Military Chisinau

The five Chisinau of Moldova

         The name attracts destiny, the ancient Greeks suggest. Will it also be valid for place names? I hope not or at least not completely, especially for Chisinau. Some of its toponymic origins are a bit sinister, for example, “keşene” – which means in the Tatar language chapel on the grave or “kesenä” from Cuman, assuming a cemetery.

         It is encouraging that there are also more optimistic meanings such as the Tatar words “keşen” and “aul”, which would translate “monastery hamlet” or the initial version of the term “Chisinau” which is interpreted as “bath”. Have you probably heard of the phrases “Albas’ bath” or “Acbas’ Chisinau”, between which the sign of equality is placed according to some historical sources? Moreover, starting from the name of the landowner Acbas (Albas), an additional meaning is given to Chisinau on the Bic – “White Captain”.

         From a historical-geographical point of view, Acbas’ Chisinau was on the right of Bac, opposite the place where the Hulboaca brook flows into Bac, in the area called Feredeu. It is the first Chisinau documented, in 1436, but not the only one. In total, historians have identified five in the Carpatho-Dniester area. It is about Red Chisinau (between the current localities Chitcani and Zagorna); Big Chisinau, located within the village of Zaim, Chisinau on Raut (I) – near the current villages of Branzeni, Ordasei and Pistruieni and Chisinau on Raut (II), located in Old Orhei. All five toponyms “Chisinau” are located in areas rich in water sources, which suggests that the decipherment of “bath” for the term “Chisinau” is closer than that of “mausoleum”.

         These historical approaches about the capital were presented to us by the doctor of historical sciences Sergiu Bacalov, scientific researcher of the Center of Military History and Culture.

The two military sectors of Chisinau

         The toponym Chisinau has no military connection – so far, we have clarified. On the other hand, buildings with a military destination, and especially in the Center and Buiucani sectors, have been and are probably very present since Chisinau is the capital. This is where there is a concentration of army leadership, military education, health, sports and the largest number of military units. The history of different periods indicates that the city has hosted various military buildings, some going into nothingness, others stubbornly advancing towards the record of resistance. The latest is the “youngest”, built during the Soviet Union (SU). I dare not, for the delight of our brains, designate the oldest military building in Chisinau because many of the documents are missing, and we don’t have research on this segment yet, paraphrasing Iurie Colesnic I would say that our Chisinau is still unknown.

         The little known is kept in the National Army Archive, and through the receptivity of Major Liliana Muntean, the head of the institution, we discover some curiosities. For example, according to the Land Registry Books of the Odessa Military District, Chisinau sector, in 1984, the Ministry of Defense of the MSSR received land for the construction of the General Staff, military camps, for household and technical since 1947/48. The buildings appeared later, mostly in the 70s and 80s, and some of them close to the disintegration of the SU. In 1985, according to the document, the army owned 31 plots of land. How about detailing? ..

         Military Camp 123, which includes the Ministry of Defense, General Staff, Battalion of communications and cyber defense, the Military Inspectorate, Agencies, etc., appeared gradually, at not very long intervals, in the years 1981-85. The first building, which belonged to the General Staff, Odessa Military District, was built by the construction unit, which was located in the Buiucani sector and was directly subordinated to the Moscow Ministry of Defense, respectively the information was secreted. In fact, practically all military buildings had the same fate. We don’t currently have information about the other buildings of the camp, including the Diagnostic Consultative Center of the NA.

         Military Camp 142, which includes the General Staff Regiment, the Special-Destination and Peacekeeping Battalions, appeared on the capital’s map in the 1980s. For example, in 1988 the Topographic Map Depot and the Cartographic Detachment of the Soviet Army began to operate in new construction, being the foundation of the current unit, said lieutenant-colonel Sergiu Chirilov, commander of the Topographic Base.

         The anti-aircraft missile regiment, with all its subunits, has the same mission from the beginning. The first edifice appears in Durlesti, put into operation in 1955. As it develops in terms of technique, armament, contingent, etc., there is a need for new buildings. Thus, the constructions continued in Durlești until 2001 and new subunits, in Danceni and Bacioi started to be built around 1975, informed Serghei Paximade, main specialist, real estate exploitation section of unit.

         The 2nd Motorized Infantry Brigade seems to be the oldest military unit in Chisinau and the most varied in terms of mission. We find in the documents of the unit that in the years 1870-77 the Light Cavalry Regiment was active here, later it became an Artillery Brigade, marking the year1818 with new buildings for the staff, warehouse and sports hall. In 1956 it was transformed into a Parachute Regiment, for which in the period 1960-1975 barracks, a checkpoint, three blocks of flats, a cultural centre and even a cafe were built, told Simion Lupu, head of the real estate operation service of the brigade. The current destination of the unit was established in 1992 without any news construction.

         Near the brigade are two medical institutions, the Central Military Clinical Hospital and the Center for Preventive Medicine of the National Army (CMPAN). Colonel Vladimir Trofimov, head of the CMCH, said that the hospital was put into operation in 1985: “However, the one-storey block of the hospital date back to 1968 and initially served as tank service houses. Unfortunately, we do not have construction documents in the possession, in documents was indicated ~the military camp~ without other details. “

         It is also known that in the interwar period there was a military surgery hospital in the current duty house of the brigade, declared Eugen Arhip, head of the CPMNA laboratory. He also shed some light on the second neighboring medical structure: “Initially, around 1918, the building served as a stable for horses. The right wing of today’s laboratory housed soldiers and horses were housed on the left side. Between these units, there were catacombs up to the military church, located in the same position as the current one. After the war, in 1947 the building became a duty house for officers, and on the site, where the 9-storey blocks are now located, there was a small building called the Mobile Sanitary Detachment no. 86. The situation changed in the years 84-85 when the CPM was moved to this place. “

         The municipal military center has its roots in 1953, when the building in Milano Street, 10, was put into operation and was one of the five administrative-military sections of the capital. Changes in names, not a concept, occurred in 1994 when all commissariat stations were merged, and the buildings, it appears, are gradually detached by the Ministry of Defense, said Colonel Vitalie Barcari, head of the institution.

         Advancing from Sculeni to the Center, let’s stop at a “house, built on a ground floor on a high basement, at an angular level, with faceted stone porch, located at the corner of the neighborhood, between Kogalniceanu and Maria Cibotari streets … “. The passage, extracted from a detailed description, refers to the headquarters of the Chisinau Military Command. From the information provided by Colonel Andrei Cemirtan, the commander of the institution, this architectural monument of national significance in the autumn of 1865 shows only a plot of land, put up for auction by the City Authority. The first owner was Sofia Popa-Ioanova, the mother of the Greek metropolitan Ierofei Angorski.

          In January 1885 the merchant Egor Bacal bought this real estate, and in October of the same year, he built a house, consisting 8 rooms of a ground floor and a basement with 4 rooms. It is assumed that the author of the house project was the architect of the city at the time, Leopold Sheidevandt. In 1903 the building belonged to the Municipal head.

         The Center of Military Culture and History was built for several years, starting with 1947, by war prisoners and capitalized in 1959. It had a single destination – the Officers’ House, and since 1992 it becomes the current center, said Colonel Alex Chirilenco, the chief of the center.

         The Army Sports Club can be listed among the latest military constructions of the Soviet Union in Moldova, knowing that shooting started in 1989, even though the foundation was laid seven years earlier, and the project, a typical SU shooting one, was created by the architect Berberov back in 1973, told Colonel (r) Valeriu Dumitras, the head of the club.

         The Military Academy of the Armed Forces has changed its name and location over the years. In the beginning, there was talk about the Military High School, installed in the place where the Country Council functioned in 1917-18, later the Boys Gymnasium and the High School no. 2 from Chisinau (currently the ISS building is located). He worked here until 1940.

         The military education institution reappeared on our lands in 1985, when it had their first admission for the Suvorov School (Old Post-office sector). As for the academy’s headquarters today, it was built in 1981-83 and served for a time as a Republican Recruitment Center. It was here that the young people were tested, sorted and distributed in units. Since 1992 the headquarters became the newly created Military High School, remembers General Mihail Buclis, Deputy Chief of Staff of the NA.

         Of course, the Ministry of Defense had many more institutions, respectively real estate, which over the years have come as private property or in possession of other public institutions. The target in this article was the functional military institutions in the capital.

         Because of official documents about history buildings misses, complementary sources of value are the reports of current and former heads of institutions, specialists in real estate, human resources, archivists and others willing to familiarize us with this subject.

         This historical compilation is the little I could to collect. Of course, we want more based on official sources. Let’s take it as a challenge, especially for our historians to finally have a complex business card of military buildings in Chisinau and the other garrisons of the country.

In Romanian: https://dragostinavicol.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/chisinaul-militar/

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