Secession of Gagauzia and Transnistria
In August the Gagauz declared a separate "Gagauz Republic" (Gagauz-Yeri) in the south, around the city of Comrat (Komrat, in Russian). In September, Slavs on the east bank of the Nistru River proclaimed the "Dnestr Moldavian Republic" (commonly called the "Dnestr Republic") in Transnistria, with its capital at Tiraspol. Although the Supreme Soviet immediately declared these declarations null, both "republics" went on to hold elections. Stepan Topal was elected president of the "Gagauz Republic" in December 1991, and Igor' N. Smirnov was elected president of the "Dnestr Republic" in the same month.
Approximately 50,000 armed Moldovan nationalist volunteers went to Transnistria, where widespread violence was temporarily averted by the intervention of the Russian 14th Army. (The Soviet 14th Army, now the Russian 14th Army, had been headquartered in Chisinau under the High Command of the Southwestern Theater of Military Operations since 1956.) Negotiations in Moscow among the Gagauz, the Transnistrian Slavs, and the government of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova failed, and the government refused to join in further negotiations.
In May 1991, the country's official name was changed to the Republic of Moldova (Republica Moldova). The name of the Supreme Soviet also was changed, to the Moldovan Parliament.
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