Municipality of Bender (in red)
|• Head of the State Administration of Bendery||Yuriy Gervachuk|
|• Total||97.29 km2 (37.56 sq mi)|
|• Total||93 751|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
Bender (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈbender]), also known as Bendery (Russian: Бендеры, tr. Bendery, IPA: [bʲɪnˈdɛrɨ]; Ukrainian: Бендери, Bendery) and Tighina (Romanian pronunciation: [tiˈɡina]), is a city within the internationally recognized borders of Moldova under de facto control of the unrecognized Transnistria Republic (PMR) since 1992. It is located on the right (western) bank of the river Dniester in the historical region of Bessarabia. Together with its suburb Proteagailovca, the city forms a municipality, which is separate from Transnistria according to the Moldovan law. Bender is located in the buffer zone established at the end of the 1992 War of Transnistria.
While the Joint Control Commission has overriding powers in the city, Transnistria has de facto administrative control.
First mentioned in 1408 as Тягянякяча (Tyagyanyakyacha) in a document in Old Slavonic (the term is of Cuman origin), the town was known in the Middle Ages as Tighina in Moldavian sources and later as Bender in Ottoman sources. The fortress and the city were called Bender for the most part of the time they were a rayah of the Ottomans (1538–1812), and during most of the time they belonged to the Russian Empire (1828–1917). They were known as Tighina (Тигина) in the Principality of Moldavia, in the early part of the Russian Empire period (1812–1828), and during the time the city belonged to Romania (1918–1940; 1941–1944).
The city is part of the historical region of Bessarabia. During the Soviet period the city was known in the Moldavian SSR as Бендер (Bender) in Moldovan (Romanian) written then with the Cyrillic alphabet, and as Бендéры (Bendery) in Russian. In the independent Moldova, officially it is known as Bender, but otherwise both names Bender and Tighina are used.
The town was first mentioned as an important customs post in a commerce grant issued by the Moldavian voivode Alexander the Good to the merchants of Lviv on October 8, 1408. The name "Tighina" is found in documents from the second half of the 15th century. The town was the main Moldavian customs point on the commercial road linking the country to Tatar Crimea. During his reign of Moldavia, Stephen III had a small wooden fort built in the town to defend the settlement from Tatar raids.
In 1538, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the town from Moldavia, and renamed it Bender. Its fortifications were developed into a full fortress under the same name under the supervision of the Turkish architect Koji Mimar Sinan. The Ottomans used it to keep the pressure on Moldavia. At the end of the 16th century several unsuccessful attempts to retake the fortress were made: in the summer of 1574 Prince John III the Terrible led a siege on the fortress, as did Michael the Brave in 1595 and 1600. About the same time the fortress was attacked by Zaporozhian Cossacks.
In the 18th century, the fort's area was expanded and modernized by the prince of Moldavia Antioh Cantemir, who carried out these works under Ottoman supervision.
In 1713, the fortress, the town, and the neighboring village Varniţa were the site of skirmishes (kalabalik) between Charles XII of Sweden, who had taken refuge there with the Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa after his defeat in the Battle of Poltava, and Turks who wished to enforce the departure of the Swedish king.
During the second half of the 18th century, the fortress fell three times to the Russians during the Russo-Turkish Wars (in 1770, 1789, and in 1806 without a fight).
Tighina was part of the Moldavian Democratic Republic in 1917–1918, and after 1918, as part of Bessarabia, the city belonged to Romania, where it was the seat of Tighina County. On Easter Day, 1919, the bridge over the Dniester River was blown up by the French Army in order to block the Bolsheviks from coming to the city.
Along with Bessarabia, the city was occupied by the Soviet Union on June 28, 1940, following an ultimatum. In the course of World War II, it was retaken by Romania in July 1941, and again by the USSR in August 1944.
In 1940–41, and 1941–1991 it was one of the four "republican cities" (i.e., not subordinated to a district) of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union. Since 1991, the city has been part of the independent Republic of Moldova.
Since 1992, Bender has been formally in the demilitarized zone established at the end of the conflict, but is de facto controlled by Transnistrian authorities. Moldovan authorities control the commune of Varniţa, which fringes the city to the north. Transnistrian authorities control the communes of Proteagailovca, which borders the city to the west, Gîsca, which borders the city to the south-west, Chiţcani and Cremenciug, further to the south-east, while Moldovans are in control of Copanca, further to the south-east.
Yuriy Gervachuk is the current head of the state administration of Bendery, replacing Vyacheslav Kogut by a decree of the president of Transnistria in 2013.
List of Heads of the state administration of Bendery
- Vyacheslav Kogut (? ~ 2012)
- Valery Kernichuk (February 9, 2012 ~ November 15, 2012)
- Yuriy Gervachuk (January 24, 2013 ~ )
People and culture
In 1920, the population of Bender was approximately 26,000. At that time, one third of the population was Jewish. One third of the population was Romanian. Germans, Russians, and Bulgarians were also mixed into the population during that time.
Note: 1 Since the independence of Moldova, there has been ongoing controversy over whether Romanians and Moldovans should be counted officially as the same ethnic group or not. At the census, every citizen could only declare one nationality. Consequently, one could not declare oneself both Moldovan and Romanian. Note: 2 The Ukrainian population of Bessarabia was counted in the past as "Ruthenians" in a similar way the Romanian population is counted as "Moldovan" today
- Radio Chişinău 106.1 FM
People born in the city include:
- Two Ottoman Grand Viziers known as Benderli Pasha
- Lev Berg, Jewish Soviet zoologist and geographer
- Tamara Buciuceanu, Romanian actress
- Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania (1996-2000)
- Iuliu Edlis, Russian playwright and writer
- Yevgeny Fyodorov, Soviet geophysicist
- Jerzy Neyman, Polish statistician
- Michael Postan, British historian
- Zrubavel Gilad, Hebrew poet
Twin towns – Sister cities
Bender is twinned with:
- Kaba, John (1919). Politico-economic Review of Basarabia. United States: American Relief Administration. pp. 14–15.
- Whilst unanimously recognised by all UN members as an autonomous region of Moldova, Transnistria is effectively a de facto independent republic. Transnistria's de facto sovereign status is recognised only by Abkhazia and South Ossetia, themselves in a similar diplomatic situation
- Указ Президента ПМР № 14
- (Romanian) Law 764-XV from December 27, 2001 on administrative-territorial organisation of the Republic of Moldova, Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, no. 16/53, December 29, 2001 (subsequent modifications taken into account)
- History of Bender on the Official website of Republic of Moldova: "trecătoare" înseamnă în limba cumană Tighina
- (Romanian) "Cetatea Tighina" on Monument.md
- Ion Nistor, Istoria Basarabiei, Cernăuţi, 1923, reprint Chişinău, Cartea Moldovenească, 1991, p.76
- "Bender fortress" on Moldova.md
- Charles XII of Sweden first took refuge in a Moldavian house in the town, then moved to a house specially built for him in Varniţa. cf. Ion Nistor, Ibidem, p.140
- (Russian) Official website of the President of Transnistria
- Указ Президента ПМР №754
- 1930 Romanian Census data for the Tighina County
- Moldova – City Population – Cities, Towns & Provinces – Statistics & Map
- Marian Enache, Dorin Cimpoesu, Misiune Diplomatica in Republica Moldova (Iași: Polirom, 2000), p. 399
- 2004 Census: PMR urban, multilingual, multicultural | Pridnestrovie.net – Tiraspol, PMR: Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (Transnistria)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bender, Moldova.|
- (Polish) Bendery (Bender) in the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland (1880)
- City portal