The Republic of Moldova is wedged between the
major neighboring countries Romania and Ukraine. Until
1991, Moldova was part of the Soviet Union. When the
Reformed Communist Party won the 2001 election, it was
the first time that Communists in the former Soviet
Union regained government power in a democratic way.
Since 2009, the country has been ruled by a coalition of
EU-friendly center-right parties. In foreign policy, the
conflict around the transnistrian republic creates
Brief profiles of Moldova, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Moldova is located just northwest of the
Black Sea in southeastern Europe. The country is
surrounded in the north, east and south by Ukraine. To
the west, it is bounded against Romania by the river
Prut, which at the southern tip of Moldova merges with
Near a long stretch of the border with Ukraine flows
the river Dnestr (Nistru in Romanian). The area between
Dnestr and the Ukrainian border is made up of the
Transnistrian breakaway Republic (or the Dnestr
Republic; see also Transnistria).
Between the two rivers spreads a plain, which is
hilly in the north and south. More than half of the land
area is cultivated, while forests, mainly oak and beech,
cover almost a tenth. The northern and southern parts of
Moldova consist of steppe.
Only a few percent of the land area is nature
protected, and there are no national parks.
Moldova has a temperate continental climate. This
means that summers are long and warm, while winters are
relatively mild. The precipitation falls mainly from May
to July. Mostly it rains in the north, least in the
33,800 km2 (2018)
Swedish +1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of inhabitants
Chișinău 554 600 (Estimated 2012)
Other major cities
Tiraspol 132 100, Balti 97 200, Tighina (Bender) 90
600 (estimated 2012)
Balanesti (429 m asl)
Prut, Dnestr (Nistru)
The ambassador in Russia is called home
Moldova calls home its ambassador to Russia for the time being. The reason
is, according to the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that the harassment
of Russian authorities has increased recently and that the Russian government
has not responded to Moldova's request for an explanation for this. The measure
is aimed at preventing anything from happening that damages relations between
the two countries, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the media.
President Dodon, who has warm relations with Russia, says he is furious at the
Foreign Ministry's decision, which he believes is yet another expression of how
the EU-friendly government is trying to undermine relations with Moscow.
Progress in the Transnistrian conversation
"Important progress" has been made in the so-called 5 + 2 talks in Vienna on
a solution to the conflict over Transnistria, the OSCE regional cooperation
organization announces. The parties have agreed that the bridge over the Dniestr
border river destroyed in the 1992 war should be reopened, and Moldova and
Transnistria have agreed that people should move freely across the bridge.
Transnistria has agreed to allow Moldovan-speaking schools, while Transnistrian
university degrees are to be recognized in Moldova. In the 5 + 2 talks Moldova,
Transnistria, OSCE, Russia, Ukraine, USA and the EU participate. The talks will
continue after the New Year.
The President is temporarily dismissed
Parliament votes to temporarily oust President Dodon for the government to
appoint a new defense minister. In the absence of the President, it is the
President of Parliament who leads the ceremony in which Eugen Sturza is sworn
into the government against the will of Dodon. Moldova has been without Defense
Minister for ten months.
The president risks being shut down
The Constitutional Court says President Dodon may be temporarily suspended
after twice refusing to approve the appointment of a new Secretary of Defense.
Dodon justifies his refusal that the proposed person is not a professional
military. The President of the Court says that the President is obliged to
accept the person appointed by the Prime Minister, but Dodon claims that the
President has exceeded his powers and threatens to trigger street
The EU holds backing loans
The EU is deciding, so far, not to pay out EUR 28 million of a major loan for
reforms of the Moldovan judiciary, as the government says, according to the EU,
did not live up to the terms of the loan. Moldova must show greater respect for
human rights and the rule of law in order to get the money, the EU announces.
Citizenship should be available for purchase
The government decides that foreign investors can be granted Moldovan
citizenship under certain conditions. They must either invest at least a quarter
of a million euros for five years in real estate or government bonds or lend at
least EUR 100,000 to the government investment fund. But citizenship must also
presuppose that they know and respect the Moldovan constitution, have a good
financial reputation and pose no threat to the security of the country. The
issue has been the subject of hot debate for a long time. Critics fear that the
promise of citizenship should attract black money to the country. President
Dodon was criticized earlier in 2017 for trying to attract Russian investors to
Moldova through promises of citizenship that would allow them to travel freely
to the EU.
Moldova is seeking UN support against Russian troops
Prime Minister Filip is appealing to the UN for help in removing the Russian
military force from the Transnistrian breakaway republic. The Russian force
consists of 1,500 men who, according to Moscow, guard a Soviet stockpile of
weapons, and 500 men in a peacekeeping force who monitor the 1992 ceasefire
between the separatists and the Moldovan army. Filip says that a solution to the
locked situation could be that the peacekeeping squad is transformed into a
multinational force with an international mandate.
Continued power struggle
President Dodon accuses the government and Parliament of trying to take away
from him the powers of power he holds as commander-in-chief. He is responding to
a decision by Prime Minister Filip to convene Parliament for an extra session to
vote down the president's veto against several decisions taken by Parliament.
The president threatens to call a referendum "to show who the people have
confidence in". At the same time, he announces via a social media that he
refuses to approve the government's choice of new defense minister. Instead, he
wants one of his own confidants.
Conflict over NATO cooperation
President Dodon denies a request from the Department of Defense to send 57
Moldovan soldiers to a NATO exercise in western Ukraine. The decision has the
most symbolic significance but is a sign of the deep gap between the pro-Russian
president and the EU-friendly government. The government, however, decides to
ignore the president's ban and allow the soldiers to participate in the
exercise, which greatly upsets Dodon. He suggests that he may try to oust the
prime minister for not obeying the commander's orders. "It's unacceptable,"
Dodon says, adding that he does not intend to forget this. He demands that the
acting defense minister Gheorghe Galbura be dismissed.
Liberal Party sues the president
The small Liberal Action and Solidarity Party submits a lawsuit against
President Dodon to the Prosecutor's Office. The party accuses the president of
betrayal and of so fragmenting the country in favor of Russia. President Dodon
has attracted attention for his strongly Russian-friendly statements, and for,
among other things, congratulated the leader of the Transnistrian outbreak state
in victory in a presidential election not recognized by the outside world. The
Action and Solidarity Party (Partidul Acțiune și Solidaritate, PAS) was founded
in 2016 and is led by Maia Sandu who lost quite a bit against Dodon in the
presidential election that year.
Russian top politician is banned
The government declares Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
undesirable in Moldova for "gross interference with the country's affairs". The
Russian Foreign Ministry is filing a vigorous protest against the Moldovan
government's "irresponsible behavior", which according to Moscow is only aimed
at damaging relations between the countries.
Moldova does not have to visit Russia
A visit by Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will not be missed.
He should have met President Dodon and visited the Transnistrian breakaway
republic with him. But since he was banned from entering the EU since 2014
because of his support for the Russian annexation of Ukrainian Crimea, his
aircraft were not allowed into either Hungarian or Romanian airspace. Ukraine
has its own ban on Russian military flights. His plan is to go down in Minsk,
Belarus to refuel. Before that, the Moldovan aviation authorities said that
Rogozin would not be allowed to land there.
Presidential decree is rejected by court
The Constitutional Court ruled that President Dodon violated his powers when
in March he called for a referendum on increased power for the president. Among
other things, the residents would decide whether the president would be entitled
to dissolve parliament and announce new elections. Another question was whether
the number of Members in Parliament would be reduced.
The president's tribute to the Russians is upset
President Igor Dodon decides to award a high government award to both the
Russian soldiers in Transnistria and to the state's own military force. It will
be on the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Russian so-called peace force
to the region. Dodon will travel to Transnistria together with Russia's Deputy
Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Spokespeople for the EU-friendly Moldovan
government accuse the president of violating the country's constitution by
paying tribute to "those who shot at our volunteers in 1992".
The electoral law changes despite protests
Parliament is voting on a proposal by Prime Minister Filip to change the
electoral system so that 51 of Parliament's 101 members will be elected in
one-man constituencies and the rest according to party lists. Thousands of
people are protesting against the change that will make it more difficult for
small parties to be represented (see Political system). The Council of Europe's
Venice Commission, which is reviewing constitutional issues, has also criticized
the new electoral law and warned that candidates in one-man constituencies run
the risk of being subjected to undue pressure.
EU aid is conditional
The EU decides to provide Moldova with EUR 100 million in loans and
assistance, provided that the Chișinău government signs an agreement to sharpen
its efforts against corruption in the state apparatus and the financial sector.
Russian diplomats are expelled
Five diplomats at the Russian Embassy are ordered to leave Moldova within
three days. No public explanation is given as to why they are declared
undesirable in the country. President Dodon is jealous of the decision,
explaining that the "unfriendly act is likely to take place on orders from the
Western powers" to damage a "constructive dialogue" with Russia. In March, there
were reports that a former member of the Moldovan parliament had provided secret
information to an employee of the Russian Embassy. There have also been
allegations against the Russian security service for trying to sabotage a
Moldovan investigation into money laundering with suspected Russian
interference. As expected, Russia responds with the expulsion of five Moldovan
The EU-friendly government is faltering
The Liberal Party leaves the government in protest against the party's
vice-president Dorin Chirtoacă, who is also mayor of Chisinău arrested for
suspected abuse of power in connection with public procurement in the capital.
The arrest means that the Liberal Minister for the Environment resigns and is
expected to be followed by the two other members of the party. For the time
being, the EU-friendly government retains the majority in Parliament.
Delayed census completed
After a long delay, the 2014 census is published. It shows that the
population has fallen to less than 2.9 million, a decline of more than 13
percent since 2004, when 3.4 million people were written in Moldova. The census
also shows a strong female surplus, 100 women of 94 men. The figures do not
include Transnistria, which is estimated to have around 505,000 inhabitants.
The President wants to strengthen his power
President Dodon orders that an advisory referendum be held, including that
the president be given the right to dissolve Parliament and announce new
Russian money laundering is being examined
Prosecutors are investigating a tavern in which Moldovan courts are suspected
of having helped Russian businessmen "launder" the equivalent of around $ 21
billion illegally brought out of Russia and further diverted via Moldova. The
investigation will apply to 14 judges, four senior officials at the central bank
and nine employees of commercial banks.
Dodon hurts Natonarming
President Dodon urges NATO to "take it easy" in setting up an office in
Moldova. He says that approaching NATO could threaten Moldova's neutrality and
damage its security.
Moldova is drawing ever closer to Russia
President Dodon, who recently said it was "premature" to conclude a
cooperation agreement with the EU, says it is necessary to create a common
platform with Russia for the country to ever be fully reunited. He has given up
hope that Moldova will be able to join the EU, as Transnistria and Gagauzi are
so strongly opposed to it.
Meeting with the President of Transnistria
President Dodon meets Transnistrian leader Vadim Krasnoselskij. They are said
to have talked about, among other things, the free movement of citizens, train
connections and the recognition of documents. Dodon has promised to resolve the
Transnistrian issue during his time in office. The topic is high on the agenda
when he meets with Russian President Putin on January 17.