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    MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - The current conflict between Chisinau and Tiraspol began in early 1989 when the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) began developing draft laws On the state language and On languages on MSSR's territory. Under the laws, the only state language was the Romanian, and not the Moldavian language based on Cyrillic. The Russian language was given the status of an international communication language. This decision accompanied by the sensational campaign to Romanize the public and political and the cultural life dramatically aggravated the ethnic issue and triggered ethnic conflicts in the republic. The decision caused particularly painful reaction in Transdniestria, the most industrially developed region of Moldavia, mostly populated by Russian speakers due to historical reasons.

    Transdniestrian parliamentarians represented in the Supreme Soviet of Moldavia came out with an initiative to legalize both languages, to preserve the Cyrillic and hold a referendum on the abovementioned draft laws. Yet, the suggestion was turned down by the nationalistic majority. As a result, both laws were adopted on August 31, 1989, and this date was proclaimed the national holiday - Day of the Language.

    Transdniestria saw Chisinau moves as legislative violation of the equality of all the ethnic groups living in Moldavia. Mass protests swept across all the cities of the region.

    Against his backdrop, Transdniestrian parliamentarians in the Supreme Soviet of Moldavia had to initiate the issue of Transdniestria autonomy within united Moldavia with a subsequent referendum. Although the issue featured on the agenda of the Supreme Soviet, the nationalists basically blocked its discussion. In parallel, the Romanian tricolor was declared the national flag, and the republic changed its name into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova (SSRM). The Transdniestrian group of parliamentarians came under heavy pressure and even physical violence. Nonetheless, the Transdniestrians continued to work in parliament and come out against nationalistic manifestations until a declaration on sovereignty was adopted on June 23, 1990 thereby starting the republic's secession from the Soviet Union.

    These developments bred an idea to form an independent state in Transdniestria. On June 2, 1990 the first convention of deputies of all levels in Transdniestria came out for the autonomous status of the territory. However, three months later, the second convention declared the formation of the Transdniestrian Soviet Socialist Republic.

    Simultaneously, another area of Moldova, Gagauzia, was moving towards an autonomy too. The local residents opposed the wave of the Moldovan-Romanian nationalism, and began demanding a cultural autonomy status. In October 1990, elections to the local Supreme Soviet were declared in Gagauzia. Chisinau tried to prevent the elections sending the police and volunteers from the radical nationalists of the People's Front. There was no bloodshed thanks to the special interior affairs subdivisions of the USSR introduced to the region following the request of the Gagauzian leadership. The events in Gagauzia aggravated the internal political situation and accelerated the split between Transdniestria and the rest of Moldova, which led to the first victims among civilians. On November 2, 1990, three Transdniestrians were killed and 16 wounded near Dubossary during the operation of the Moldovan police.

    On August 27, 1991 Chisinau adopted the declaration on the Independence of the Republic of Moldova. In reply, the Supreme Court of Transdniestria soon declared the Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic and confirmed its decision to transfer all the state agencies under its control on the Left Bank of the Dniestr. On December 1, 1991, presidential elections and the referendum on independence from Moldova were held in Transdniestria.

    Chisinau outlawed the actions of the Transdniestrians and refused to settle the conflict with political means. It opted for solving the conflict by force. This is when special services of Moldova and Romania formed militant detachments consisting of nationalists to apply terrorist means towards Transdniestria. The most active of such groups was the subversive group Bujor headed by the infamous Ilascu, who distinguished himself with peculiar cruelty.

    Local clashes of March 1992 gradually developed into a large-scale armed conflict on the Dniestr banks. The entire arsenal of the Moldovan army was employed. It was basically a true aggression against the region, which led to the death of hundreds of people. Combat activities were conducted in the immediate vicinity to military units of the former 14th army, which was stationed in the Transdniestrian region. Its servicemen were provoked by hostage taking and weapons seizure. Despite this and numerous appeals of peaceful civilians, the 14th army preserved its neutrality. When the conflict took on a threatening scale and its escalation reached its peak, the commanders of the army decided to interfere following the request of M. Snegur, the Moldovan president, decided to interfere and reconcile the parties at war to put an end to the bloodshed.

    As a result, the Russian and Moldovan presidents signed an agreement on the principles of peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in the Transdniestrian region of the Republic of Moldova on July 21, 1992.

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