|Republic of Moldova
|Anthem: Limba noastră
Location of Moldova (green)
on the European continent (green + dark grey)
(and largest city)
|Official language(s)||Moldovan (Romanian)|
|Recognised regional languages||Gagauz, Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian|
|-||Acting President||Mihai Ghimpu|
|-||Prime Minister||Vlad Filat|
|-||Speaker of the Parliament||Mihai Ghimpu|
|-||Declaration of Sovereignty||June 23, 1990|
|-||Declaration of Independence (from the Soviet Union)||
August 27, 19912
|-||Total||33,846 km2 (139th)
13,067 sq mi
|-||January 1, 2009 estimate||3,567,500 (does not include Transnistria and Bender) (129st3)|
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|-||Total||$10.660 billion (138th)|
|-||Per capita||$2,983 (127th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|-||Total||$6.047 billion (135th)|
|-||Per capita||$1,692 (123rd)|
|Gini (2007)||37.1 (medium)|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.708 (medium) (111th)|
|Currency||Moldovan leu (
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|-||Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Drives on the||right|
|1||"Moldovan" used as formal official name; in fact Romanian.|
|2||Proclaimed. Finalized along with the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991.|
|3||Ranking based on 2009 UN figure|
|4||2004 census data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Figure does not include Transnistria and Bender.|
Moldova /mɒlˈdoʊvə/ (help·info), officially the Republic of Moldova (Romanian: Republica Moldova) is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south.
In antiquity, the territory of the present day country was part of Dacia, then fell under the influence of the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, most of the present territory of Moldova was part of the Principality of Moldavia. In 1812, the eastern part of this principality was annexed by the Russian Empire and became known as Bessarabia. Between 1856 and 1878, two southern counties were returned to Moldavia, which in 1859 united with Wallachia to form modern Romania.
Upon the dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1917, an autonomous, then independent Moldavian Democratic Republic was formed, which joined Greater Romania in 1918. In 1940, Bessarabia was occupied by the Soviet Union, and was split between the Ukrainian SSR and the newly created Moldavian SSR. After changing hands in 1941 and 1944 during World War II, the territory of the modern country was subsumed by the Soviet Union until its independence on August 27, 1991. Moldova was admitted to the United Nations in March 1992.
In September 1990, a breakaway government was formed in Transnistria, the strip of Moldova on the east bank of the river Dniester. After a brief war in 1992, it became de facto independent, although no UN member has recognized its independence.
The country is a parliamentary democracy with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. Moldova is a member state of the United Nations, Council of Europe, WTO, OSCE, GUAM, CIS, BSEC and other international organizations. Moldova currently aspires to join the European Union, and has implemented the first three-year Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). About a quarter of the population lives off of less than US $2 a day.
The largest part of the nation lies between two rivers, the Dniester and the Prut. The western border of Moldova is formed by the Prut river, which joins the Danube before flowing into the Black Sea. Moldova has access to the Danube for only about 480 m (1,575 ft), and Giurgiuleşti is the only Moldovan port on the Danube. In the east, the Dniester is the main river, flowing through the country from north to south, receiving the waters of Răut, Bâc, Ichel, Botna. Ialpug flows into one of the Danube limans, while Cogâlnic into the Black Sea chain of limans.
The country is landlocked, even though it is very close to the Black Sea. While most of the country is hilly, elevations never exceed 430 m (1,411 ft) — the highest point being the Bălăneşti Hill. Moldova's hills are part of the Moldavian Plateau, which geologically originate from the Carpathian Mountains. Its subdivisions in Moldova include Dniester Hills (Northern Moldavian Hills and Dniester-Rāut Ridge), Moldavian Plain (Middle Prut Valley and Bălţi Steppe), and Central Moldavian Plateau (Ciuluc-Soloneţ Hills, Corneşti Hills (Codri Massive) - Codri, meaning "forests" -, Lower Dniester Hills, Lower Prut Valley, and Tigheci Hills). In the south, the country has a small flatland, the Bugeac Plain. The territory of Moldova east of the river Dniester is split between parts of the Podolian Plateau, and parts of the Eurasian Steppe.
The name of Moldova is derived from the name of the Moldova River; the valley of this river was a political center when the Principality of Moldavia was founded in 1359. The origin of the name of the river is still not completely clarified. There is an account (a legend) of prince Dragoş's naming the river after hunting an aurochs: After the chase, his exhausted hound Molda drowned in the river. The dog's name would have been given to the river, and extended to the Principality, according to Dimitrie Cantemir and Grigore Ureche.
During the Neolithic stone age era Moldova's territory was the center of the vast Cucuteni-Trypillian culture that stretched east beyond the Dniester River in Ukraine, and west up to and beyond the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. The inhabitants of this civilization, which lasted roughly from 5500 to 2750 BC, practiced agriculture, raised livestock, hunted, and made intricately designed pottery. Another remarkable feature of this society was the enormous settlements that were built, some of which numbered up to 15,000 inhabitants.
In Antiquity Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries CE, the south was intermittently under the Roman, then Byzantine Empires. Due to its strategic location on a route between Asia and Europe, the territory of modern Moldova was invaded many times in late antiquity and early Middle Ages, including by Goths, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans, and the Mongols.
Tatar invasions continued after the establishment of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359, bounded by the Carpathian mountains in the west, Dniester river in the east, and Danube and Black Sea in the south. Its territory comprised the present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova, the eastern eight of the 41 counties of Romania, and the Chernivtsi oblast and Budjak region of Ukraine. Like the present-day republic, it is known to the locals as Moldova. In 1538, the principality became a tributary to the Ottoman Empire, but it retained internal and partial external autonomy.
In 1812, according to the Treaty of Bucharest between the Ottoman Empire (of which Moldavia was a vassal) and the Russian Empire, the former ceded the eastern half of the territory of the Principality of Moldavia, along Khotyn and old Bessarabia (modern Budjak), despite numerous protests by Moldavians. At first, the Russians used the name "Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia", allowing a large degree of autonomy, but later (in 1828) suspended the self-administration and called it Guberniya of Bessarabia, or simply Bessarabia, starting a process of Russification.
The Tsarist policy in Bessarabia was in part aimed at ethnic assimilation of the Romanian element by forbidding after the 1860s education and religious mass in Romanian; the effect was an extremely low literacy rate (in 1897 approx. 18% for males, approx. 4% for females). The western part of Moldavia (which is not a part of present-day Moldova) remained an autonomous principality, and in 1859, united with Wallachia to form the Kingdom of Romania.
The Treaty of Paris (1856) saw three counties of Bessarabia - Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail - returned to Moldavia, but the Treaty of Berlin (1878) saw the Kingdom of Romania returning them to the Russian Empire. Over the 19th century, the Russian authorities encouraged colonization of parts of the region by Ukrainians, Lipovans, Cossacks, Bulgarians, Germans, Gagauzes, and allowed the settlement of more Jews; the proportion of the Moldovan population decreased from around 86% in 1816 to around 52% in 1905.
World War I brought in a rise in political and cultural (ethnic) awareness among the locals, as 300,000 Bessarabians were drafted into the Russian Army formed in 1917; within bigger units several "Moldavian Soldiers' Committees" were formed. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, a Bessarabian parliament, Sfatul Ţării, which was elected in October-November 1917 and opened on December 3 [O.S. November 21] 1917, proclaimed the Moldavian Democratic Republic (December 15 [O.S. December 2] 1917) within a federal Russian state, and formed its government (December 21 [O.S. December 8] 1917).
Bessarabia proclaimed independence from Russia (February 6 [O.S. January 24] 1918), and, on April 9 [O.S. March 27] 1918, in presence of the Romanian army that entered the region to counter a Bolshevik coup attempt in early January, Sfatul Ţării decided with 86 votes for, 3 against and 36 abstaining, to unite with the Kingdom of Romania, conditional upon the fulfilment of the agrarian reform, local autonomy, and respect for universal human rights. The conditions were dropped after Bukovina and Transylvania also joined the Kingdom of Romania.
This union was recognized by the Principal Allied Powers in the Treaty of Paris (1920). The newly Communist Russia, however, did not recognize the Romanian rule over Bessarabia and, in May 1919, proclaimed the Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republic as a government in exile. After the failure of the Tatarbunary Uprising in 1924, the Moldavian ASSR was formed.
In August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret additional protocol were signed, by which Nazi Germany recognized Bessarabia as being within the Soviet sphere of influence, which led the latter to actively revive its claim to the region. Although USSR and Romania subscribed to the principle of non-violent resolution of territorial disputes in the Kellogg-Briand Treaty of 1928 and the Treaty of London of July 1933, on June 28, 1940, after issuing an ultimatum to Romania, the Soviet Union, with the moral support of the Nazi Germany, occupied Bessarabia and northern part of Bukovina, establishing the Moldavian SSR, comprising about 70% of Bessarabia, and 50% of the now-disbanded Moldavian ASSR.
This event led to a major political shift in Romania, which denounced its alliance with France and Britain, and drew the country closer to Nazi Germany and eventually the establishment of pro-Fascist regimes. By participating in the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania seized the lost territories of Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina, but its military regime also continued the war further into Soviet territory. In occupied Transnistria, Romanian forces, working with the Germans, deported or exterminated ca. 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabia and Bukovina (of the latter, approximately 90,000 perished). The Soviet Army re-captured the region in February-August 1944, and re-established the Moldavian SSR. Around 150,000 Moldovan soldiers perished during WWII, including ca. 50,000 in the Romanian Army (including POWs), and ca. 100,000 in the Soviet Army.
During the Stalinist period (1940–1941, 1944–1953), deportations of locals to the northern Urals, to Siberia, and northern Kazakhstan occurred regularly, with the largest ones on 12–13 June 1941, and 5–6 July 1949, accounting from MSSR alone for 18,392 and 35,796 deportees respectively. Other forms of Soviet persecution of the population included 32,433 political arrests, followed by Gulag or (in 8,360 cases) execution, collectivization, destruction of private economy, and infrastructure (mostly during the 1941 retreat).
In 1946, as a result of a severe drought combined with excessive delivery quota obligations and requisitions imposed by the Soviet government, the southwestern part of the USSR suffered from widespread famine. In 1946-1947, at least 216,000 deaths and about 350,000 cases of dystrophy were accounted by historians in the Moldavian SSR alone. Similar events occurred in 1930s in the Moldavian ASSR. In 1944-53, there were several anti-Soviet resistance groups in Moldova; however the NKVD and later MGB managed to eventually arrest, execute or deport their members.
The postwar period saw a wide scale migration of ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and other ethnic groups into the new Soviet republic, especially into urbanized areas, partly to compensate the demographic loss caused by the emigration of 1940 and 1944. The Soviet government conducted a campaign to promote a Moldovan ethnic identity, different from that of the Romanians, based on a theory developed during the existence of the Moldavian ASSR. Official Soviet policy asserted that the language spoken by Moldovans was distinct from the Romanian language (see Moldovenism). To distinguish the two, during the Soviet period, Moldovan was written in the Cyrillic alphabet, in contrast with Romanian, which since 1860 was written in the Latin alphabet.
Not all things under the Soviets were however negative, and after the death of Stalin political persecutions changed in character from mass to individual. Moreover, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Moldavian SSR received substantial allocations from the budget of the USSR to develop industrial and scientific facilities as well as housing. In 1971, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a decision "About the measures for further development of the city of Kishinev" (modern Chişinău), that allotted more than one billion Soviet rubles from the USSR budget for building projects; subsequent decisions also directed substantial funding and brought qualified specialists from other parts of the USSR to develop Moldova's industry. But all independent organizations were severely reprimanded, the National Patriotic Front leaders being sentenced in 1972 to long prison terms. The Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Moldova is assessing the activity of the communist totalitarian regime.
In the political conditions created by the glasnost and perestroika, a Democratic Movement of Moldova was formed, which in 1989 became known as the Popular Front of Moldova (FPM), whose ideology was based on romantic nationalism. Along with several other Soviet republics, from 1988 onwards, Moldova started to move towards independence. On August 27, 1989, the FPM organized a mass demonstration in Chişinău, that became known as the Grand National Assembly, which pressured the authorities of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to adopt a language law on August 31, 1989 that proclaimed the Moldovan language written in the Latin script to be the state language of the MSSR. Its identity with the Romanian language was also established.
The first democratic elections for the local parliament were held in February and March 1990. Mircea Snegur was elected as Speaker of the Parliament, and Mircea Druc as Prime Minister. On June 23, 1990, the Parliament adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the "Soviet Socialist Republic Moldova", which, among other things, stipulated the supremacy of Moldovan laws over those of the Soviet Union. After the failure of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, on August 27, 1991, Moldova declared its independence.
On December 21 of the same year Moldova, along with most of the other Soviet republics, signed the constitutive act that formed the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moldova reieved official recognition on December 25. On December 26th, 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Declaring itself a neutral state, it did not join the military branch of the CIS. Three months later, on March 2, 1992, the country gained formal recognition as an independent state at the United Nations. In 1994, Moldova became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program and also a member of the Council of Europe on June 29, 1995.
In the region east of the Dniester river, Transnistria, which includes a large proportion of predominantly russophone East Slavs of Ukrainian (28%) and Russian (26%) descent (altogether 54% as of 1989), while Moldovans (40%) have been the largest ethnic group, and where the headquarters and many units of the Soviet 14th Guards Army were stationed, an independent "Transdnestrian Moldovan Republic" (TMR) was proclaimed on August 16, 1990, with its capital in Tiraspol. The motives behind this move were fear of the rise of nationalism in Moldova and the country's expected reunification with Romania upon secession from the USSR. In the winter of 1991-1992 clashes occurred between Transnistrian forces, supported by elements of the 14th Army, and the Moldovan police. Between March 2 and July 26, 1992, the conflict escalated into a military engagement.
On January 2, 1992, Moldova introduced a market economy, liberalizing prices, which resulted in huge inflation. From 1992 to 2001, the young country suffered a serious economic crisis, leaving most of the population below the poverty line. In 1993, a national currency, the Moldovan leu, was introduced to replace the temporary cupon. The economy of Moldova began to change in 2001; and until 2008 the country has seen a steady annual growth of between 5% and 10%. The early 2000s also saw a considerable growth of emigration of Moldovans looking for work (mostly illegally) in Russia (especially Moscow region), Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and other countries; remittances from Moldovans abroad account for almost 38% of Moldova's GDP, the second-highest percentage in the world.
The 1994 parliamentary elections saw the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova gain a majority of the seats, setting a turning point in Moldovan politics. With the nationalist Popular Front now a parliamentary minority, new measures aiming to moderate the ethnic tensions in the country could be adopted. Plans for a union with Romania were abandoned, and the new Constitution gave autonomy to the breakaway Transnistria and Gagauzia. On December 23, 1994, the Parliament of Moldova adopted a "Law on the Special Legal Status of Gagauzia", and in 1995 the latter was constituted.
After winning the 1996 presidential elections, on January 15, 1997, Petru Lucinschi, the former First Secretary of the Moldavian Communist Party in 1989-91, became the country's second president (1997–2001), succeeding Mircea Snegur (1991–1996). In 2000, the Constitution was amended, transforming Moldova into a parliamentary republic, with the president being chosen through indirect election rather than direct popular vote.
Winning 49.9% of the vote, the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (reinstituted in 1993 after being outlawed in 1991), gained 71 of the 101 MPs, and on April 4, 2001, elected Vladimir Voronin as the country's third president (re-elected in 2005). The country became the first post-Soviet state where a non-reformed Communist Party returned to power. New governments were formed by Vasile Tarlev (April 19, 2001 - March 31, 2008), and Zinaida Greceanîi (March 31, 2008 - September 14, 2009). In 2001-2003 relations between Moldova and Russia improved, but then temporarily deteriorated in 2003-2006, in the wake of the failure of the Kozak memorandum, culminating in the 2006 wine exports crisis.
Following the April 2009 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won 49.48% of the votes, followed by the Liberal Party with 13.14% of the votes, the Liberal Democratic Party with 12.43%, and the Alliance "Moldova Noastră" with 9.77%. The opposition leaders have protested against the outcome calling it fraudulent and demanded a repeated election. On April 6, 2009, several NGOs and opposition parties organized a peaceful protest in Chişinău, gathering a crowd of about 15,000 with the help of social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Anti-communist and pro-Romanian slogans were widely used. The demonstration had spun out of control on April 7 and escalated into a riot when a part of the crowd attacked the presidential offices and broke into the parliament building, looting and setting several floors on fire. Police had regained control on the night of April 7–8, detaining several hundred protesters. Numerous detainees reported beatings by the police when released.
Three young people have died during the day the riot took place. The opposition blamed police abuse for these deaths, while the government claimed they were either unrelated to the protests, or accidents. Government officials, including President Vladimir Voronin, have called the protests a coup d'état attempt and have accused Romania of organizing it. Opposition accused the government of organizing the riots by introducing provocateurs among the protesters.
After the parliament failed to elect a new president, it was dissolved and snap general elections were held on July 29, 2009, with the Communists again attaining a substantial, although weakened, plurality both in popular vote and in parliamentary seats: 48 of the 101 seats for the Party of Communists, 18 seats for the Liberal Democratic Party, 15 seats for the Liberal Party, 13 seats for the Democratic Party, and 7 seats for the Our Moldova Alliance. In August, the latter four parties formed an alliance and approved the Vlad Filat Cabinet in parliament. After Voronin's resignation in September 2009, the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, Mihai Ghimpu, became the acting President of Moldova.
|Polls and Rulers of Moldova after 1917|
|Polls||Parties & Parliament seats||President of Parliament||Prime Minister||President|
Mocanu, Ciobanu, Snegur
Pascari, Grossu, Ustian, Călin
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Moldova is a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic. The 1994 Constitution of Moldova sets the framework for the government of the country. A parliamentary majority of at least two thirds is required to amend the Constitution of Moldova, which cannot be revised in time of war or national emergency. Amendments to the Constitution affecting the state's sovereignty, independence, or unity can only be made after a majority of voters support the proposal in a referendum. Furthermore, no revision can be made to limit the fundamental rights of people enumerated in the Constitution.
The head of state is the President of Moldova, who is elected by Moldovan Parliament, requiring the support of three fifths of the deputies (at least 61 votes). The president of Moldova has been elected by the parliament since 2001, a change designed to decrease executive authority in favor of the legislature. The president appoints a prime minister who functions as the head of government, and who in turn assembles a cabinet, both subject to parliamentary approval.
The Constitution also establishes an independent Constitutional Court, composed of six judges (two appointed by the President, two by Parliament, and two by the Supreme Council of Magistrature), serving six-year terms, during which they are irremovable and not subordinate to any power. The Court is invested with the power of judicial review over all acts of the parliament, over presidential decrees, and over international treaties, signed by the country.
The 1998 parliamentary elections, 2001 parliamentary elections, 2005 parliamentary elections, April 2009 parliamentary elections, and July 2009 parliamentary elections were won by the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova, which held a majority of seats.
After 2005 parliamentary elections, other parties represented in the Parliament were the Our Moldova Alliance (13 seats), the Democratic Party (Moldova) (11 seats), the Christian-Democratic People's Party (7 seats), with 15 unaffiliated members of parliament. At the April 2009 parliamentary elections, the Party of Communists won these as well, claiming 60 seats. The PCRM majority makes Moldova one of only three countries with democratically elected Communist leaders, the other two being Cyprus and Nepal. Opposition was represented by the Liberal Party (PL, 15 seats), Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM, 15 seats) and Party Alliance Our Moldova (AMN, 11 seats).
On August 8, 2009, four Moldovan parties – Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party, and Our Moldova Alliance – agreed to create a governing coalition that pushed the Communist party into opposition. On August 28, 2009, Moldova's pro-Western coalition has chosen a new parliament speaker (namely Mihai Ghimpu) in a vote that was boycotted by Communist legislators. Vladimir Voronin, who held the President of Moldova post since 2001, eventually quit power on September 11, 2009, but the Parliament failed to elect a new president. The acting president Mihai Ghimpu instituted the Commission for constitutional reform in Moldova to adopt a new version of the Constitution of Moldova (1994).
|Political forces||Seats||Moldovan Parliament seats after July 2009 polls (PCRM 48, PLDM 18, PL 15, PDM 13, AMN 7)|
|Alliance for European Integration||53|
|Party of Communists||48|
After achieving independence from the Soviet Union, Moldova established relations with other European countries. A course for European Union integration and neutrality define the country's foreign policy guidelines. In 1995 the country became the first post-Soviet state admitted to the Council of Europe. In addition to its participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, Moldova is also a member state of the United Nations, the OSCE, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Francophonie and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In 2005, Moldova and the EU established an action plan that sought to improve the collaboration between the two neighboring structures. In June 2007, the Vice President of the Moldovan Parliament Iurie Roşca signed a bilateral agreement with the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an intergovernmental organization for the promotion of world peace, based in Italy.
After the War of Transnistria, Moldova had sought a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Transnistria region by working with Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, calling for international mediation, and cooperating with the OSCE and UN fact-finding and observer missions. The foreign minister of Moldova, Andrei Stratan, had repeatedly stated that the Russian troops stationed in the breakaway region are there against the will of the Moldovan Government and called on them to leave "completely and unconditionally."
The new premier of Moldova, Vlad Filat, said that his first official visit as premier will be made to Brussels, adding that the agenda of the first official meetings will include visits to Paris, Berlin, Bucharest, and Kiev. In a press conference on October 21, 2009, the foreign minister of Moldova, Iurie Leancă, announced that official negotiations on the association agreement Moldova-EU will start on January 12, 2010.
The Moldovan armed forces consist of the Ground Forces and Air and Air Defense Forces. Moldova has accepted all relevant arms control obligations of the former Soviet Union. On October 30, 1992, Moldova ratified the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment and provides for the destruction of weapons in excess of those limits. It acceded to the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in October 1994 in Washington, DC. It does not have nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Moldova joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's Partnership for Peace on March 16, 1994.
Moldova is committed to a number of international and regional control of arms regimes such as the UN Firearms Protocol, Stability Pact Regional Implementation Plan, the UN Programme of Action (PoA) and the OSCE Documents on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition.
Moldova is divided into thirty-two districts (raioane, singular raion); three municipalities (Bălţi, Chişinău, Bender); and two autonomous regions (Gagauzia and Transnistria). The cities of Comrat and Tiraspol, the administrative seats of the two autonomous territories also have municipality status. There are 32 districts.
|Administrative divisions of Moldova|
|Chişinău, Bălţi, and Bender/Tighina
Source: Administrative-territorial units of Moldova
|autonomous territorial unit Gagauzia
territorial unit Transnistria
The final status of Transnistria is still disputed, as the central government does not control that territory.
Moldova has 65 cities (towns), including the 5 with municipality status, and 917 communes. Some other 699 villages are too small to have a separate administration, and are administratively part of either cities (40 of them) or communes (659). This makes for a total of 1,681 localities of Moldova, all but two of which are inhabited.
|Largest cities in Moldova and their population|
|1||Chişinău1||630,221 (2005)||808,673 (2009)||11||Comrat3||23,327 (2004)||23,327 (2004)|
|2||Tiraspol2 (Transnistria)||159,163 (2004)||159,163 (2004)||12||Ceadîr-Lunga3||19,401 (2004)||19,401 (2004)|
|3||Bălţi1||122,778 (2005)||127,561 (2004)||13||Străşeni3||18,320 (2004)||19,090 (2004)|
|4||Bender2||97,027 (2004)||100,000 (2004)||14||Căuşeni3||17,757 (2004)||17,757 (2004)|
|5||Rîbniţa2 (Transnistria)||53,648 (2004)||53,648 (2004)||15||Drochia3||16,606 (2004)||16,606 (2004)|
|6||Cahul3||39,488 (2009)||39,488 (2004)||16||Edineţ3||15,624 (2004)||17,292 (2004)|
|7||Ungheni3||32,530 (2004)||32,530 (2004)||17||Vulcăneşti||15,462 (2004)||15,729 (2004)|
|8||Soroca3||28,362 (2004)||28,362 (2004)||18||Durleşti||15,394 (2004)||15,394 (2004)|
|9||Orhei3||25,641 (2004)||25,641 (2004)||19||Hînceşti||15,281 (2004)||15,281 (2004)|
|10||Dubăsari3 (Transnistria)||23,650 (2004)||23,650 (2004)||20||Ialoveni||15,041 (2004)||15,041 (2004)|
|Source: Moldovan Census (2004); Note: 1.World Gazetteer. Moldova: largest cities 2004. 2.Pridnestrovie.net 2004 Census 2004. 3.National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova|
Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. The economy contracted dramatically following the fall of the Soviet Union. As of 2009, Moldova has been described by the European Parliament as the poorest country in Europe in terms of GDP.
Moldova must import all of its supplies of petroleum, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia. Moldova is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancing energy security, convergence of member state energy markets on the basis of EU internal energy market principles, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of common and regional interest.
After the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, energy shortages contributed to sharp production declines. As part of an ambitious economic liberalization effort, Moldova introduced a convertible currency, liberalized all prices, stopped issuing preferential credits to state enterprises, backed steady land privatization, removed export controls, and liberalized interest rates. The government entered into agreements with the World Bank and the IMF to promote growth.
Recent trends indicate that the Communist government intends to reverse some of these policies, and recollectivise land while placing more restrictions on private business. The economy returned to positive growth, of 2.1% in 2000 and 6.1% in 2001. Growth remained strong in 2007 (6%), in part because of the reforms and because of starting from a small base. The economy remains vulnerable to higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the skepticism of foreign investors.
Following the regional financial crisis in 1998, Moldova has made significant progress towards achieving and retaining macroeconomic and financial stabilization. It has, furthermore, implemented many structural and institutional reforms that are indispensable for the efficient functioning of a market economy. These efforts have helped maintain macroeconomic and financial stability under difficult external circumstances, enabled the resumption of economic growth and contributed to establishing an environment conducive to the economy’s further growth and development in the medium term.
Despite these efforts, and despite the recent resumption of economic growth, Moldova still ranks low in terms of commonly used living standards and human development indicators in comparison with other transition economies. Although the economy experienced a constant economic growth after 2000: with 2.1%, 6.1%, 7.8% and 6.3% between 2000 and 2003 (with a forecast of 8% in 2004), one can observe that these latest developments hardly reach the level of 1994, with almost 40% of the GDP registered in 1990. Thus, during the last decade little has been done to reduce the country’s vulnerability. After a severe economic decline, social and economic challenges, energy uprooted dependencies, Moldova continues to occupy one of the last places among European countries in income per capita.
In 2005 (Human Development Report 2008), the registered GDP per capita US $ 2,100 PPP, which is 4.5 times lower than the world average (US $ 9,543). Moreover, GDP per capita is under the average of its statistical region (US $ 9,527 PPP). In 2005, about 20.8% of the population were under the absolute poverty line and registered an income lower than US $ 2.15 (PPP) per day. Moldova is classified as medium in human development and is at the 111th spot in the list of 177 countries. The value of the Human Development Index (0.708) is below the world average. Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe in terms of official (i.e. excluding the black and grey economy) per capita which currently stands at $1,808.729
The GDP in 2007 constituted $4.104 billion. That constituted a growth of 3% from 2006.
Moldova is known for its wines. For many years viticulture and winemaking in Moldova were the general occupation of the population. Evidence of this is present in historical memorials and documents, folklore, and the Moldovan spoken language.
The country has a well established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 147,000 hectares (360,000 acres), of which 102,500 ha (253,000 acres) are used for commercial production. Most of the country's wine production is made for export. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations.
Moldova's rich soil and temperate continental climate (with warm summers and mild winters) have made the country one of the most productive agricultural regions since ancient times, and a major supplier of agricultural products in southeastern Europe. In agriculture, the economic reform started with the land cadastre reform.
Tourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its history. Wine tours are offered to tourists across the country. Vineyards/cellars include Cricova, Purcari, Ciumai, Romanesti, Cojuşna, Milestii Mici.
The main means of transportation in Moldova were railroads 1,138 km (707 mi) and a highway system (12,730 km/7,910 mi overall, including 10,937 km/6,796 mi of paved surfaces). The sole international air gateway of Moldova is Chişinău International Airport. The Giurgiuleşti terminal on the Danube is compatible with small seagoing vessels. Shipping on the lower Prut and Nistru rivers plays only a modest role in the country's transportation system.
The first million of mobile telephone users was registered in September 2005. The number of mobile telephone users in Moldova increased by 47.3 % in the first quarter of 2008 against the last year and exceeded 2 million 88.6 thousand.
At the end of 2008 there were 1,151,000 Internet users in Moldova with overall Internet penetration of 30,1%.
In September 2009, Moldova was the first country in the world to launch high-definition voice services (HD voice) for mobile phones, and the first country in Europe to launch 14,4 Mbps mobile broadband at a national scale, with over 40% population coverage.
The last reference data is that of the 2004 Moldovan Census (areas controlled by the central government), and the 2004 Census in Transnistria (areas controlled by the breakaway authorities, including Transnistria, Bender/Tighina, and four neighboring communes):
| % Core
| % Transnistria
1There is an ongoing controversy over whether Romanians and Moldovans are the same ethnic group, namely whether Moldovans' self-identification constitutes an ethnic group distinct and apart from Romanians or a subset. At the census, citizens could declare only one nationality. Consequently, one could not declare oneself both Moldovan and Romanian.
The Constitution of 1994 states that "the national language of the Republic of Moldova is Moldovan, and its writing is based on the Latin alphabet," while the 1991 Declaration of Independence names the official language Romanian. The 1989 State Language Law speaks of a Moldo-Romanian linguistic identity.
There is a political controversy over the name of the main ethnicity of the Republic of Moldova. During 2003-2009, the Communist government adopted a national political conception which states that one of the priorities of the national politics of the Republic of Moldova is the insurance of the existence of a Moldovan language. Scholars agree that Moldovan and Romanian are the same language, with glottonym "Moldovan" used in certain political contexts. This view is shared also by some Moldovan politicians. However, on September 29, 2009, the Prime-Minister of Moldova Vlad Filat became the first Moldovan leader in a decade to publicly announce abroad that his language is "Romanian".
Russian is provided with the status of a "language of interethnic communication" (alongside the official language), and in practice remains widely used on all levels of the society and the state. The above-mentioned national political conception also states that Russian-Moldovan bilingualism is characteristic for Moldova.
|Population of Moldova||Moldovan (Romanian)||Russian||Ukrainian||Gagauz||Bulgarian||Other languages,
|by native language||2,588,355
|by language of first use||2,543,354
For the 2004 census, Eastern Orthodox Christians, who make up 93.3% of Moldova's population, were not required to declare the particular of the two main churches they belong to. The Moldovan Orthodox Church, autonomous and subordinated to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church of Bessarabia, autonomous and subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox Church, both claim to be the national church of the country. 2% of the population is Protestant, 1.2% belongs to other religions, 0.9% is non-religious, 0.4% is atheist, and 2.2% did not answer the religion question at the census.
In Moldova, there are 16 state and 15  private institutions of higher education, with a total of 126,100 students, including 104,300 in the state institutions, and 21,700 in the private ones. The number of students per 10,000 inhabitants in Moldova has been constantly growing since the collapse of the Soviet Union, reaching 217 in 2000-2001, and 351 in 2005-2006.
The birth rate is at one and a half children per woman. Public expenditure on health was 4.2% of the GDP and private expediture on health 3.2%. There are about 264 physicians per 100,000 people. Health expenditure was 138 US$ (PPP) per capita in 2004.
Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and other cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining some of the traditions of its neighbors and of other influence sources.
The country's cultural heritage was marked by numerous churches and monasteries build by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great in the 15th century, by the works of the later renaissance Metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei, and those of scholars such as Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin, Nicolae Milescu, Dimitrie Cantemir, Ion Neculce. In the 19th century, Moldavians from the territories of the medieval Principality of Moldavia, then split between Austria, Russia, and an Ottoman-vassal Moldavia (after 1859, Romania), made the largest contribution to the formation of the modern Romanian culture. Among these were many Bessarabians, such as Alexandru Donici, Alexandru Hâjdeu, Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, Constantin Stamati, Constantin Stamati-Ciurea, Costache Negruzzi, Alecu Russo, Constantin Stere.
The country has also important minority ethnic communities. Gagauz, 4.4% of the population, are the only Christian Turkic people. Greeks, Armenians, Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, although not numerous, were present since as early as 17th century, and had left cultural marks. The 19th century saw the arrival of many more Ukrainians and Jews from Podolia and Galicia, as well as new communities, such as Lipovans, Bulgarians and Germans.
In the second part of the 20th century, Moldova saw a massive Soviet immigration, which brought with it many elements of the Soviet culture. The country has now important Russian (6%) and Ukrainain (8.4%) populations. 50% of ethnic Ukrainians, 27% of Gagauzians, 35% of Bulgarians, and 54% of smaller ethnic groups speak Russian as first language. In total, there are 541,000 people (or 16% of the population) in Moldova who use Russian as first language, including 130,000 ethnic Moldovans. By contrast, only 47,000 ethnic minorities use Romanian as first language.
Moldovan culture has certain influences from historic minority ethnic communities, and in turn has certain influences on the culture of the groups that emigrated, such as Bessarabian Germans and Bessarabian Jews.
In October 1939, Radio Basarabia, a local station of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company, opened in Chişinău. Television in Moldova was introduced in April 1958, within the framework of the Soviet television. Moldovan viewers can receive through cable a large number of Russian channels, a few Romanian channels, several Russian language versions of international channels in addition to several local channels. One Russian and two local channels are aired.
Moldovan cuisine consists mainly of traditional European foods, such as beef, pork, potatoes, cabbage, and a variety of cereals. Popular alcoholic beverages are divin (Moldovan brandy), vodka, and especially local wines.
A church in Downtown Chişinău
|Currency||Moldovan leu (MDL)|
|Area||33,843 sq km|
|Population||4,455,421 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||Moldovan (official, virtually the same as Romanian), Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)|
|Religion||Eastern Orthodox 98%, Jewish 1.5%, Baptist and other 0.5%|
|Electricity||230V/50Hz (European plug)|
The capital of Moldova is Chişinău. The local language is Romanian, based on the Latin alphabet, but Russian is widely used. Moldova is a multiethnic republic that has suffered from violent ethnic conflict. In 1994, this conflict led to the creation of the self-proclaimed Transnistria Republic in eastern Moldova, which has its own government and currency but is not recognized by any other country. Economic links have been re-established between these two parts of Moldova despite failure in political negotiations. The major religion in Moldova is Orthodox Christian.
Moldova's population is occupied mainly in food production and processing. Once known as "the garden" of the Soviet Union, Moldova has now lost most of its traditional Russian markets for agricultural products and is exploring new international markets.
It is divided into 32 Rayons: 1. Anenii Noi 2. Basarabeasca 3. Briceni 4. Cahul 5. Cantemir 6. Călăraşi 7. Căuşeni 8. Cimişlia 9. Criuleni 10. Donduşeni 11. Drochia 12. Dubăsari 13. Edineţ 14. Faleşti 15. Floreşti 16. Glodeni 17. Hînceşti 18. Ialoveni 19. Leova 20. Nisporeni 21. Ocniţa 22. Orhei 23. Rezina 24. Rîşcani 25. Sîngerei 26. Soroca 27. Străşeni 28. Şoldăneşti 29. Ştefan Voda 30. Taraclia 31. Teleneşti 32. Ungheni
An autonomous territorial unit (unitate teritoriala autonoma):
And a territorial unit (unitate teritoriala):
The second biggest city in Moldova, Bălţi, merits a visit as well. Nice pedestrian zone around the central square. Check out the old part of the city.
Very cold winters, warm summers.
Landlocked. Rolling steppe, gradual slope south towards the Black Sea. Well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone. Natural hazards : Experiences landslides (57 cases in 1998) due to extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods
Elevation extremes : lowest
point: Dniester River 2 m
highest point: Dealul Balanesti 430 m
Formerly part of Romania, Moldova was forcefully incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of World War II.
Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting the minority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
The poorest nation in Europe, Moldova became the first European (former Soviet) state to elect a communist government and president in 2001.
Citizens of US, EU, CIS countries, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Japan do not need a visa to enter Moldova and can stay in the country for up to 90 days within a six month period without registration. Citizens of other countries must either obtain visa in the nearest Moldovan embassy or alternatively could obtain visa on arrival in Chisinau airport and on some land border crossings provided that officially endorsed invitation letter from Moldova is obtained beforehand.
If, being a motivated person, you are coming into Moldova via Ukraine, be careful about crossing Transnistria. Buses from Odessa go through Tiraspol, and you will absolutely, positively have problems at the Ukraine-Transnistria border. Chances are, you will be pulled off the bus and "asked" to pay an astonishing sum (in Euros) for a "transit visa" through Transnistria. Best advice: play dumb, smile, repeat "student" and hand them 10 euro. And hope that works. For Moldovans, a Transnistria transit visa is under a dollar. Also, there is no Moldovan border check between Transnistria and Moldova, so you might have some explaining to do when you try and leave Moldova without an entrance stamp.
Busiest air connections exist to Bucharest, Budapest, Istanbul, Moscow, Timisoara and Vienna. Prices are relatively high. The cheapest tickets can be bought to Bucharest, Istanbul, Kiev and Moscow. Moldova has three air companies.
The cheapest way to get into the country is to take the overnight train from Bucharest which is about US$40. Since flights into Bucharest cost approx. US$200 less than those into Moldova, this is the best option if you have the time. At the border crossing the cars are lifted individually onto larger gauge wheels to fit Moldovan tracks.
When coming by car one should be sure to use a border crossing with a (non-stop) visa issuing office.
There are regular buses connecting Chişinău with Bucharest, Kiev and most major Romanian and Ukrainian cities. There are 5 to six buses per day to and from Bucharest. Due to a longer stay at the border the trip takes around 10 hours. You will also be able to travel to most European cities by bus with Moldovan bus companies. When coming by bus one should be sure to use a frontier with a (non-stop) visa issuing office.
Since Moldova is landlocked, there are no boat routes.
The most reliable and extensive domestic transport is bus - you will get to most parts of the country.
The official language of the country is Moldavian, which is the same as Romanian. Russian is known and spoken fluently by everyone. There is, however, little chance for one to be understood in other languages, although English has begun to be studied wider in schools than before. Here is a Romanian phrasebook.
Local wine and foreign cigarettes. The wine is of superb quality, but for political reasons, mostly unknown in Western Europe.
Chisinau is a good place for gourmands. There are a lot of good places to eat all over Chisinau. Cheap, tasty food that is very popular with the locals is served in most places. For better service and more diverse food, there are a lot of small restaurants and cafés. Good restaurants have prices comparable to those elsewhere in Europe. For a quick lunch, fast food and pizza shops are recommended; these can be found at nearly every corner. For groceries, there are small shops all over. Some are even right in front of apartment blocks just a few steps away from the entrances. For harder-to-find items, go to the supermarkets. For fresh fruits and vegetables, markets are a great place to shop. Most of the products are local, but there are a lot of sellers who to sell imported stuff, mostly oranges, bananas and other tropical fruits/vegetables. Meat and meat products are best purchased from supermarkets or shops. The quality is much better than from the market, and the prices aren't much higher.
Moldova has a long local wines tradition. Especially the reds are popular throughout the country. Most Moldovan villagers grow their own grapes and press their own wine, and many agree the standard rural household will press 3-4,000 litres a year! When returning home, take a bottle with you!
There are several museums in downtown Chisinau, Moldova including the museum of Archeology and Ethnography,the museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of Fine Arts.
Security issues should not be underestimated by first time travellers to Moldova. Take into serious consideration the advices regularly published by the U.S. Government State Department . Travellers to Moldova for business or romance should be aware of the potential risk of scam, above all if first contacts were made on Internet particularly International Financial Scams  and Russian Internet dating schemes .
The break-away region Transnistria has proclaimed itself a republic but lacks diplomatic recognition. Consequently, travellers lack consular support in case of emergency. Stay away until further notice. Corrupt policemen will make you trouble if you show up at the border without 'visa'. When travelling from Odessa to Chişinău, avoid Transnistria.
If you do visit Transnistria, as a foreign citizen, you should register with the Militia upon arrival. It can become difficult trying to leave if you have not done this. Give your name to the representative of your country in Chisinau and tell them what date you travel to and from Transnistria.
If you persist and do travel to Transnistria, you will travel right into the age and time of the old Soviet Union. However it is wise to get a reliable guide to show you around. Once you are 'in', you'll find the population veryu friendly and helpful. Especially in remote areas where no stranger has been for ages, people will open up a museum for you even if it is their day off. Also, you can expect a lengthy meal to be offered to you just in your honour. Don't drink too much alcohol at such occasions since they will offer you more than you can handle.
The heavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, has contaminated soil and groundwater. If you are concerned, water for drinking, cooking and oral hygiene should be taken from a known safe source, as ordinary water treatment, including boiling, does not remove such chemical contamination.
Women. Chivalry is utmost in Moldova, just like in other ex-Soviet countries. If you are out in public, open doors for women and let them walk in first. Do not make disparaging comments about women in Moldova-- or you may find yourself in a heap of trouble with the locals.
When visiting Moldova, be careful when referring the locals as Romanians as not all Moldovans identify themselves as such. Study your host first: some Moldovans identify as Moldovan, and some as Romanian. This also applies to the language issue as well, although the larger part of Moldovans do refer to it as Romanian in everyday speech.
Also be careful when talking about Moldova to the Romanians in Romania. The Romanians view Moldova as Romanian. See Romania#Respect
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Declension of Moldova (type koira)
The Republic of Moldova is a country in Eastern Europe. The official language in Moldova is the Romanian language, only in Moldova it is called the "Moldovan language" by the government, and a different Academy decides the rules of the language. The capital of Moldova is Chişinău.