Moldova

Moldova

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

 Fact-File:

 Official Name: Republic of Moldova

 Date of Formation: 1991

 Capital: Chisinau

 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

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