On August 27, 1991, the Republic of Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union and became a sovereign state, an act that consummated the process of escalating political selfassertion under way since 1988. Behind this phenomenon were glasnost and perestroika, the general movement toward reform initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s.
Gorbachev's more permissive approach to political life in the Moldavian SSR enabled Moldovan nationalists to participate in the campaign for election to the Soviet Union's Congress of Peoples' Deputies in 1989 and to form the Moldovan Popular Front. On February 25, 1990, the first democratic elections for the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR resulted in a Popular Front majority.
In May 1991, the country changed its name from the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Moldova. The name of the Supreme Soviet was changed to the Moldovan Parliament. On August 27, 1991 (now Independence Day), it declared Moldova's complete independence. This pursuit of independence by Moldova's government put it increasingly at odds with Moscow and at the same time led to growing tensions between the ethnic Romanian majority and the non-Romanian minorities in the republic.
Those tensions soon led to sporadic violence throughout the first half of 1992 until a cease-fire agreement was negotiated by presidents Snegur and Yeltsin in July. The conditions for withdrawing the Russian 14th Army were negotiated and were dependent on constitutional provisions that were to be made after the parliamentary elections of early 1994.
On February 27, 1994, parliamentary elections were held. In the elections, the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova won a majority, marking a turning point for Moldovan politics. The new Parliament was able to make compromises between ethnic Romanians and ethnic Slavs, thus enabling it to pass legislation and set a more moderate tone for governing the country. Without a majority of Popular Front extreme nationalists in Parliament, a solution to the problem of Transnistria began to be more than just a futile hope.
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