Tatarbunary – Renowned Site of the Tatarbunary Uprising

The beautiful town of Tatarbunary, when directly translated from the South Slavic language, means “Tatar Wells”. However ‘Bunar’ is taken from the Turic word “pinar” meaning "well" given by the Bessarabian Bulgarians. Tatarbunary, the administrative center for the district of Tatarbunarskyi Raion, is a relatively small town residing in the province of the Odessa Oblast in south-west Ukraine. It’s in the Budzhak area, along the lovely northern shores of the Danube Delta, that you will be able to locate the town of Tatarbunary. Presently, Tatarbunary boasts a population of over 10,800 people.

Without much evidence the town of Tatarbunary can only be traced back to around about the 16th century. It was during this time that the Principality of Moldavia lost its independence to the Ottoman Empire. In 1812 the Russian Empire took over the area along with the eastern side of the Principality of Moldavia known as Bessarabia. Then in 1918 Tatarbunary formed part of the Moldavian Democratic Republic, which later was taken over by the Romanian Kingdom. The famous Tatarbunary Uprising then took place in 1924 changing much of Tatarbunary’s history.

The Tatarbunary uprising was regarded as a Bolshevik-inspired peasant revolt led by a pro-Soviet revolutionary committee. Their purpose was to unify the Ukrainian SSR, bringing a final end to the Romanian occupation. Nevertheless, the Kingdom of Romania authorities were not impressed, instead viewing the incident as a terrorist act backed by the Soviet Union. There were attempts made for a Romanian-Soviet détente, unfortunately Maxim Litvinov’s approach was seen by the Ion I. C. Bratianu cabinet as an unacceptable plan. In the end the revolt was suppressed after three days of fighting by the Romanian Army. By this time many of the prominent participants had been killed.

By 1940 the city of Tatarbunary and the region of Budzhak were then transferred to the USSR, following the Soviet Ultimatum, where they were incorporated with the Ukrainian SSR and the Akkerman Oblast. During the period of 1941 to 1944 the city would come under the occupation of the Romanians as a result of the Axis attack which had taken place on the Soviet Union. Interestingly, it was only in 1978 that Tatarbunary finally obtained its status as a town.

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