Moldova is a new nation-state with a long history. Despite only recently gaining independence, following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova's roots stretch all the way back to the Principality of Moldavia, established in 1359. After centuries toiling under Ottoman control, and latterly Russian Imperial rule, the Moldovans briefly tasted independence in the early twentieth century, before being annexed by the Soviet Union. In recent times, the Transnistrian Dispute has once again threatened the sovereignty, and indeed the independence, of Moldova and this conflict remains unresolved today.
For the first time in English, this book places the problems of contemporary Moldova in a long-term historical perspective. It argues that the Moldovans' complex relations with the Russians and the West are not simply the product of the Soviet era but have their roots in earlier centuries. Haynes contends that the Moldovan lands, and Moldovan identity and culture, have long been contested: by the Roman and Byzantine Empires of antiquity, by the expanding Hungarian and Polish-Lithuanian kingdoms in the Middle Ages, by the Ottoman, Habsburg, Russian and Soviet empires in more recent centuries, and by the Romanian state. The book provides a political and cultural history of the growth and development of the medieval Principality of Moldova, the Principality's partition and Russian rule in Bessarabia from 1812, Bessarabia under Romanian rule in the inter-war period, Soviet Moldova and the independent Republic of Moldova.