At the beginning of WWII in 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact gave Bessarabia to the USSR and although Romania declared itself neutral, the Soviets took Bessarabia by force in June 1940. On August 2, 1940, the Moldavian Autonomous Societ Socialist Republic became the Moldavian SSR. It consisted of the land surroundin the Trans-Dnestr region. The rest of the former Moldavia ASSR became Ukraine. Romanian and German forces occupied the country from 1941 until 1944. Soviet forces then reclaimed the region and reincorporated it into the USSR.
Moldova became an independent nation in 1991 with the fall of Soviet Communism. The same year, Moldova became a member of the CIS. In late 1992, it joined the United Nations.
Ethnic and territorial conflicts have been ongoing since the 1980's and have caused a civil war which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people. A law that made Romanian the official language was passed in 1989 and separatist movements in the south and east emerged. After Moldova gained independence in 1991, the Trans-Dnestr region declared itself independent from Moldova. Violence erupted and Moldovan president Mircea Snegur ordered the military to take action against the rebels. The rebels, aided by the Russians, gained control of the area. In May 1993, the Moldovan government announced that it would allow the Russian forces to stay in eastern Moldova until the area could be given special political status.
Parlimentary elections in 1994 gave a majority of positions to Communists and Socialists. In July, a constitution was adopted. It granted some privileges to the break-away region of Trans-Dnestr and Gagauz. In August, an agreement with Russia was reached and all Russian troops were to be withdroawn from the Trans-Dnestr area within three years. However, most of the Trans-Dnestr wanted the Russian troops to stay in the region. No successful agreements between the separatists and the government have been reached.