The eastern European Republic of Moldova is bounded by Ukraine and Romania. Emerging from Romania in the mid 1940's, it became a Soviet Union vassal state until 1991 when it became independent.
Moldova is an agricultrally-based country, its rolling hills and broad plains topped with rich black soil. During the Soviet era Moldova provided food and fine wines from the fruits of its fields. In turn, the Soviets built roads, schools, housing and office buildings. While there was domination, life was tolerable for those who fell in line. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, goverance vanished along with the jobs. Buildings were vacated or left unfinished, roads deteriorated and the newly independent country was saddled with debt. With no energy-producing natural resourses and negitable access to shipping, Moldova must buy natural gas, coal, gasoline and electricity from close by countries, keeping the country in debt and unable to maintain infrastructure.
Despite these hardships, Moldovans remain a courageously optimistic people, their determination to provide a better life for their children, earning respect and some assistance from the United States, other countries and from humanitarian organizations like Moldova World Children's Fund.
Population: 3.9 Million
Demographics: Moldovan/Romanian 77.9%; Ukrainian 8.3%; Russian 6.0%; Gagauz 4.3%; Other 3.5%
Languages: Romanian (official), Russian, Gaguaz, Ukrainian, English
Main Religion: Christian, 98%
Government: Republic. After declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, adopted constitution in 1994.
GDP: $2,000 per capita
Workforce: 2 Million people. Agriculture, 35%; Industry, 20%; Other 45%
Natural Resources: Arable land, Lignite, phosphorites, gypsum
Agriculture: Vegetables, fruits, wine, grain, walnuts, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat, dairy, tobacco
Industry: Canned foods, agricultural machinery, steel, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, hosiery, refined sugar, textiles, wineries, fresh fruits and vegetables, juice concentrates