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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stepan Mikhailovich Topal
Member of the Moldovan Parliament
In office
Başkan of Gagauzia
In office
Succeeded byGheorghe Tabunșcic
Personal details
Born(1938-01-18)18 January 1938
Kingdom of Romania
Died29 September 2018(2018-09-29) (aged 80)
Gagauzia, Moldova
Political partyPSRM
Other political
Communist Party of Moldova

Stepan Mikhailovich Topal (Cyrillic: Степан Михайлович Топал; 18 January 1938 – 29 September 2018)[citation needed] was a Moldovan politician of Gagauz ancestry. From 1990 to 1995 he served as Governor (başkan) of Gagauzia.

Leader of Gagauzia's separatist movement

By training, Topal is a road engineer. He was an activist of the Communist Party of Moldova.

On 19 August 1990, ethnic Gagauz separatists proclaimed an autonomous republic in southern Moldova, around the city of Comrat, and called it the Gagauz Republic (Gagauz-Yeri in their language). In September 1990, individuals representing the mostly Slavic inhabitants of the Dniester River's east bank proclaimed a separate entity in Transnistria with a capital at Tiraspol.

In 1990, Topal became one of the leaders of the separatist movement in southern Moldova. On 31 October 1990, he was elected president of the Supreme Soviet of the self-proclaimed Gagauz Republic.

Although the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Moldova immediately declared these proclamations invalid, elections took place in both separatist republics. On 1 December 1991, Topal was elected president of the Gagauz Republic (90% votes), and from 1991 to 1995 he headed the Supreme Soviet of the Gagauz Republic. That same month, Igor Smirnov was elected president of Transnistria.

Topal supported greater unity among the former Soviet republics.

Political activity after 1995

Gagauz autonomy was enshrined in the July 1994 Constitution of Moldova, in Article 111, which also provides for Transnistria's autonomy. Later, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova adopted an even broader law, which confers a special autonomous status on Gagauzia as of 23 December 1994.

After Gagauzia's autonomy was accepted by the Moldovan Parliament, the first round of elections for the post of Governor of Gagauzia took place on 25 May 1995, together with elections for the region's Popular Assembly. None of the four candidates for the governorship (Gheorghe Tabunșcic, Mihail Kendighelean, Dumitru Croitor and Stepan Topal) won the votes needed to be elected in the first round. Topal had not even managed to advance to the second round.

From 1999 to 2002, Topal was the principal adviser to başkan Dumitru Croitor. In the 2001 Moldovan parliamentary election, Topal ran for a seat from Comrat on the lists of the Edinstvo electoral bloc, but the alliance won less than the 5% of the vote needed to secure parliamentary seats, so Topal was not elected. In 2002, he was one of the founders of the social-political movement Za Gagauziu! (For Gagauzia), formed in opposition to the ruling Communists.

When snap elections for Governor of Gagauzia were held again on 6 October 2002, Topal ran again. However, the results were declared invalid, as only 41.43% of voters took part. When the election was repeated two weeks later, the local electoral commission barred Topal from running, citing irregularities in his filing papers.


External links

Preceded by
President of the Supreme Soviet of the Gagauz SSR
31 October 1990 – 1 December 1991
Succeeded by
Preceded by
President of the Republic of Gagauzia
1 December 1991 – 19 June 1995
Succeeded by
Gheorghe Tabunșcic (as Governor)
This page was last edited on 17 October 2021, at 19:03
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