Moldova, the Country and People

The Republic of Moldova is a new country, relatively.  It was founded in 1991 when the former Moldavian SSR was granted independence, but recorded origins go back many centuries.

During the reign of Roman Emperor Trayan (98-117 AD ), a wall was built from present Greece, across Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine to keep out the Mongols from the north.  Remnants of the wall are still visible as mounds of rock in fields in the southern part of the country.

In 1940 Russia annexed the present area, naming it the Moldavian SSR.  The western part of Moldavia remains a part of Romania, and the adjacent south in Ukraine.

Most of the country is farmland with small ranges of wooded hills cut by deep valleys. Dark topsoil is deep and has the appearance of being rich, but has been depleted of a balanced set of nutrients due to the collective farming practices during the six decades of centralized Soviet control.

The boundary to the west is the Prut River.  To the east the Nistru River is located several miles inside the border.  The very southern tip touches the Danube River with about a mile of frontage.

Many roads are lined with Greek walnut trees. The weather is tempered by the proximity to the Black Sea.

The government at independence was non-Communist for the first decade.  In 2001 Moldova became the first former soviet republic to freely elect the (new) Communist Party to power.

Moldova Business and Agriculture

Land privatization in Moldova was completed in year 2000.  More than 1,000 collective farms were dismantled and the land and equipment given to farm members and residents of each local village.  Each member received four or five acres of land based in the community where they lived.  These plots are too small for efficient methods and many farmers also do not have the resources to obtain and use modern methods and equipment, and they don’t realize the potential modern techniques would yield.

Farming practices are a continuation of the practices of the collective farming decades, or more primitive, but without the direction of the Soviet top-down administration.  The results are compromised by these perceptions, results are declining and widespread discouragement further erodes the development of effective agricultural development.

Agricultural activity on smaller plots in most areas has reverted to horse drawn equipment style.  Even large acreages are hoed by hand.

When traveling through the countryside of Moldova and Ukraine, the same refrain is heard almost everywhere; “we need help but don’t know for sure what help we need and how to get it.”  .

Business in Moldova is not highly respected for honesty and there is some distrust of Christian organizations.

Salary taxes are high, up to 58% on higher paid persons, which discourages commitment to economic development.

Micro-loans have been introduced and have met with widely differing success.  Loans for interest in the local currency are not permitted without registration as an authorized agency or organization.

Banks in Moldova do not easily arrange small loans, preferring to give large loans.  The interest rate is generally 30 percent or more which makes the payback less certain and discourages new persons from getting involved.

The well-being of the people is divided along class lines shaped by economics.  There is a wealthy minority at the top who control much of the wealth of the country.

The GNP in 2005 was only 40% of what it was in 1992, the first full year of independence.  Thousands of Moldovan men have gone to western Europe for work and send back money for their families.  Such remittances provided 37% of the GNP in 2006, the second highest rate of any country.