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Moldova - Acknowledgments and Preface


The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who gave their time, research materials, and expertise on affairs in Belarus and Moldova to provide data, perspective, and material support for this volume.

The collection of accurate and current information was assisted greatly by the contributions of Dr. Stephen Burant of the United States Department of State, Professor Thomas E. Bird of Queens College, Valery Kurdzyukou of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus, A. James Firth of the United States Department of Agriculture, John Mumford of The Washington Group, Eugene Fishel of the United States Department of State, Professor Paul E. Michelson of Huntington College, Professor Ernest H. Latham, Jr., of the American-Romanian Academy, Raymond Milefsky of the Defense Mapping Agency, and Iurie Leanca of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova. The authors also acknowledge the generosity of all the individuals who allowed their photographs to be used in this study.

Thanks also go to Ralph K. Benesch, who oversees the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army. In addition, the authors appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who supervised editing; Andrea T. Merrill, who performed the prepublication editorial review and managed production; David P. Cabitto, who designed the book cover and the illustrations on the title page of both chapters, provided graphics support, and, together with Thomas D. Hall, prepared the maps; Ihor Y. Gawdiak, who provided historical background information; and Glenn E. Curtis, who critiqued the text. The following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Vincent Ercolano and Janet Willen, who edited the chapters; Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing; Francine Cronshaw, who compiled the index; and Stephen C. Cranton, David P. Cabitto, and Janie L. Gilchrist, who prepared the camera-ready copy.


At the end of 1991, the formal liquidation of the Soviet Union was the surprisingly swift result of partially hidden decrepitude and centrifugal forces within that empire. Of the fifteen "new" states that emerged from the process, many had been independent political entities at some time in the past. Aside from their coverage in the 1991 Soviet Union: A Country Study, none had received individual treatment in this series, however. Belarus and Moldova: Country Studies is the second in a new subseries describing the fifteen post-Soviet republics, both as they existed before and during the Soviet era and as they have developed since 1991. This volume covers Moldova, a  nation on the western border of what was once the Soviet Union.

The marked relaxation of information restrictions, which began in the late 1980s and accelerated after 1991, allows the reporting of extensive data on every aspect of life in the two countries. Scholarly articles and periodical reports have been especially helpful in accounting for the years of independence in the 1990s. The authors have described the historical, political, and social backgrounds of the countries as the background for their current portraits. However, in general, Moldova has been written about to a lesser extent than other former Soviet republics. The authors' goal in this book was to provide a compact, accessible, and objective treatment of five main topics: historical setting, the society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security.

When Moldovan, a dialect of Romanian written in the Latin alphabet, was designated the official language of Moldova in 1989, the Cyrillic alphabet (imposed by Joseph V. Stalin) was dropped, thus obviating the need for transliteration. However, the Moldovan names appearing in the text of this volume are missing most of the diacritics used by the language. In this case, it is a matter of lagging technology: the typesetting software being used simply cannot produce the necessary diacritics in the text (although they appear on the maps). For this the authors apologize and hope that by the time this country study is updated, missing diacritics will no longer be the norm.

Moldova and the Moldovans are referred to in different ways depending on the period of history. Until the creation of the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast (outside the traditional boundaries of Moldova) by Moscow in 1924, "Moldova" and "Moldovan" were the terms for the region and the language. From 1924 until the parliament changed the country's name officially in 1990, the terms used were "Moldavia" and "Moldavian." The policy in this volume has been to adhere to these different names during their respective periods of usage, with the exceptions of names in which "Moldova/Moldovan" was deliberately chosen over "Moldavia/Moldavian" by the groups themselves.

The body of the text reflects information available as of May 1995. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.


Moldova - HISTORY


THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA is the history of two different regions that have been joined into one country, but not into one nation: Bessarabia and Transnistria. Bessarabia, the land between the Prut and Nistru rivers, is predominantly ethnic Romanian in population and constitutes the eastern half of a region historically known as Moldova or Moldavia (the Soviet-era Russian name). Transnistria is the Romanian-language name for the land on the east bank of the Nistru River; the majority of the population there is Slavic--ethnic Ukrainians and Russians-- although Romanians are the single largest ethnic group there.

To a great extent, Moldova's history has been shaped by the foreigners who came to stay and by those who merely passed through, including Greek colonists, invading Turks and Tatars, officials of the Russian Empire, German and Bulgarian colonists, communist apparatchiks from the Soviet Union, soldiers from Nazi Germany, Romanian conationalists, and twentieth-century Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. Each group has left its own legacy, sometimes cultural and sometimes political, and often unwelcome.

Moldova's communist overlords, the most recent "foreigners," created the public life that exists in Moldova today. Independence has brought about changes in this public life, but often only on the surface. What further changes Moldova makes will depend partly on how much time it has before the next group of "foreigners" comes to call.


Moldova - Early History


Moldova's Latin origins can be traced to the period of Roman occupation of nearby Dacia (in present-day Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia), ca. A.D. 105-270, when a culture was formed from the intermingling of Roman colonists and the local population. After the Roman Empire and its influence waned and its troops left the region in A.D. 271, a number of groups passed through the area, often violently: Huns, Ostrogoths, and Antes (who were Slavs). The Bulgarian Empire, the Magyars, the Pechenegs, and the Golden Horde (Mongols) also held sway temporarily. In the thirteenth century, Hungary expanded into the area and established a line of fortifications in Moldova near the Siretul River (in present-day Romania) and beyond. The region came under Hungarian suzerainty until an independent Moldovan principality was established by Prince Bogdan in 1349. Originally called Bogdania, the principality stretched from the Carpathian Mountains to the Nistru River and was later renamed Moldova, after the Moldova River in present-day Romania.

During the second half of the fifteenth century, all of southeastern Europe came under increasing pressure from the Ottoman Empire, and despite significant military victories by Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare, 1457-1504), Moldova succumbed to Ottoman power in 1512 and was a tributary state of the empire for the next 300 years. In addition to paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire and later acceding to the selection of local rulers by Ottoman authorities, Moldova suffered repeated invasions by Turks, Crimean Tatars, and Russians.

In 1792 the Treaty of Iasi forced the Ottoman Empire to cede all of its holdings in what is now Transnistria to the Russian Empire. An expanded Bessarabia was annexed by, and incorporated into, the Russian Empire following the Russo-Turkish War of 1806- 12 according to the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812. Moldovan territory west of the Prut River was united with Walachia. And in the same year, Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected prince of Walachia and the part of Moldova that lay west of the Prut River, laying the foundations of modern Romania. These two regions were united in 1861.


Moldova - Beginning of the Soviet Period


In 1917, during World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, political leaders in Bessarabia created a National Council (Sfatul Tarii), which declared Bessarabia the independent Democratic Moldovan Republic, federated with Russia. In February 1918, the new republic declared its complete independence from Russia and, two months later, voted to unite with Romania, thus angering the Russian government.

After the creation of the Soviet Union in December 1922, the Soviet government moved in 1924 to establish the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast on land east of the Nistru River in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Ukrainian SSR). The capital of the oblast was at Balta (Balta, in Ukrainian), in present-day Ukraine. Seven months later, the oblast was upgraded to the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian ASSR), even though its population was only 30 percent ethnic Romanian. The capital remained at Balta until 1929, when it was moved to Tiraspol (Tiraspol', in Russian).

In June 1940, Bessarabia was occupied by Soviet forces as a consequence of a secret protocol attached to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. On August 2, 1940, the Soviet government created the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian SSR), with its capital at Chisinau (Kishinëv, in Russian), by joining most of Bessarabia with a portion of the Moldavian ASSR (the rest was returned to the Ukrainian SSR). Part of the far northern Moldavian ASSR (Herta--in present-day Ukraine), northern Bukovina, and southern Bessarabia (bordering on the Black Sea) were taken from Romania and incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR, leaving the Moldavian SSR landlocked.


Moldova - World War II


In June 1941, German and Romanian troops attacked the Moldavian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR; the Nazis gave Romania, their ally, not only Bessarabia and northern Bukovina but also the land between the Nistru and Pivdennyy Buh (Yuzhnyy Bug, in Russian) rivers, north to Bar in Ukraine, which Romania named and administered as Transnistria. This arrangement lasted until August 1944, when Soviet forces reoccupied Bessarabia and Transnistria. A 1947 treaty formally returned Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria to the Soviet Union, and the previous Soviet administrative divisions and Russian place-names were reimposed.


Moldova - Postwar Reestablishment of Soviet Control


With the restoration of Soviet power in the Moldavian SSR, Joseph V. Stalin's government policy was to Russify the population of the Moldavian SSR and destroy any remaining ties it had with Romania. Secret police struck at nationalist groups; the Cyrillic alphabet was imposed on the "Moldavian" language; and ethnic Russians and Ukrainians were encouraged to immigrate to the Moldavian SSR, especially to Transnistria. The government's policies--requisitioning large amounts of agricultural products despite a poor harvest--induced a famine following the catastrophic drought of 1945-47, and political, communist party, and academic positions were given to members of non-Romanian ethnic groups (only 14 percent of the Moldavian SSR's political leaders were ethnic Romanians in 1946).

The conditions imposed during the reestablishment of Soviet rule became the basis of deep resentment toward Soviet authorities--a resentment that soon manifested itself. During Leonid I. Brezhnev's 1950-52 tenure as first secretary of the Communist Party of Moldavia (CPM), he put down a rebellion of ethnic Romanians by killing or deporting thousands of people and instituting forced collectivization. Although Brezhnev and other CPM first secretaries were largely successful in suppressing "Moldavian" nationalism, the hostility of "Moldavians" smoldered for another three decades, until after Mikhail S. Gorbachev came to power. His policies of glasnost and perestroika created conditions in which national feelings could be openly expressed and in which the Soviet republics could consider reforms.


Moldova - Increasing Political Self-Expression


In this climate of openness, political self-assertion escalated in the Moldavian SSR in 1988. The year 1989 saw the formation of the Moldovan Popular Front (commonly called the Popular Front), an association of independent cultural and political groups that had finally gained official recognition. Large demonstrations by ethnic Romanians led to the designation of Romanian as the official language and the replacement of the head of the CPM. However, opposition was growing to the increasing influence of ethnic Romanians, especially in Transnistria, where the Yedinstvo-Unitatea (Unity) Intermovement had been formed in 1988 by the Slavic minorities, and in the south, where Gagauz Halkî (Gagauz People), formed in November 1989, came to represent the Gagauz, a Turkic-speaking minority there.

The first democratic elections to the Moldavian SSR's Supreme Soviet were held February 25, 1990. Runoff elections were held in March. The Popular Front won a majority of the votes. After the elections, Mircea Snegur, a communist, was elected chairman of the Supreme Soviet; in September he became president of the republic. The reformist government that took over in May 1990 made many changes that did not please the minorities, including changing the republic's name in June from the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova and declaring it sovereign the same month.


Moldova - Secession of Gagauzia and Transnistria


In August the Gagauz declared a separate "Gagauz Republic" (Gagauz-Yeri) in the south, around the city of Comrat (Komrat, in Russian). In September, Slavs on the east bank of the Nistru River proclaimed the "Dnestr Moldavian Republic" (commonly called the "Dnestr Republic") in Transnistria, with its capital at Tiraspol. Although the Supreme Soviet immediately declared these declarations null, both "republics" went on to hold elections. Stepan Topal was elected president of the "Gagauz Republic" in December 1991, and Igor' N. Smirnov was elected president of the "Dnestr Republic" in the same month.

Approximately 50,000 armed Moldovan nationalist volunteers went to Transnistria, where widespread violence was temporarily averted by the intervention of the Russian 14th Army. (The Soviet 14th Army, now the Russian 14th Army, had been headquartered in Chisinau under the High Command of the Southwestern Theater of Military Operations since 1956.) Negotiations in Moscow among the Gagauz, the Transnistrian Slavs, and the government of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova failed, and the government refused to join in further negotiations.

In May 1991, the country's official name was changed to the Republic of Moldova (Republica Moldova). The name of the Supreme Soviet also was changed, to the Moldovan Parliament.


Moldova - Independence


During the 1991 August coup d'état in Moscow, commanders of the Soviet Union's Southwestern Theater of Military Operations tried to impose a state of emergency in Moldova, but they were overruled by the Moldovan government, which declared its support for Russian president Boris N. Yeltsin. On August 27, 1991, following the coup's collapse, Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

In October, Moldova began to organize its own armed forces. The Soviet Union was falling apart quickly, and Moldova had to rely on itself to prevent the spread of violence from the "Dnestr Republic" to the rest of the country. The December elections of Stepan Topal and Igor' Smirnov as presidents of their respective "republics," and the official dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the year, led to increased tensions in Moldova.

Violence again flared up in Transnistria in 1992. A ceasefire agreement was negotiated by presidents Snegur and Yeltsin in July. A demarcation line was to be maintained by a tripartite peacekeeping force (composed of Moldovan, Russian, and Transnistrian forces), and Moscow agreed to withdraw its 14th Army if a suitable constitutional provision were made for Transnistria. Also, Transnistria would have a special status within Moldova and would have the right to secede if Moldova decided to reunite with Romania.


Moldova - Toward Political Accommodation


New parliamentary elections were held in Moldova on February 27, 1994. Although the election was described by international observers as free and fair, authorities in Transnistria refused to allow balloting there and made efforts to discourage the inhabitants from participating. Only some 7,500 inhabitants voted at specially established precincts in right-bank Moldova.

The new Parliament, with its Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova majority, did not face the same gridlock that characterized the old Parliament with its majority of Popular Front hard-line nationalists: legislation was passed, and changes were made. President Snegur signed the Partnership for Peace agreement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in March 1994, and in April Parliament approved Moldova's membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and in a CIS charter on economic union. On July 28, Parliament ratified a new constitution, which went into effect August 27, 1994, and provided substantial autonomy to Transnistria and to Gagauzia.

Russia and Moldova signed an agreement in October 1994 on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria, but the Russian government balked at ratifying it, and another stalemate ensued. Although the cease-fire was still in effect at the beginning of 1995 and further negotiations were to include the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations, there was little hope for progress in the near future toward settling the dispute and getting the Russian troops to leave.

In March and April 1995, Moldovan college and secondaryschool students staged a series of strikes and demonstrations in Chisinau to protest the government's cultural and educational policies. The students were joined by segments of the local intelligentsia and later by workers and pensioners who were protesting for economic reasons. The most emotional issue was that of the national language: should it be Moldovan, as named in the 1994 constitution, or Romanian as most experts agree?

In an April 27 speech to Parliament, President Snegur asked Parliament to amend the constitution and change the name of the language to Romanian. The government's final decision was postponed until the fall because of the stipulation that six months must pass before a proposed change to the constitution can be made. The student demonstrators declared a moratorium on further strikes until September 6.

In 1995 Moldova was still faced with substantial domestic social and economic problems, but it seemed to be on the road to making progress toward the ideal of an open-market democracy. The country's complex ethnic makeup and the political legacy of the Soviet period continued to contribute to the government's difficulties, but the fall from power of the extreme nationalists in the 1994 parliamentary elections lowered ethnic tensions and allowed compromises to be made with the major ethnic groups. With Russia now a partner in negotiations on Transnistria and with pledges by the new government to respect the rights of the country's Russian-speaking populace, the threat of international hostilities has been greatly reduced.




Located in southeastern Europe, Moldova is bordered on the west by Romania and on the north, south, and east by Ukraine. Most of its territory lies between the area's two main rivers, the Nistru and the Prut. The Nistru (Dnister, in Ukrainian; Dnestr in Russian) forms a small part of Moldova's border with Ukraine in the northeast, but it mainly flows through the eastern part of the country, separating Bessarabia and Transnistria. The Prut River forms Moldova's entire western boundary with Romania.

Topography and Drainage

Most of Moldova's approximately 33,700 square kilometers of territory (about the size of Maryland) cover a hilly plain cut deeply by many streams and rivers. Geologically, Moldova lies primarily on deep sedimentary rock that gives way to harder crystalline outcroppings only in the north, where higher elevations are found on the margins of the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

The gently rolling Balti Plain (Stepa Balti, in Romanian; Bel'tskaya ravnina, in Russian) in northern Moldova (lying at ninety to 600 meters in elevation in the north) gives way to thick, deciduous forests in the Codri Hills (Podisul Codrilor, in Romanian; Kodry, in Russian), averaging 350 to 400 meters in elevation, where the most common trees are hornbeam, oak, linden, maple, wild pear, and wild cherry. The country's highest point, Mount Balanesti (Balaneshty, in Russian), is located in the west central portion of the country and reaches 430 meters.

The Bugeac Plain (Budzhak, in Russian) in the south has numerous ravines and gullies. Transnistria has spurs of the Volyn-Podolian Upland (Podisul Podolie, in Romanian; VolynoPodil 's'ka vysochyna, in Ukrainian), which are cut into by tributaries of the Nistru River.

About 75 percent of Moldova is covered by a soil type called chernozem. In the northern highlands, more claytextured soils are found; in the south, red-earth soil is predominant. The soil becomes less fertile toward the south but can still support grape and sunflower production. The uplands have woodland soils, while southern Moldova is in the steppe zone, although most steppe areas today are cultivated. The lower reaches of the Prut River and the southern river valleys are saline marshes.

Drainage in Moldova is to the south, toward the Black Sea lowlands, and eventually into the Black Sea, but only eight rivers extend more than 100 kilometers. Moldova's main river, the Nistru, is navigable throughout almost the entire country, and in warmer winters it does not freeze over. The Prut River is a tributary of the Danube River, which it joins at the far southwestern tip of the country.

<>Environmental Concerns


Moldova - Climate


Moldova's climate is moderately continental: the summers are warm and long, with temperatures averaging about 20°C, and the winters are relatively mild and dry, with January temperatures averaging -4°C. Annual rainfall, which ranges from around 600 millimeters in the north to 400 millimeters 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.


Moldova - Environmental Concerns


Moldova's communist-era environmental legacy, like that of many other former Soviet republics, is one of environmental degradation. Agricultural practices such as overuse of pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers were intended to increase agricultural output at all costs, without regard for the consequences. As a result, Moldova's soil and groundwater were contaminated by lingering chemicals, some of which (including DDT) have been banned in the West.

Such practices continue in Moldova to the present day. In the early 1990s, per hectare use of pesticides in Moldova averaged approximately twenty times that of other former Soviet republics and Western nations. In addition, poor farming methods, such as destroying forests to plant vineyards, have contributed to the extensive soil erosion to which the country's rugged topography is already prone.


Moldova - Population


Although Moldova is by far the most densely populated of the former Soviet republics (129 inhabitants per square kilometer in 1990, compared with thirteen inhabitants per square kilometer for the Soviet Union as a whole), it has few large cities. The largest and most important of these is Chisinau, the country's capital and its most important industrial center. Founded in 1420, Chisinau is located in the center of the republic, on the Bîc (Byk, in Russian) River, and in 1990 had a population of 676,000. The city's population is slightly more than 50 percent ethnic Romanian, with ethnic Russians constituting approximately 25 percent and Ukrainians 13 percent. The proportion of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians in the capital's population decreased in the years immediately after 1989 because of the emigration resulting from Moldavia's changing political situation and civil unrest.

The second largest city in the republic, Tiraspol, had a population of 184,000 in 1990. It is located in Transnistria and served as the capital of the Moldavian ASSR from 1929 to 1940. It has remained an important center of administration, transportation, and manufacturing. In contrast to Chisinau, Tiraspol had a population of only some 18 percent ethnic Romanians, with most of the remainder being ethnic Russians (41 percent) and Ukrainians (32 percent).

Other important cities include Balti (Bel'tsy, in Russian), with a population of 162,000 in 1990, and Bender (or Bendery, in Russian; Tighina in Romanian), with a population of 132,000 in the same year. As in Tiraspol, ethnic Romanians are in the minority in both of these cities.

Traditionally a rural country, Moldova gradually began changing its character under Soviet rule. As urban areas became the sites of new industrial jobs and of amenities such as clinics, the population of cities and towns grew. The new residents were not only ethnic Romanians who had moved from rural areas but also many ethnic Russians and Ukrainians who had been recruited to fill positions in industry and government.

In 1990 Moldova's divorce rate of 3.0 divorces per 1,000 population had risen from the 1987 rate of 2.7 divorces per 1,000 population. The usual stresses of marriage were exacerbated by a society in which women were expected to perform most of the housework in addition to their work outside the home. Compounding this were crowded housing conditions (with their resulting lack of privacy) and, no doubt, the growing political crisis, which added its own strains.

<>Ethnic Composition

Updated population figures for Moldova.


Moldova - Ethnic Composition


One of Moldova's characteristic traits is its ethnic diversity. As early as the beginning of the eighteenth century, Moldovan prince and scholar Dimitrie Cantemir observed that he "didn't believe that there [existed] a single country of the size of Moldova in which so many and such diverse peoples meet."

At the time of the 1989 census, Moldova's total population was 4,335,400. The largest nationality in the republic, ethnic Romanians, numbered 2,795,000 persons, accounting for 64.5 percent of the population. The other major nationalities were Ukrainians, about 600,000 (14 percent); Russians, about 562,000 (13.0 percent); Gagauz, about 153,000 (4 percent); Bulgarians, about 88,000 (2 percent); and Jews, about 66,000 (2.0 percent). There were also smaller but appreciable numbers of Belarusians, Poles, Roma (Gypsies), and Germans in the population. In contrast, in Transnistria ethnic Romanians accounted for only 40 percent, of the population in 1989, followed by Ukrainians (28 percent), Russians (25 percent), Bulgarians (2 percent), and Gagauz (1 percent).

In the early 1990s, there was significant emigration from the republic, primarily from urban areas and primarily by Romanian minorities. In 1990 persons emigrating accounted for 6.8 percent of the population. This figure rose to 10 percent in 1991 before dropping sharply to 2 percent in 1992.

Ethnic Romanians made up a sizable proportion of the urban population in 1989 (about half the population of Chisinau, for example), as well as a large proportion of the rural population (80 percent), but only 23 percent of the ethnic Romanians lived in the republic's ten largest cities. Many had emigrated to Romania at the end of World War II, and others had lost their lives during the war and in postwar Soviet purges. As a consequence of industrial growth and the Soviet government's policy of diluting and Russifying ethnic Romanians, there was significant immigration to the Moldavian SSR by other nationalities, especially ethnic Russians and Ukrainians.

Unlike ethnic Romanians, ethnic Russians tend to be urban dwellers in Moldova; more than 72 percent of them lived in the ten largest cities in 1989. Many of them came to the Moldavian SSR after it was annexed by the Soviet government in 1940; more arrived after World War II. Ostensibly, they came to alleviate the Moldavian SSR's postwar labor shortage (although thousands of ethnic Romanians were being deported to Central Asia at the time) and to fill leadership positions in industry and the government. The Russians settled mainly in Chisinau and Bender and in the Transnistrian cities of Tiraspol and Dubasari (Dubossary, in Russian). Only about 25 percent of Moldova's Russians lived in Transnistria in the early 1990s.

Ethnic Ukrainians in Moldova are more evenly distributed between rural and urban areas. Forty-seven percent of them resided in large cities in 1989; others lived in long-settled villages dispersed throughout the region, but particularly in the north and in Transnistria.

The Gagauz, Turkic-speaking Orthodox Christians (unlike most Turks, who are Muslims), are concentrated in rural southern Moldova, mainly around the cities of Comrat, Ciadîr-Lunga (Chadyr-Lunga, in Russian), and Vulcanesti (Vulkaneshty, in Russian). Their ethnic origin is complex and still debated by scholars, but it is agreed that they migrated to Bessarabia from Bulgaria in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Shortly after Moldova declared its sovereignty, in June 1990 the Gagauz declared their own independent "Gagauz Republic" in the southern part of the country. The 1994 constitution accorded them a measure of autonomy, and a decree later that year officially established Gagauzia (Gagauz-Yeri, in Gagauz).

Ethnic Bulgarians in Moldova live mainly in the southern part of the country. Most of them are descendants of eighteenthcentury settlers who came to the region because of persecution by the Turks. Others came to Bessarabia when Imperial Russia encouraged their emigration in the nineteenth century. Their numbers declined from 177,000 when the Moldavian SSR was formed in 1940 to 88,000 in the 1989 census.

Although considered a religious affiliation in the West, "Jewish" was considered a nationality by Soviet authorities, even though Judaism was suppressed as a religion.

Although Jews had lived in Bessarabia and the region of Moldova for centuries before Empress Catherine II of Russia established the Pale of Settlement, Jews in Russia were restricted to living and traveling solely within the Pale as of 1792. By the nineteenth century, the Pale included Russian Poland, Lithuania, Belorussia, most of Ukraine, Crimea, and Bessarabia. It was only in the second half of the nineteenth century that exceptions were made.

Most of the prolonged military conflict of World War I and the Russian Civil War took place in the Pale, inflicting heavy losses of life and property on Jews. When it was created in 1940, the Moldavian SSR (mainly Chisinau) held more than 200,000 Jews. However, their numbers plummeted to only several thousand as a result of emigration. Their ranks increased again during the 1960s and 1970s, only to decline afterward, mainly the result of emigration.

In general, Jews in independent Moldova were not discriminated against. But problems in Transnistria (home to almost one-quarter of Moldova's Jews) and the anti-Semitic attitudes of the "Dnestr Republic" authorities prompted many of them to think of emigration.






The Moldovan dialect of Romanian, spoken by the majority of the people of Bessarabia, was viewed by both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union as an impediment to controlling the local populace. Under the tsars, Romanian-language education and the Romanian press were forbidden as part of a process of forced Russification.

Stalin justified the creation of the Moldavian SSR by claiming that a distinct "Moldavian" language was an indicator that "Moldavians" were a separate nationality from the Romanians in Romania. In order to give greater credence to this claim, in 1940 Stalin imposed the Cyrillic alphabet on "Moldavian" to make it look more like Russian and less like Romanian; archaic Romanian words of Slavic origin were imposed on "Moldavian"; Russian loanwords and phrases were added to "Moldavian"; and a new theory was advanced that "Moldavian" was at least partially Slavic in origin. (Romanian is a Romance language descended from Latin.) In 1949 Moldavian citizens were publicly reprimanded in a journal for daring to express themselves in literary Romanian. The Soviet government continued this type of behavior for decades.

Proper names in Moldova were subjected to Russianization as well. Russian endings were added to purely Romanian names, and individuals were referred to in the Russian manner by using a patronymic (based on one's father's first name) as a middle name.

In 1989 members of most of the Moldavian SSR's nationalities claimed their national language as their mother tongue: Romanians (95 percent), Ukrainians (62 percent), Russians (99 percent), Gagauz (91 percent), Bulgarians (79 percent), and Roma (82 percent). The exceptions were Jews (26 percent citing Yiddish), Belarusians (43 percent), Germans (31 percent), and Poles (10 percent).

Although both Romanian written in the Cyrillic alphabet (that is, "Moldavian") and Russian were the official languages of the Moldavian SSR, only 62 percent of the total population claimed Romanian as their native language in 1979. If ethnic Romanians are subtracted from this number, the figure falls to just over 1 percent. Only 4 percent of the entire population claimed Romanian as a second language.

In 1979 Russian was claimed as a native language by a large proportion of Jews (66 percent) and ethnic Belarusians (62 percent) and by a significant proportion of ethnic Ukrainians (30 percent). Proportions of other nationalities naming Russian as a native language ranged from 17 percent of ethnic Bulgarians to 3 percent of ethnic Romanians (urban Romanians were more Russianized than rural Romanians). Russian was claimed as a second language by a sizable proportion of all the nationalities: Romanians (46 percent), Ukrainians (43 percent), Gagauz (68 percent), Jews (30 percent), Bulgarians (67 percent), Belarusians (34 percent), Germans (53 percent), Roma (36 percent), and Poles (24 percent).

On August 31, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of Moldavia passed the Law on State Language, which made Moldovan written in the Latin alphabet the state language of the Moldavian SSR. Because of pressure exerted by non-Romanian ethnic groups, Russian was retained as the language of interethnic communication. In areas where non-Romanian ethnic groups were the majority, the language of that majority could also be used as a means of communication. Because of strong objections raised by the non-Romanian nationalities, implementation of the law was delayed.

The new Moldovan constitution, adopted August 27, 1994, states that Moldovan, written in the Latin script, is designated as the official language, but provisions were made for Russian and other languages to be used in areas of minority concentrations. Russian was also to be the language of interethnic communication.

On April 27, 1995, President Snegur asked Parliament to change the name of the language in the constitution, from Moldovan to Romanian, in response to demonstrations and strikes led by students. According to Moldovan law, it would be six months before a proposed change to the constitution could be made.



Moldova - Religion


Most of Moldova's population are Orthodox Christians. In 1991, about 98.5 percent of the population belonged to this faith.

The Soviet government strictly limited the activities of the Orthodox Church (and all religions) and at times sought to exploit it, with the ultimate goal of destroying it and all religious activity. Most Orthodox churches and monasteries in Moldova were demolished or converted to other uses, such as warehouses, and clergy were sometimes punished for leading services. But many believers continued to practice their faith in secret.

In 1991 Moldova had 853 Orthodox churches and eleven Orthodox monasteries (four for monks and seven for nuns). In addition, the Old Russian Orthodox Church (Old Believers) had fourteen churches and one monastery in Moldova.

Before Soviet power was established in Moldova, the vast majority of ethnic Romanians belonged to the Romanian Orthodox Church (Bucharest Patriarchate), but today the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has jurisdiction in Moldova. Russian, Romanian, and Turkic (Gagauz) liturgies are used in the church. After the recent revival of religious activity, most of the clergy and the faithful wanted to return to the Bucharest Patriarchate but were prevented from doing so. Because higherlevel church authorities were unable to resolve the matter, Moldova now has two episcopates, one for each patriarchate. In late 1992, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia issued a decree upgrading the Eparchy of Chisinau and Moldova to a metropolitan see.

Moldova also has a Uniate minority, mainly among ethnic Ukrainians, although the Soviet government declared the Uniate Church illegal in 1946 and forcibly united it with the Russian Orthodox Church. The Uniate Church survived underground, however, outlasting the Soviet Union itself.

Despite the Soviet government's suppression and ongoing harassment, Moldova's Jews managed to retain their religious identity. About a dozen Jewish newspapers were started in the early 1990s, and religious leaders opened a synagogue in Chisinau; there were six Jewish communities of worship throughout the country. In addition, Moldova's government created the Department of Jewish Studies at Chisinau State University, mandated the opening of a Jewish high school in Chisinau, and introduced classes in Judaism in high schools in several cities. The government also provides financial support to the Society for Jewish Culture.

Other religious denominations in Moldova are the Armenian Apostolic Church, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Molokans (a Russian Orthodox sect).

Citizens in independent Moldova have much greater religious freedom than they did under the Soviet regime. Legislation passed in 1992 guaranteed religious freedom but did require that all religious groups be officially recognized by the government. In 1992 construction or restoration of 221 churches was under way, but clergy remained in short supply.


Moldova - Culture


Moldova's cultural tradition has been influenced primarily by the Romanian origin of its majority population and cannot be understood outside of the development of classical Romanian culture, in which it played a significant role.

The roots of Romanian culture reach back to the second century A.D., the period of Roman colonization in Dacia. During the centuries following the Roman withdrawal in A.D. 271, the population of the region was influenced by contact with the Byzantine Empire, neighboring Slavic and Magyar populations, and later the Ottoman Turks. Beginning in the nineteenth century, a strong West European (particularly French) influence came to be evident in Romanian literature and the arts. The resulting mélange has produced a rich cultural tradition. Although foreign contacts were an inevitable consequence of the region's geography, their influence only served to enhance a vital and resilient popular culture.

The regional population had come to identify itself widely as "Moldovan" by the fourteenth century but continued to maintain close cultural links with other Romanian groups. The eastern Moldovans, however, those inhabiting Bessarabia and Transnistria, were also influenced by Slavic culture from neighboring Ukraine. During the periods 1812-1917 and 1944-89, the eastern Moldovans were influenced by Russian and Soviet administrative control as well and by ethnic Russian immigration.

Bessarabia was one of the least-developed and least-educated European regions of the Russian Empire. In 1930 its literacy rate was only 40 percent, according to a Romanian census. Although Soviet authorities promoted education (not the least to spread communist ideology), they also did everything they could to break the region's cultural ties with Romania. With many ethnic Romanian intellectuals either fleeing, being killed, or being deported both during and after World War II, Bessarabia's cultural and educational situation worsened.

To fill the gap, Soviet authorities developed urban cultural and scientific centers and institutions that were subsequently filled with Russians and with other non-Romanian ethnic groups, but this culture was superimposed and alien. Urban culture came from Moscow; the rural ethnic Romanian population was allowed to express itself only in folklore or folk art.

Although the folk arts flourished, similarities with Romanian culture were hidden. Music and dance, particularly encouraged by Soviet authorities, were made into a showcase but were subtly distorted to hide their Romanian origins. An example is the national folk costume, in which the traditional Romanian moccasin (opinca) was replaced by the Russian boot.

Moldova's folk culture is extremely rich, and the ancient folk ballad, the "Miorita," plays a central role in the traditional culture. Folk traditions, including ceramics and weaving, continue to be practiced in rural areas. The folk culture tradition is promoted at the national level and is represented by, among other groups, the republic's dance company, Joc, and by the folk choir, Doina.

The first Moldovan books (religious texts) appeared in the mid-seventeenth century. Prominent figures in Moldova's cultural development include prince and scholar Dimitrie Cantemir (1673- 1723), historian and philologist Bogdan P. Hasdeu (1836-1907), author Ion Creanga (1837-89), and poet Mihai Eminescu (1850-89).

Prominent modern writers include Vladimir Besleaga, Pavel Botu, Aureliu Busioc, Nicolae Dabija, Ion Druta, and Grigore Vieru. In 1991 a total of 520 books were published in Moldova, of which 402 were in Romanian, 108 in Russian, eight in Gagauz, and two in Bulgarian.

In the early 1990s, Moldova had twelve professional theaters. All performed in Romanian except the A.P. Chekhov Russian Drama Theater in Chisinau and the Russian Drama and Comedy Theater in Tiraspol, both of which performed solely in Russian, and the Licurici Republic Puppet Theater (in Chisinau), which performed in both Romanian and Russian. Members of ethnic minorities manage a number of folklore groups and amateur theaters throughout the country.





In the decades prior to independence, the Moldavian SSR's education system made substantial progress toward being available to all citizens. At the beginning of the twentieth century, illiteracy had been common among Moldova's rural population. But by 1992, the adult literacy rate had risen to 96 percent. In 1990 the mean duration of schooling was six years, and 30 percent of the population aged fifteen and older had completed general secondary education.

Under the Soviet education system, the Moldavian SSR had parallel systems of Romanian-language and Russian-language education through secondary school, although Russian was seen as the key to advancement. In 1990 a total of 614 preschools were taught in Romanian, 1,333 were taught in Russian, and 373 were taught in both Romanian and Russian. There were 1,025 Romanianlanguage primary and secondary schools with 399,200 students; 420 Russian-language schools with 239,100 students; and 129 mixedlanguage schools with 82,500 students studying in the Russian and Romanian languages, with more than half of the students studying in Russian. Change occurred slowly at the university level, however, and 55 percent of students continued to study in the Russian language as of 1992.

Under Moldova's education system, ten years of basic education are compulsory, followed by either technical school or further study leading to higher education. In the early 1990s, the Moldovan government restored the Romanian language in schools and added courses in Romanian literature and history to the curriculum. The governments of Romania and Moldova established strong ties between their education systems; several thousand Moldovan students attended school in Romania, and the Romanian government donated textbooks to Moldova to replace books from the Soviet era.

As Moldovan society became more industrialized and more complex under the Soviet regime, the role of higher education also expanded (although ethnic Russian and Ukrainian students were given preference in university admissions during the Soviet era). Although there were only ten students per 10,000 population enrolled in institutions of higher education in 1940, this number increased to 120 per 10,000 population in 1992. In early 1995, Moldova had ten institutions of higher education; four of these institutions had been established since independence. The republic also maintained institutes of agriculture, economics, engineering, medicine, the arts, pedagogy, and physical education.



Moldova - Health


In July 1994, Moldova's population was estimated at 4,473,033, with an average annual growth rate of 0.38 percent. In 1992 the population's birth rate was 16.1 per 1,000 population (compared with Romania's fourteen per 1,000), the death rate was 10.2 per 1,000 (the same as Romania's), and the rate of natural population increase was 0.7 percent per year (0.9 percent for Romania). The instability that had occurred throughout the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution had a significant impact on these figures. By 1992, the birth rate had fallen from 18.9 in 1989 to 16.1 per 1,000, mortality had increased from 9.2 in 1989 to 10.2 per 1,000, and the natural population increase had declined from 1.0 in 1989 to 0.6 percent per year. In 1992 the infant mortality rate was thirty-five per 1,000 live births (compared with Romania's twenty-two per 1,000 live births). In 1989 the size of the average Moldovan family was 3.4 persons.

In 1991 about 28 percent of the population was under fifteen years of age, and almost 13 percent was over sixty-five years of age. Life expectancy in 1994 was sixty-five years for males and seventy-two years for females.

Although the Soviet government had built health care facilities in the Moldavian SSR, modern equipment and facilities were in short supply in the early 1990s. In 1990 there were 129 hospital beds and forty doctors per 10,000 inhabitants. The 1991 state budget allocated approximately 12 percent of the total budget to health care, most of which was provided to citizens free of charge.

The leading causes of death in Moldova are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, and accidents. Other major health problems are high levels of alcohol consumption and illnesses resulting from the extensive and indiscriminate use of herbicides and pesticides.


Moldova - Welfare


Although Moldavia's official standard of living had long been below the average for the Soviet Union, there were two mitigating factors. The rural character of the country accounted for many households receiving goods (mainly food) as well as cash wages. In addition, Moldavian industry was based on consumer goods (including textiles, consumer appliances, and processed agricultural goods), making them relatively plentiful throughout the republic.

The hostilities in Transnistria and the turmoil surrounding the demise of the Soviet Union were the major reasons for the falling standard of living in Moldova in the early 1990s. The outbreak of hostilities in Transnistria interrupted not only the flow of fuels and goods from former Soviet republics through Transnistria into right-bank Moldova but also cut off valuable inputs (for example, fertilizer) that were produced in Transnistria. These, in turn, indirectly affected such indicators as food consumption, a sign that everyday life was affected.

In 1991 Moldova set up the Social Assistance Fund (to provide assistance to the needy) and the Social Security Fund (SSF). The SSF is composed of the Pension Fund, the Social Insurance Fund, the Unemployment Fund, and the Reserve Fund. Funding for the SSF comes mainly from a payroll tax and from direct budget transfers.

The Pension Fund includes old-age pensions (age fifty-five for women who have worked at least twenty years, and age sixty for men who have worked for twenty-five years), pensions for invalids, pensions for women who have raised three or more children, military and special merit pensions, and pensions for people of retirement age or for people who receive disability pensions yet continue to work.

In early 1994, approximately 900,000 people (about 20 percent of the total population) received pensions. Legislation increased both benefits for dependent children and the minimum pension in 1992, and a law was passed to index benefits to inflation, but it had not been fully implemented by the end of the year. Many felt that passage of this law would add significantly to the demands on an already overburdened budget.


Moldova - Housing


Even before independence, much of Moldova's housing stock was in private hands because of the country's strong tradition of private home ownership, especially in rural areas. In 1994 some 90 percent of rural and 36 percent of urban apartments were held privately.

At the time of Moldova's independence, housing construction was hampered by severe shortages of building materials and disruptions in deliveries. However, the housing stock continued to expand in both rural and urban areas. In 1990 private builders accounted for only 26 percent of construction in urban areas, but they accounted for 95 percent of construction in rural areas. In 1990 per capita housing space averaged eighteen square meters (fourteen square meters in urban areas and twenty-one square meters in rural areas).

All state-owned housing was scheduled for privatization, in stages, beginning in May 1993 and using government-issued vouchers. Apartments that did not exceed state norms for per capita space utilization were to be turned over to their occupants free of charge. People living in apartments that exceeded space norms would have to pay the state a premium based on the average cost per meter of housing construction. Privatization using vouchers was scheduled to be completed in the summer of 1995, at which time there would be an open housing market.




Historically, the region now encompassed by the Republic of Moldova was poorly developed. Economic activity was principally agricultural, rural poverty was endemic, and the urban economy, such as it was, was based almost entirely on commerce, food processing, and the production of consumer goods. Development prior to the mid-eighteenth century lagged for a variety of reasons, but principally because of limited resources and political instability. The region of Moldova was relatively backward in comparison with the rest of Romania.

The Economy in the Soviet Period

Under Soviet rule, the Moldavian ASSR (1924-40) experienced considerable industrial development between the two world wars, particularly in and around Tiraspol, the site of new manufacturing activity. After World War II, substantial industrialization occurred throughout the Moldavian SSR (1940- 91), especially in Chisinau, but with a continuing focus on Transnistria as well. In addition to further developing the foodprocessing industry, the government introduced the textile, machine tool, and electronics industries.

Until independence, Moldova's economy was organized along standard Soviet lines: all industry was state owned, as were commerce and finance. Approximately one-third of all enterprises were subordinate to the economic ministries of the Soviet Union, and two-thirds were subordinate to republic-level authorities. Agriculture was collectivized, and production was organized principally around state farms and collective farms.

The Moldavian economy, robust in the 1970s, slowed down somewhat in the early 1980s and contracted sharply in 1985, mainly as a result of declining activity in the wine sector, a casualty of Gorbachev's antialcohol campaign. In the late 1980s, the economy briefly regained strength and grew faster than the economy of the Soviet Union as a whole.

<>Independence and Privatization
<>Labor Force
<>Energy and Fuels
<>Banking and Finance


Moldova - THE ECONOMY - Independence and Privatization


Once independence was achieved, Moldova's government undertook measures to begin privatization, which included passing a law mandating privatization and establishing the State Department for Privatization to direct the process. The overall reform policy was guided by "The Draft Economic Reform Program of the Government of Moldova," a 1991 document calling for establishment of a market economy but permitting significant provisions for government intervention.

In late 1992, the government presented Parliament with a more market-oriented policy in its "Program of Activity of the Government of Moldova for 1992-1995." Its goal was to form a new social pact as a basis for a new society and economy for Moldova. The two-part program would first aim at stabilizing the country and then provide for the economy's recovery and growth by such means as agrarian and trade reform, social protection, and a legal framework for a market economy. The direction of the new government was elaborated in the "Program of Activity of the Government of the Republic of Moldova for 1994 to 1997," which was adopted by Parliament and which focuses on restructuring the economy, reorganizing enterprises, privatizing small and mediumsized enterprises, promoting entrepreneurship, decreasing the budget deficit, implementing an efficient fiscal policy, and formulating new mechanisms to create a market economy. Another bill, the "Program for Privatization for 1995-1996," was approved by Parliament in March 1995. It focuses on foreign investment, privatization of agricultural land, the introduction of cash auctions, mass privatization, and the development of capital markets. Over 1,450 state enterprises are to be auctioned off.

During 1992 enterprise privatization committees inventoried assets at each enterprise in the republic; the aggregate result of this inventory became the basis of calculations of Moldova's total industrial wealth. Each citizen was to be provided with vouchers (or Patrimonial Bonds) in 1993, endowing him or her with a share of this total wealth based on years of employment in the economy. Citizens would receive one voucher point per year of work in the republic. Enterprise employees were to be allowed to purchase up to 30 percent of the value of their enterprises at nominal value. By special arrangement, 40 percent of the value of enterprises in the food-processing sector was to be allocated to suppliers. The program was to be completed by the summer of 1995. As of the beginning of 1995, Moldova had 4,400 state and 57,000 private enterprises.

Employees of collective and state farms were also to be provided with vouchers based on the length of their employment in the agricultural sector. In January 1992, Moldova expanded the amount of free land that eligible families would receive from state farms to 0.5 hectare per family, with an additional 0.1 hectare to be added for fourth and subsequent family members up to a maximum of one hectare per family, on the condition that it not be resold before 2001 (although it could be bequeathed).

Collective and state farms were to be converted into jointstock companies first, and the land and property were to be allocated later. In 1993 Moldova had 481 small private farms; by 1995 this number had increased to 13,958. In 1995 1.5 percent of agricultural land in Moldova was held by these small farmers. The reasons for slow privatization of the agricultural sector include slow privatization of large organizations, the use of outmoded production methods and equipment, poor accounting practices, and a shortage of processing facilities.

At the same time that privatization plans were under way, actual reform efforts were halting and relatively ineffectual, and Moldova's economy declined. A number of factors contributed to the decline, including the complicated political situation in the republic (which had seen several changes of leadership in its first years of existence) and the political and military conflict with Transnistria. Substantial industrial capacity is located in Transnistria, and the disruption of traditional economic ties with enterprises there has had a negative effect on the economy of right-bank Moldova.

Further, because Moldova's economy was firmly embedded in the broader economic structures of the former Soviet Union, it also suffered damage from the breakdown in interrepublic trade, abrupt increases in external prices, and inflation resulting from the Russian government's policy of printing large amounts of money. (Moldova retained the Russian ruble as its currency until November 1993.) The consequence of all these factors has been a substantial economic downturn in both industry and agriculture, accompanied by increased unemployment and a decline in labor productivity. In 1991 Moldova's national income was only at 1985 levels. Moldova's industrial output in early 1995 was half of the output of 1990. Moldova's gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 30 percent in 1994 (by 5 percent in 1993 and by 28 percent in 1992), and its industrial output declined by 34 percent (by 12 percent in 1993 and by 27 percent in 1992).


Moldova - Labor Force


Moldova's labor force still reflects the structure of the economy under communism. In 1991, 78 percent of the population employed outside the home worked in the state sector, 19 percent worked on collective farms, and 3 percent worked in the private sector. The private sector employed 9 percent of the workforce in 1995. In early 1995, the official unemployment rate was 1 percent, but experts put the real rate at between 10 and 15 percent.


Moldova - Agriculture


At the time of Moldova's independence, agriculture continued to play a major role in the country's economy, as it had during the Soviet period. In 1991 agriculture accounted for 42 percent of the net material product (NMP) and employed 36 percent of the labor force.

The organizational backbone of independent Moldova's agriculture continues to be its system of former state and collective farms, one-quarter of which were transformed into joint-stock companies by 1994 and are now owned in shares by the people who work them. In 1993 Moldova's 600 collective farms covered 16.2 million hectares of land and employed 401,300 persons; in the same year, its 389 state farms encompassed 600,500 hectares of land and employed 168,200 persons. Agricultural output from private farms increased from 18 percent in 1990 to 38 percent in 1994.

Moldova possesses substantial agricultural resources; its climate and fertile soils (1.7 million hectares of arable land in 1991) support a wide range of crops. The country is an important regional producer of grapes and grape products, and its orchards produce significant amounts of fruit, including plums, apricots, cherries, and peaches. Fruit production is concentrated in the north, in the central region, and in the Nistru River area. Tobacco is also an important commercial crop. Sugar beets are grown throughout the republic and provide raw material for a substantial (although antiquated) sugar-refining industry, and sunflowers are grown for their oil. Cereal crops, including wheat, are grown widely (corn is the leading grain) and are used for domestic consumption, export, and animal feed.

Meat accounts for less than half of total agricultural production. In 1991 about half of total meat output was accounted for by pork (145,000 tons), followed by beef and veal (97,000 tons), chicken (56,000 tons), and lamb (5,000 tons). From 1990 to 1994, the amount of arable land used for livestock production decreased by some 25 percent; the number of livestock in 1994 was 400,000.

Probably the most widely known products of Moldova are its wines, sparkling wines, and brandies, which were recognized as among the finest in the former Soviet Union. In 1991 these accounted for 28 percent of the output of the food-processing sector, followed by meat processing with 22 percent of production and fruit and vegetable processing (including the production of canned fruits and vegetables, jams, jellies, and fruit juices) with 15 percent. Moldova also produces sugar and sugar products, perfume, vegetable oils, and dairy products.

Approximately half of Moldova's agricultural and food production is sold to former Soviet republics. Traditional markets are Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Agricultural production has been in serious decline since the late 1980s, both in terms of overall production levels and in terms of per-hectare production of most crops. Overall agricultural output in 1991 was at 1970 levels. A number of factors contributed to the decline, including difficulties in providing necessary inputs and agricultural machinery, disruption of the transportation system, failures in the incentive system, difficulties related to political instability in Transnistria, Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign, and, not the least, Moldova's variable weather. In 1990 a drought resulted in a serious decline in production. On the heels of the drought, 1991 saw a spring freeze, severe summer flooding, and then the worst drought in some fifty years. Overall agricultural output in 1993 was down 15 percent from the previous year; grain production, one-third less than in 1991, was particularly affected (especially corn, which was down over 50 percent on average). The trend continued into 1994 when drought and storms with hurricane-force winds caused agricultural output to decline 58 percent from 1993 levels. Although Moldova was traditionally a wheat exporter, it had to import 100,000 to 200,000 tons of wheat as a result of a 1994 harvest that was 800,000 tons less than the harvest of 1993.

In fiscal year (FY) 1992, Moldova participated in the United States Department of Agriculture's P.L. 480 Title I program, which provided US$7 million in long-term credit for government-to-government concessional sales, offered repayment terms of ten to thirty years (with grace periods of up to seven years), and provided low interest rates. Moldova's line of credit was scheduled to increase to US$10 million in 1993.

By the beginning of 1994, total United States assistance to Moldova included approximately US$12 million in technical assistance, in support of Moldova's transition to a market economy and democracy, and US$68 million in humanitarian assistance. In 1995 the United States was scheduled to provide US$22 million in technical assistance for economic restructuring and privatization. This amount brings total United States assistance to Moldova since 1992 to more than US$200 million.


Moldova - Industry


In 1991 industry accounted for approximately 38 percent of the NMP and employed 21 percent of the work force. Some of the main products of Moldova's industry include electrical motors and equipment, pumps for industrial and agricultural use, and agricultural equipment, including tractors and automobile parts. There is also a small chemical industry, which produces plastics, synthetic fibers, paint, and varnish, and a construction industry, which produces cement and prefabricated reinforcedconcrete structures.

The Moldovan consumer goods industry in the early 1990s was faced with the same problems affecting the rest of the Moldovan economy. The supply of cheap fuels and raw materials, provided to Moldavia under the Soviet economic system (under which Moldavia specialized in consumer goods and agricultural products), dried up with the demise of the Soviet Union and the hostilities in Transnistria. Together with high inflation, the cost of goods went up tremendously, sometimes doubling in the course of one year.

In 1991 consumer goods accounted for 22 percent of Moldova's industrial output; the textile industry accounted for approximately 50 percent of this, and food processing accounted for 40 percent. Clothing manufacturing made up another 29 percent of total production.

In 1994 Moldova had eleven military-goods producing enterprises. Attempts were being made to convert ten of them to civilian production. However, these facilities were operating at only 15 to 20 percent of capacity, as compared with the industrywide average of 40 percent of capacity. As a result, conversion prospects were not bright.

Moldova's heavy industry is almost entirely the product of development during the Soviet period. Machine building predominates within heavy industry, accounting for 16 percent of total industrial production.


Moldova - Energy and Fuels


Among the most pressing difficulties facing the republic's economy is a near total lack of energy resources. Moldova's own primary energy sources consist of small hydroelectric power plants on the Nistru River at Dubasari and Camenca (Kamenka, in Russian); minor thermal electric power plants at Balti, Rîbnita (Rybnitsa, in Russian), Ungheni (Ungeny, in Russian), and Chisinau; and firewood, all of which combine to meet only 1 percent of domestic needs. A coal-fired power plant was under construction at Cuciurgan (Kuchurgan, in Russian), in Transnistria, in 1995.

Another source of problems is the fact that almost 90 percent of power and 100 percent of power transformers are produced in politically troubled Transnistria. In addition, Transnistria's adversarial "government" has frequently disrupted the flow of fuels into Moldova from Russia and Ukraine.

Moldova has an electric power production capacity of 3.1 million kilowatts, and it produced 11.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1993. By 1994 electricity production had decreased 14 percent in comparison with 1993. Over the same period, thermal electric production decreased 22 percent.

Despite its lack of energy resources, the country continues to export some of the electricity it generates to Romania and Bulgaria. However, these exports have been cut back (the countries receive electricity only to the extent to which they supply fuel). Some electricity shortages have occurred in Moldova, mostly in winter, and have been dealt with by rationing. Much of the country's generating equipment (which is not produced by Moldova) and approximately one-quarter of its transmission and distribution lines are in need of repair.

In the early 1990s, energy shortages were prevalent, and energy availability was sporadic, leading to disruptions in economic activity; imports of coal, natural gas, diesel fuel, and gasoline declined by an estimated average of 40 percent from 1991 to 1992. In 1994 the picture was somewhat different. Gasoline imports were up 33.6 percent and coal imports increased 15.4 percent, while imports of diesel fuel, mazut, and natural gas fell 25 percent, 51.5 percent, and 3.1 percent, respectively.

In 1994 Moldavia was dependent on Russia for 90 percent of the fuel needed for its electric-power generation plants: diesel oil (88,000 tons), gasoline (65,000 tons), fuel oil (365,000 tons), and natural gas (2.8 billion cubic meters). By March 1995, Moldova owed Russia US$232 million for fuel, with half of this amount owed by the "Dnestr Republic."

Moldova had started paying off this debt in goods, including agricultural products, but beginning in late 1994 the government paid these debts by giving Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled gas company, equity stakes in key Moldovan enterprises. In January 1995, Moldova gave control of Moldovagas, the state-owned gas company, to Gazprom.


Moldova - Banking and Finance


Moldova's banking system, part of the Soviet system during the communist era, underwent major changes in 1991. The National Bank of Moldova (NBM), established in June 1991 and modeled on the Bank of Romania, is subordinate to Parliament. It has an extensive set of monetary policy instruments (such as maximum lending rates and reserve requirements) and is legally responsible for bank supervision. However, shortages of trained staff and a lack of experience in making and executing monetary policy caused the NBM difficulties in its early years.

In 1995 Moldova's banking system was composed of the NBM and twenty-six private, joint-stock commercial banks, including the Joint Bank for Export and Import (Banca Mixta Pentru Export i Import). In 1995 the largest commercial banks were Moldindconbanc, Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala, Agroindbanc, Victoriabanc, and Interprinzbanca. The banking system also includes four branches of foreign (Romanian and Russian) banks.

After Russia enacted economic reform measures in January 1992, Moldova liberalized prices for most of its commodities (except bread, milk, energy, utilities, and transportation) and raised other prices by 200 to 425 percent. Price controls were eliminated gradually, with none left after May 1994.

In early 1995, the average monthly rate of consumer inflation was estimated at under 5 percent. This represented a major improvement, as the annual inflation rate had been 105 percent in 1994, 415 percent in 1993, and a staggering 1,500 percent in 1992.

In the early years of its independence, Moldova used both the Russian ruble and the Moldovan coupon (issued only to residents of Moldova) as its currencies. The leu was introduced in November 1993 to replace these currencies and to escape the inflation in other former Soviet republics. It has remained reasonably stable against major hard currencies despite the country's high rates of inflation.




On August 27, 1991, the Republic of Moldova declared its independence from the Soviet Union and became a sovereign state, an act that consummated the process of escalating political selfassertion under way since 1988. Behind this phenomenon were glasnost and perestroika, the general movement toward reform initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s.

Gorbachev's more permissive approach to political life in the Moldavian SSR enabled Moldovan nationalists to participate in the campaign for election to the Soviet Union's Congress of Peoples' Deputies in 1989 and to form the Moldovan Popular Front. On February 25, 1990, the first democratic elections for the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR resulted in a Popular Front majority.

In May 1991, the country changed its name from the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova to the Republic of Moldova. The name of the Supreme Soviet was changed to the Moldovan Parliament. On August 27, 1991 (now Independence Day), it declared Moldova's complete independence. This pursuit of independence by Moldova's government put it increasingly at odds with Moscow and at the same time led to growing tensions between the ethnic Romanian majority and the non-Romanian minorities in the republic.

Those tensions soon led to sporadic violence throughout the first half of 1992 until a cease-fire agreement was negotiated by presidents Snegur and Yeltsin in July. The conditions for withdrawing the Russian 14th Army were negotiated and were dependent on constitutional provisions that were to be made after the parliamentary elections of early 1994.

On February 27, 1994, parliamentary elections were held. In the elections, the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova won a majority, marking a turning point for Moldovan politics. The new Parliament was able to make compromises between ethnic Romanians and ethnic Slavs, thus enabling it to pass legislation and set a more moderate tone for governing the country. Without a majority of Popular Front extreme nationalists in Parliament, a solution to the problem of Transnistria began to be more than just a futile hope.

<>Government System
<>Local Government
<>Political Parties
<>The 1990 Elections
<>Conflict in Transnistria and Gagauzia
<>Lucinschi and Political Realignment
<>The 1994 Elections
<>Human Rights
<>The Media


Moldova - Government System


On July 28, 1994, the Moldovan Parliament approved a new constitution, declaring Moldova a republic, which went into effect August 27, 1994. Moldova's previous constitution was that of the old Moldavian SSR (1979), with amendments. The new document defines Moldova as an independent, democratic, "single" state and declares the country's permanent neutrality. The Moldovan language, written in the Latin script, is designated as the official language, but guarantees are made for the use of Russian and other languages. The new constitution includes a ban on the stationing of foreign troops on Moldova's territory.


Moldova is a democracy with a unicameral legislature, the Moldovan Parliament, previously called the Supreme Soviet. Following the earlier Soviet model, the Moldovan Parliament maintains a Presidium, which performs legislative functions when the larger body is not in session. Parliament has 104 members elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. Any citizen eligible to vote (eighteen years of age and not prohibited by law) is eligible for election to the Parliament. The next parliamentary elections will be held in 1998.

Parliament ordinarily meets in two sessions per year. The first session starts in February and may not go beyond the end of July. The seocnd session starts in September and may not go beyond the end of December.

Parliamentary leadership consists of a chair and two deputy chairs elected by the delegates. The work of Parliament is carried out by fifteen permanent committees, which have purview in the following areas: agriculture and rural social development, crime prevention, culture and religion, ecology, the economy and the budget, foreign affairs, health and social assistance, human rights and relations among nationalities, law, legislative ethics, local administration and the local economy, public relations and the mass media, science and education, state security and military affairs, and women and family issues.

The Presidency

Moldova's head of state is the president of the republic, who shares executive power with the Council of Ministers. Under constitutional arrangements prevailing at the time of the 1990 national elections, the president was elected by members of the Supreme Soviet, but provisions introduced in 1991 called for the president's direct election by all members of the population over eighteen years of age. The president, who must be over thirtyfive years old, a resident of Moldova for at least ten years, and a speaker of the state language, is elected to a four-year term of office. The next election is set for December 1995. In early 1995, the president was Mircea Snegur, named president by the Supreme Soviet in September 1990 and confirmed by popular election in December 1991.

The president's duties include nominating the prime minister and members of the Council of Ministers, taking part in Parliament's proceedings and debates, dissolving Parliament under certain conditions, negotiating and concluding international treaties, serving as commander in chief of the armed forces, granting political asylum, and iniating national referendums.

Council of Ministers

The activities of the government are directed by the cabinet, or Council of Ministers, headed by the prime minister and the first deputy prime minister. In early 1995, the prime minister was Andrei Sangheli, appointed in July 1992 and reappointed in March 1994. Candidates for the Council of Ministers are nominated by the president (on the prime minister's recommendation) and must be confirmed by Parliament before taking office. In 1995 there were eighteen ministries: agriculture and food, commercial services and housing, culture, defense, economy, education, finance, foreign affairs, health, industry, information and communication, interior, justice, labor and social and family protection, national security, parliamentary relations, privatization and administration of state property, and transportation and road assistance.

In addition to these ministries, the government has state departments subordinate to the Council of Ministers. In 1995 there were nine state departments: architecture and construction; customs control; energy, energy resources, and fuel; environmental protection; national relations; standards, metrology, and technical assistance; statistics; trade; and youth and sports.

The Judicial System

Independent Moldova's judicial and legal systems are carryovers from the Soviet period and conform to practices that were standard throughout the former Soviet Union. The most powerful legal institution is the General Prosecution Office, formerly called the Procuracy. Headed by the prosecutor general, the General Prosecution Office directs investigations, orders arrests, and prosecutes criminal cases. It is also charged with administering the judicial system and ensuring the legality of government actions. In the early 1990s, the Procuracy's corruption and political ties to the Communist Party of Moldavia made it the subject of substantial controversy in discussions on constitutional reform. A significant element of political opinion advocated the abolition of or the radical transformation of the Procuracy.

Moldova's judicial system is based on a network of local courts and higher-level appeals courts, with the highest court being the Supreme Court (Curte Suprema). Judges do not have a tradition of political impartiality and independence, and the role of defense attorneys is limited. The government of Moldova has initiated reform efforts, but corruption and a lack of organization continue to plague the legal system. Many former Soviet-era judges and chief prosecutors were replaced in 1990 and 1991 during a parliamentary review, but an independent judiciary was still not realized. The system was being reviewed in 1995.


Moldova - Local Government


Below the central government, Moldova is divided administratively into forty raioane (sing., raion; rayon/rayony, in Russian; see Glossary), as in the Soviet period. Each raion is governed by a locally elected council. Raion councils elect executive committees from among their members. The heads of these executive committees are the chief executive officers of the raioane. City and village governments are organized much like the raion- level governments. In addition to the raioane, Chisinau (the national capital), Balti, Bender, and Tiraspol are designated municipalities and are directly subordinate to the national government.

In 1991 the national government began work on an administrative reorganization intended to alter this structure and to reintroduce a system of counties (judete), communes, and villages similar to the one that had been in effect during the interwar period, and one that was still in use in Romania. Under the new system, the counties would consolidate functions carried out by the smaller raioane, and local executives would be elected directly. However, this effort was stalled by the secession of Transnistria and the declaration of sovereignty by the Gagauz region, and the Parliament elected in 1994 put the matter aside.


Moldova - Political Parties


In 1993 more than twenty political parties and movements were registered in Moldova. Until 1990 the Communist Party of Moldavia (CPM) was the dominant political force in the republic. It had controlled the administrative, economic, and cultural affairs of the Moldavian SSR from its establishment until 1990. During that period, CPM officials monopolized virtually all politically significant government positions. However, once democratic elections were decided upon, the party's power disintegrated swiftly. The CPM was formally banned in August 1991, following the abortive August coup d'état against Soviet president Gorbachev, but former communists continue to participate actively in politics through their membership in a variety of successor organizations.

In the wake of the 1990 elections, the Moldovan Popular Front, founded in 1989 and consisting of an association of independent cultural and political groups, moved into a commanding position in the country's political life. It emerged as an advocate of increased autonomy from the Soviet Union and of the rights of the Moldavian SSR's ethnic Romanian population. Popular Front delegates were able to dominate proceedings in the Supreme Soviet and to select a government made up of individuals who supported its agenda. The Popular Front was well organized nationally, with its strongest support in the capital and in areas of the country most heavily populated by ethnic Romanians. Once the organization was in power, however, internal disputes led to a sharp fall in popular support, and it fragmented into several competing factions by early 1993. In February 1993, the Popular Front was reformed as the Christian Democratic Popular Front (CDPF).

Several other parties, primarily composed of ethnic Romanians, were organized after 1990. The largest and most influential of these ethnically based parties is the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova, which is a coalition of former communists and moderate to status-quo supporters of Moldovan statehood and closer economic ties with Russia. The party's support comes mainly from the rural populace, economic conservatives, and ethnic minorities opposed to reunification with Romania. The Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova won a majority of the votes in the 1994 parliamentary election.

A much smaller but still influential political group is the Social Democratic Party of Moldova. Most of the Social Democrats' leaders originally participated in the Popular Front but later formed their own organization in response to what they perceived as the increasingly nationalistic position of that party. The Social Democrats are multiethnic, and their constituency consists mainly of educated professional and managerial groups. Their support is strongest in the republic's capital.

Another independent formation committed to promoting a less nationalistic agenda for the republic, the Democratic Party for the Rebirth and Prosperity of Moldova (PDRPM), was formed in late 1990. The PDRPM draws its support primarily from among ethnic Romanian intellectuals and is active primarily in the capital.

At the other extreme of the political spectrum is the National Christian Party (NCP). The NCP is more expressly nationalistic than the Popular Front and its other competitors-- Congress of the Intelligentsia (which is a component of the Congress of Peasants and Intellectuals, a bloc in the 1994 elections), the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Labor Party- -and it campaigned openly for reunification with Romania during the 1994 election. Other parties active in the 1994 campaign for the Parliament were the Reform Party, the Yedinstvo/Socialist Bloc, the Republican Party, the Democratic Labor Party, the Green Alliance, the Women's Association of Moldova, and the Victims of Totalitarian Repression.

In late 1993, former Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi, along with several other leading members of Parliament unhappy with the direction of policy under the existing government, formed yet another party, the Socialist Workers' Party, in order to counter what they saw as the excessively conservative influence of the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova. Non-Romanian ethnic communities have also formed political organizations representing their interests. In the early transition period, the most influential of these was the Yedinstvo-Unitatea Intermovement. Yedinstvo, whose members include not only Russians but also Ukrainians, Bulgarians, and other Russian-speaking residents of the republic, is politically conservative in its support of the pre-1990 status quo. Based primarily in Transnistria, it is strongly pro-Russian. In Parliament, its positions are represented by the Conciliere legislative club.

Yedinstvo emerged in 1988 from the mobilization of Russianspeaking workers responding to efforts to alter the republic's language laws and demote the status of the Russian language. During the transition period, Yedinstvo was the most effective and influential minority nationalist organization. Its representatives walked out of the first session of the democratically elected Moldavian Supreme Soviet in 1990. In local elections, its adherents won control over local and raion governments throughout Transnistria.

Gagauz Halkî (Gagauz People) is a second pivotal minority political group, formed to represent Moldova's population of approximately 153,000 Gagauz. Like the Russian-speaking community in Transnistria, with whom they had been close political allies, Gagauz nationalists gained control over local government in the five southern raioane, where their numbers continue to be concentrated. Like the Transnistrians, the Gagauz declared themselves sovereign in 1990.


Moldova - The 1990 Elections


The first democratic elections for the Supreme Soviet were held in February and March 1990. Delegates were elected for terms of four years in 380 single-member electoral districts (by early 1993 this number had decreased to 332 following removals and resignations). Electoral rules called for candidates to be nominated by electoral districts rather than by "social organizations," as had been the practice previously. Meetings of work collectives of 100 persons and residents' meetings of fifty or more persons were empowered to nominate candidates.

In order to be elected, candidates had to receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast in an electoral district. When there was no victor in the first round of elections, the two candidates with the highest number of votes competed against each other in a second round.

In 1990 the republic was divided by the secession of separatist regions and by the outbreak of widespread fighting in Transnistria. At the same time, economic crisis loomed, a result of the collapse of the economic institutions of the Soviet Union. The Moldovan government pursued reforms to address this crisis, but progress toward a market economy was slow, partly as a result of the government's preoccupation with the conflicts among the ethnic groups and partly because of resistance to reform on the part of those with vested interests in the communist system.

In contrast to the artificial quiescence that characterized previous contests, the 1990 elections saw considerable controversy. While national CPM officials, including then-First Secretary Petru Lucinschi, promoted open access to the political process, local communist officials in many areas used traditional means to retain power. Reformers complained that local electoral commissions were controlled by "enemies of restructuring" and that the administrative apparatus was being used to subvert the nominating process.

Just as important in determining the outcome of the election as bureaucratic resistance, however, was the Popular Front's organizational weakness in many localities outside the capital, especially in comparison with the local strength of the CPM's rural party apparatus. Despite these difficulties, Popular Frontapproved candidates were on the ballot in 219 out of Moldova's 380 electoral districts by the February 25 election date. Meanwhile, the CPM, enjoying a rebound in popularity and effectiveness under Lucinschi's direction, accounted for 86 percent of all candidates.

A high degree of cooperation between the Popular Front and reformers within the CPM hierarchy was also evident during the early transition period. On February 11, 1990, the Popular Front, with the support of government authorities, had organized a "Republic's Voters Meeting" in Chisinau. This was attended by more than 100,000 people and was addressed by Lucinschi and other high-level communist officials.

Among the candidates supported by the Popular Front one could find the names of ranking CPM members such as Mircea Snegur. A Central Committee secretary since 1985, Snegur was appointed chairman of the Presidium of the Moldavian Supreme Soviet by the staunchly antireform CPM leader Simion Grossu in July 1989. By early 1990, however, Snegur had realigned himself with the Popular Front and its political program.

The results of the first round of elections in February confirmed the main trends that had appeared during the nominating process. Competitive races were held in 373 of the 380 districts, and turnout was 84 percent of the electorate. In the 140 contests decided without a runoff, reformers claimed victory for fiftynine of the candidates, although 115 of the total elected were CPM members (some of whom were supported by the Popular Front). As during the nominating phase, reformers alleged that significant violations of the election law had occurred, despite the Central Electoral Commission's finding of no major infractions.

The second round of elections, held on March 10, 1990, filled the bulk of positions in the republic's Supreme Soviet and had a decisive impact on the country's political life. A fall in turnout for the second round, to 75 percent of the electorate, appears to have hurt the performance of the Popular Front, which won in only forty-two out of 237 districts, a considerably weaker showing than in the February contest. With the conclusion of the runoff, 305 of the deputies to the new Supreme Soviet were CPM members; 101 of the Supreme Soviet deputies were selected from the list supported by the Popular Front. With the support of deputies sympathetic to its views, however, the Popular Front could control more than half of the votes in the new Supreme Soviet.

Political Developments in the Wake of the 1990 Elections

As the political influence of the Popular Front increased in the wake of the elections, the powerful faction of Romanian nationalists within the organization became increasingly vocal in the pursuit of their agenda. The nationalists argued that the Popular Front should immediately use its majority in the Supreme Soviet to attain independence from Russian domination, end migration into the republic, and improve the status of ethnic Romanians.

Yedinstvo and its supporters within the Supreme Soviet argued against independence from the Soviet Union, against implementation of the August 1989 Law on State Language (making Moldovan written in the Latin alphabet the country's official language), and for increased autonomy for minority areas. Hence, clashes occurred almost immediately once the new Supreme Soviet began its inaugural session in April 1990. Popular Front representatives, for example, entered a motion to rename the Supreme Soviet the National Council (Sfatul Tarii, the name of the 1917 legislature), which, they argued was in keeping with national tradition. Although this motion failed, it provoked an acerbic public exchange among the deputies, which made subsequent cooperation difficult at best. A second controversial motion, on establishing a Moldovan flag (three equal vertical stripes of bright blue, yellow, and red, like the Romanian flag, but with Moldova's coat of arms in the center), passed in the Supreme Soviet but was widely and conspicuously disregarded by its opponents.

The selection of a new legislative leadership also provoked political confrontation. Those appointed to high-level posts were overwhelmingly ethnic Romanians, a situation that left minority activists little hope that their interests would be effectively represented in deliberations on key issues. Ethnic Romanians accounted for only 70 percent of the Supreme Soviet as a whole but for 83 percent of the leadership. All five of the top positions in the Supreme Soviet were held by ethnic Romanians, as were eighteen of twenty positions in the new Council of Ministers.

Faced with what they considered a concerted effort by ethnic Romanian nationalists to dominate the republic, conservatives and minority activists banded together and began to resist majority initiatives. Organized in the Supreme Soviet as the Soviet Moldavia (Sovetskaya Moldaviya) faction, the antireformers became increasingly inflexible.

As confrontation grew among legislative leaders, initiatives undertaken at the local level drew the republic into worsening interethnic conflict. In the minority regions, local forces actively resisted what they considered to be discriminatory legislation from Chisinau. May Day celebrations in Tiraspol became mass protests against the republic's Supreme Soviet. The Tiraspol, Bender, and Rîbnita city councils, as well as the Rîbnita raion council, each passed measures suspending application of the flag law in their territories.

Deputies from Tiraspol and Bender, unable to block legislation they considered inimical to their interests, announced their intention to withdraw from the Supreme Soviet. Pro-Popular Front demonstrators outside the Supreme Soviet responded to what they perceived as the obstructionism of minority legislators by becoming increasingly hostile. Following a series of confrontations in the capital, a leading legislative representative of Yedinstvo was badly beaten; 100 deputies associated with the Russian-speaking Soviet Moldavia faction withdrew from the Supreme Soviet on May 24, 1990.

A new reformist government, with Mircea Druc as chairman of the Council of Ministers, took over that same day after the previous government suffered a vote of no confidence. The many changes wrought by this government included a ban on the CPM, a ban on political parties becoming in effect synonymous with the government, and the outlawing of government censorship. In June 1990, the country changed its name from the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova and declared its sovereignty.

Increasing strain between nationalists and their opponents had become apparent since the opening session of the Supreme Soviet. In the culmination of this trend, delegates to the second congress of the Popular Front passed measures signaling a clear break with the CPM and took an openly nationalistic direction. The Popular Front's new program called for the country to be renamed the Romanian Republic of Moldova, for its citizens to be called "Romanians," and for the Romanian language to be designated the language of the republic. The program also called for the return of ethnic Romanian-inhabited areas transferred to Ukraine when the Moldavian SSR was formed and for the withdrawal of Soviet forces.

The Popular Front's promotion of this agenda, which was perceived by minority populations to be expressly nationalistic in character, inexorably fractionalized the population. Many of Moldova's ethnic Romanians also perceived the Popular Front as extremist, excessively pro-Romanian, and ineffectual. The opposition was able to bring the public's general dissatisfaction with the Popular Front into focus and eventually bring about a reversal in the political fortunes of the Popular Front.


Moldova - Conflict in Transnistria and Gagauzia


As the summer of 1990 advanced, the country's initially inchoate political divisions transformed themselves into competing governmental authorities. Delegates to city and raion councils in Transnistria and in the Gagauz region met independently with their Supreme Soviet delegates and called for regional autonomy. Republic-level officials denounced these efforts as separatist and treasonable.

As efforts to reach some form of accord foundered, more decisive measures were taken. On August 21, 1990, the Gagauz announced the formation of the "Gagauz Republic" in the five southern raioane where their population was concentrated, separate from the Moldavian SSR and part of the Soviet Union. The Transnistrians followed suit on September 2, proclaiming the formation of the "Dnestr Moldavian Republic," with its capital at Tiraspol, as a part of the Soviet Union.

It was under these circumstances that violence broke out in the fall of 1990. A decision by Gagauz leaders to hold a referendum on the question of local sovereignty was intensely opposed by the republic's government and by the Popular Front. Rival political forces mobilized volunteer detachments to defend their competing interests by force. Adding to the volatility of the conflict between the Gagauz and the ethnic Romanians, militia forces from Transnistria entered the Gagauz region to support the sovereignty movement there.

In the Transnistrian city of Dubasari, the militia seized the city council building as part of its preparations for a referendum on autonomy in the region. When the republic's police sought to retake the building, new forces were mobilized from ethnic Romanian regions as well as from Russian-speaking regions. In the ensuing conflict, three persons were killed and dozens more wounded.

Relations between the separatists and the republic's government were characterized by mutual denunciations and sporadic violence from late 1990 until early 1992, when conditions took a sharp turn for the worse. As efforts among Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania to mediate the conflict floundered and as the Transnistrian separatists consolidated their position with the support of Russia's 14th Army, pressure built on President Snegur to take decisive action to resolve the conflict.

In late March 1992, Snegur declared a state of emergency across the republic, and soon afterward the government made an effort to disarm the separatists' militia. These efforts were met by armed resistance, which, by May 1992, had escalated into a full-scale civil war as weapons released to the Transnistrians by the 14th Army were used against Moldovan military units.

By the close of the summer, more than 300 people had been killed in the conflict, and more than 1,000 had been wounded. A large part of the city of Bender, which had become a focal point of the conflict, had been devastated; thousands of refugees flooded out of the region.

Easing of Tensions

While combat in the civil war remained at a bloody stalemate into mid-1992, the political situation in Moldova changed dramatically, at least partly as a consequence of popular dissatisfaction with the conflict. In the first stage of the realignment, former CPM First Secretary Lucinschi was named ambassador to Russia. Lucinschi, the highest-ranking "Moldavian" outside of the country during the communist era, was able to use his connections with the Moscow political elite to promote accommodation.

Soon afterward, in July 1992, Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi (who had replaced Mircea Druc) was replaced by Andrei Sangheli of the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova. Sangheli was a former CPM raion committee first secretary and member of the Council of Ministers. Sangheli's new government included significantly improved minority representation and promised a more efficient economic reform program, as well as a more moderate approach to the ethnic conflict.

By taking this more flexible approach, Moldova was able to reduce the level of violence involved in the separatist dispute, if not to bring the conflict to an end. But the shift in policy direction precipitated a strong backlash from the more extreme elements of the Popular Front, which felt that it was slipping from power. This and popular dissatisfaction with the failing economy forced a fundamental political reorientation.

In December 1992, President Snegur, who clearly supported the more conciliatory course, touched off a crisis by delivering a speech to Parliament in which he laid out a course of foreign policy based on the pursuit of national independence. Snegur warned against the extremes of either unification with Romania or reintegration into some form of alliance with Russia. His public position against efforts to promote unification further soured relations between himself and the Popular Front and at the same time sharpened divisions between moderates and more extreme nationalists within the Popular Front itself.

Fallout from Snegur's speech was almost immediate. In early January 1993, Alexandru Mosanu, chair of the Moldovan Parliament, offered his resignation, citing the differences between himself and the president of the republic and complaining about tendencies within the government favoring the previous political system.

If, as some suggest, Mosanu's resignation was intended to rally support in an effort to undermine President Snegur, it failed miserably. Not only was the resignation accepted, but Parliament voted overwhelmingly to replace Mosanu with Petru Lucinschi, a leader of those very forces about which Mosanu had warned.


Moldova - Lucinschi and Political Realignment


Lucinschi's election on February 4, 1993, to the leading position in Parliament marked the peak of a process of political realignment in Moldova. By early 1993, the Popular Front, now named the Christian Democratic Popular Front (CDPF) was in neartotal disarray. Moderate intellectuals (such as Mosanu), who had added tremendously to the prestige of the Popular Front during its early years, organized the "Congress of Intellectuals" in order to promote a nationalistic, but less extreme, agenda. As a result, they were expelled from the CDPF in mid-May.

As a consequence of factionalism and defection, the CDPF's voting strength in Parliament was reduced to approximately twenty-five deputies. With the CDPF in decline, power shifted to the bloc of Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova deputies (the Viata Satului legislative club), which, with support from independent deputies, was able to play a dominant role in Parliament.

Lucinschi's election and the realignment of forces among the deputies brought Parliament into much closer alignment with President Snegur and Prime Minister Sangheli's government on the ethnic conflict. As a consequence, Moldova was better positioned than it had been in the previous two years to end the infighting that had characterized its political life during that time. There was hope that Moldova's leaders would be able to resolve the ongoing civil conflict, which had, of necessity, been the dominant issue in the republic since its inception, and to proceed with the reforms that Moldova so desperately needed.

At the same time, the realignment moved Moldova's government into a more conservative position with respect to economic and political reform, marginalizing legislators who were elected as opposition candidates and vesting more power in the hands of those who were originally elected as representatives of the CPM. In particular, the realignment gave near-veto power to the bloc of Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova deputies, many of whom were state and collective farm presidents. Although the great majority of these individuals supported democratic politics, the strength of their commitment to the transition to a market economy was questionable.

Despite the powerful combination of government, the presidency, and Lucinschi's parliamentary leadership working in harmony, the hopelessly tangled web of factions and rivalries within Parliament could not be overcome, and legislation ground to a halt. The pro-Romanian faction objected, but a vote was taken to dissolve parliament and hold early Parliamentary elections.


Moldova - The 1994 Elections


Campaigning for the February 27, 1994, parliamentary elections revolved around economic reform, competing strategies for resolving the separatist crises, and relations with both the CIS and Romania. Debate on the issues of moving to a market economy, privatization, land reform, and foreign policy was polarized.

The results of the election quickly changed the course of Moldovan politics and stood in sharp contrast to the results of the 1990 election. Nationalist and pro-Romanian forces were rejected overwhelmingly in favor of those backing Moldova's independence and in favor of accommodating ethnic minorities.

Under laws passed in preparation for the February 27, 1994, elections, the Parliament was reduced from 380 seats to a more manageable 104. Fifty of these delegates were selected from fifty newly drawn single-member districts, and the remainder were elected from larger multimember districts on the basis of proportional representation. Candidates were nominated by voters (independent candidates had to submit petitions with at least 1,000 signatures), political parties, or "sociopolitical organizations"; parties had to receive at least 4 percent of the vote to be accorded seats.

The Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova won a majority of fifty-six of the 104 seats, followed by the Yedinstvo/Socialist Bloc with twenty-eight seats. Two pro-Romanian unification parties did not do well: the Congress of Peasants and Intellectuals won eleven seats, and the CPDF won nine seats. A number of other parties did not get a high enough percentage of the popular vote to be represented in the new Parliament.

In March the chair of Parliament, Petru Lucinschi, was elected to his post, and the prime minister, Andrei Sangheli, was reappointed to his post. In April Parliament approved a new Council of Ministers, Moldova's membership in the CIS, and Moldova's signing of a CIS charter on economic union (although the country would not participate in political or military integration within the CIS). A referendum on March 6, 1994, confirmed the country's course of political independence for the future: the Moldovan electorate voted overwhelmingly for Moldova to maintain its territorial integrity.

Now that the legislative logjam was broken, Parliament was able to work on a new constitution, which it ratified on July 28 and implemented August 27, 1994. The new constitution granted substantial autonomy to Transnistria and the "Gagauz Republic" while reasserting Moldovan national identity and sovereignty. Gagauzia (in Romanian; Gagauz-Yeri, in Gagauz) would have cultural, administrative, and economic (but not territorial) autonomy and would elect a regional legislative assembly, which in turn would elect a guvernator (in Romanian; baskan, in Gagauz), who would also be a member of the Moldovan government. This was ratified by Parliament in January 1995.

Members of the Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova held a cautious attitude toward marketization and privatization, leading experts to believe that progress in economic reform would be slow, but would be more consistent and better implemented than previously. The hard-line nationalists and the former communists could not vote as a majority to block progress.


Moldova - Human Rights


The adoption of Moldova's constitution of August 27, 1994, codified certain basic human rights (including the rights to private property, individual freedom and personal security, freedom of movement, privacy of correspondence, freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of assembly), which were observed more in the breach during the Soviet era. However, the constitution still contains language that could limit the activities of political parties and the press.

Although there is not government censorship of Moldova's independent periodicals and its radio stations and cable television stations, journalists complain that editors encourage them to soften their criticisms of government officials for fear of confrontation and possible retribution. This seems to be a well-grounded fear in Transnistria, where the authorities have cut off funding for two newspapers for occasionally criticizing some government policies and have physically attacked a cable television station for broadcasting reports critical of the authorities.

In 1994 Parliament considered a new law on the press, which journalists criticized strongly because it limited their right to criticize government policies. After reviewing recommendations from the Council of Europe and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Parliament liberalized the law but left some restrictions that appear to be aimed at writings favoring reunification with Romania and those questioning Moldova's right to exist.

The Moldovan Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of National Security were investigated on several occasions in 1994 as to whether they had exceeded their legislated authority. They were accused of monitoring political opposition members and using unauthorized wiretaps. There were also claims of interference with opposition activities during the campaign preceding the 1994 elections, but there was no public investigation of those charges. The police, subordinate to the Ministry of Interior, are known to use beatings in their dealings with some detainees and prisoners.

Reform of the judiciary (to bring it more into line with Western practices) was approved, but Parliament had not passed the laws needed to implement it by the end of 1994. For example, prosecutors rather than judges issue search and arrest warrants, there is no judicial review of search warrants, and courts do not exclude evidence obtained illegally. There are also reports that local prosecutors have brought unjustified charges against individuals in retaliation for accusations of official corruption or for political reasons.

Trials in Moldova are generally open to the public, and the accused has the right to appeal. Bail does not exist, but release usually may be arranged by obtaining a written guarantee by a friend or family member that the accused will appear in court.

Because the security forces and the government of the "Dnestr Republic" are so closely connected, human rights abuses in Transnistria are more flagrant. The worst of the abuses in Transnistria occurred in 1992, during the height of the fighting. There were reports of beatings, ill treatment, abduction, torture, and even the murder of civilians by members of the police and the so-called Republic Guard. Requests for visits by Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross were routinely refused.

In Transnistria four of the six ethnic Romanians of the "Tiraspol Six" remain in prison following their conviction in 1993 for allegedly assassinating two Transnistrian officials. The fairness of the trial was seriously questioned by international human rights groups, and there were allegations that the defendants were prosecuted solely because of their membership in the CDPF.

Moldova has several local human rights groups, which maintain contacts with international organizations, including Helsinki Watch and Helsinki Citizens Assembly. The government does not interfere with human rights groups' operations.


Moldova - The Media


The main daily newspaper in the republic, Moldova Suverana, is published by the government. Sfatul Tarii is published by Parliament, which also publishes the daily Nezavisimaya Moldova in Russian. Other principal newspapers include Rabochiy Tiraspol' (in Russian, the main newspaper of the Slavs in Transnistria), Tara, Tineretul Moldovei/Molodëzh Moldovy (in Romanian and Russian), and Viata satului (published by the government). The main cultural publication in Moldova is the weekly journal Literatura si arts, published by the Union of Writers of Moldova. Other principal periodicals include Basarabia (also published by the writers' union), Chiparus, Alunelul, Femeie Moldovei, Lanterna Magica, Moldova, Noi, and SudEst . Kishinëvskiye novosti, Kodry, and Russkoye slovo are Russian-language periodicals. Other minority-language periodicals include Prosvita and Homin in Ukrainian, Ana sözu and Cîrlangaci in Gagauz, Rodno slovo in Bulgarian, and Undzer col/Nash golos in Yiddish and Russian. In all, 240 newspapers (ninety-seven in Romanian) and sixty-eight magazines (thirty-five in Romanian) were being published in the republic in 1990. Basa Press, an independent news service, was established in November 1992.




In the wake of its proclamation of sovereignty in 1990, Moldova's main diplomatic efforts were directed toward establishing new relationships with the Soviet Union's successor states, establishing diplomatic links with other national governments and international bodies, gaining international recognition, and enlisting international support to resolve the conflict in Transnistria. Although substantial gains have been made in each of these areas, Moldova's foreign policy efforts have been complicated by its geographic position, its history, and the ongoing ethnic conflict within its borders.

After it declared independence, Moldova made significant progress in international relations in a relatively short period of time. The first state to recognize Moldova's independence was neighboring Romania. By early 1995, Moldova had been recognized by more than 170 states, including the United States (which extended recognition on December 25, 1991), although foreign diplomatic presence in Chisinau remains limited.

As of early 1995, Moldova had been admitted to several international organizations, including the CSCE (renamed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, in January 1995), the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, and the Community of Riparian Countries of the Black Sea. It also had observer status at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the successor to GATT.

By mid-1994 Moldova had accepted all relevant arms control obligations of the former Soviet Union. It had ratified the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty (with its comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment). Even though Moldova had not acceded to the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it had indicated that it intended to do so.

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Moldova - Commonwealth of Independent States


The domestic political ramifications of Moldova's civil conflict in Transnistria were matched by its effect on foreign relations. Domestic sentiments limited the foreign policy flexibility of the government in dealing with the former Soviet Union. Although President Snegur signed the Minsk Agreement (which created the CIS; see Appendix C) on December 8, 1991, and the Alma-Ata Declaration (which expanded the membership of the CIS; see Appendix D) on December 21, 1991, Moldova's Parliament, strongly influenced by the Popular Front bloc of delegates, refused to ratify the agreements.

Further, along with Ukraine and Turkmenistan, Moldova refused to sign a January 1993 agreement that would have strengthened political and economic integration among CIS members. It thus embarked upon a difficult course of independence, maneuvering between Russia and Romania, both of which have strong interests in the region, and each of which is more powerful than the young republic. It was only in April 1994 that the new Parliament finally approved Moldova's membership in the CIS and signed a CIS charter on economic union.


Moldova - Romania


The relationship between Moldova and Romania, while generally good, is far from trouble free. Although Romania was the first state to recognize Moldova and has provided substantial support to the new republic in relation to Bucharest's means, ties between the two Romanian-speaking states are fraught with political difficulties for both countries.

The relationship between Romania and Moldova began to deteriorate shortly after Moldova's independence. Because of their different histories, with Moldova part of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union, Moldovans and Romanians have different attitudes about basic social and political issues, such as the extent of social payments (i.e. welfare). Many Romanians see the Moldovans as "Russified" and hold the condescending view that they are in need of assistance to overcome their cultural disabilities. This has been a source of growing resentment among the majority of Moldovans.

For his part, Romania's president, Ion Iliescu, worked consistently to maintain a positive relationship with Russia. On the one hand, moves on his part that could be seen as destabilizing the interethnic balance in Moldova and tipping it toward civil war would be potentially disastrous for his country, both in the limited sense of setting back Russian-Romanian relations and in the more serious sense of potentially drawing Russia into a regional conflict. On the other hand, any precipitous move on the part of Moldova in the direction of Romania would immediately raise fears of imminent unification with Romania among the Russian-speaking population and among the Gagauz and would feed interethnic hostility in the republic. The March 6, 1994, referendum confirmed to all interested parties, in no uncertain terms, that the populace of Moldova is not in favor of reuniting with any country.

In late 1994, President Iliescu made comments questioning Moldova's independent status. Although relations between the two countries remain cordial, these comments reflected the Romanian nationalistic parties' greater influence in national politics and in the parliament.


Moldova - Russia


In the case of Russia, interethnic conflict in Moldova produced results similar to those that followed outbreaks of violence in other former republics of the Soviet Union soon after they had proclaimed their independence. Intrinsically, Moldova was probably of little interest to Moscow, but the presence of an ethnic Russian minority in Moldova altered Moscow's perspective. Moldova's ethnic Russians found the prospect of Moldova's reunification with Romania alarming, because it would alter their status from that of a large and politically powerful force to that of a small and politically powerless minority. Moldova was geographically important to both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union because it formed part of the border of both. In this way, it formed a barrier between Russia itself (in both cases, the ruling entity) and the outside world.

Although officially neutral, the Russian 14th Army (stationed in Transnistria) played a vital role in the conflict between the government of Moldova and the "Dnestr Republic." Its commanders permitted the transfer of weapons from their stockpiles in Moldova to the Transnistrian militia and volunteered the services of "Cossack" forces that entered the region once fighting broke out (there were approximately 1,000 "Cossacks" in Transnistria in 1994). Furthermore, strong indications suggested that elements of the 14th Army actively intervened on the side of the separatists during the fighting, using their heavy weapons to turn the tide in the fighting when necessary.

Eventually, however, it became evident that the Transnistria conflict was not about ethnic issues (especially once implementation of the language law of 1989 was delayed, and the Popular Front extremists lost much of their power), but about political systems. The Transnistrian leadership wanted to return to the days of the Soviet Union and was wary of the Yeltsin government (it never repudiated its support of the August 1991 coup d'état) and the reformists.

In July 1992, an agreement negotiated by presidents Snegur and Yeltsin established a cease-fire in Transnistria, which brought an end to the worst of the fighting in Moldova. Transnistria was given special status within Moldova and was granted the right to determine its future should Moldova reunite with Romania. Russian, Transnistrian, and Moldovan peacekeeping troops subsequently were introduced into Transnistria.

Maintaining the agreement was, however, complicated by the instability of Russia's central government and by the implications of the 14th Army's involvement for Russia's domestic politics. The 14th Army's commander, Lieutenant General Aleksandr V. Lebed', was politically extremely conservative and, despite repeated warnings from his superiors to restrain himself, had stated publicly that he would not "abandon" Transnistria's ethnic Russians. Like Lebed', Russia's conservatives generally considered abandonment of the ethnic Russian minority to be an anathema. In 1995 nationalists in Russia (whose strength was growing) were ready to protect the "rights" of Russians in the "near abroad" and would, no doubt, politically attack moderates who might be willing to end the conflict through compromise.

By 1994, however, relations between the Transnistrian leadership and the 14th Army had deteriorated to the point that both sides were accusing each other of corruption (including arms trafficking, drug running, and money laundering) and political provocation. General Lebed' also saw many in the Transnistrian leadership as not cooperating with Russian efforts to mediate the conflict and as actively hampering the peace process.

After the 1994 change in Moldova's government, compromises were made by both the Moldovan and the Russian governments to improve relations over the issue of Transnistria. The status of the 14th Army was scheduled to be reduced to that of an "operational group," General Lebed' was to be released from his position, and the number of officers was to be reduced. The two countries signed an agreement in October on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria within three years. Moldova accepted a linkage between withdrawing Russian troops and achieving a political solution to the conflict in Transnistria. Transnistrian observers, who had feared that the Yeltsin government would strike a deal without their consent, saw the agreement as a blow to their existence as a Russian entity (and also to their illegal money-making activities) and walked out of the negotiations.

However, peace was not to come so easily to Transnistria. The October 1994 agreement was a "gentlemen's agreement" that was signed by the two prime ministers and was to be approved by the two governments, but would not be submitted to the countries' parliaments. The Moldovan government approved the agreement immediately, but the Russian government did not, citing the need to submit it to the Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament), although it still had not submitted the agreement in mid-1995.

According to General Lebed', three years was not enough time to withdraw the 14th Army and its matériel (although an American company working in Belarus offered to buy the 14th Army's ordnance and destroy it). Some members of Russia's Duma flatly refused to consider withdrawing the 14th Army. Under these circumstances, there was little hope for the agreement to be implemented.

In mid-1995 General Lebed' resigned in protest over the still-scheduled downgrading of the 14th Army. He was believed to be a likely candidate in the 1996 Russian presidential elections.


Moldova - Ukraine


Moldova's relationship with Ukraine, another important player in the Transnistrian conflict, is also complicated. Historically, areas that were traditionally part of the region of Moldova or Romania (northern Bukovina, Herta, and southern Bessarabia), and that continue to be inhabited in part by ethnic Romanians, were annexed by Ukraine when the Moldavian SSR was formed. The potential claims on these territories created tension between the two neighbors in the early years of Moldova's independence, when the Popular Front made public demands for restitution.

Another potential problem is the presence of a large ethnic Ukrainian minority in Moldova. Ethnic Ukrainians have sided with the local ethnic Russians in the dispute over Moldova's language law, and many ethnic Ukrainians have supported the separatist effort in Transnistria. However, the government of Moldova took significant measures to meet the demands of the Ukrainian minority for cultural autonomy and appears to have met with substantial success in defusing opposition to Moldova's Language Law.

In 1995 potential problems between Ukraine and Moldova were subordinate to what had emerged as a strong common interest in containing the Transnistrian conflict. Given their own dispute with Russia concerning the status of Crimea, Ukrainians had little interest in supporting the presence of Russian military units outside Russia.

As a more practical question, it was not in Ukraine's interest to have a large and well-equipped Russian military formation based in neighboring Transnistria. The 14th Army could reach Russia only by traversing Ukrainian territory or airspace, so its presence could only be seen as a potential source of danger and instability. Therefore, it is not surprising that Ukrainian president Leonid M. Kravchuk made several statements supporting Moldova's position in the Transnistrian conflict, protested the movement of "Cossack" volunteers across Ukrainian territory to Transnistria, and refused to recognize Transnistrian claims to sovereignty.


Moldova - Turkey


Politically moderate Gagauz received support from Turkey, which urged the leadership of the "Gagauz Republic" to negotiate with the Moldovan government rather than resort to violence, as had been the case in Transnistria. Turkish president Süleyman Demirel visited the "Gagauz Republic" in mid-1994, urging the Gagauz to accept regional autonomy and to be loyal citizens of Moldova. Turkey pledged to invest US$35 million in the Gagauz region via Chisinau.


Moldova - United States


Moldova has pursued cooperation with, and has strived to maintain good relations with, the West. It has joined a number of international organizations and has been responsive to foreign concerns about the pace of its conversion to capitalism. A January 1995 trip by President Snegur to the United States was the setting for an announcement by President William J. Clinton of additional assistance to Moldova for its privatization program and for economic restructuring. Moldova has also signed bilateral treaties with European Union (EU) members.


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CITATION: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Studies Series. Published 1988-1999.

Please note: This text comes from the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.

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