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MOLDOVA


 

 
Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 1,621 1,500 1,300 144
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 460 400 400 162
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Moldova

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
33,843 

Population 
4,439,502

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Moldovans 64.5%
Ukrainians 13.8%
Russians 13.0%

Capital 
Kishinev 
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President 
Vladimir Voronin

  

Background:
Formerly ruled by Romania, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Nistru (Dnister) River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic. One of the poorest nations in Europe and plagued by a moribund economy, in 2001 Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a communist as its president. 

Update No: 279 - (23/03/04)

The Moldovans are fast slipping back into the Russian fold. They have an ethnic Russian as president, Vladimir Voronin a communist, who does as Moscow demands. The ultimate destiny of Moldova is likely to be joining up to the Belarus- Russia Union, but only if it has already become the Belarus-Russia-Ukraine Union.
That is why a lot depends on what happens in elections in Ukraine in October. If the popular opposition figure, Victor Yushchenko, gets in with full powers, then his pro-Western positions would keep Ukraine, and a fortiori Moldova, out of the Union. It is not a satisfactory situation for the integrity of one state to depend on the political vagaries of another, let alone two, Ukraine and Russia.

Russia shows its hand
Moldova has welcomed a plan proposed by Moscow in November to resolve the dispute between itself and its secessionist region of Transdniester. It calls for Moldova to become a demilitarized federation in which Transdniester would have special status. The federation would recognize Russian and Romanian as official languages. The plan calls for the country to vote on a new constitution in October 2004. 
Russia presented the plan on November 17th to Moldova and Transdniester and to fellow mediators Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Russian-speaking Transdniester declared independence from then-Soviet Moldova in 1990. 
Moldovan forces and separatists fought a short war in 1992 that ended when Russian troops imposed a truce. 
The two sides have yet to reach an agreement on the status of the region, where some 2,500 Russian soldiers are still based

Communist grip is tenacious
The fundamental problem is that the Moldovans now have the distinction of belonging to the poorest country in Europe, Albania having overtaken them in the 2000s. They also have the only Communist government left in Europe, no great coincidence. The democratic opposition is dispersed and disunited, unlike Belarus where a new bloc has formed against the dictatorship. The Moldovans would do well to take Belarus as a model here.
The Moldovans are to have their own elections to parliament in February 2005, which decides everything in Moldova because the president is elected by parliament, not the people. 
Last time the Communists got 50.7% of the vote, but secured 71% of the parliamentary seats, plus the presidency, due to the bias inherent in their proportional system. It will not be easy for the fractious opposition to dislodge them next time round. They will need copious external assistance, conditional on their unity.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Moldovan president, Bosnian foreign minister discuss ties


Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, met Bosnia-Hercegovina Foreign Minister, Mladen Ivanic, recently , Moldova One TV reported.
The sides underlined their mutual interest in bilateral and multilateral cooperation in various areas. They also mentioned the fact that the Moldovan-Bosnian dialogue was given an impetus after Vladimir Voronin's recent visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The two dignitaries also mentioned the importance of signing the first five bilateral agreement between the countries during the visit. The president mentioned a constructive dialogue between the states both within the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe as well as within other international organizations.

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FOREIGN LOANS

IFAD offers credit to Moldova

The International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) will release US$15m in 2004 in a preferential credit to Moldova for developing entrepreneurship in agriculture, the republic's office said recently, New Europe reported. 
It specified that the loan would be issued on favourable terms for 40 years at 1.75% per year. The attracted resources will be allotted to local authorities for supporting a private initiative. Moldovan Deputy Finance Minister, Mariana Durlesteanu, will sign the credit agreement with the International Fund for Agriculture Development on behalf of her government.

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