Transnistria (Stinga Nistrului) - Break-away region east of the Dniester River, on the Ukrainian border, where Russian forces are supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
Chisinau - Capital - An administrative municipality (municipiul).
Moderate 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
lowest point: Dniester River 2 m highest point: Dealul Balanesti 430 m
Formerly ruled by Romania, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union at the close of World War II.
27 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
Independence Day, 27 August (1991)
new constitution adopted 28 July 1994; replaces old Soviet constitution of 1979
Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
One of the poorest nations in Europe, Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a Communist as its president in 2001.
Moldovans speak Moldovan (outside of the semi-autonomous region of Gagausia and the breakaway region of Transnistria), which is for all practical purposes the same as Romanian. Most people in the cities also speak Russian, although be a little careful of this - learn enough Moldovan to ask whether it is ok to speak Russian - there are still hard feelings about the Soviet Union in some places.
Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian (official), Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
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 hygene should be taken from a known safe source, as ordinary water treatment, including boiling, does not remove such chemical contamination.
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.59 male(s)/female total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate
42.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 64.74 years female: 69.31 years (2002 est.) male: 60.39 years
Total fertility rate
1.71 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.2% (1999 est.)
noun: Moldovan(s) adjective: Moldovan
Moldovan/Romanian 64.5%, Ukrainian 13.8%, Russian 13%, Jewish 1.5%, Bulgarian 2%, Gagauz and other 5.2% (1989 est.) note: internal disputes with ethnic Slavs in the Transnistrian region
Eastern Orthodox 98%, Jewish 1.5%, Baptist and other 0.5% (2000)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 96% male: 99% female: 94% (1989 est.)
conventional long form: Republic of Moldova conventional short form: Moldova local short form: none former: Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova; Moldavia local long form: Republica Moldova
based on civil law system; Constitutional Court reviews legality of legislative acts and governmental decisions of resolution; it is unclear if Moldova accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction but accepts many UN and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) documents
18 years of age; universal
same color scheme as Romania - three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red; emblem in center of flag is of a Roman eagle of gold outlined in black with a red beak and talons carrying a yellow cross in its beak and a green olive branch in its right talons and a yellow scepter in its left talons; on its breast is a shield divided horizontally red over blue with a stylized ox head, star, rose, and crescent all in black-outlined yellow
Economy - overview
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. Moldova must import all of its supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia. Energy shortages contributed to sharp production declines after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. As part of an ambitious reform effort, Moldova introduced a convertible currency, freed all prices, stopped issuing preferential credits to state enterprises, backed steady land privatization, removed export controls, and freed interest rates. The government entered into agreements with the World Bank and the IMF to promote growth and reduce poverty. The economy returned to positive growth, of 2.1% in 2000 and 6.1% in 2001. Growth remained strong in 2002, in part because of the reforms and because of starting from a small base. Further reforms are in doubt because of strong political forces backing government controls. The economy remains vulnerable to higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the scepticism of foreign investors.
Population below poverty line
80% (2001 est.)
1.7 million (1998) (1998)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture 40%, industry 14%, services 46% (1998) (1998)
8% (roughly 25% of working age Moldovans are employed abroad) (2002 est.)
mineral products and fuel 32%, machinery and equipment, chemicals, textiles (2000)
Moldovan leu (MDL)
lei per US dollar - 12.8579 (October 2001), 12.4342 (2000), 10.5158 (1999), 5.3707 (1998), 4.6236 (1997); note - lei is the plural form of leu
Telephones - main lines in use
Telephones - mobile cellular
general assessment: inadequate, outmoded, poor service outside Chisinau, some effort to modernize is under way domestic: new subscribers face long wait for service; mobile cellular telephone service being introduced international: service through Romania and Russia via landline; satellite earth stations - Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik
Radio broadcast stations
AM 7, FM 50, shortwave 3 (1998)
3.22 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations
1 (plus 30 repeaters) (1995)
1.26 million (1997)
Internet country code
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
total: 1,328 km broad gauge: 1,328 km 1.520-m gauge (2001)
total: 20,000 km paved: 13,900 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads) unpaved: 6,100 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)
424 km (1994)
natural gas 310 km (1992)
Ports and harbors
Airports - with paved runways
total: 7 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 23 2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 14 (2002)
Disputes - international
Moldovan difficulties with break-away Transnistria region inhibit establishment of a joint customs regime with Ukraine to curtail smuggling, arms transfers, and other illegal activities
limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for CIS consumption; transshipment point for illicit drugs from Southwest Asia via Central Asia to Russia, Western Europe, and possibly the US; widespread crime and underground economic activity