Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy; grains, sugar beets, and fruits are important. Food processing and the making of machines are the main industries. Moldova's basic currency unit is the leu.
About two-thirds of the people are Moldovans, a Romanian ethnic group. Moldova has a parliamentary form of government with an elected president.
Moldova was a part of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1991—first as an autonomous republic and then, after merging with most of Bessarabia in 1940, as a union republic called the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and Moldova became independent. Soon after, fighting broke out in the region east of the Dniester River between Moldovan government forces and ethnic Russians living there, who were seeking independence.
The Russian 14th Army, stationed in the region since before the collapse of the Soviet Union, came to the aid of the ethnic Russians.
A cease-fire went into effect in July, 1992. In an accord signed by Moldova and Russia in 1994, Russia agreed to withdraw the 14th Army and Moldova agreed to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict with the ethnic Russians.
Facts in brief about Moldova
Official language: Moldovan.
Official name: Republica Moldova (Republic of Moldova).
Area: 13,050 mi2 (33,800 km2). Greatest distances—north-south, 210 mi (340 km); east-west, 165 mi (265 km).
Elevation: Highest—Mount Balanesti, 1,407 ft (429 m). Lowest: Dniester River at southeastern border, 7 ft (2 m).
Population: Current estimate—3,982,000; density, 305 per mi2 (118 per km2); distribution, 54 percent rural, 46 percent urban.
Chief products: Agriculture—eggs, grain, grapes, milk, sugar beets. Manufacturing—construction materials, refrigerators, tractors, washing machines.
National anthem: "Desteapta-te, Romane" ("Romanian, Arise").
Flag: Moldova's flag has three vertical stripes of blue, yellow, and red (left to right). The coat of arms of Moldova is in the center yellow stripe.
Money: Basic unit—Moldovan leu. One hundred bani equal one leu.