Landlocked. Rolling steppe, gradual slope south towards the Black Sea. Well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone. Natural hazards : Experiences landslides 57 cases in 1998 due to extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods
Elevation extremes : lowest point: Dniester River 2 m highest point: Dealul Balanesti 430 m
Formerly part of Romania, Moldova was forcefully incorporated into the Soviet Union at the close of World War II.
Independence27 August 1991 from Soviet Union
National holidayIndependence Day, 27 August 1991
Constitutionnew constitution adopted 28 July 1994; replaces old Soviet constitution of 1979
Although independent from the USSR since 1991, Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Dniester River supporting the Slavic population, mostly Ukrainians and Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic.
The poorest nation in Europe, Moldova became the first European former Soviet state to elect a communist government and president in 2001. In 2011, the current balance of communists in the Moldovan legislature is 40%. It teeters on returning to communist government but a democratic coalition retains control.
The capital of Moldova is ChiÅinÄu. The local language is Romanian, based on the Latin alphabet, but Russian is widely used. Moldova is a multiethnic republic that has suffered from violent ethnic conflict. In 1994, this conflict led to the creation of the self-proclaimed Transnistria Republic in eastern Moldova, which has its own government and currency but is not recognized by any other country. Economic links have been re-established between these two parts of Moldova despite failure in political negotiations. The major religion in Moldova is Orthodox Christian.
Moldova's population is occupied mainly in food production and processing. Once known as "the garden" of the Soviet Union, Moldova has now lost most of its traditional Russian markets for agricultural products and is exploring new international markets.