cedări lipsite de onoare Revista 22 in Romanian Archived from the original on February 24 2018 Retrieved January 17 2014 a b Alexandru Usatiuc Bulgăr Cu gindul la O lume intre două lumi eroi martiri oameni legendă Thinking of A World between Two Worlds Heroes Martyrs Legendary People Publisher Lyceum Orhei 1999 ISBN 9975 939 36 8 Expozitie cutremurătoare la Bruxelles 75 de ani de la Masacrul de la Fantana Albă RFI Romania Actualitate informaţii stiri in direct April 6 2016 Hakman Serhiy March 5 2021 Zaruchniki perehid cherez kordon iniciyuvala rumunska rozvidka do 80 richchya rozstrilu lyudej 1 kvitnya 1941 roku v urochishi Varnicya bilya sela Bila Krinicya Ukrayinska gazeta Chas in Ukrainian Masacrul de la Galaţi din 30 iunie 1940 Radio Romania Cultural Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania pp 85 86 Cașu Igor 2000 Politica națională in Moldova Sovietică Chișinău Cartdidact pp 25 26 ISBN 9789975940290 Cașu Igor 2000 Politica națională in Moldova Sovietică Chișinău Cartdidact pp 34 36 ISBN 9789975940290 Țăranu Mariana S December 7 2013 Cronologia terorii comuniste din prima ocupație sovietică a teritoriilor romanești de la Est de Prut 1940 1941 Chronology of communist terror from the first Soviet occupation of the Romanian territories east of the Prut 1940 1941 Timpul de dimineață in Romanian Retrieved April 8 2021 Hitler s Europe Time Monday July 1 1940 Background Note Romania United States Department of State Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs October 2007 The text says Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941 invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina which had been annexed in 1940 Vasile Șoimaru Turnul Dezrobirii Basarabiei in Romanian Literatura și Arta Archived from the original on March 9 2013 Retrieved February 17 2012 in Romanian www worldwar2 ro Maresal Ion Antonescu The Holocaust in Romania PDF Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority Retrieved January 17 2014 Krivosheyev Grigoriy 1997 Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century 1st ed Greenhill Books ISBN 978 1 85367 280 4 Treaty of Peace with Roumania at Australian Treaty Series 1948 No 2 Viata bucovineana in Ramnicu Valcea postbelic PDF Atitudinea antiromaneasca a evreilor din Basarabia at historia ro Comisia Prezidențială pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din Romania Raport Final ed Vladimir Dorin Dobrincu Cristian Vasile București Humanitas 2007 ISBN 978 973 50 1836 8 p 747 Igor Cașu Politica națională in Moldova sovietică Chișinău Ed Cartdidact 2000 p 32 33 in Russian Mikhail Semiryaga Tainy stalinskoi diplomatii Moscow Vysshaya Shkola 1992 p 270 a b Casu Igor 2010 Stalinist Terror in Soviet Moldavia In McDermott Kevin Stibbe Matthew eds Stalinist Terror in Eastern Europe Manchester University Press ISBN 9780719077760 Retrieved January 17 2014 Comisia Prezidențială pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din Romania Raport Final p 595 Literatura și Arta 12 December 1991 Report p 747 748 R J Rummel Table 6 A 5 104 000 victims during the pre World War II period sources calculations and estimates Freedom Democracy Peace Power Democide and War University of Hawaii a b in Romanian Martiri pentru Hristos din Romania in perioada regimului comunist Editura Institutului Biblic și de Misiune al Bisericii Ortodoxe Romane București 2007 pp 34 35 such as A M Lazarev God 1940 prodolzhenie socialisticheskoj revolyucii v Bessarabii Un analist rus recunoaste URSS a anexat Basarabia la 28 iunie 1940 VIDEO Retrieved March 17 2018 Mihai Adauge Alexandru Furtună Basarabia și Basarabenii Uniunea Scriitorilor din Moldova Chișinău 1991 ISBN 5 88568 022 1 pp 342 347 Dan Dungaciu p 11 Gheorghe E Cojocaru Politica externă a Republicii Moldova Studii Ediția 2 a Civitas Chișinău 2001 p 126 128 Dan Dungaciu p 11 13 Resolution project published also in Moldova Suverană 20 iunie 1991 Primăria a instalat in fața Guvernului o piatră in memoria victimelor regimului comunist in Romanian Publika TV June 26 2010 Retrieved January 23 2021 Meriți tot ce e mai bun JurnalTV md www jurnaltv md Archived from the original on July 25 2011 Retrieved March 17 2018 Poziția oficială a Academiei de Științe 28 iunie 1940 a fost zi de ocupație sovietică in Romanian Unimedia February 21 2011 Retrieved January 23 2021 Moldovan Leader Court Ruling Against Soviet Occupation Day Was Political RadioFreeEurope RadioLiberty Retrieved February 25 2015 Moldpres Moldovan top court says presidential decree on Day of Soviet Occupation unlawful Archived 2011 07 22 at the Wayback Machine Prim ministrul Vlad FILAT a prezidat astăzi ședința ordinară a Guvernului Archived from the original on October 23 2013 Retrieved March 17 2018 Prim ministrul Vlad FILAT a participat astăzi la acțiunile consacrate memoriei victimelor deportărilor și represiunilor politice Archived from the original on October 23 2013 Retrieved March 17 2018 References EditCiorănescu George July 23 1980 40th Anniversary of Annexation of Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina PDF Radio Free Europe report Ciorănescu George December 2 1981 The Problem of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina during World War II Radio Free Europe report Archived from the original on July 19 2009 Mikhail Meltyukhov Stalin s Missed Chance Tudorica Andreea Ciutescu Ovidiu Andriuta Corina June 26 2007 Giurgiulești piedică in calea lui Stalin Jurnalul Național in Romanian Retrieved January 23 2021 Usatiuc Bulgăr Alexandru 1999 Cu gindul la O lume intre două lumi eroi martiri oameni legendă Thinking of A World between Two Worlds Heroes Martyrs Legendary People in Romanian Orhei Lyceum ISBN 9975 939 36 8 Deletant Dennis 2006 Hitler s Forgotten Ally Ion Antonescu and His Regime Romania 1940 1944 Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 1 4039 9341 6 King Charles 2000 The Moldovans Hoover Press ISBN 978 0 8179 9792 2 Livezeanu Irina 2000 Cultural Politics in Greater Romania Regionalism Nation Building and Ethnic Struggle 1918 1930 Cornell University Press ISBN 978 0 8014 8688 3 Mitrasca Marcel 2002 Moldova a Romanian province under Russian rule New York Agora ISBN 978 1 892941 86 2 Motoc Corneliu 2018 Identitate și continuitate romanească in Delta Dunării Biblioteca Județeană Panait Cerna Tulcea ISBN 978 973 0 25973 5 Prusin Alexander V 2010 The Lands Between Conflict in the East European Borderlands 1870 1992 Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 929753 5 External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina Molotov Ribbentrop pact from Wikisource Romanian Army in the Second World War International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania Final Report 2004 The June July 1940 Romanian Withdrawal from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and its Consequences on Interethnic Relations in Romania in Romanian Text of Litvinov Titulescu pact in Romanian Joachim von Ribbentrop to Viaceslav Molotov regarding of Bessarabia and Bukovina June 25 1940 in Romanian The Ultimatum notes and Romanian responses Ioan Scurtu 2003 Istoria Basarabiei de la inceputuri pană in 2003 Editura Institutului Cultural Roman ISBN 9789735773779 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina amp oldid 1052202868, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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