Image - Moldavian peasants Image - A largely Moldavian Orlivka village in Odesa oblast.

Moldavians (Romanian: Moldoveni; Ukrainian: молдовани; moldavany). The predominantly Vlach population of Moldavia (Moldova). After the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia united in 1859 to form Romania, the term Moldavian, like Wallachian and the southern Romanian term Munten, became a regional designation. The Soviet regime created a fictional Moldavian nation, language, and literature to justify the existence of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. In fact the language of the Moldavian SSR and its successor state, Moldova, is a Romanian dialect the lexicon of which has many borrowings from Ukrainian and Russian, and which has been written in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet instead of the Romanian Latin alphabet. In the Soviet era many Soviet Russian neologisms entered the dialect, and on the basis of those words Soviet scholars (eg, M. Sergievsky) tried unconvincingly to substantiate the idea that Moldavian was a separate language.

In 1989 there were 3,352,352 Moldavians in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Of those, 2,794,749 lived in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, where they made up 64 percent of the population; 324,525 lived in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic; and 172,671 lived in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Of the Moldavians in Ukraine in 1989, 44.5 percent lived in Odesa oblast; 26 percent, in Chernivtsi oblast; 5 percent, in Mykolaiv oblast; 4.1 percent, in Donetsk oblast; 3.3 percent, in Kirovohrad oblast; 2 percent, in Dnipropetrovsk oblast; 2 percent, in Crimea oblast; 1.8 percent, in Luhansk oblast; and 1.7 percent, in Kherson oblast. According to the 2001 census, 258,619 Moldavians lived in Ukraine which constituted 0.53% of the population of Ukraine.

(See also Romanians.)

[This article was updated in 2005.]

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