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Coordinates : 47°N 29°E / 47°N 29°E / 47; 29

Republic
Republic
of Moldova _Republica Moldova_ (Romanian )

Flag Coat of arms

ANTHEM: _ Limba Noastră_ "Our Language"

Location of MOLDOVA (green) and Transnistria
Transnistria
(light green) in Europe.

Capital and largest city Chișinău
Chișinău
47°0′N 28°55′E / 47.000°N 28.917°E / 47.000; 28.917

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Romanian a

RECOGNISED REGIONAL LANGUAGES

* Gagauz * Russian * Ukrainian

OFFICIAL SCRIPT Latin

DEMONYM Moldovan

GOVERNMENT Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic

• PRESIDENT Igor Dodon

• PRIME MINISTER Pavel Filip

• PRESIDENT OF THE PARLIAMENT Andrian Candu

LEGISLATURE Parliament

INDEPENDENCE FROM THE USSR

• SOVEREIGNTY DECLARED 23 June 1990

• INDEPENDENCE DECLARED 27 August 1991b

• RECOGNIZED 25 December 1991

• UNITED NATIONS MEMBERSHIP 2 March 1992

• CONSTITUTION ADOPTED 29 July 1994

AREA

• TOTAL 33,846 km2 (13,068 sq mi) (138th )

• WATER (%) 1.4

POPULATION

• 2014 ESTIMATE 2,998,235 (excluding Transnistria
Transnistria
) (133rd )

• 2004 CENSUS 3,383,332 (excluding Transnistria) 3,938,679 (including Transnistria)

• DENSITY 105/km2 (271.9/sq mi) (101st )

GDP
GDP
(PPP ) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $20.207 billion

• PER CAPITA $5,697

GDP
GDP
(NOMINAL) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $7.409 billion

• PER CAPITA $2,089

GINI (2014) 26.8 low

HDI (2015) 0.699 medium · 107th

CURRENCY Leu (MDL )

TIME ZONE EET (UTC +2)

• SUMMER (DST ) EEST (UTC +3)

DRIVES ON THE right

CALLING CODE +373

PATRON SAINT Saint George
Saint George

ISO 3166CODE MD

INTERNET TLD .md

* As determined by the Moldovan Declaration of Independence, which the Constitutional court of Moldova
Moldova
found to take precedence over Article 13 of the Constitution , which uses the name "Moldovan ". * Date of proclamation. Independence subsequently finalized with the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991.

MOLDOVA (/mɒlˈdoʊvə, mɔːl-/ (_ listen ) or sometimes UK : /ˈmɒldəvə/ ), officially the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA (Romanian : Republica Moldova_, listen (help ·info )), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
, bordered by Romania
Romania
to the west and Ukraine
Ukraine
to the north, east, and south (by way of the disputed territory of Transnistria
Transnistria
). The capital city is Chișinău
Chișinău
.

Most of the Moldovan territory was a part of the Principality of Moldavia
Moldavia
from the 14th century until 1812, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
by the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
(to which Moldavia
Moldavia
was a vassal state ) and became known as Bessarabia. In 1856, southern Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia, which three years later united with Wallachia
Wallachia
to form Romania
Romania
, but Russian rule was restored over the whole of the region in 1878. During the 1917 Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
, Bessarabiabriefly became an autonomous and then independent Moldavian Democratic Republic
Republic
until it was integrated into Romania
Romania
in 1918 following a vote of its assembly. The decision was disputed by Soviet Russia
Russia
, which, in 1924, allowed the establishment, within the Ukrainian SSR
Ukrainian SSR
, of a Moldavian autonomous republic (MASSR) on partial Moldovan-inhabited territories to the east of the Dniester
Dniester
. In 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
, Romania
Romania
was compelled to cede Bessarabiato the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, leading to the creation of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic(Moldavian SSR), which included the greater part of Bessarabiaand the westernmost strip of the former MASSR.

On 27 August 1991, as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, the Moldavian SSR declared independence and took the name Moldova. The current Constitution of Moldovawas adopted in 1994. The strip of the Moldovan territory on the east bank of the Dniester
Dniester
river has been under the _de facto _ control of the breakaway government of Transnistria
Transnistria
since 1990.

Due to a decrease in industrial and agricultural output following the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, the service sector has grown to dominate Moldova\'s economy and currently composes over 60% of the nation's GDP
GDP
. Its economy is the poorest in Europe
Europe
in per capita terms. Moldova
Moldova
is also the least visited country in Europe
Europe
by tourists with only 11,000 annually recorded visitors from abroad.

Moldova
Moldova
is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government . It is a member state of the United Nations
United Nations
, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
, the World Trade Organization (WTO) , the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Europe
(OSCE) , the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development , the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation(BSEC) and aspires to join the European Union
European Union
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Prehistory * 2.2 Antiquity and Middle Ages

* 2.3 Modern history

* 2.3.1 Russian Empire
Russian Empire
* 2.3.2 Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
and Greater Romania
Romania
* 2.3.3 World War II
World War II
and Soviet era * 2.3.4 Independence

* 3 Government

* 3.1 Internal affairs * 3.2 Foreign relations * 3.3 Military * 3.4 Human rights * 3.5 Administrative divisions

* 4 Geography

* 4.1 Climate

* 5 Economy

* 5.1 Energy * 5.2 Wine
Wine
industry * 5.3 Agriculture * 5.4 Tourism * 5.5 Transport

* 6 Telecommunications

* 7 Demographics
Demographics

* 7.1 Cultural and ethnic composition * 7.2 Languages * 7.3 Religion * 7.4 Education * 7.5 Crime
Crime
* 7.6 Health and fertility * 7.7 Emigration

* 8 Culture

* 8.1 Media * 8.2 Food and beverage * 8.3 Music * 8.4 Holidays * 8.5 Sports

* 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 References * 12 External links

ETYMOLOGY

Main article: Name of Moldova

The name "Moldova" derives from the Moldova River; the valley of this river served as a political centre at the time of the foundation of the Principality of Moldavia
Moldavia
in 1359. The origin of the name of the river remains unclear. According to a legend recounted by Moldavian chroniclers Dimitrie Cantemir
Dimitrie Cantemir
and Grigore Ureche, Prince Dragoșnamed the river after hunting an aurochs : following the chase, the prince's exhausted hound _Molda_ drowned in the river. The dog's name, given to the river, extended to the Principality.

For a short time in the 1990s, at the founding of the Commonwealth of Independent States , the name of the current Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
was also spelled "Moldavia". After the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, the country began to use the Romanian name, _Moldova_. Officially, the name _ Republic
Republic
of Moldova_ is designated by the United Nations
United Nations
.

HISTORY

Main article: History of Moldova

PREHISTORY

In 2010, Oldowan
Oldowan
flint tools were discovered at Bayraki that are 800,000–1.2 million years old. This demonstrates that early humans were present in Moldova
Moldova
during the early Paleolithic
Paleolithic
era. During the Neolithic
Neolithic
stone age era, Moldova's territory was the centre of the large Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
that stretched east beyond the Dniester
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.

ANTIQUITY AND MIDDLE AGES

_ Stephen the Great
Stephen the Great
, Prince of Moldavia
Moldavia
between 1457 and 1504. Several authors believed the Soroca Fort
Soroca Fort
was built on the site of a former Genoese fortress named Olhionia_.

In antiquity , Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the south was intermittently under the Roman , and then Byzantine
Byzantine
Empires . Due to its strategic location on a route between Asia and Europe, the territory of modern Moldova
Moldova
was invaded many times in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages , including by Goths
Goths
, Huns
Huns
, Avars , Bulgarians
Bulgarians
, Magyars
Magyars
, Pechenegs
Pechenegs
, Cumans, Mongols and Tatars
Tatars
.

The Principality of Moldavia
Moldavia
, established in 1359, was bounded by the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
in the west, the Dniester
Dniester
River in the east, and the Danube
Danube
River and Black Sea
Black Sea
to the south. Its territory comprised the present-day territory of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova (without the territory to the east of the Dniester), the eastern eight counties of Romania, and the Chernivtsi Oblast
Chernivtsi Oblast
and Budjak
Budjak
region of Ukraine. Like the present-day republic and Romania's north-eastern region, it was known to the locals as _Moldova_. Moldavia
Moldavia
was invaded repeatedly by Crimean Tatars
Tatars
and, beginning in the 15th century, by the Turks. In 1538, the principality became a tributary to the Ottoman Empire , but it retained internal and partial external autonomy.

In May 1600, Michael the Braveremoved Ieremia Movilăfrom Moldavia's throne by winning the battle of Bacău, and created the first union of the three Romanian principalities: Moldavia
Moldavia
, Wallachia , and Transylvania
Transylvania
. The title used in the document of 6 July 1600 was "The King of the country of Romania, Ardeal and of all of Moldavia". Michael retained control of all three provinces for less than a year before the nobles of Transylvania
Transylvania
and certain boyars in Moldavia
Moldavia
and Wallachia
Wallachia
rose against him in a series of revolts. A Polish army led by Jan Zamoyski
Jan Zamoyski
drove the Wallachians from Moldavia
Moldavia
and defeated Michael at Năieni, Ceptura and Bucov. Ieremia Movilăreturned to Moldavia's throne under the vassalage of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . Moldavia
Moldavia
finally returned to Ottoman vassalage in 1621.

MODERN HISTORY

Russian Empire

In accordance with the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812 , and despite numerous protests by Moldavian nobles on behalf of the sovereignty of their principality, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
(of which Moldavia
Moldavia
was a vassal ) ceded to the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
the eastern half of the territory of the Principality of Moldavia
Moldavia
along with Khotyn
Khotyn
and old Bessarabia(modern Budjak
Budjak
), which Russia
Russia
had already conquered and annexed. The new Russian province was called Oblast of Moldavia
Moldavia
and Bessarabia, and initially enjoyed a large degree of autonomy. After 1828 this autonomy was progressively restricted and in 1871 the Oblast was transformed into the BessarabiaGovernorate, in a process of state-imposed assimilation , Russification
Russification
. As part of this process, the Tsarist administration in Bessarabiagradually removed the Romanian language from official and religious use.

The Treaty of Paris (1856)
Treaty of Paris (1856)
returned the southern part of Bessarabia (later organised as the Cahul
Cahul
, Bolgrad and Ismail counties) to Moldavia, which remained an autonomous principality and, in 1859, united with Wallachia
Wallachia
to form Romania
Romania
. In 1878, as a result of the Treaty of Berlin , Romania
Romania
was forced to cede the three counties back to the Russian Empire.

Over the 19th century, the Russian authorities encouraged the colonization of Bessarabiaby Romanians
Romanians
, Russians
Russians
, Ukrainians
Ukrainians
, Germans , Bulgarians
Bulgarians
, and Gagauzes, primarily in the northern and southern areas vacated by Turks and Nogai Tatar , the latter having been expelled in the 1770s and 1780s, during Russo-Turkish Wars
Russo-Turkish Wars
; the inclusion of the province in the Pale of Settlement
Pale of Settlement
also allowed the immigration of more Jews . The Romanian proportion of the population decreased from an estimated 86% in 1816, in the aftermath of the Muslim expulsion, to around 52% in 1905. During this time there were anti-Semitic riots, leading to an exodus of thousands of Jews to the United States.

Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
And Greater Romania

A map of Greater Romania
Romania
between 1920 and 1940.

World War I
World War I
brought in a rise in political and cultural (ethnic) awareness among the inhabitants of the region, 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
Russian Revolution
of 1917 , a Bessarabian parliament, Sfatul Țării (a National Council), was elected in October–November 1917 and opened on December 3 1917. The Sfatul Țăriiproclaimed the Moldavian Democratic Republic(December 15 1917) within a federal Russian state, and formed a government (21 December 1917).

Bessarabiaproclaimed independence from Russia
Russia
on February 6 1918 and requested the assistance of the French army present in Romania (general Henri Berthelot ) and of the Romanian army
Romanian army
, which had occupied the region in early January at the request of the National Council. On April 9 1918, the Sfatul Țăriidecided with 86 votes for, 3 against and 36 abstaining, to unite with the Kingdom of Romania . The union was conditional upon fulfillment of the agrarian reform , autonomy, and respect for universal human rights. A part of the interim Parliament agreed to drop these conditions after Bukovina
Bukovina
and Transylvania
Transylvania
also joined the Kingdom of Romania
Romania
, although historians note that they lacked the quorum to do so.

This union was recognized by the principal Allied Powers in the 1920 Treaty of Paris , which however was not ratified by all of its signatories. The newly communist Russia
Russia
did not recognize Romanian rule over Bessarabia, the latter considering it an occupation of Russian territory.

In May 1919, the Bessarabian Soviet Socialist Republicwas proclaimed as a government in exile. After the failure of the Tatarbunary Uprising in 1924, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian ASSR) was formed by Soviet Russiafrom territory of the Ukrainian SSR, the present-day Transnistria
Transnistria
.

World War II
World War II
And Soviet Era

Main article: Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic Monument to the villagers who died in World War II
World War II
, the village Cojușna, Strășeni District.

In August 1939, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
and its secret additional protocol were signed, by which Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
recognized Bessarabiaas being within the Soviet sphere of influence, which led the latter to actively revive its claim to the region. On 28 June 1940, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
issued an ultimatum to Romania
Romania
requesting the cession of Bessarabiaand northern Bukovina, with which Romania complied the following day. Soon after, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Republic
(Moldavian SSR, MSSR) was established, comprising about 65% of Bessarabia, and 50% of the now-disbanded Moldavian ASSR. Ethnic Germans left in 1940.

As part of the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, Romania regained the territories of Bessarabiaand northern Bukovina, and seized Transnistria
Transnistria
. Romanian forces, working with the Germans, deported or exterminated about 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabiaand Bukovina. Of the latter, approximately 90,000 died. The Soviet Army re-captured the region in February–August 1944, and re-established the Moldavian SSR. Between the end of the Jassy–Kishinev Offensivein August 1944 and the end of the war in May 1945, 256,800 inhabitants of the Moldavian SSR were drafted into the Soviet Army. 40,592 of them perished. BessarabiaGermans resettling after the Soviet occupation of Bessarabiain 1940.

During the periods 1940–1941 and 1944–1953, deportations of locals to the northern Urals , to Siberia
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 political arrests or, in 8,360 cases, execution.

In 1946, as a result of a severe drought and excessive delivery quota obligations and requisitions imposed by the Soviet government, the southwestern part of the USSR suffered from a major 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 the 1930s in the Moldavian ASSR. In 1944–53, there were several anti-Soviet resistance groups in Moldova; however the NKVD
NKVD
and later MGB managed to eventually arrest, execute or deport their members.

In the postwar period, the Soviet government organized the immigration of working age Russian speakers (mostly Russians, Belarusians
Belarusians
, and Ukrainians), into the new Soviet republic, especially into urbanized areas, partly to compensate for the demographic loss caused by the war and the emigration of 1940 and 1944. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Moldavian SSR received substantial allocations from the budget of the USSR to develop industrial and scientific facilities and 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 Chișinău), that allotted more than one billion Soviet rubles from the USSR budget for building projects. Bălțiin Soviet Moldavia
Moldavia
in 1985

The Soviet government conducted a campaign to promote a Moldovan ethnic identity distinct 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
Moldovans
was distinct from the Romanian language
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 had been written in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
.

All independent organizations were severely reprimanded, with the National Patriotic Frontleaders being sentenced in 1972 to long prison terms. The Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Moldova
Moldova
is assessing the activity of the communist totalitarian regime.

In the 1980s, amid political conditions created by the glasnost and perestroika , a Democratic Movement of Moldovawas formed, which in 1989 became known as the nationalist Popular Front of Moldova(FPM). Along with several other Soviet republics, from 1988 onwards, Moldova started to move towards independence . On 27 August 1989, the FPM organized a mass demonstration in Chișinău
Chișinău
that became known as the Grand National Assembly . The assembly pressured the authorities of the Moldavian SSR to adopt a language law on 31 August 1989 that proclaimed the Moldovan language
Moldovan language
written in the Latin script
Latin script
to be the state language of the MSSR. Its identity with the Romanian language was also established. In 1989, as opposition to the Communist Party grew, there were major riots in November .

Independence

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Deputy Gheorghe Ghimpureplaces the Soviet flagon the Parliament with the Romanian flagon 27 April 1990.

The first democratic elections for the local parliament were held in February and March 1990. Mircea Snegurwas elected as Speaker of the Parliament , and Mircea Drucas Prime Minister. On 23 June 1990, the Parliament adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the "Soviet Socialist Republic
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 , Moldova
Moldova
declared its independence on 27 August 1991, Romania
Romania
being the first state to recognize its independence.

On 21 December 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
Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS). Moldova
Moldova
received official recognition on 25 December. On 26 December 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Declaring itself a neutral state , Moldova
Moldova
did not join the military branch of the CIS. Three months later, on 2 March 1992, the country gained formal recognition as an independent state at the United Nations. In 1994, Moldova
Moldova
became a member of NATO 's Partnership for Peaceprogram, and a member of the Council of Europe
Europe
on 29 June 1995.

In the region east of the Dniester
Dniester
river, Transnistria
Transnistria
, which includes a large proportion of predominantly russophone East Slavs
East Slavs
of Ukrainian (28%) and Russian (26%) descent (altogether 54% as of 1989), while Moldovans
Moldovans
(40%) have been the largest ethnic group, and where the headquarters and many units of the Soviet 14th Guards Armywere stationed, an independent Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Republic
was proclaimed on 16 August 1990, with its capital in Tiraspol
Tiraspol
. The motives behind this move were fear of the rise of nationalism in Moldova
Moldova
and the country's expected reunification with Romania
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 2 March and 26 July 1992, the conflict escalated into a military engagement .

On 2 January 1992, Moldova
Moldova
introduced a market economy , liberalizing prices, which resulted in rapid inflation. From 1992 to 2001, the country suffered a serious economic crisis, leaving most of the population below the poverty line. In 1993, the government introduced a new national currency, the Moldovan leu, to replace the temporary cupon . The economy of Moldova
Moldova
began to change in 2001; and until 2008 the country saw a steady annual growth between 5% and 10%. The early 2000s also saw a considerable growth of emigration of Moldovans looking for work (mostly illegally) in Russia
Russia
(especially the Moscow region), Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and other countries; remittances from Moldovans
Moldovans
abroad account for almost 38% of Moldova's GDP
GDP
, the second-highest percentage in the world, after Tajikistan
Tajikistan
(45%).

In the 1994 parliamentary elections , the Democratic Agrarian Party gained a majority of the seats, setting a turning point in Moldovan politics. With the nationalist Popular Front now in a parliamentary minority, new measures aiming to moderate the ethnic tensions in the country could be adopted. Plans for a union with Romania
Romania
were abandoned, and the new Constitution gave autonomy to the breakaway Transnistria
Transnistria
and Gagauzia. On 23 December 1994, the Parliament of Moldova
Moldova
adopted a "Law on the Special
Special
Legal Status of Gagauzia", and in 1995 the latter was constituted.

After winning the 1996 presidential elections , on 15 January 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
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
Moldova
(reinstituted in 1993 after being outlawed in 1991), gained 71 of the 101 MPs, and on 4 April 2001, elected Vladimir Voronin
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(19 April 2001 – 31 March 2008), and Zinaida Greceanîi(31 March 2008 – 14 September 2009). In 2001–2003 relations between Moldova
Moldova
and Russia
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 . The Party of Communists of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
managed to stay in power for eight years. The fragmentation of the liberal bloc (aka the democrats) helped consolidate its power. The decline of the Communist Party started in 2009 after Marian Lupu joined the Democratic Party and thus attracted many of the Moldovans supporting the Communists. Civil unrest outside the Parliament building in 2009.

In 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
Moldova
Noastră" with 9.77%. The controversial results of this election sparked civil unrest

In August 2009, four Moldovan parties – Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party , and Our Moldova
Moldova
Alliance – agreed to create a governing coalition that pushed the Communist party into opposition. On 28 August 2009, this coalition chose a new parliament speaker ( Mihai Ghimpu) in a vote that was boycotted by Communist legislators. Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
, who had been President of Moldova since 2001, eventually resigned on 11 September 2009, but the Parliament failed to elect a new president . The acting president Mihai Ghimpuinstituted the Commission for constitutional reform in Moldova
Moldova
to adopt a new version of the Constitution of Moldova. After the constitutional referendum aimed to approve the reform failed in September 2010, the parliament was dissolved again and a new parliamentary election was scheduled for 28 November 2010. On 30 December 2010, Marian Lupu was elected as the Speaker of the Parliament. In accordance with the Constitution, he will be serving as the Acting President of Republic
Republic
of Moldova. After the Alliance for European Integration lost a no confidence vote, the Pro-European Coalition was formed on 30 May 2013. Tens of thousands demonstrating in central Chișinău
Chișinău
in September 2015.

In November 2014, Moldova's central bank took control of Banca de Economii, the country's largest lender, and two smaller institutions, Banca Sociala and Unibank. Investigations into activities at these three banks uncovered a large-scale theft by means of fraudulent loans to business entities controlled by a Moldovan/Israeli oligarch, Ilan Shor , of funds worth about 1 billion U.S. dollars. The large scale of the theft relative to the size of the Moldovan economy and despair that the money, now believed to be in offshore bank accounts, will be recovered, are thought to be affecting the country's politics to favour the pro-Russian Socialist Party . In 2015, Shor was still at large, after a period of house arrest.

Following a period of political instability and massive public protests, a new Government led by Pavel Filipwas invested in January 2016. In a subsequent E.U. visit, Petras Auštrevičius, MEP , commented on the confidence crisis affecting Moldova: "To steal a billion dollars! ... You need plenty of bags to move that money around ... I hope that the name of the persons involved will be made public. ... Corruption in Moldova
Moldova
is a political disease, a disease that became systemic and that affects all levels of power ... it is eroding the country from the inside". Similar concerns over statewide corruption, the independence of the judiciary system, and the intransparency of the banking system, were expressed during the visit; Germany's broadcaster Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle
also raised concerns over the alleged influence of Moldovan oligarch Vladimir Plahotniucover the Pavel government.

GOVERNMENT

Main article: Politics of Moldova The Moldovan Parliament

Moldova
Moldova
is a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic . The 1994 Constitution of Moldovasets 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 country's central legislative body is the unicameral Moldovan Parliament (_Parlament_), which has 101 seats, and whose members are elected by popular vote on party lists every four years.

The head of state is the President of Moldova, who between 2001 and 2015 was elected by the Moldovan Parliament, requiring the support of three-fifths of the deputies (at least 61 votes). The president of Moldova
Moldova
has been elected by the parliament since 2001, a change designed to decrease executive authority in favour of the legislature. Nevertheless, the Constitutional Court ruled on 4 March 2016, that this constitutional change adopted in 2000 regarding the presidential election was unconstitutional, thus reverting the election method of the President to a two-round system direct election .

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 1994 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.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS

On 19 December 2016, Moldovan MPs approved raising the retirement age to 63 years from the current level of 57 for women and 62 for men, a reform that is part of a 3-year-old assistance program agreed with the International Monetary Fund. The retirement age will be lifted gradually by a few months every year until coming fully into effect in 2028.

Life expectancy
Life expectancy
in the ex-Soviet country - Europe's poorest - is 67.5 years for men and 75.5 years for women. In a country with a population of 3.5 million, of which 1 million are abroad, there are more than 700,000 pensioners.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Main articles: Foreign Relations of Moldovaand Moldova–European Union relations Moldova
Moldova
has made EU integration a priority.

After achieving independence from the Soviet Union, Moldova's foreign policy was designed with a view to establishing relations with other European countries, neutrality, and European Union
European Union
integration. In 1995 the country was admitted to the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
.

In addition to its participation in NATO
NATO
's Partnership for Peace programme, Moldova
Moldova
is also a member state of the United Nations
United Nations
, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE), the North Atlantic Cooperation Council , the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
, the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
, the World Bank
World Bank
, the Francophonie
Francophonie
and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In 2005, Moldova and the EUestablished an action plan that sought to improve collaboration between its two neighbouring countries, Romania and Ukraine. At the end of 2005 EUBAM, the European Union
European Union
Border Assistance Mission to Moldova
Moldova
and Ukraine
Ukraine
, was established at the joint request of the presidents of Moldova
Moldova
and Ukraine. EUBAM assists the Moldovan and Ukrainian governments in approximating their border and customs procedures to EU standards, and offers support in both countries' fight against cross-border crime.

After the 1990–1992 War of Transnistria
Transnistria
, Moldova
Moldova
sought a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Transnistria
Transnistria
region by working with Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, calling for international mediation, and co-operating with the OSCE and UN fact-finding and observer missions. The foreign minister of Moldova
Moldova
, Andrei Stratan, repeatedly stated that the Russian troops stationed in the breakaway region were there against the will of the Moldovan government and called on them to leave "completely and unconditionally." In 2012, a security zone incident resulted in the death of a civilian, raising tensions with Russia
Russia
. Moldovan President Igor Dodon(right) with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern
Christian Kern
and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
, 2 June 2017

In September 2010, the European Parliament
European Parliament
approved a grant of €90 million to Moldova. The money was to supplement $570 million in International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
loans, World Bank
World Bank
and other bilateral support already granted to Moldova. In April 2010, Romania
Romania
offered Moldova
Moldova
development aid worth of €100 million while the number of scholarships for Moldovan students doubled to 5,000. According to a lending agreement signed in February 2010, Poland
Poland
provided US$15 million as a component of its support for Moldova
Moldova
in its European integration efforts. The first joint meeting of the Governments of Romania
Romania
and Moldova, held in March 2012, concluded with several bilateral agreements in various fields. The European orientation "has been the policy of Moldova
Moldova
in recent years and this is the policy that must continue," Nicolae Timoftitold lawmakers before his election .

On 29 November 2013, at a summit in Vilnius, Moldova
Moldova
signed an association agreement with the European Union
European Union
dedicated to the European Union's ' Eastern Partnership' with ex-Soviet countries. The ex-Romanian President Traian Băsescustated that Romania
Romania
will make all efforts for Moldova
Moldova
to join the EU as soon as possible. Likewise, Traian Băsescudeclared that the unification of Moldova
Moldova
with Romania is the next national project for Romania, as more than 75% of the population speaks Romanian.

Moldova
Moldova
has signed the Association Agreement with the European Union in Brussels on 27 June 2014. The signing comes after the accord has been initialed in Vilnius in November 2013.

It can be said that religious leaders play a role in shaping foreign policy. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Government has frequently used its connections with the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
to block and stymie the integration of former Soviet states like Moldova into the West.

MILITARY

Main article: Military of Moldova A soldier of the Moldovan Army at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels , Germany
Germany

The Moldovan armed forces consist of the Ground Forces and Air Force . Moldova
Moldova
has accepted all relevant arms control obligations of the former Soviet Union. On 30 October 1992, Moldova
Moldova
ratified the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Europe
, which establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment and provides for the destruction of weapons in excess of those limits. The country acceded to the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treatyin October 1994 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
It does not have nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological weapons. Moldova
Moldova
joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's Partnership for Peace on 16 March 1994.

Moldova
Moldova
is committed to a number of international and regional control of arms regulations 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.

Since declaring independence in 1991, Moldova
Moldova
has participated in UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan and Georgia.

Moldova
Moldova
signed with Romania
Romania
a military agreement to strengthen regional security. The agreement is part of Moldova's strategy to reform its military and cooperate with its neighbours.

On 12 November 2014, the US donated to Moldovan Armed Forces 39 Humveesand 10 trailers, with a value of US$700,000, to the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion of the Moldovan National Army to "increase the capability of Moldovan peacekeeping contingents."_ _

HUMAN RIGHTS

Main article: Human rights in Moldova

According to Amnesty International
Amnesty International
, as of 2004 "Torture and other ill-treatment in police detention remained widespread; the state failed to carry out prompt and impartial investigations and police officers sometimes evaded penalties. Political dissidents from Ilașcu Group were released from arbitrary detention in the break-away Transdinester region only after an order of the European Court of Human Rights . In 2009, when Moldova
Moldova
experienced its most serious civil unrest in a decade, several civilians, including Valeriu Boboc, were killed and many more injured.

According to Human Rights Report of the United States
United States
Department of State , released in April 2011, "In contrast to the previous year, there were no reports of killings by security forces. During the year reports of government exercising undue influence over the media substantially decreased." But "Transnistrian authorities continued to harass independent media and opposition lawmakers; restrict freedom of association, movement, and religion; and discriminate against Romanian speakers." Moldova
Moldova
"has made noteworthy progress" on religious freedom since the era of the Soviet Union, but it can still take further steps to foster diversity," said the UN Special
Special
Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt, in Chișinău, in September 2011. Moldova
Moldova
improved its legislation by enacting the _Law on Preventing and Combating Family Violence_, in 2008.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

_ Anenii Noi _ _Basarabeasca _ _Briceni _ _Cantemir _ _Călărași _ _ Căușeni_ _Cimișlia _ _Dondușeni _ _ Drochia_ _ Dubăsari_ _ Edineț_ _Fălești _ _Florești _ _Glodeni _ _ Hîncești_ _ Ialoveni_ _Leova _ _Nisporeni _ _Ocnița _ _ Orhei
Orhei
_ _Rezina _ _Rîșcani _ _Sîngerei _ _ Soroca
Soroca
_ _Șoldănești _ _Ștefan Vodă _ _Taraclia _ _Telenești _ _ Ungheni_ _ Strășeni_ _ Cahul
Cahul
_ CHIȘINĂU _ Comrat_ _ Bălți_ _ Tiraspol
Tiraspol
_ _ Romania
Romania
_ _ Ukraine
Ukraine
_ Main articles: Administrative divisions of Moldova, List of cities in Moldova
Moldova
, List of localities in Moldova, and Communes of Moldova

Moldova
Moldova
is divided into thirty-two districts (_raioane_, singular _raion _), three municipalities and two autonomous regions (Gagauzia and Transnistria
Transnistria
). The final status of Transnistria
Transnistria
is disputed , as the central government does not control that territory. Other 10 cities, including the Comratand Tiraspol
Tiraspol
, the administrative seats of the two autonomous territories, also have municipality status .

Moldova
Moldova
has 66 cities (towns), including 13 with municipality status, and 916 communes. Another 700 villages are too small to have a separate administration, and are administratively part of either cities (41 of them) or communes (659). This makes for a total of 1,682 localities in Moldova, two of which are inhabited.

LARGEST CITIES OF MOLDOVA

Chișinău
Chișinău

Tiraspol
Tiraspol
RANK CITY URBAN

RANK CITY URBAN

* view * talk * edit

Bălți

Bender

1 CHIșINăU 1 662,836 (2014)

11 COMRAT 3 20,113 (2014)

2 TIRASPOL 2 129,500 (2015)

12 STRășENI 3 18,376 (2014)

3 BăLțI 1 102,457 (2014)

13 DURLEșTI 3 17,210 (2014)

4 BENDER 2 91,000 (2015)

14 CEADîR-LUNGA 3 16,605 (2014)

5 RîBNIțA 2 46,000 (2015)

15 CăUșENI 3 15,939 (2014)

6 UNGHENI 3 30,804 (2014)

16 CODRU 3 15,934 (2014)

7 CAHUL 3 30,018 (2014)

17 EDINEț 15,520 (2014)

8 SOROCA 3 22,196 (2014)

18 DROCHIA 13,150 (2014)

9 ORHEI 3 21,065 (2014)

19 IALOVENI 12,515 (2014)

10 DUBăSARI 3 25,700 (2011)

20 HîNCEșTI 12,491 (2014)

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

The largest city in Moldova
Moldova
is Chisnau with a population of 635,994 people.

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of Moldova Scenery in Moldova, with Dniester
Dniester
River Cave churches at Old Orhei
Orhei
Toltrele Prutului near Fetești , EdinețDistrict Beach on the shore of Dniester
Dniester
River near Vadul lui Vodă

Moldova
Moldova
lies between latitudes 45° and 49° N , and mostly between meridians 26° and 30° E (a small area lies east of 30°). The total land area is 33,851 km2

The largest part of the nation lies between two rivers, the Dniester and the Prut
Prut
. The western border of Moldova
Moldova
is formed by the Prut river, which joins the Danube
Danube
before flowing into the Black Sea
Black Sea
. Moldova
Moldova
has access to the Danube
Danube
for only about 480 m (1,575 ft), and Giurgiuleștiis the only Moldovan port on the Danube. In the east, the Dniester
Dniester
is the main river, flowing through the country from north to south, receiving the waters of Răut, Bîc, Ichel , Botna. Ialpugflows into one of the Danube
Danube
limans , while Cogîlnic into the Black Sea
Black Sea
chain of limans.

The country is landlocked, though it is 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 Bălănești Hill . Moldova's hills are part of the Moldavian Plateau, which geologically originate from the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
. Its subdivisions in Moldova
Moldova
include the Dniester
Dniester
Hills (Northern Moldavian Hills and Dniester
Dniester
Ridge ), the Moldavian Plain (Middle Prut
Prut
Valley and BălțiSteppe ), and the Central Moldavian Plateau (Ciuluc-Soloneț Hills , Cornești Hills — CodriMassive, "Codri" meaning "forests"—Lower Dniester
Dniester
Hills , Lower Prut
Prut
Valley , and Tigheci Hills ). In the south, the country has a small flatland, the Bugeac Plain . The territory of Moldova
Moldova
east of the river Dniester
Dniester
is split between parts of the Podolian Plateau, and parts of the Eurasian Steppe
Eurasian Steppe
.

The country's main cities are the capital Chișinău, in the centre of the country, Tiraspol
Tiraspol
(in the eastern region of Transnistria), Bălți(in the north) and Bender (in the south-east). Comratis the administrative centre of Gagauzia.

CLIMATE

Moldova
Moldova
has a climate which is moderately continental; its proximity to the Black Sea
Black Sea
leads to the climate being mildly cold in the fall and winter and relatively cool in the spring and summer.

The summers are warm and long, with temperatures averaging about 20 °C (68 °F), and the winters are relatively mild and dry, with January temperatures averaging −4 °C (25 °F). Annual rainfall, which ranges from around 600 mm (24 in) in the north to 400 mm (16 in) in the south, can vary greatly; long dry spells are not unusual. The heaviest rainfall occurs in early summer and again in October; heavy showers and thunderstorms are common. Because of the irregular terrain, heavy summer rains often cause erosion and river silting.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Moldova
Moldova
was 41.5 °C (106.7 °F) on 21 July 2007 in Camenca. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −35.5 °C (−31.9 °F) on 20 January 1963 in Brătușeni, Edinețcounty.

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the three largest cities in Moldova
Moldova
LOCATION JULY (°C) JULY (°F) JANUARY (°C) JANUARY (°F)

Chișinău
Chișinău
27/17 81/63 1/−4 33/24

Tiraspol
Tiraspol
27/15 81/60 1/−6 33/21

Bălți 26/14 79/58 −0/−7 31/18

ECONOMY

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Main article: Economy of Moldova Moldova
Moldova
GDP
GDP
by sector A chart of Moldova's export products. (2013)

After the breakup from the USSR in 1991, energy shortages, political uncertainty, trade obstacles and weak administrative capacity contributed to the decline of economy. As a part of an ambitious economic liberalization effort, Moldova
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
World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
to promote growth. The economy reversed from decline in late 90's. Since 1999 the GDP
GDP
(PPP) had a steady growth as follows:

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

8.41% 9.07% 9.76% 10.67% 10.13% 10.99% 6.80% −0.70% 8.90% 1.80% −1.10%

Mileștii Mici contains the world's largest wine cellars .

Although estimates point to possible modest overvaluation of the real exchange rate, external competitiveness appears broadly adequate as reflected in strong sustained export performance. However, the near-term economic outlook is weak. Main risks to the near-term outlook relate to serious vulnerabilities and governance issues in the banking sector, policy slippages in the run up to the elections, intensification of geopolitical tensions in the region, and a further slowdown in activity in main trading partners.

Moldova
Moldova
remains highly vulnerable to fluctuations in remittances from workers abroad (24 percent of GDP), exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and European Union
European Union
(EU) (88 percent of total exports), and donor support (about 10 percent of government spending). The main transmission channels through which adverse exogenous shocks could impact the Moldovan economy are: remittances (also due to potentially returning migrants), external trade, and capital flows.

Staff's spillover analysis suggests that further strengthening of fiscal and external buffers would be critical for mitigating the impact of external shocks, particularly in light of the Moldova's strong links and synchronized business cycle with trading partners.

Moldova
Moldova
largely achieved the main objectives of the combined ECF/EFF (IMF financial credit) supported program that expired on 30 April 2013. The economy has strongly recovered from the drought-related contraction in 2012 but will slow down in 2014. Key risks to the near-term outlook relate to financial stability, fiscal policy slippages in the run up to the 2014 parliamentary elections, a further slowdown in activity in main trading partners, and intensification of geopolitical tensions. MallDova shopping center in Chișinău
Chișinău

Corporate governance in the banking sector is a major concern. In line with FSAP recommendations, significant weaknesses in the legal and regulatory frameworks must be urgently addressed to ensure stability and soundness of the financial sector. Moldova
Moldova
has achieved a substantial degree of fiscal consolidation in recent years, but this trend is now reversing. Resisting pre-election pressures for selective spending increases and returning to the path of fiscal consolidation would reduce reliance on exceptionally-high donor support. Structural fiscal reforms would help safeguard sustainability. Monetary policy has been successful in maintaining inflation within the NBM's target range. Going forward, the NBM needs to remain ready to adopt a tightening bias if inflationary pressures start emerging. There is room to strengthen the inflation targeting regime. The implementation of structural reforms outlined in the National Development Strategy (NDS) Moldova
Moldova
2020—especially in the business environment, physical infrastructure, and human resources development areas—would help boost potential growth and reduce poverty. Moldova's remarkable recovery from the severe recession of 2009 was largely the result of sound macroeconomic and financial policies and structural reforms. Despite a small contraction in 2012, Moldova's economic performance was among the strongest in the region during 2010–13. Economic activity grew cumulatively by about 24 percent; consumer price inflation was brought under control; and real wages increased cumulatively by about 13 percent. This expansion was made possible by adequate macroeconomic stabilization measures and ambitious structural reforms implemented in the wake of the crisis under a Fund-supported program. In November 2013, Moldova
Moldova
initialed an Association Agreement with the EU which includes provisions establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Central market in Chisinau

A political crisis in early 2013 led to policy slippages in the fiscal and financial areas. The political crisis that broke out in early 2013 was resolved with the appointment of a government supported by a pro-European center-right/center coalition in May 2013. However, delays in policy implementation prevented completion of the final reviews under the ECF/EFF arrangements.

Despite a sharp decline in poverty in recent years, Moldova
Moldova
remains one of the poorest countries in Europe
Europe
and structural reforms are needed to promote sustainable growth. Based on the Europe
Europe
and Central Asia (ECA) regional poverty line of US$5/day (PPP), 55 percent of the population was poor in 2011. While this was significantly lower than 94 percent in 2002, Moldova's poverty rate is still more than double the ECA average of 25 percent. The NDS— Moldova
Moldova
(National Development System) 2020, which was published in November 2012, focuses on several critical areas to boost economic development and reduce poverty. These include education, infrastructure, financial sector, business climate, energy consumption, pension system, and judicial framework. Following the regional financial crisis in 1998 , Moldova
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.

The government's goal of EU integration has resulted in some market-oriented progress. Moldova
Moldova
experienced better than expected economic growth in 2013 due to increased agriculture production, to economic policies adopted by the Moldovan government since 2009, and to the receipt of EU trade preferences connecting Moldovan products to the world's largest market. Moldova
Moldova
has signed the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union
European Union
during summer 2014. Moldova
Moldova
has also achieved a Free Visa Regime with the EU which represents the biggest achievement of Moldovan diplomacy since independence. Still, growth has been hampered by high prices for Russian natural gas, a Russian import ban on Moldovan wine, increased foreign scrutiny of Moldovan agricultural products, and by Moldova's large external debt. Over the longer term, Moldova's economy remains vulnerable to political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, corruption, higher fuel prices, Russian pressure, and the separatist regime in Moldova's Transnistria
Transnistria
region. According to IMF World Economic Outlook April 2014, the Moldovan GDP
GDP
(PPP) per capita is 3,927 International Dollars, excluding grey economy and tax evasion.

ENERGY

Main article: Energy in Moldova

With few natural energy resources, Moldova
Moldova
imports almost all of its energy supplies from Russia
Russia
and Ukraine. Moldova's dependence on Russian energy is underscored by a growing US$5 billion debt to Russian natural gas supplier Gazprom, largely the result of unreimbursed natural gas consumption in the separatist Transnistria region. In August 2013, work began on a new pipeline between Moldova and Romania
Romania
that may eventually break Russia's monopoly on Moldova's gas supplies. Moldova
Moldova
is a partner country of the EU INOGATEenergy 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.

WINE INDUSTRY

Main article: Moldovan wine Outside of "Milestii Mici"

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. Milestii mici holds the largest wine cellar in the world. It stretches for 200 km and holds almost 2 million bottles of wine

AGRICULTURE

Main article: Agriculture in Moldova

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

Main article: Tourism in Moldova Old Orhei Museum-Archaeological Complex

Tourism focuses on the country\'s natural landscapes and its history . Wine
Wine
tours are offered to tourists across the country. Vineyards/cellars include Cricova , Purcari , Ciumai, Romanești , Cojușna, Mileștii Mici .

TRANSPORT

Chișinău
Chișinău
International Airport . Main articles: Transport in Moldova
Moldova
and Rail transport in Moldova

The main means of transportation in Moldova
Moldova
are railroads 1,138 km (707 mi) and a highway system (12,730 km or 7,910 mi overall, including 10,937 km or 6,796 mi of paved surfaces). The sole international air gateway of Moldova
Moldova
is the Chișinău
Chișinău
International Airport . The Giurgiuleștiterminal on the Danube
Danube
is compatible with small seagoing vessels. Shipping on the lower Prut
Prut
and Nistrurivers plays only a modest role in the country's transportation system.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Main article: Telecommunications in Moldova

The first million mobile telephone users were registered in September 2005. The number of mobile telephone users in Moldova
Moldova
increased by 47.3% in the first quarter of 2008 against the last year and exceeded 2.89 million.

In September 2009, Moldova
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
Europe
to launch 14.4 Mbit/s mobile broadband at a national scale, with over 40% population coverage.

As of 2010 , there are around 1,295,000 Internet users in Moldova with overall Internet penetration of 35.9%.

On the 6th of June 2012, the Government approved the licensing of 4G / LTE for mobile operators.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of Moldova

As per 2014 census preliminary data, 2,998,235 inhabitants live in Moldova
Moldova
(within the areas controlled by the central government), an 11.3% decrease from the figure recorded at the 2004 census. The urbanization rate is 45% of the total population living in urban areas (as of 2015 ).

According to the last census in Transnistria
Transnistria
(October 2015), the population of the region was 475,665, a 14.3% decrease from the figure recorded at the 2004 census. The urbanization rate was 69.9%.

CULTURAL AND ETHNIC COMPOSITION

Moldovan students in May 2013 Gagauz people
Gagauz people
in Chișinău, celebrating Hıdırellezin May 2017

The term "Moldavian" had initially described the inhabitants of the Moldavian Principality. In 1775, Austria
Austria
annexed the northern part of the principality, thenceforth known as Bukovina; a second partition in 1812 resulted in Russia's annexation of the eastern part of Moldavia, thenceforth known as Bessarabia. The partitioned Moldavians did not undergo the same nation-building processes as did their ethnic counterparts in the Danubian Principalities, which identified as the new Romania. Thus, Romanian-language speakers in Bessarabiaclung to a "Moldavian" identity.

A Moldavian identity prevailed in Bessarabiainto the interwar period, whereas a Romanian one had developed among ethnic Romanians
Romanians
in Bukovina
Bukovina
even before the Great Union. Peasants in all three parts: Romanian, Austrian, and Russian, of historic Moldavia
Moldavia
were more likely to identify as Moldavians than were educated city dwellers.

According to the last Moldovan Census (2014)(excluding Transnistria):

SELF-IDENTIFICATION IN 2014 POPULATION

Moldovans
Moldovans
A 75.1%

Romanians
Romanians
A 7.0%

Ukrainians
Ukrainians
6.6%

Gagauz 4.6%

Russians
Russians
4.1%

Bulgarians
Bulgarians
1.9%

Romani 0.3%

Others 0.4%

TOTAL 100%

The ethno-linguistic composition of Moldova
Moldova
in 2004

According to the 2004 Moldovan Census (areas controlled by the central government), and the 2004 Census in Transnistria
Transnistria
(areas controlled by the breakaway authorities, including Transnistria, Bender/Tighina , and four neighbouring communes):

SELF-IDENTIFICATION IN 2004 Moldovan census % Core Moldova
Moldova
Transnistrian census % Transnistria + Bender TOTAL %

Moldovans
Moldovans
A 2,564,849 75.81% 177,382 31.94% 2,742,231 69.62%

Ukrainians
Ukrainians
282,406 8.35% 160,069 28.82% 442,475 11.23%

Russians
Russians
201,218 5.95% 168,678 30.37% 369,896 9.39%

Gagauz 147,500 4.36% 4,096 0.74% 151,596 3.85%

Romanians
Romanians
A 73,276 2.17% 253 0.05% 73,529 2.16%

Bulgarians
Bulgarians
65,662 1.94% 13,858 2.50% 79,520 2.02%

Romani 12,271 0.36% 507 0.09% 12,778 0.32%

Poles
Poles
2,383 0.07% 1,791 0.32% 4,174 0.11%

Others / undeclared 30,159 0.89% 27,454 4.94% 57,613 1.46%

TOTAL 3,383,332 100% 555,347 100% 3,938,679 100%

A There is an ongoing controversy whether Romanians
Romanians
and Moldovans
Moldovans
are the same ethnic group, namely whether Moldovans' self-identification constitutes an ethnic group distinct and apart from Romanians
Romanians
or a subset. There were also numerous allegations that the ethnic affiliation numbers were rigged: 7 out of 10 observer groups of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
reported a significant number of cases where census-takers recommended respondents declare themselves Moldovans rather than Romanians. Complicating the interpretation of the results, 18.8% of respondents that identified themselves as Moldovans
Moldovans
declared Romanian to be their native language.

*

Ethnic Ukrainians
Ukrainians
in Moldova
Moldova
(2004 census) *

Ethnic Russians in Moldova(2004 census) *

Ethnic Gagauz people
Gagauz people
in Moldova
Moldova
(2004 census) *

Ethnic Bulgarians
Bulgarians
in Moldova
Moldova
(2004 census)

LANGUAGES

LEFT. A Limba noastră(Our language) social ad in Chișinău, to which the handwritten word "Română" (Romanian) was added. RIGHT. An inscription on a building in Chișinău: "I am Moldovan! I speak Moldovan!" (_both messages use the same language_) Main articles: Languages of Moldova
Moldova
, Moldovan language
Moldovan language
, and Romanian language
Romanian language

The official language of Moldova
Moldova
is Romanian , a Romance language related to Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

The 1991 Declaration of Independence names the official language Romanian. The Constitution of 1994 stated that the national language of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
was Moldovan , and its writing is based on the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
.

In 2003, the Communist government adopted a political document which states that one of the priorities of the national politics of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
is preservation of the Moldovan language. In December 2013, a decision of the Constitutional Court of Moldovaruled that the Declaration of Independence takes precedence over the Constitution, and the state language is "Romanian".

At the 2014 census , 54.6% of the population named Moldovan whereas 24.0% named Romanian as their first language in daily use. Although only 4.1% are ethnic Russians, Russian is still used as the main language by 14.5% of the total population. Around 50% of ethnic Ukrainians, 33% of Gagauz, 33% of Bulgarians, and 5.7% of Moldovans declared Russian as their daily use language.

POPULATION OF MOLDOVA Romanian (Moldovan) Russian Gagauz Ukrainian Bulgarian Other languages

by native language 80.2% 9.7% 4.2% 3.9% 1.5% 0.5%

by language of first use 78.6% 14.5% 2.7% 2.7% 1.0% 0.5%

Historically Russian was taught in schools as the first foreign language, because of the relationship with the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
and Soviet Union. In the 21st century, the primary foreign language taught in the schools is English . In 2013 more than 60% of schoolchildren took it as their first foreign language. This was followed by French , taken by less than 50% of students. Since 1996, the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
has been a full member of La Francophonie
Francophonie
. German was the third-ranked choice.

RELIGION

RELIGION IN MOLDOVA

Religion

Percent

Orthodox   93.34%

Protestant   1.89%

Old Believer   0.15%

Roman Catholic   0.14%

Jewish
Jewish
  0.11%

Atheist   0.38%

Non-religious   0.98%

No answer   2.24%

Other religion   0.88%

Main article: Religion in Moldova

For the 2004 census, 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
Russian Orthodox Church
, and the Orthodox Church of Bessarabia, autonomous and subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox Church
Romanian Orthodox Church
, both claim to be the national church of the country. 1.9% of the population is Protestant, 0.9% belongs to other religions, 1.0% is non-religious, 0.4% is atheist, and 2.2% did not answer the religion question at the census.

EDUCATION

Main article: Education in Moldova
Education in Moldova
The National Library of Moldova
Moldova

There are 16 state and 15 private institutions of higher education in Moldova, 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
Moldova
has been constantly growing since the collapse of the Soviet Union, reaching 217 in 2000–2001, and 351 in 2005–2006.

The National Library of Moldovawas founded in 1832. The Moldova State University and the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, the main scientific organizations of Moldova, were established in 1946.

As of 2015 , Romania
Romania
allocates 5,000 scholarships in high schools and universities for Moldovan students. Likewise, more than half of preschool children in Moldova
Moldova
benefit from Romania
Romania
funded program to renovate and equip kindergartens . Almost all the population is literate: the literacy rate of the population aged 15 and over is estimated at 99.4% (as of 2015 ).

CRIME

Main articles: Crime in Moldovaand Moldovan bank fraud scandal

The CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook
lists widespread crime and underground economic activity among major issues in Moldova. Human trafficking
Human trafficking
of Moldovan women and children to other parts of Europe
Europe
is a serious problem.

In 2014, $1 billion disappeared from three of Moldova's leading banks. In two days loans worth $1 billion were transferred in to United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
-registered companies whose ultimate owners are unknown. Banks are administered by the National Bank of Moldova
Moldova
, so this loss was covered from state reserves.

HEALTH AND FERTILITY

Main article: Health in Moldova

The total fertility rate (TFR) in Moldova
Moldova
was estimated in 2015 at 1.56 children/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1. In 2012, the average age of women at first birth was 23.9 years, with 75.2% of births being to women under 30, and 22.4% of births being to unmarried women. The maternal mortality rate was 41 deaths/100,000 live births (in 2010) and the infant mortality rate was 12.59 deaths/1,000 live births (in 2015). The life expectancy in 2015 was estimated at 70.42 years (66.55 years male, 74.54 years female).

Public expenditure on health was 4.2% of the GDP
GDP
and private expenditure on health 3.2%. There are about 264 physicians per 100,000 people. Health expenditure was 138 US$ (PPP) per capita in 2004.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the country has seen a decrease in spending on health care and, as a result, the tuberculosis incidence rate in the country has grown. According to a 2009 study, Moldova
Moldova
was struggling with one of the highest incidence rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world.

The percentage of adults (aged 15–49) living with HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS
was estimated in 2009 at 0.40%.

EMIGRATION

Main article: Emigration from Moldova

Emigration is a mass phenomenon in Moldova
Moldova
and has a major impact on the country's demographics and economy. The Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service has estimated that 600,000 to one million Moldovan citizens (almost 25% of the population) are working abroad.

CULTURE

Mihai Eminescu
Mihai Eminescu
, the national poet of Moldova
Moldova
and Romania
Romania
Main article: Culture of Moldova

Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin , Slavic and other cultures, Moldova
Moldova
has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining some of the traditions of its neighbours and of other influence sources. The culture of Moldova
Moldova
is a combination of Romanian culture and Russian culture . The traditional Latin origins of Romanian culturereach back to the 2nd century, the period of Roman colonization in Dacia
Dacia
.

The country's cultural heritage was marked by numerous churches and monasteries built by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great
Stephen the Great
in the 15th century, by the works of the later renaissance Metropolitans Varlaam and Dosoftei
Dosoftei
, and those of scholars such as Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin , Nicolae Milescu, Dimitrie Cantemir
Dimitrie Cantemir
and 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
Moldavia
(after 1859, Romania), made a significant contribution to the formation of the modern Romanian culture. Among these were many Bessarabians, such as Alexandru Donici , Alexandru Hâjdeu , Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu
Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu
, Constantin Stamati, Constantin Stamati-Ciurea , Costache Negruzzi, Alecu Russo, Constantin Stere.

Mihai Eminescu
Mihai Eminescu
, a late Romantic poet, and Ion Creangă, a writer, are the most influential Romanian language
Romanian language
artists, considered national writers both in Romania
Romania
and Moldova.

The largest ethnic group is a speaker of Romanian and shares the Romanian culture. The culture has been also influenced (through Eastern Orthodoxy ) by the Byzantine
Byzantine
culture.

The country has also important minority ethnic communities. Gagauz, 4.4% of the population, are Christian
Christian
Turkic people. Greeks
Greeks
, Armenians , Poles
Poles
, Ukrainians, although not numerous, were present since as early as the 17th century, and had left cultural marks. The 19th century saw the arrival of many more Ukrainians
Ukrainians
from Podolia
Podolia
and Galicia , as well as new communities, such as Lipovans
Lipovans
, Bulgarians and Bessarabian Germans.

In the second part of the 20th century, Moldova
Moldova
saw a massive Soviet immigration, which brought with it many elements of Soviet culture.

MEDIA

Main articles: Media of Moldova, Television in Moldova, Cinema of Moldova
Moldova
, and List of newspapers in Moldova

In October 1939, _ Radio Basarabia_, a local station of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company , was the first radio station opened in Chișinău. Television in Moldovawas introduced in April 1958 , within the framework of Soviet television. Through cable, Moldovan viewers can receive a large number of Russian channels , a few Romanian channels , and several Russian language
Russian language
versions of international channels in addition to several local channels. One Russian and two local channels are aired. Infotag is the state news agency.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Main article: Moldovan cuisine See also: Moldovan wine A popular Moldovan dish of stuffed cabbage rolls (sarma ), accompanied by sauerkraut and mămăligă .

Moldovan cuisineis similar to neighbouring Romania
Romania
, and has been influenced by elements of Russian , Turkish , and Ukrainian cuisine. Main dishes include beef , pork , potatoes , cabbage , and a variety of cereals . Popular alcoholic beverages are _divin _ (Moldovan brandy ), beer , and local wine .

Total recorded adult alcohol consumption is approximately evenly split between spirits, beer and wine.

A popular Moldovan dessert, is the orange and cherry shortcrust pie - traditionally served with mascarpone. The fruit is set within a pork gelatine, mixed with the orange juices.

MUSIC

A still image from O-Zone
O-Zone
's music video Zdob și Zdub performing at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
. Main article: Music of Moldova
Moldova

Among Moldova's most prominent composers are Gavriil Musicescu, Ștefan Neagaand Eugen Doga.

In the field of pop music, Moldova
Moldova
has produced the band O-Zone
O-Zone
, who came to prominence in 2003, with their hit song " Dragostea Din Tei
Dragostea Din Tei
", which topped multiple notable single charts. Moldova
Moldova
has been participating in the Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
since 2005. Another popular band from Moldova
Moldova
is Zdob și Zdubthat represented the country in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
, finishing 6th.

In May 2007, Natalia Barburepresented Moldova
Moldova
in Helsinki at the Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
2007 with her entry "Fight ". Natalia squeezed into the final by a very small margin. She took 10th place with 109 points. Then Zdob și Zdubagain represented Moldova
Moldova
in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
finishing 12th.

The band SunStroke Project
SunStroke Project
with Olia Tirarepresented the country in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
with their hit song "Run Away ". Their performance gained international notoriety as an internet meme due to the pelvic thrusting and dancing of Sergey Stepanov, the band saxophonist. He has been fittingly dubbed "Epic Sax Guy". SunStroke Project featured again in the 2017 Eurovision entry "Hey Mama" which got third place.

Among most prominent classical musicians in Moldova
Moldova
are Maria Bieșu , one of the leading world's sopranos and the winner of the Japan International Competition; pianist Mark Zeltser, winner of the USSR National Competition, Margueritte Long Competition in Paris and Busoni Competition in Bolzano, Italy.

HOLIDAYS

Main article: Public holidays in Moldova

Most retail businesses close on New Year\'s Day and Independence Day , but remain open on all other holidays. Christmas
Christmas
is celebrated either on 7 January, the traditional date in Old CalendaristsEastern Orthodox Churches , or on 25 December, with both dates being recognized as public holidays.

SPORTS

Main article: Sport in Moldova

_ Trîntă_ (a form of wrestling ) is the national sport in Moldova. Association football
Association football
is the most popular team sport.

Rugby union
Rugby union
is popular as well. Registered players have doubled, and almost 10,000 spectators turn up at every European Nations Cup match. The most prestigious cycling race is the Moldova
Moldova
President\'s Cup , which was first run in 2004.

Athletes from Moldova
Moldova
have won European medals in Athletics , Biathlon
Biathlon
, Football
Football
and Gymnastics
Gymnastics
, World medals in Archery
Archery
, Judo
Judo
, Swimming and Taekwondo
Taekwondo
, as well as Olympic medals in Boxing
Boxing
, Canoeing
Canoeing
, Shooting
Shooting
, Weightlifting and Wrestling
Wrestling
.

SEE ALSO

* Moldova
Moldova
portal

* Outline of Moldova

NOTES

* ^ The Jewish
Jewish
minority was more numerous in the past (228,620 Jews in Bessarabiain 1897, or 11.8% of the population). * ^ _Note:_ Further 11,844 were deported on 12–13 June 1941 from other Romanian territories occupied by the USSR a year earlier. * ^ The law regarding approval of the National Political Conception of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova
Moldova
says that "The conception is rooted in the historically established truth and confirmed by the common literary treasure: Moldovan nation and Romanian nation use a common literary form "which is based on the live spring of the popular talk from Moldova" — a reality which impregnates the national Moldovan language with a specific peculiar pronunciation, a certain well known and appreciated charm. Having the common origin; common basic lexical vocabulary, the national Moldovan language
Moldovan language
and national Romanian language keep each their lingvonim/glotonim as the identification sign of each nation: Moldovan and Romanian.'" * ^ Prince Dimitrie Cantemir
Dimitrie Cantemir
was one of the most important figures of Moldavian culture of the 18th century. He wrote the first geographical, ethnographic and economic description of the country. (in Latin) _Descriptio Moldaviae_, (Berlin, 1714), at Latin Wikisource.

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* US Senate resolution of 06/28/1991 in support to self-determination of the Moldovan and