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In the former Russian province of Bessarabia united with Romania in 1918, local inhabitants tried to make sense of the new reality by mastering geopolitical visions and making their own identity choices. Profoundly marked by the World War I, the disintegration of the Russian Empire and the growing Bolshevik danger, a group of Bessarabians, of both imperial and revolutionary elite, refused to imagine the fate of their region alongside Romania but looked for political alternatives, either in autonomy inside Romania and Ukraine or as part of a restored (monarchic or democratic) Russia. The book tells the story of a transnational network of Bessarabians and White Russian émigrés in Paris and other European capitals who during the 1919 Peace Conference played wisely on the "Wilsonian moment" to propel the idea of a pro-Russian "will" of the Bessarabians. Though unsuccessful in solving the Bessarabian "question" in Paris in their favor, they succeeded in animating anti-Romanian feelings and impacting personal and group identities inside the region.
Svetlana Suveica, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany.
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