Moldavians


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Moldavians

 

a nation and the basic population of the Moldavian SSR. Of the 2,698,000 Moldavians in the USSR (1970 census), 2,304,000 live in the Moldavian SSR, 266,000 in the Ukrainian SSR, 88,000 in the RSFSR, and 40,000 in other republics. They speak Moldavian, and believers among them are members of the Orthodox Church.

There were two stages in the ethnogenesis of the Moldavians: the formation of the Eastern Romanic ethnic community, the Vlachs, and the evolution of the Moldavian nationality. The Vlachs developed out of Thracian tribes inhabiting the northern Balkan Peninsula and the foothills of the Carpathians. These Thracian tribes were romanized in the first centuries A.D., and from the sixth century they came under the influence of the Slavs and other ethnic groups. In the course of ethnic development the Moldavian nationality emerged as a distinct group out of the Vlach population in the Eastern Carpathians; Slavic tribes, mainly South and East Slavs, were partly assimilated by the Moldavians.

In the first half of the 14th century a Moldavian feudal state emerged, later encompassing territory east of the Prut, and the formation of the Moldavian nationality was completed within the state. From the 16th through the 19th century Moldavia was ruled by the Turks. In their struggle for national independence the Moldavian people frequently turned to Russia for aid. In the early 19th century the part of Moldavia that lay between the Prut and Dnestr rivers (Bessarabia) was liberated from Turkish rule and incorporated into Russia. Capitalist relations developed in Bessarabia, and a national intelligentsia appeared. In the early 20th century an independent Moldavian nation arose. Bessarabia was forcibly taken from Soviet Russia by bourgeois-landlord Rumania in 1918. The Moldavian ASSR was created in 1924 within the Ukrainian SSR out of the left-bank regions of the Dnestr populated by Moldavians. In 1940, Bessarabia was returned to the USSR. The Moldavian SSR was created out of the Moldavian ASSR and the greater part of Bessarabia.

During the Soviet period the Moldavian people have achieved great successes in their political, economic, and cultural development. In the course of socialist construction the Moldavians developed into a socialist nation. Significant changes in the social structure of the population occurred; as a result of industrial development the number of industrial and office workers in-creased. New rural homes, while preserving their distinctive national appearance, have more amenities. A characteristic feature is the decoration of rooms with rugs and ornamental cloths.

Although national costumes are still worn during holidays in some areas, the traditional dress has everywhere been replaced by modern urban clothing. New holidays and customs have appeared, and the old ones have changed. Popular artistic crafts include carpet-making, embroidery, pottery, and woodworking. Amateur folk art is flourishing. Folk dance groups and folk music orchestras have arisen on the basis of ancient dances. Alongside folk art, professional art, including the theater, films, music, painting, and literature, is also developing.

REFERENCES

Narody Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964. (Bibliography.)
Zelenchuk, V. S. Ocherki moldavskoi narodnoi obriadnosti (XlX-nachala XX vv.) Kishinev, 1959.
Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii i etnografii Moldavskoi SSR. Kishinev, 1964.
Demchenko, N. A. Zemledel’cheskie orudiia moldavan XVIII-nach. XX vv. Kishinev, 1967.
Khynku, I. G. Moldavskaia narodnaia keramika. Kishinev, 1969.
Kantemir, D. Deskrieria Moldovei. Kishinev, 1957.

V. S. ZELENCHUK

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