The name Moldova is derived from the Moldova River (German: Moldau); the valley of this river served as a political centre at the time of the foundation of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359. The origin of the name of the river remains unclear. According to a legend recounted by Moldavian chroniclers Dimitrie Cantemir and Grigore Ureche, Prince Dragoș named the river after hunting an aurochs: following the chase, the prince's exhausted hound Molda (Seva) was drowned in the river. The dog's name, given to the river, extended to the Principality.
In 2010, N.K. Anisjutkin[who?] discovered Oldowan flint tools at Bayraki that are 800,000–1.2 million years old. During the Neolithic Age, Moldova's territory stood at the centre of the large Cucuteni–Trypillia culture that stretched east beyond the Dniester River in Ukraine and west up to and beyond the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. The people of this civilization, which lasted roughly from 5500 to 2750 BC, practised agriculture, raised livestock, hunted, and made intricately designed pottery.
The East Slavic Hypatian Chronicle mentions the Bolohoveni in the 13th century. The chronicle records that this land bordered on the principalities of Halych, Volhynia and Kyiv. Archaeological research has identified the location of 13th-century fortified settlements in this region. Alexandru V. Boldur identified Voscodavie, Voscodavti, Voloscovti, Volcovti, Volosovca and their other towns and villages between the middle course of the rivers Nistru/Dniester and Nipru/Dnieper. The Bolohoveni disappeared from chronicles after their defeat in 1257 by Daniel of Galicia's troops.
The history of what is today Moldova has been intertwined with that of Poland for centuries. The Polish chronicler Jan Długosz mentioned Moldavians as having joined a military expedition in 1342, under King Ladislaus I, against the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The Polish state was powerful enough to counter the Hungarian Kingdom which was consistently interested in bringing the area that would become Moldavia into its political orbit.
Ties between Poland and Moldavia expanded after the founding of the Moldavian state by Bogdan of Cuhea, a Vlach voivode from Maramureș who had fallen out with the Hungarian king. Crossing the Carpathian mountains in 1359, the voivode took control of Moldavia and succeeded in creating Moldavia as an independent political entity. Despite being disfavored by the brief union of Angevin Poland and Hungary (the latter was still the country's overlord), Bogdan's successor Lațcu, the Moldavian ruler also likely allied himself with the Poles. Lațcu also accepted conversion to Roman Catholicism around 1370, but his gesture was to remain without consequences.
The Polish influence grows
Petru I profited from the end of the Polish-Hungarian union and moved the country closer to the Jagiellon realm, becoming a vassal of king Jogaila of Poland on 26 September 1387. This gesture was to have unexpected consequences: Petru supplied the Polish ruler with funds needed in the war against the Teutonic Knights, and was granted control over Pokuttya until the debt was to be repaid; as this is not recorded to have been carried out, the region became disputed by the two states, until it was lost by Moldavia in the Battle of Obertyn (1531). Prince Petru also expanded his rule southwards to the Danube Delta. His brother Roman I conquered the Hungarian-ruled Cetatea Albă in 1392, giving Moldavia an outlet to the Black Sea, before being toppled from the throne for supporting Fyodor Koriatovych in his conflict with Vytautas the Great of Lithuania. Under Stephen I, growing Polish influence was challenged by Sigismund of Hungary, whose expedition was defeated at Ghindăoani in 1385; however, Stephen disappeared in mysterious circumstances.
Although Alexander I was brought to the throne in 1400 by the Hungarians (with assistance from Mircea I of Wallachia), this ruler shifted his allegiances towards Poland (notably engaging Moldavian forces on the Polish side in the Battle of Grunwald and the Siege of Marienburg), and placed his own choice of rulers in Wallachia. His reign was one of the most successful in Moldavia's history.
For all of his success, it was under the reign of Alexander I that the first confrontation with the Ottoman Turks took place at Cetatea Albă in 1420. A deep crisis was to follow Alexander l's long reign, with his successors battling each other in a succession of wars that divided the country until the murder of Bogdan II and the accession of Peter Aaron in 1451. Nevertheless, Moldavia was subject to further Hungarian interventions after that moment, as Matthias Corvinus deposed Aaron and backed Alexăndrel to the throne in Suceava. Peter Aaron's rule also signified the beginning of Moldavia's Ottoman Empire allegiance, as the ruler was the first to agree to pay tribute to Sultan Mehmed II.
Moldavia at its apogee
Peter Aaron was eventually ousted by his nephew, Stephen the Great who would become the most important medieval Moldavian ruler who managed to uphold Moldavia's autonomy against Hungary, Poland and the Ottoman Empire. Under his rule, which lasted 47 years, Moldavia experienced a glorious political and cultural period.
This union was recognized by most of the principal Allied Powers in the 1920 Treaty of Paris, which however was not ratified by all of its signatories. The newly Soviet Russia did not recognize Romanian rule over Bessarabia, considering it an occupation of Russian territory. Uprisings against Romanian rule took place in 1919 at Khotyn and Bender, but were eventually suppressed by the Romanian Army.
Reincorporation into Romania and the Soviet occupation
As part of the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania regained the territories of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, and seized a territory which became known as Transnistria Governorate. Romanian forces, working with the Germans, deported or massacred about 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabia and Bukovina. Of the latter, approximately 90,000 died. Between 1941 and 1944 partisan detachments acted against the Romanian administration. The Soviet Army re-captured the region in February–August 1944, and re-established the Moldavian SSR. Between the end of the Second Jassy–Kishinev Offensive in 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.
During the periods 1940–1941 and 1944–1953, deportations of locals to the northern Urals, to 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[f] and 35,796 deportees respectively. Other forms of Soviet persecution of the population included political arrests or, in 8,360 cases, execution.
Moldova in the USSR after World War II
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 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, 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 billionroubles (approximately 6.8 billion in 2018 US dollars) from the USSR budget for building projects.
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 was distinct from the 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.
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 (CIS). Moldova received official recognition on 25 December. On 26 December 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Declaring itself a neutral state, 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 became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and a member of the Council of Europe on 29 June 1995.
In the region east of the Dniester river, Transnistria, which includes a large proportion of predominantly russophoneEast Slavs of Ukrainian (28%) and Russian (26%) descent (altogether 54% as of 1989), an independent Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was proclaimed on 16 August 1990, with its capital in Tiraspol. The motives behind this move were fear of the rise of nationalism in Moldova. In the winter of 1991–1992, clashes occurred between Transnistrian forces, supported by elements of the 14th Guards Army, and the Moldovan police. Between 2 March and 26 July 1992, the conflict escalated into a military engagement. It was a brief war between Moldovan and separatist Transnistrian forces, with Russia intervening militarily on Transnistria's side. It ended with a ceasefire and the establishment of a security zone policed by a three-way peacekeeping force of Russian, Transnistrian, and Moldovan personnel.
Market economy (1992)
On 2 January 1992, 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 of Moldova introduced a new national currency, the Moldovan leu, to replace the temporary cupon. The economy of 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 (especially the Moscow region), Italy, Portugal, Spain, and other countries; remittances from Moldovans abroad account for almost 38% of Moldova's GDP, the second-highest percentage in the world, after 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 were abandoned, and the new Constitution gave autonomy to the breakaway Transnistria and Gagauzia. On 23 December 1994, the Parliament of Moldova adopted a "Law on the Special Legal Status of Gagauzia", and in 1995, the latter was constituted.
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 large-scale fraud by means of fraudulent loans to business entities controlled by a Moldovan-Israeli business oligarch, Ilan Shor, of funds worth about 1 billion U.S. dollars. The large scale of the fraud compared to the size of the Moldovan economy is cited as tilting the country's politics in favour of the pro-Russian Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova. In 2015, Shor was still at large, after a period of house arrest.
Pavel Filip's government (2016-2019)
Following a period of political instability and massive public protests, a new government led by Pavel Filip was invested in January 2016. Concerns over statewide corruption, the independence of the judiciary system, and the nontransparency of the banking system were expressed. Germany's broadcaster Deutsche Welle also raised concerns about the alleged influence of Moldovan oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc over the Filip government.
In 2019, from 7 to 15 June, the Moldovan government went through a period of dual power in what is known as the 2019 Moldovan constitutional crisis. On 7 June, the Constitutional Court, which is largely believed to be controlled by Vladimir Plahotniuc from the Democratic Party, announced that they had temporarily removed the sitting president, Igor Dodon, from power due to his ‘inability’ to call new parliamentary elections as the parliament did not form a coalition within three months of the validation of the election results. According to Moldovan constitutional law, the president may call snap elections if no government is formed after three months. However, on 8 June, the NOW Platform DA and PAS reached an agreement with the Socialist party forming a government led by Maia Sandu as the new prime minister, pushing the Democratic Party out of power. This new government was also supported by Igor Dodon. The new coalition and Igor Dodon argued that the president may call snap elections after consulting the parliament but is not obliged to do so. Additionally, because the election results were verified on 9 March, three months should be interpreted as three calendar months, not 90 days as was the case. The former prime minister, Pavel Filip from the Democratic Party, said that new parliamentary elections would be held on 6 September and refused to recognize the new coalition, calling it an illegal government. After a week of dual government meetings, some protest, and the international community mostly supporting the new government coalition, Pavel Filip stepped down as prime minister but still called for new elections. The Constitutional court repealed the decision on 15 June, effectively ending the crisis.
In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government called a "national red code alert" as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to six on 13 March 2020. Government "banned all gatherings of over 50 people until 1 April 2020 and closed all schools and kindergartens in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus". Flights were banned to Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, the U.K., Poland, Portugal and Romania. On 17 March, Parliament declared a state of emergency for at least 60 days, suspended all international flights and closed borders with neighbours Romania and Ukraine. Moldova reported 29 cases of the disease on 17 March 2020. The country reported its first death from the disease on 18 March 2020, when the total number of cases reached 30.
In February 2022 Sandu condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it "a blatant breach of international law and of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity." Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita stated on 28 February 2022 that Moldova should rapidly move to become a member of the European Union; the country submitted a formal application for EU membership on 3 March 2022, and was subsequently granted the status of candidate country by the European Council on 23 June 2022 along with Ukraine.
On 26 April 2022, authorities from the Transnistria region said two transmitting antennas broadcasting Russian radio programs at Grigoriopol transmitter broadcasting facility near the town of Maiac in the Grigoriopol District near the Ukrainian border had been blown up and the previous evening, the premises of the Transnistrian state security service had been attacked. The Russian army has a military base and a large ammunition dump in the region. Russia has about 1,500 soldiers stationed in breakaway Transnistria. They are supposed to serve there as peacekeepers.
On 24 May 2022, the former president of Moldova, Igor Dodon, was arrested. Dodon, leader of Moldova's main pro-Russian opposition, Socialist Party, was accused of taking bribes. Moldova's pro-Western and pro-Russian factions became increasingly divided since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
On 31 Oct 2022, Moldova's Interior Ministry said that debris from a Russian missile landed in the northern village of Naslavcea after a Russian fusillade was intercepted by air defenses in neighboring Ukraine. The Ministry reported no people were hurt but the windows of several residential homes were shattered. The Russian strike was targeting a Ukrainian dam on the Nistru river that runs through Moldova and Ukraine.
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). This system was 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 systemdirect election
The 1994 constitution also establishes an independentConstitutional 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 parliament, over presidential decrees, and over international treaties signed by the country.
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 it is fully in effect in 2028.
Life expectancy in the ex-Soviet country (which is among 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.
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 integration. In 1995 the country was admitted to the Council of Europe.
In addition to its participation in
In June 2022, Moldova became a recognised candidate for membership of the European Union
In 2005, Moldova and the EU established 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 Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine, was established at the joint request of the presidents of 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, Moldova sought a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the 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, 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.
In September 2010, the European Parliament approved a grant of €90 million to Moldova. The money was to supplement US$570 million in International Monetary Fund loans, World Bank and other bilateral support already granted to Moldova. In April 2010, Romania offered 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 provided US$15 million as a component of its support for Moldova in its European integration efforts. The first joint meeting of the Governments of Romania and Moldova, held in March 2012, concluded with several bilateral agreements in various fields. The European orientation "has been the policy of Moldova in recent years and this is the policy that must continue," Nicolae Timofti told lawmakers before his election.
On 29 November 2013, at a summit in Vilnius, Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union dedicated to the European Union's 'Eastern Partnership' with ex-Soviet countries. The ex-Romanian President Traian Băsescu stated that Romania will make all efforts for Moldova to join the EU as soon as possible. Likewise, Traian Băsescu declared that the unification of Moldova with Romania is the next national project for Romania, as more than 75% of the population speaks Romanian.
Moldova signed the Association Agreement with the European Union in Brussels on 27 June 2014. The signing came after the accord was drafted in Vilnius in November 2013.
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 to block and stymie the integration of former Soviet states like Moldova into the West.
Moldova signed the membership application to join the EU on 3 March 2022. On 23 June 2022, Moldova was officially granted candidate status by EU leaders.
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 has participated in UN peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan and Georgia.
Moldova signed a military agreement with Romania 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 Humvees and 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."
According to 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 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 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 "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 Rapporteur on freedom of religion or beliefHeiner Bielefeldt, in Chișinău, in September 2011. Moldova improved its legislation by enacting the Law on Preventing and Combating Family Violence, in 2008.
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 uninhabited.
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 (13,070 sq mi)
The largest part of the country (around 88% of the area) lies in Bessarabia region, between Prut and Dniester rivers, while a narrow strip in the east is located in Transnistria (east of the Dniester). The western border of Moldova is formed by the Prut river, which joins the Danube before flowing into the Black Sea. Moldova has access to the Danube for only about 480 m (1,575 ft), and Giurgiulești is the only Moldovan port on the Danube. In the east, the Dniester is the main river, flowing through the country from north to south, receiving the waters of Răut, Bîc, Ichel, Botna. Ialpug flows into one of the Danube limans, while Cogâlnic into the Black Sea chain of limans.
The country's main cities are the capital Chișinău, in the centre of the country, Tiraspol (in the eastern region of Transnistria), Bălți (in the north) and Bender (in the south-east). Comrat is the administrative centre of Gagauzia.
Moldova has a climate which is moderately continental; its proximity to the Black Sea leads to the climate being mildly cold in the autumn 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 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, Edineț county.
Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the three largest cities in Moldova
Another animal which was extinct in Moldova since the 18th century until recently was the European Wood Bison or wisent. The species was reintroduced with the arrival of three European bison from Białowieża Forest in Poland several days before Moldova's Independence Day on 27 August 2005. Moldova is currently interested in expanding their wisent population, and began talks with Belarus in 2019 regarding a bison exchange program between the two countries.
A proportional representation of Moldova exports, 2019
Moldova GDP by sector
After the breakup of the USSR in 1991, energy shortages, political uncertainty, trade obstacles and weak administrative capacity contributed to the decline of Moldova's economy. As a part of an ambitious economic liberalization effort, 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 and the International Monetary Fund to promote growth.
The economy subsequently declined from 1991 to 1999. Since 2000, however, the country's GDP (PPP) grew significantly:
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 remains highly vulnerable to fluctuations in remittances from workers abroad (which constitute 24 percent of GDP), exports to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and European Union (EU) (88 per cent of total exports), and donor support (about 10 per cent 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.
Moldova largely achieved the main objectives of the combined ECF/EFF (IMF financial credit) supported program. The economy recovered from the drought-related contraction in 2012.
The gross average monthly salary in the Republic of Moldova has registered a steady positive growth after 1999, being 5906 lei or 298 euros in 2018.
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 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. The implementation of structural reforms outlined in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 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 initialed an Association Agreement with the EU which includes provisions establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).
Real GPD per capita development of Moldova, 1973 to 2018
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 remains one of the poorest countries in Europe and structural reforms are needed to promote sustainable growth. Based on the 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 (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 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 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 has signed the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union during summer 2014. 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 region.
According to IMF World Economic Outlook April 2014, the Moldovan GDP (PPP) per capita is 3,927 International Dollars, excluding grey economy and tax evasion.
With few natural energy resources, Moldova imports almost all of its energy supplies from 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 that may eventually break Russia's monopoly on Moldova's gas supplies. Moldova is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy 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.
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 grape varieties that have been passed down through the generations. There are 3 historical wine regions: Valul lui Traian (south west), Stefan Voda (south east) and Codru (center), destined for the production of wines with protected geographic indication.Mileștii Mici is the home of the largest wine cellar in the world. It stretches for 200 km (120 mi) (though only 55 km (34 mi) is in use) and holds almost 2 million bottles of wine
Moldova's rich soil and temperatecontinental 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.
Moldova's agricultural products include vegetables, fruits, grapes, wine, and grains.
The main means of transportation in Moldova are railways 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 is the Chișinău International Airport. The Giurgiulești terminal on the Danube is compatible with small seagoing vessels. Shipping on the lower Prut and Nistru rivers plays only a modest role in the country's transportation system.
The first million mobile telephone users were registered in September 2005. The number of mobile telephone users in Moldova increased by 47.3% in the first quarter of 2008 against the last year and exceeded 2.89 million.
In September 2009, 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 to launch 14.4 Mbit/s mobile broadband on a national scale, with over 40% population coverage.
As of the 2014 census, Moldovans were the largest ethnic group of Moldova (75.1% of the population). In addition, 7.0% of the population declared themselves Romanians, amid the controversy over ethnic and linguistic identity in Moldova. Although historical, the polarization based on ethnolinguistic criteria of the majority ethnic group reappeared with the national revival movement of the late 1980s, and, so far, there is no consensus regarding the mainstream identity in the Republic of Moldova (Moldovan or Romanian).
* There is an ongoing controversy, in part involving linguisitic definition of ethnicity, over whether Moldovans' self-identification constitutes an ethnic group distinct and apart from Romanians, or a subset.
** There were numerous allegations that the ethnic affiliation numbers were rigged: 7 out of 10 observer groups of the 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 declared Romanian to be their native language.
According to the 2014 census preliminary data, 2,998,235 inhabitants lived in Moldova (within the areas controlled by the central government), an 11.3% decrease from the figure recorded at the 2004 census. It is estimated that, as of 2022, 43.2% of the total population live in urban areas, and that the urbanization rate is 0.09%.
Ethnic map of the Republic of Moldova (2014)
According to the last census in Transnistria (October 2015), the population of the region was 475,373, a 14.47% decrease from the figure recorded at the 2004 census. The urbanization rate was 69.9%. By ethnic composition, the population of Transnistria was distributed as follows: Russians - 29.1%, Moldovans - 28.6%, Ukrainians - 22.9%, Bulgarians - 2.4%, Gagauzians - 1.1%, Belarusians - 0.5%, Transnistrian - 0.2%, other nationalities - 1.4%. About 14% of the population did not declare their nationality. Also, for the first time, the population had the option to identify as "Transnistrian".
Population of Transnistria according to ethnic group (Censuses 2004–2015)
In 2013, the Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled that the name "Romanian", as used in the Declaration of Independence to identify the official language, prevails over the name "Moldovan", given in Article 13 of the Constitution.
Languages usually spoken in Moldova (Censuses 1989–2014)
* Moldovan language is one of the names used in the Republic of Moldova for the Romanian language.
At the 2014 census (which did not include data from the Transnistrian region), 54.7% 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.
Historically Russian was taught in schools as the first foreign language, because of the relationship with the 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 of Moldova has been a full member of La Francophonie. German was the third-ranked choice.
The Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova (the Moldovan Orthodox Church), autonomous and subordinated to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Metropolis of Bessarabia (the Bessarabian Orthodox Church), autonomous and subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox Church, both claim to be the national church of the country. 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. As of 2020, the U.S. Department of State estimated that 90% of the Orthodox adherents belong to the Moldovan Orthodox Church. More than 2.0% of the population is Protestant including a growing number of Jehovah's Witnesses, 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.
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 has been constantly growing since the collapse of the Soviet Union, reaching 217 in 2000–2001, and 351 in 2005–2006.
As of 2015[update], Romania allocates 5,000 scholarships in high schools and universities for Moldovan students. Likewise, more than half of preschool children in Moldova benefit from 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[update]).
In 2014, US$1 billion disappeared from three of Moldova's leading banks. In two days, loans worth US$1 billion were transferred in to United Kingdom and Hong Kong-registered companies whose ultimate owners are unknown. Banks are administered by the National Bank of Moldova, so this loss was covered from state reserves.
The total fertility rate (TFR) in 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 and private expenditure on health 3.2%. There are about 264 physicians per 100,000 people. Health expenditure was US$138 (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 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 was estimated in 2009 at 0.40%.
Moldova's cultural tradition has been influenced primarily by the Romanian origins of its majority population, the roots of which go back to the second century AD, the period of Roman colonization in Dacia. Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin, Slavic and other cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining traditions of neighbouring regions and of other influential sources. The largest ethnic group, which had come to identify itself widely as "Moldovan" by the 14th century, played a significant role in the shaping of classical Romanian culture. The culture has been also influenced by the Byzantine culture, the neighbouring Magyar and Slavic populations, and later by the Ottoman Turks. A strong Western European influence in Moldovan literature and arts was prevalent in the 19th century. During the periods 1812-1917 and 1944–89, Moldovans were influenced by Russian and Soviet administrative control as well and by ethnic Russian immigration.
Traditional Moldovan dishes include plăcinte (sweet and savoury pastries with fillings such as local cheese, cabbage, potatoes, apples, sour cherries and others), mămăligă, sarmale, and a chicken soup called zeamă.
Total recorded adult alcohol consumption is approximately evenly split between spirits, beer and wine. Notably, Moldova is the country with the highest alcohol consumption per capita in world, at 15.2 litres (4.0 US gal) of pure alcohol imbibed in 2016.
In 2015 a new musical project by the name of Carla's Dreams has risen in popularity around Moldova. Carla's Dreams reached the top charts in multiple countries in Europe with the release of their song "Sub Pielea Mea" in 2016. The song received a lot of airplay and reached number one place on the charts in Moldova as well as Russia. The group is still active and released their latest album in 2017. The theme of the musical group is "Anonymous" as they perform with painted faces, hoodies and sunglasses. The identity of the group members is still unknown.
Among most prominent classical musicians in 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, Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition in Paris and Busoni Competition in Bolzano, Italy.
Trîntă (a form of wrestling) is the national sport in Moldova. Rugby union is popular as well. More than 10,000 supporters turn out for home internationals. Since 2004, playing numbers at all levels have more than doubled to 3,200. Despite the hardships and deprivations the national team are ranked 34th in the world. The most prestigious cycling race is the Moldova President's Cup, which was first run in 2004. In chess, the Republic of Moldova has several international masters, among which can be mentioned Viorel Iordăchescu, Dmitry Svetushkin, and Viorel Bologan.
^There is a controversy over whether Moldovans' self-identification constitutes an ethnic group distinct and apart from Romanians, or a subset.
^The de jure area, accepted by the Moldovan government and the Tiraspol authorities for Transnistria is 3,509.6 square kilometers. The de facto area administered by Transnistria is 3,653 square kilometers, while the area claimed by Transnistria is 4,163 square kilometers.
Today, the Bulgarians form one of the most solid elements in Southern Bessarabia, numbering (with the Gagauzes, i.e., Turkish-speaking Christians also from the Dobrudja) nearly 150,000. Colonization brought in numerous Great Russian peasants, and the Russian bureaucracy imported Russian office-holders and professional men; according to the Romanian estimate of 1920, there were about 75,000 (2.9%) Great Russians in the territory, and the Lipovans and Cossacks numbered 59,000 (2.2%); the Little Russians (Ukrainians) came to 254,000 (9.6%). That, plus about 10,000 Poles, brings the total number of Slavs to 545,000 in a population of 2,631,000, or about one-fifth.
The Jewish minority was more numerous in the past (228,620 Jews in Bessarabia in 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.
^Prince Dimitrie Cantemir was one of the most important figures of the 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.
^Clark, Charles Upson (1927). "Bessarabia, Chapter X: The Survival of Roumanian". Depts.washington.edu. Dodd, Mead & Company. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2013. Naturally, this system resulted not in acquisition of Russian by the Moldavians, but in their almost complete illiteracy in any language.
^Clark, Charles Upson (1927). "24:The Decay of Russian Sentiment". Bessarabia: Russia and Romania on the Black Sea – View Across Dniester From Hotin Castle. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
^Cristina Petrescu, "Contrasting/Conflicting Identities:Bessarabians, Romanians, Moldovans" in Nation-Building and Contested Identities, Polirom, 2001, pg. 156
^Malbone W. Graham (October 1944). "The Legal Status of the Bukovina and Bessarabia". The American Journal of International Law. American Society of International Law. 38 (4): 667–673. doi:10.2307/2192802. JSTOR2192802. S2CID146890589.
^Mitrasca, Marcel (2002). "Introduction". Moldova: a Romanian province under Russian rule: diplomatic history from the archives of the great powers. Algora Publishing. p. 13. ISBN1-892941-86-4. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
^Asociația Oamenilor de știință din Moldova. H. Milescu-Spătaru., ed. (2002). Istoria Republicii Moldova: din cele mai vechi timpuri pină în zilele noastre [History of the Republic of Moldova: From Ancient Times to Our Days] (in Romanian) (2nd ed.). Chișinău: Elan Poligraf. pp. 239–244. ISBN9975-9719-5-4.
^Casu, Igor. "Foametea din anii 1946–1947 din RSS Moldovenească: cauze și consecințe" [The Mass Famine in the Moldavian SSR, 1946–1947: causes and consequences in Dusmanul de clasa. Represiuni politice, violenta si rezistenta in R(A)SS Moldoveneasca, 1924–1956]. Capitol Din Lucrarea Duşmanul de Clasă. Represiuni Politice, Violenţă Şi Rezistenţă În R(A)Ss Moldovenească, 1924-1956, Chişinău, Cartier, 2015, Editia a Ii-A. Cartea Este Dispobilă În Librării. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
^"Legea cu privire la functionarea limbilor vorbite pe teritoriul RSS Moldovenesti Nr.3465-XI din 01.09.89 Vestile nr.9/217, 1989" [The law on use of languages spoken in the Moldovan SSR No.3465-XI of 09/01/89]. Moldavian SSR News, Law regarding the usage of languages spoken on the territory of the Republic of Moldova (in Romanian). Archived from the original(DOC) on 19 February 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2006. [TRANSLATION] Moldavian SSR supports the desire of the Moldovans that live across the borders of the Republic, and considering the existing linguistic Moldo-Romanian identity – of the Romanians that live on the territory of the USSR, of doing their studies and satisfying their cultural needs in their native language.
^"Hotărâre Nr. 36 din 05.12.2013 privind interpretarea articolului 13 alin. (1) din Constituție în corelație cu Preambulul Constituției și Declarația de Independență a Republicii Moldova (Sesizările nr. 8b/2013 și 41b/2013)" [Decision No. 36 of 5 December 2013 regarding the interpretation of article 13 para. (1) of the Constitution in correlation with the Preamble of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova (References no. 8b / 2013 and 41b / 2013)] (in Romanian). Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2019. 124. [...] Prin urmare, Curtea consideră că prevederea conținută în Declarația de Independență referitoare la limba română ca limbă de stat a Republicii Moldova prevalează asupra prevederii referitoare la limba moldovenească conținute în articolul 13 al Constituției [124. [...] Therefore, the Court considers that the provision contained in the Declaration of Independence regarding the Romanian language as the state language of the Republic of Moldova prevails over the provision regarding the Moldovan language contained in Article 13 of the Constitution]
^A UNODC report states: In terms of the citation index, eleven countries score very high as countries of origin. The countries are
(listed in alphabetical order, by sub-region): Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine (Commonwealth of Independent States); Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania (Central and South Eastern Europe); China (Eastern Asia); Thailand (South-Eastern Asia); and Nigeria (Western Africa).(pg 58).