Moldova, Chisinau

Geographical Location of Moldova

Moldova is a small landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered to the west by Romania and Ukraine. The landscape of Moldova consists of rolling plains with deep valleys and many rivers and streams. The Prut River flows in the west, and the Dniester River flows in the east. In the center of the country there is a ridge on which the highest point of the country is located - Balanesti Hill, only 430 meters above sea level. The capital Chisinau is located in the center of the country.

Three-quarters of the country has very fertile soil, but in some areas the soil contains large amounts of toxic substances due to the widespread use of chemical pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Industrial emissions also contributed to the pollution of rivers and lakes. Due to deforestation, soil erosion and landslides are becoming a growing problem in the country.

Brief History of Moldova

Most of Moldova lies in the old part of Bessarabia, which throughout history has made the country an important route for travel between Asia and Southern Europe. Many different rulers controlled the area, including Greek and Roman, as well as Ottoman and Romanian. In 1812 the territory was conquered by Russia, which retained power until the Russian Revolution. Bessarabia declared independence in 1917, but soon after became part of Romania.

At the beginning of World War II, Romania was forced, in accordance with the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, to transfer Bessarabia to the Soviet Union. The northern and southern parts of the region were included in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, and the central part of Bessarabia was merged with the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Republic (created in 1924 by the Soviet Union). Romania, which was an ally of Germany during World War II, reoccupied the area in 1941. This had serious consequences for the Jews in the country. 185,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps, only a few returned. The Soviet Union retook the area in 1944.

From 1944 until independence in 1990, Moldova was characterized by communist rule. When the more liberal President Mikhail Gorbachev and his reform policies came to power in the Soviet Union, Moldovans dared to protest against the regime. In 1991, the state was declared independent from the Soviet Union and received the name Republic of Moldova.

Society and Politics of Moldova

Moldova is a parliamentary republic where executive power is divided between the president, who is the head of state, and the prime minister, who heads the government. The President is elected through independent presidential elections and appoints the Prime Minister. The government is based on a popularly elected parliament.

There are more than 40 parties registered in the country, but only five of them are represented in parliament. Domestic politics is characterized by deep contradictions between two pro-Russian parties and three pro-European parties.

Special interests and corruption are very common both in political institutions and in Moldovan society. In 2015, the country was rocked by a corruption scandal when $1 billion was stolen from three major banks and paid to individuals, including a former prime minister. Freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion are enshrined in the constitution and are generally respected. The country has two autonomous regions, Gagauzia and Transnistria. The status of Transnistria, on the other hand, remains unclear, and local authorities have been accused of human rights violations against the population.

Economy and Trade of Moldova

The services sector accounts for more than half of Moldova's gross domestic product, while agriculture and industry account for approximately fifteen percent each. Many people live off what they grow themselves. The country does not have its own mineral resources and is forced to import all coal, oil and gas from abroad. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, energy shortages have hampered industry, and Moldova is trying to develop alternative energy sources to become more self-sufficient.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered an economic crisis in Moldova. The country is currently one of the poorest in Europe and receives financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, EU and US. Widespread corruption in the country also has serious consequences for the economy. The country's desire for European cooperation and economic reform has led to progress in economic development with privatization and the introduction of a market economy, but change has been slow. In 2012, Moldova entered into a free trade agreement with the EU.

Moldavian Cuisine and Culinary Traditions of Moldova

Moldavian cuisine is rich in various recipes and is very diverse. This is largely due to the nature of Moldova - agriculture, poultry farming and livestock farming have developed equally well here. Moldavian cuisine contains recipes for dishes from almost all types of meat and poultry, as well as many vegetable dishes. The development and formation of Bulgarian cuisine was influenced by various European cuisines - Greek and Turkish cuisine, the traditions of Western European and Balkan cuisines, and Ukrainian cuisine also had a strong influence on the culinary traditions of Moldova. Classic Moldovan dishes - such as placinda, mamaliga, chorba and many others. Winemaking is very developed in Moldova, thanks to which Moldovan wines are known far beyond its borders.

Flag of Moldova
Coat of Arms of Moldova

Basic Information About Moldova

  • Full name - Republic of Moldova
  • Capital - Chisinau
  • Language - Romanian
  • Population - 4,027,677
  • Form of government - republic
  • Area - 33,850 km2
  • Currency - Moldovan leu
  • National Day - August 27