Background: Moldova, formerly under Romanian rule, became part of the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. Although Moldova has been independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian military forces remained on its territory east of the Dniester River, supporting the Slavic majority (mostly Ukrainians and Russians) that proclaimed the Republic of Transnistria. One of Europe’s poorest countries, plagued by a bleak economic situation, in 2001 Moldova became the first former Soviet republic to elect a communist president.
Location: Eastern Europe, northeast of Romania. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Moldova Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 47° 00′ N. latitude, 29° 00′ E
Reference map: Commonwealth of Independent States.
Area: total: 33,843 km2; land surface area: 33,371 km2; water surface area: 472 km2
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of Maryland.
Land borders: total: 1,389 km; with neighboring states: with Romania 450 km, with Ukraine 939 km.
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked).
Maritime claims: none (landlocked).
Climate: moderate winter, warm summer.
Relief: hilly steppe, in a southerly direction towards the Black Sea, gradually becoming more and more level.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Dniester River 2 m; highest point: Dealul Balanesti 430 m.
Natural resources: brown coal, phosphorites, gypsum, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 53%; cultivated land: 14%; pastures: 13%; forests and plantations: 13%; others: 7% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 3,110 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: landslides (57 cases in 1998).
Current environmental issues: heavy use of agricultural chemicals, including banned pesticides such as DDT, which have contaminated soil and groundwater; widespread soil erosion as a result of poor agricultural practices.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Air pollution, Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Hazardous waste, Ozone layer protection; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Note to the section “Geography”: has no access to the sea.
Population: 4,431,570 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 22.44% (male 506,303; female 488,311); 15 to 64 years old: 67.62% (male 1,437,492; female 1,559,090); over 65: 9.94% (male 163,473; female 276,901) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 0.05% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 13.35 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 12.6 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.3 people /1000 people (2001 est.). at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 0.92 male/female; over 65: 0.59 male/female; for the general population: 0.91 male/female (2001 est.).
Child mortality: 42.74 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 64.6 years; men: 60.15 years; women: 69.26 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.67 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adult population infected with HIV: 0.2% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 4,500 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Moldovan; adjective: Moldovan.
Ethnic groups: Moldovans and Romanians 64.5%, Ukrainians 13.8%, Russians 13%, Gagauz 3.5%, Jews 1.5%, Bulgarians 2%, others 1.7% (1989 est.); note: internal conflict with ethnic Slavs in Transnistria.
Believers: Orthodox 98.5%, Jews 1.5%, Baptists (about 1000 people) (1991).
Language(s): Moldavian (official, actually the same as Romanian), Russian, Gagauz (a dialect of Turkish).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 96%; men: 99%; women: 94% (1989 est.).
Common long form: Republic of Moldova;
Common short form: Moldova; local long form: Republica Moldova; local short form: no. former: Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova.
State structure: republic.
Administrative division: 10 counties (juletul), 1 city of central subordination*, 1 territorial autonomy**: Balti, Gagauzia**, Dubossary, Edinet, Cahul, Chisinau, Chisinau*, Lapushna, Orhei, Soroca, Tighina, Ungheni.
Independence: from August 27, 1991 (until 1991 – as part of the Soviet Union).
National Day: Independence Day, August 27, 1991
Constitution: new Constitution adopted on July 28, 1994; replaced the old Soviet Constitution of 1979.
Legal system: based on the civil law system; The Constitutional Court verifies the legitimacy of legislative acts and government decrees; it remains unclear whether Moldova accepts the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, but many UN and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) documents are valid in Moldova.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Vladimir VORONIN (since 4 April 2001);
head of government: Prime Minister Vasile TARLEV (since 15 April 2001);
Government: formed by the Prime Minister, subject to approval by the Parliament; elections: the president is elected by Parliament for a four-year term; elections last held 4 April 2001; elections were to be held in December 2000, but in July 2000 Parliament abolished the direct general election of the president; the failure of Parliament to elect a new president in December 2000 led to early parliamentary elections (postponed to February 2001); according to the Constitution of Moldova, the president, after consultations with the Parliament, nominates a candidate for the post of prime minister; within 15 days of being nominated, a candidate for the position of prime minister has the right to demand a vote in Parliament on a vote of confidence in his (her) program and the composition of the Cabinet; prime minister appointed on 15 April 2001, cabinet received vote of confidence on 19 April 2001; election results: Vladimir VORONIN elected president; distribution of votes: Vladimir VORONIN 71, Dimitru BRAGHIS (Dumitru BRAGHIS) 15, Valerian CHRI-STEA 3; Vasyl TARLEV was elected prime minister with 75 votes out of 101.
Legislature: unicameral Parliament (101 seats; parties and electoral blocs, as well as independent candidates, are elected by popular vote for 4 years); elections: last held 25 February 2001 (next to be held in 2005); election results: distribution of votes between parties – PCM 50.1%, Bragisha Alliance 13.4%, PPCD 8.2%, other parties 28.3%; seats – PCM 71, Alliance Braghis 19, PPCD 11.
Judiciary: Supreme Court; The Constitutional Court is the only instance in deciding issues related to the interpretation of the constitution.
Political parties and leaders: Alliance of Braghis (Dimitra BRAGIS); People’s Christian Democratic Party (PPCD) (Iurie ROSCA [lurie ROSCA], chairman); Communist Party (RSM) (Vladimir VORONIN, first chairman).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACCT, BIS, BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO ( observer).
Diplomatic Representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Ceslav CIOBANU; office: 2101 S. Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 667-1130; fax: [\] (202) 667-1204.
US Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Rudolf Vilem PERINA; embassy: Strada Alexei Mateevicie, #103, Chi-sinau 2009; postal address: use the address of the embassy; diplomatic mail address: American Embassy Chisinau, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7080; phone:  (2) 23-37-72; fax:  (2) 23-30-44.
Flag Description: the same arrangement of colors as on the flag of Romania – three equally sized vertical stripes of blue (the side adjacent to the hoist side), yellow and red; in the center of the flag there is a coat of arms: a Roman golden eagle outlined in black, with a red beak and claws, carrying a yellow cross in its beak, a green olive branch in its right paw and a yellow scepter in its left; on the chest of the eagle there is a shield, horizontally divided into red (top) and blue fields with a stylized bull’s head, a star, a rose and a crescent; all items are yellow with a black outline.