Monday, July 16, 2012

Republic of Moldova

My trip at the end of the week to Moldova will be my first visit to what used to be part of the Soviet Union.  It will also be the 32nd country I will have visited since moving to Euroland in July 2009.  So here's some info about the Republic of Moldova.

is landlocked between Romania and Ukraine.  It is just a little larger than Maryland.  The capital city is Chişinău (Kishinev in Russian).

After WWI, Moldova was part of Romania.  In 1940, the area was annexed by the Soviet Union and became the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.  After WWII, the Soviets began migrating Russians, Belorussians, and Ukrainians in to the area.  Everyone in Moldova speaks both Moldovan and Russian.  Moldovan is the same language as Romanian but the Soviets made everyone use the Cyrillic alphabet to write it.  In 1989, Moldova switched back to using the Latin alphabet.

Moldova has a parliamentary democratic government.  One day it would like to join the EU but that will be a long way away.  Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe.  There are some 3.65 million people in the country.  But some 600,000 to 1 million people working abroad, many of them illegally.  Money from abroad accounts for almost 38% of the country's GDP.

Moldova has earned a bad reputation for black market organ trafficking.  Some people are so poor that they have sold their own organs in order to survive.  Here's a video I found out on YouTube about it.

©Al Jazeera

In 1990, an independent Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was declared.  This small strip of territory inside Moldova, east of the Dniester River, is mostly Russian and Ukrainian.  This area was afraid that Moldova would leave the USSR and try to become part of Romania.  
In 1991, Moldova declared itself independent from the Soviet Union.  Military conflict broke out between Moldovan police and separatists.  The Russian 14th Army is still in Transnistria in order to help keep the peace.  Transnistria considers itself an independent country.  However, no other country in the world recognizes it.  Part of the peace agreement is that if Moldova does ever merge with Romania then Transnistria will be allowed to leave Moldova.

Here's another video I found on YouTube that talks about Moldova.


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