(7) They considered the local Romanian-speaking population (though not local Gentile minorities such as Ukrainians, Russians, Bulgarians, Gagauzi, and Roma) as members of their nation whom they intended to liberate and protect, and at least part of that population reciprocated, believing this perception was right.
(8) Gagauzi is a small Turkish-speaking bur Orthodox Christian population which arrived in southern Bessarabia, together with Bulgarians, from the Balkans, mostly in the first half of the 1800s, as refugees and settlers at the invitation of the Russian government.
When the Supreme Soviet pushed ahead with the reforms, the Russians and Gagauzi made plans to declare their own independent political structures.
With the existence of an independent Moldovan state, the Russians and Gagauzi felt more threatened than ever.
First, little progress has been made in placating the separatist Russians and Gagauzi. Both groups contend that the Moldovan government aims at the forced 'romanianisation' of the republic's ethnic minorities.
While independence and territorial integrity are still threatened by the Gagauzi and the Transnistrians, the Moldovan leadership have begun to take a softer line on the separatists, purging the most radical pro-unification elements from the parliament and government.