Nichita P. Smochină (1894 – 1980)

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Born in Transnistria; philosopher, journalist, historian, officer in the Tsarist army (1915-1918); he fought in Persia and Turkey and was decorated and ennobled by Tsar Nicholas II. In May 1917 he participated in the Congress of the Non-Russian Russian People from the Caucasus, where he asked for rights for the Moldavians. He met Lenin in Petrograd, who urged him to fight for independence and the introduction of the national language in schools. In 1918 he returned to Tiraspol, part of the new Ukrainian People’s Republic, where he organized the Transnistrian Moldavian Congress. He was elected a deputy in the Central Council (the Parliament) of Kiev, where he demanded rights for the Romanians and opposed the idea of Ukraine invading Bessarabia; following the occupation of Transnistria by the Red Army he fled to Chisinau and then to Iasi. He was a doctor of law of the Sorbonne University. He was remarked by the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolae Titulescu in Geneva in 1933, when he supported at the League of Nations the rights of the Moldavians from the Soviet Union and organized the Committee of Moldavian Refugees from the Soviet Union. He was elected member of the Romanian Academy. He had the courage to tell King Carol II that it was a mistake to give up Bessarabia without a fight; he refused to be governor of Transnistria. After the war he was the administrator of the Tituleşti estate, under a false name. His eldest son, Alexandru, was arrested and deported to Siberia. After 1965 the Romanian Communist authorities requested him to continue his researches on the problem of the Romanians in the USSR, as he argued against the existence of the Moldavian people and the Moldavian language