COUNTRYAAH, Moldova is part of the Russian platform and is mainly
confined by the river Prut in the west, which joins the
Danube at the far south. In the eastern part flows Dnestr;
both rivers and several smaller ones in between flow out via
the Bugeac plain to the Black Sea. The Precambrian rocks are
overlain by rocks from the Cretaceous period, mainly
sandstones. The soil is largely made up of loose soil, the
soil of chestnut soil. In the loose ground cover, the many
rivers have cut deep river valleys, with nips especially on
the western sides. Incidentally, the topography is not
varied. The highest peak is Bălănești (429 m above sea
level) in the western foothills of the Moldovan Plateau.
Moldova has a continental climate with cold winters and
hot to hot summers. It is particularly cold in winter when
eastern winds blow in from Siberia. The average temperature
in Chișinău is about 21 °C in July and −4 °C in January.
Precipitation falls from about 600 mm per year in the north
to about 400 mm in the south. Chișinău has an average annual
rainfall of 530 mm. The precipitation falls mainly as
showers during the summer months, especially in June-July.
Less than 7% of the area is wooded; the most common trees
are beech and oak. The country's original vegetation is
grass steppe, but this has largely given way to cultivation.
Moldova's nature protection does not include private
property and the areas are therefore severely limited; only
about 2% of the land area is protected (2012). There are no
national parks. The largest nature conservation areas,
Padurca Domneasca (60 km2) and Plaiul Fagului (56
km2), are scientific reserves.
At the end of 2003, Moldova was not only Europe's poorest
country, but also had the largest index of human trafficking
and organ trafficking - especially kidneys. The donors are
predominantly operated in Turkey, and their organs are then
sold to Israelis, Arabs or Western Europeans.
In July 2004, an orphanage for orphans from the
Trans-Dniester region between Moldova and Romania was
closed. The home had housed 60 children. The region has a
predominantly Russian-speaking population, and local
authorities decided to close the home, which had only
Moldavian education. Police cleared the home without thought
of the children being sent directly onto the street. Romania
replied that the Trans-Dniester authorities pursued an
ethnic and linguistic cleansing policy and asked for EU
support to require the home to be reopened. Transnistrian
Minister of Education, Yelena Bomeshko, denied that the home
was closed for ethnic reasons and declared it closed because
it did not have the necessary permits from local authorities
to educate the children.
Relations between Chisinau and Moscow had been severely
deteriorated as early as 2003, when Voronin rejected a
Russian proposal for the Trans-Dniéter separatist enclave,
leaving Russian troops - who had never escaped Moldovan
territory - to remain in Trans-Dniéter until at least 2020.
Moscow threatened to leave the Dumaadopt sanctions against
Moldova. Up until the March 2005 parliamentary elections,
the situation deteriorated further. Voronin expelled 20
Russian nationals, accused them of being spies and did not
allow 100 Russian election observers to enter Moldova. The
election was won by Voronin and his Communist Party - who,
however, do not have much ideological thinking left over
from the Soviet era. Voronin's position was thus
strengthened and he was increasingly oriented towards the
EU. A month later, Parliament voted almost unanimously for
Voronin as president and Vasile Tarlev as prime minister.
In June 2005, Parliament asked Russia to withdraw all of
its troops in Trans-Dniets by the end of 2006. The request
came after a special session in which Parliament had
discussed a Dnestr peace proposal made in April by Ukrainian
President Viktor Yushchenko. The Russian-speaking population
of the Dnestr had disintegrated after the civil war in 1992.
Russia had sent 1,200 soldiers to the region at the same
time, and during a conference in Istanbul in 1999, had
promised to demilitarize the area by the end of 2003. But in
the years leading up to 2005, Moscow had maintained that a
troop presence was still needed to secure peace and weapons
depots from Soviet era.
Following demands from the EU on the control of smuggling
goods, the government began in March 2006 to demand that all
goods imported into the country be subject to customs
duties. This also applies to goods from Ukraine that enter
through Trans-Dniéter. This led to protests by Trans-Dniets
who perceived the move as hidden financial sanctions.
Chisinau, in turn, criticized Moscow for halting imports of
Moldovan wine. The Russians cited health risk as the cause,
but Moldova claimed that political motives were behind it.
In 2007, the country was plagued by the most severe
drought in 50 years. The lack of rainfall affected 80% of
the country and in July the temperature for two weeks was
above 40 ° C. Voronin announced that imports of flour and
cereal products would be exempt from duty. This was done in
an attempt to secure the supply of cheap bread, which is the
main ingredient in the Moldavian diet. The government also
asked the international community for help to avoid a food
disaster as most of the country's agricultural production
was lost in the drought.