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Vasile Cijevschi

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Title: Vasile Cijevschi  
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Subject: Gherman Pântea, Moldovan short story writers, Zaim, Căușeni, Moldavian Democratic Republic, Vladimir Chiorescu
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Vasile Cijevschi

Vasile Cijevschi
Cijevschi, photographed ca. 1930
Born (1881-10-17)October 17, 1881
Died July 14, 1931(1931-07-14)
Buried at Central Cemetery, Chișinău
Allegiance Russian Empire
Russian Republic
Moldavian Democratic Republic
Service/branch Cavalry
Rank Rotmistr (Russian Cavalry)
Comissar (Bessarabian Army)
Battles/wars Russo-Japanese War
Russian Civil War
Other work Political activity

Vasile Cijevschi (also credited as Cijevski or Tchizhevsky; October 17, 1881 – July 14, 1931)[1] was a Bessarabian–Romanian union of 1918. He is chiefly remembered as a supporter of Bessarabian identity within Romania and as an early critic of Romanian centralism.


Cijevschi was a native of Zaim village, at the geographical center of the Bessarabian Governorate.[1][2] His early career was in the Russian Cavalry, where he reached the rank of Rotmistr (Captain).[3] He was involved in the Russo-Japanese War, when he also received academic training in Oriental studies and prepared for a career in Russian diplomacy.[2]

He was no longer in active service after the February Revolution of 1917, by which time he had become interested in political matters. In April, Cijevschi was registered as one of six Bessarabian envoys to the Congress of Russian Peoples of the Ukrainian People's Republic, where he prospected the emancipation of Romanians living under nominal Ukrainian rule.[4] The National Moldavian Party elected him as one of the chief delegates.[2]

By September 1917, Cijevschi was also involved with the Moldavian Congress of Chișinău, which called for Bessarabian autonomy within the Russian Republic. This institution elected Cijevschi as Commissar for Bessarabia, but, despite the efforts of Bessarabian lobbyists, his appointment was never sanctioned by the Russian Army Command in Mogilev.[5] Shortly after the October Revolution, Cijevschi helped establish the All-Russian Congress of Moldavian Soldiers, functioning as the first legislative and executive body of Bessarabian autonomists. He was elected President of that Congress, with Ștefan Holban serving as his secretary.[6] They both signed their names to a Congress proclamation on self-determination, which became legal precedent in the Moldavian Democratic Republic.[7]

Following the legislative election of 1917, Cijevschi became a representative of Bender in the Bessarabian regional assembly (Sfatul Țării). Within this legislature, he presided upon an all-Romanian faction, the "Moldavian Bloc", which rivaled other ethnic community parties.[2][7] In November, the Republic appointed Cijevski Commissar of Bessarabian troops, which were enrolled against Bolshevik agitation. He applied his own philosophy in this respect: instead of creating an all-Romanian military structure, he gave a significant share to members of all ethnic communities.[8] The undertrained republican army could not deal with the raids carried out by Russian deserters, and Cijevschi resigned his position on December 22.[9] He returned to the legislative assembly, this time involved in debates with ethnic minority delegates over the adoption of Romanian as the Republic's official language.[10]

His Sfatul Țării campaigning helped swing the vote in favor of union with Romania, as proclaimed by the legislative body on April 9, 1918.[2][11] Cijevski also initiated the election of Constantin Stere, the Bessarabian émigré, as honorary deputy for Soroca.[2][12] However, once the Romanian administration took over, introducing centralizing legislation and De-Russification, Cijevschi supported a return to regional autonomy. With Nicolae Alexandri, Ion Păscăluță, Vasile Ghenzul, and several other Sfatul members, he issued a formal protest against the state of siege and demanded the reintroduction of Russia's Civil Code.[13] Their memorandum was welcomed by the White émigré communities, who took it as proof that Bessarabia was still loyal to the defunct Russian Empire.[14]

Cijevschi's parliamentary mandate expired on November 27, 1918,[1] after which he withdrew from national politics. Still involved with the Moldavian Veterans' Association, and employed for a while by the Chișinău Community Bank, he worked mainly as a civil servant for the Mayor of Chișinău, supervising the local schools.[2] His activity was primarily focused on the Art Academy, which he helped refurbish. Under his watch, the school employed educators who were frowned upon in Romania for their alleged communist sympathies.[2] He dabbled in fiction writing: the short story Unei prietene ("To a Lady Friend") was published by Viața Basarabiei magazine in 1934.[2]

During the 1920s Cijevski rallied with the People's Party, and edited its regional Russian-language newspaper, Nashe Slovo ("Our Word").[15] He was later involved as head editor of two other publications, Gazeta-Lei, Bessarabskaya Mysl and Onisifor Ghibu's România Nouă.[2]

He died on July 14, 1931, and was buried at the "Armenesc" Central Cemetery, Chișinău.[1][2] Cijevschi was posthumously honored at the 20th anniversary of Bessarabian autonomy in 1937.[16] His native village of Zaim is now home to a Vasile Cijevschi Public Library.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d (Romanian) Mihai Tașcă, "Deputați în Sfatul Țării înmormântați la Chișinău", in Timpul, April 10, 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l (Romanian) Aureliu Benu, "Vasile Cijevschi – ofițer, deputat, funcționar, publicist, prozator și mare patriot", in the Moldovan Ministry of Defense Oastea Moldovei, Nr. 20/2012, p.7
  3. ^ Constantin, p.53; Zamfirescu & Adam, p.55, 83
  4. ^ Charles Upson Clark, : Chapter XVI, "The Ukraine Encroaches"Bessarabia. Russia and Roumania on the Black Sea, at the University of Washington's DXARTS/CARTAH Electronic Text Archive; (Romanian) Ioan I. Șerban, "Din activitatea desfășurată în Vechiul Regat de voluntarii și refugiații ardeleni și bucovineni în slujba idealului național (iunie 1917 - ianuarie 1918)", in the 1 December University of Alba Iulia Annales Universitatis Apulensis, Series Historica (AUASH), Nr. 1, 1997, p.106
  5. ^ Constantin, p.43-46
  6. ^ Constantin, p.53-55; Zamfirescu & Adam, p.55
  7. ^ a b Zamfirescu & Adam, p.55
  8. ^ Ciobanu, p.93
  9. ^ Ciobanu, p.97-98
  10. ^ (Romanian) Ion Țurcanu, "Sfatul Țării și problema limbii române", in Transilvania, Nr. 3-4/2008, p.58
  11. ^ Bessarabia. Russia and Roumania on the Black Sea, at the University of Washington's DXARTS/CARTAH Electronic Text Archive; Zamfirescu & Adam, p.83
  12. ^ (Romanian) Ovidiu Buruiană, "Constantin Stere și unirea românilor la 1918", in Revista Română (ASTRA), Nr. 42/2005, p.4
  13. ^ Charles Upson Clark, : Chapter XXIII, "Friction under the New Regime"Bessarabia. Russia and Roumania on the Black Sea, at the University of Washington's DXARTS/CARTAH Electronic Text Archive; Zamfirescu & Adam, p.83
  14. ^ Zamfirescu & Adam, p.83
  15. ^ Ileana-Stanca Desa, Dulciu Morărescu, Ioana Patriche, Adriana Raliade, Iliana Sulică, Publicațiile periodice românești (ziare, gazete, reviste). Vol. III: Catalog alfabetic 1919-1924, Editura Academiei, Bucharest, 1987, p.651
  16. ^ Constantin, p.90


  • (Romanian) Vitalie Ciobanu, "Directoratul general de război și marină al Basarabiei (1917-1918)", in the Moldovan Ministry of Defense Cohorta. Revistă de Istorie Militară, Nr.1/2007, p. 93-102
  • (Romanian) Ion Constantin, Gherman Pântea între mit și realitate, Editura Biblioteca Bucureștilor, Bucharest, 2010. ISBN 978-973-8369-83-2
  • (Romanian) Duiliu Zamfirescu, Ioan Adam, În Basarabia, Editura Bibliotecii Bucureștilor, Bucharest, 2012. ISBN 978-606-8337-29-6
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