Moldova on the world map. Map of Moldova with cities
Map of Moldova with cities. Where Moldova is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Moldova - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Moldova Fact File
Official name Republic of Moldova
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (Parliament)
Area 33,700 sq km (13,012 sq miles)
Time zone GMT + 2 hours
Projected population 2015 4,152,000
Population density 1 31.6 per sq km (340.8 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 64.7
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 42.2
Official language Moldovan
Other languages Russian, Ukrainian, Gagauz (Turkish dialect)
Literacy rate 96 %
Religions Eastern Orthodox 98.5%, Jewish 1.5%
Ethnic groups Moldovan/Romanian 64.5%, Ukrainian 13.8%, Russian 13%, Gagauz 3.5%, Bulgarian 2%, Jewish 1.5%, other 1.7%
Economy Services 45.5%, agriculture 34.4%, industry 20.1 %
GNP per capita US$ 3,000
Climate Temperate, with mild winters and warm summers
Highest point Mt Balaneshty 430 m (1,411 ft) Map reference Page 296
Moldova is a small, landlocked country in southeastern Europe near the northern shores of the Black Sea. To the west the Prut River separates Moldova from Romania. Otherwise, it is completely enclosed by Ukrainian territory. Bessarabia—the section between the Prut and Dniester Rivers—which comprises almost all of present-day Moldova, was under Ottoman rule until 1812, when it passed to Russian control. With the collapse of the Russian Empire after the First World War, Bessarabia merged in 1918 with Romania, with which it is ethnically and linguistically almost identical.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a loose confederation of twelve former Soviet republics that was formed after the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991. The idea for the formation of the commonwealth was agreed to at a meeting of Russian president Boris Yeltsin and the presidents of Belarus and Ukraine in Minsk, capital of Belarus, in early December 1991 and was ratified at Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan by eleven of the former Soviet republics on 21 December. Georgia and the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania declined to join, although Georgia has since become a member. Not surprisingly, Russia assumed the status of dominant member of the group, taking control of all former Soviet embassies and consulates and occupying the former Soviet Union's seat on the United Nations Security Council. Minsk was designated as the
administrative center of the new commonwealth, which was much more an alliance than a state entity. According to the agreement, the political independence of each state was guaranteed in return for a commitment to certain forms of economic and defence cooperation.
The commonwealth remains a tenuous confederation and there are many areas of dispute between its constituent members. There is a natural suspicion that the Russian Federation seeks to impose its political will on the other members, and this was in no way diminished in 1996 when the Russian parliament, or Duma, passed a non-binding resolution in favor of reinstating the former Soviet Union. Difficult economic conditions throughout the former Soviet Union have led to increasing support, especially in Belarus, for a return to the previous status quo.
The part of Moldova east of the Dniester remained under Russian control. As a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1940 Romania was forced to cede Bessarabia. Most of it was combined with a narrow strip of the Ukraine east of the Dniester to form the new state of Moldova. The remaining parts were incorporated into Ukraine.
After the Second World War, Moldova became a Soviet republic and systematic attempts were made to suppress all links with Romania. Large numbers of ethnic Romanians were forcibly removed to other countries in the Soviet Union, and Russian and Ukrainian immigration was fostered. Independence came in 1991 as the Soviet Union crumbled, but tensions between the predominantly Russian population in the region lying to the east of the Dniester, who wished to declare a separate republic, and the ethnic Romanians, who sought closer ties or even reunification, with Romania, resulted in violent clashes. In 1992, a joint Russian-Moldovan peacekeeping force was instituted to help restore order, although ethnic tensions persist. In 1994 a constitution was adopted that defined the country as a democratic republic. Moldova is the poorest nation in Europe and was the first former Soviet state to elect a communist president in 2001.
Most of the countryside of Moldova is low-lying but hilly steppe country. It is eroded by rivers and the landscape is cut by numerous deep valleys and gorges. Thick forests grow on many of the hillsides and most of the country is covered with thick, black, fertile soils. This fertile land, combined with a temperate climate, short winters and high summer rainfall, made Moldova one of the foremost producers of food in the former Soviet Union.
Agriculture remains the main element in the Moldovan economy. Vegetables, sunflower seeds, tobacco, wheat, and maize are the principal crops, as well as grapes, which contribute to a thriving winemaking and exporting industry. Cattle and pig raising are also widespread.
The country has minimal reserves of mineral resources and depends upon Russian imports for all its oil, gas, and coal supplies. Electricity, too, is mainly imported and due to the outdated electrical grid power shortages occur quite frequently. Industries include machine manufacturing and food processing.