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MOLDOVA


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 1,964 1,621 1,500 141
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 590 460 400 157
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Moldova

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
33,843 

Population 
4,446,455

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

Capital 
Kishinev 
(Chisinau)

Currency
Leu (plural: Lei)

President 
Vladimir Voronin


Update No: 293 - (27/05/05)

Communist win
The Moldovans have the only communist party in power in Europe, which, moreover, is popular, being re-elected in March. It is much less corrupt than its predecessors and has been paying on time and, indeed, upping salaries and pensions. 
The party lost its careerists in the early 1990s when it seemed to have little future. The remaining members are genuine idealists by and large who convey the impression that they really care about the welfare of the people, not just themselves and their cronies.
Nevertheless, Moldova remains one of Europe's poorest nations, if not its poorest, with unemployment running around 30%, in spite of annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates in excess of 6%. Up to one third of the country's working-age citizens are employed abroad, according to recent government estimates.
President Vladimir Voronin has promised Moldovans sweeping reforms that will place the country on the path to European integration.

Tarlev lays out five-year reform plan for Moldova
Newly-appointed Moldovan Prime Minister, Vasyliy Tarlev, has outlined his government's five-year plan recently for these reforms in the country.
The government has named five priority areas for reforms including modernisation of the economy, reunification with the renegade province, Transnistria, improved quality of life for Moldovans, rule of law and European integration. "The programme takes into account the basic problems of the country and presents concrete policies for their resolution," Tarlev said in a parliamentary speech. The engine for change in the former Soviet republic would be the country's growing commercial class, which according to the government plan would work closely with the state to develop modern industries and create more jobs.
Tarlev named changes in banking and corporate laws in order to increase foreign investment as another top task for the government. "Only in this way can we modernise our labour market," Tarlev said. Tax reform also would come in for early government attention, Tarlev said, with widespread cuts planned to be pushed through parliament in coming weeks. Profit tax according to bills set to be submitted to the legislature would fall from the present 18% to as low as 7%, with small businesses receiving the biggest breaks, he said.
The Communist party of Moldova, which is committed to the reforms, controls a stable majority in parliament. A medium-term goal for the tax reforms is stimulation of domestic consumer goods and food production, in order to reduce imports and created jobs, Tarlev said. "Healthy and vibrant Moldovan small business is the only way to go forward," he said. Dramatic pension increases are planned as well, with the average retiree set to receive triple the present average pension, of around US$20 a month. A strong economy and stable government receipts will pay for the increase without placing addition burden on the national budget, Tarlev promised.
Education and health also will receive similar financing increased, he said. 

The Transnistria connection
There is a new startling - and decidedly sinister - development coming to light here. This is in the breakaway republic from Moldova, Transnistria, ruled by a Stalinist tyrant with a lugubrious name, Igor Smirnov, and an even more lugubrious regime. He achieved the unique feat four years ago of winning elections in certain areas by 103%!
The republic makes a living out of smuggling, particularly out of the arms trade. It is closely tied to Russia, which still has a big military base there; indeed, it is Europe's largest arsenal of illegal arms. It is not clear whether the Russian beneficiaries of the obvious corruption, that has for fourteen years permitted this monstrous regime to sell arms from Russian military stockpiles, include the Kremlin itself, or an out of control military establishment. Clearly the pay-off must be substantial indeed. Apart from the biological and chemical weaponry traded, there are scores of Alazan rockets. They are being held at a former Soviet base, Kolbasna, which has 50,000 tons of weapons, including artillery shells, mines and anti-aircraft missiles, making it the largest such stockpile in Europe.
The Alazan is a slender rocket, 4ft 7in long, with a range of eight miles and a 'radioactive' warhead, deemed the ideal terrorist weapon by experts. 
In 2003, according to a report in the London Sunday Times of May 8th, it emerged that at least 38 Alazans were fitted with warheads containing up to 400g of ceasium-137 and strontium-90. If they fell into terrorist hands. say specialists, they could cause devastation for miles once detonated in a big city centre. There would be contamination over a wide area, with a death toll in the hundreds of thousands - a human-contrived tsunami.
The Sunday Times, in a brilliant exercise of investigative journalism, sent a reporter posing as a middleman for an Islamicist terrorist organisation to see if it was possible to procure an Alazan. It was, for $200,000, not such a vast sum and well within the reach of al-Qaeda and the like. The intermediary on the Transnistrian side was a certain 'Dimitri,' who spoke fluent English with an American accent. The price was non-negotiable; but the other conditions of its sale were eminently negotiable.

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EUROPEAN UNION

Moldovans and Georgians believe in EU destiny

The majority of citizens in Georgia and Moldova believe their countries should join the EU, a new report released on 19th May by Gallup and the International Republican Institute (IRI) said. 
The survey said 77 per cent of Moldovans and 80 per cent of Georgians think their countries' future lies in the 25-nation bloc.
Less than 50 per cent in both countries (33 per cent in Georgia and 40 per cent in Moldova) think they should remain members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
"People in these countries have always had a European identity, they feel themselves Europeans," the coordinator of the study, Dr Rasa Alisauskiene, told the EU observer.
However, most of them believe it is possible to keep good relations both with Russia and the EU, and see Russia as a key partner, she specified. But if they had to choose, "the EU is a clear preference," Dr Alisauskiene added.
People in Georgia are optimistic about the probability of EU membership for their country, which may be explained by the political changes in Georgia, according to the researcher.
On the other hand, Moldovans are rather pessimistic, due to the excessive poverty of the country.
Both Georgia and Moldova "emotionally believe they can be members soon," Dr Rasa Alisauskiene, who is also the director of Baltic surveys within the Gallup organisation, pointed out. But they have too high expectations concerning the EU, she indicated.
"They perceive the EU as some miracle, and want to join immediately. They do not think about the economic aspects, for example. It reminds me of the Baltic countries 15 years ago, just after they obtained independence," explained Dr Alisauskiene, a Lithuanian herself.
According to the researcher, more information should be provided to the citizens of these countries, both from the EU and from their national governments, in order to make their choice a "rational" decision.
"When people in the Baltics had to make up their minds (concerning EU membership), it was the same situation. In the beginning, their choice was just based on emotion. But the more the people became informed, the more reasonable their choice was," the analyst said.
The study was carried out in Georgia, Moldova and Kazakstan via face-to-face interviews between June and November 2004.
However, the third country, Kazakstan, points to neighbouring Russia and China as its main partners.
The three countries have signed Partnership and Cooperation Agreements with the EU, while Georgia and Moldova are also part of the EU's neighbourhood policy.
Moldova signed an action plan with the EU on 22 February, aimed at strengthening its relations with the bloc.

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