Strikes by Russian-speaking workers spread across Moldavia Tuesday as the local parliament met to consider a new language law that would reduce the status of Russian in the southwestern Soviet republic. A journalist from Tiraspol said protest strikes by ethnic Russian workers had spread throughout the republic, increasing tensions with the ethnic Romanian majority. He said workers had downed tools at 45 factories in Tiraspol, 27 in nearby Bendery, and all those in Rybnitsa. Strikes were also reported in Kishinev, the capital of Moldavia.
Russian-speakers oppose a proposed law before the Moldavian Supreme Soviet that would give official status to the Moldavian - or Romanian - language and revert to the use of Latin, instead of Cyrillic, letters. The unrest in Moldavia, which borders Romania, followed attacks in the Moscow press against ``separatist'' sentiment in the three Baltic republics.