The most densely populated of the former Soviet republics, Moldova has strong ethnic, linguistic, and cultural links with Romania, but relations with Russia remain paramount.
Geography: Steppes and hilly plains are drained by the Dniester and Prut rivers.
Climate: Warm summers and relatively mild winters. Moderate rainfall is evenly spread throughout the year.
People and Society: A shared heritage with Romania defines national identity, though in 1994 Moldovans voted against possible reunification with Romania. Most of the population is engaged in intensive agriculture. Transnistria is a breakaway state along the east bank of the Dniester, home to a largely ethnic Slav population. The Gagauz, in the south, have accepted autonomy.
The Economy: One of the two poorest countries in Europe. Mainly agricultural: produces wine, tobacco, fruit. Food processing and textiles. Depends on Russia for raw materials, fuel, exports. Instability.
Insight: Vast underground wine vaults contain entire “streets” of bottles built into rock quarries
Official Name: Republic of Moldova
Date of Formation: 1991
Population: 3.6 million
Total Area: 13,067 sq. miles (33,843 sq. km)
Density: 277 people per sq. mile
Languages: Moldovan*, Ukrainian, Russian
Religions: Orthodox Christian 98%, Jewish 2%
Ethnic Mix: Moldovan 64%, Ukrainian 14%, Russian 13%, Gagauz 4%, other 5%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Moldovan leu = 100 bani