Mircea Snegur, born on January 17, 1940, was a monumental figure in Moldovan politics, serving as the first President of the country from 1990 to 1997. Before ascending to the presidency, Snegur held significant roles in the Moldovan political arena, including chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. He passed away on September 13, 2023, at the age of 83 due to cancer.
Early Life and Education
Snegur was born in Trifănești, in the Soroca District, to parents Ion and Ana Snegur. He attended high school in Frumușica, in the Florești District, and graduated in 1957. He then pursued higher education at the Agricultural State University of Moldova, graduating in 1961. Snegur furthered his academic credentials by completing a PhD in agricultural sciences in 1972.
Before entering politics, Snegur had a distinguished career in agriculture. As a trained agronomist, he first worked as the director of a kolkhoz in the village of Lunga, from 1961 to 1968. He then served as the director of the Experimental Station of Field Cultures until 1973, after which he assumed the role of director of the Main Agricultural Science Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture until 1978. Subsequently, he became the general director of the Selectia Research Institute of Field Crops from 1978 to 1981.
Political Career (1964-1991)
Snegur became a member of the Communist Party of Moldova in 1964. In 1981, he became the Secretary of the Communist Party committee of the Edineț district, serving until 1985. He then became Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Moldavia SSR, a role he held until 1989. Snegur was appointed the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Moldavia on July 29, 1989, serving until April 27, 1990, when he became the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Moldavian SSR.
Snegur assumed the presidency of the Republic of Moldova, then a part of the USSR, on May 23, 1991. After Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991, Snegur was elected as the first President of independent Moldova on August 27, 1991. During his term, Snegur created the National Army of Moldova and signed the act that made Moldova a full member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moldova also became a member of the United Nations during his presidency and was admitted as a member of the Council of Europe in 1995.
Unification with Romania
Despite initially speaking about a common identity between Moldovans and Romanians, Snegur was opposed to immediate reunification with Romania. He envisioned a political union that would maintain the political sovereignty of each state while fostering economic and military cooperation.
Later Years of Presidency (1995-1997)
In 1995, Snegur founded the Party of Rebirth and Conciliation of Moldova. He ran for re-election in 1996 but was defeated in the second round by Parliamentary speaker Petru Lucinschi. Snegur continued as President until January 15, 1997.
Mircea Snegur was married to Georgeta Snegur, with whom he had a daughter, Natalia Gherman, and a son. Georgeta Snegur passed away on December 23, 2019. Mircea Snegur died on September 13, 2023, due to cancer at the age of 83.
Mircea Snegur will be remembered as a pioneering leader in Moldova’s history, guiding the nation through its formative years as an independent state. His life and political career were marked by significant achievements and challenges, making him an enduring figure in Moldova’s national narrative.