The Republic of Moldova is a landlocked country in the eastern part of Europe situated between Romania and Ukraine that covers 33,845 square kilometers. It includes the Gagauz Autonomous Region in the south and the disputed Transdniestrian region in the east. The latter region separated from Moldova in 1991–1992 but did not gain official recognition.
Moldova has no coast line. The most part of the country’s territory lies between 2 biggest rivers of the country: Prut River on the western border with Romania and Nistru River on the eastern border with Ukraine. Republic of Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, i.e. fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. Moldova has to import almost all of its energy supplies. But the most important branch of Moldovan economy is wine industry. The majority of Moldovan spirit products are exported to Russian Federation. Moldova also exports wines to EU but in small quantities.
Moldova was a part of Dacia (present-day Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia), which was defeated by Roman Empire after a 10 years’ war. Moldova's Latin origins can be traced to the period of Roman occupation when a culture was formed from the intermingling of Roman colonists and the local population. After Roman retreat, due to its strategic location between Asia and Europe, Moldova suffered numerous invasions by various troops such as Huns, Ostrogoths, Kievan Rus, Mongols etc.
During the second half of the fifteenth century, all of south-eastern Europe came under increasing pressure of the Ottoman Empire, and despite significant military victories by Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare, 1457-1504), Moldova was conquered by Ottomans. In 1812 the Moldovan territory from the east side of river Prut was occupied by Russian Empire. This territory was named Bessarabia. In 1918 Bessarabia became independent from Russian Empire and united with Romania. In June 1940, Bessarabia was occupied by Soviet forces again as a consequence of a secret protocol attached to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. On 2nd of August 1940, the Soviet government created the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (Moldavian SSR). During the Second World War German and Romanian troops attacked the Moldavian SSR and in this way Bessarabia was given back to Romania by Nazis government. But the Soviet troops reoccupied and annexed the territory to USSR in 1944. The southern and northern parts of the country were handed to Ukraine. Stalin brought ethnic Russians to this newly formed country and deported hundreds of thousands of Moldovans in Siberian gulags and Kazakhstan. In 1991, on 27th of August Moldova had finally declared its independence.
Moldova has about 4 million inhabitants. Although Moldova is by far the most densely populated country of the former soviet republics (129 inhabitants per square kilometer in 1990, compared with thirteen inhabitants per square kilometer for the Soviet Union as a whole), it has few large cities. The largest and most important of them is Chisinau, the country's capital and its most important industrial center.
The official language of Moldova is determined by the Constitution, which has declared Moldovan in its Latin script as the official language (it is the same as Romanian). To be noted also that although Russian is no longer the official language, many Moldovans speak Russian. Intensive Russification of 20th century and a policy aimed at showing that Moldovan and Romanian were different languages led to deterioration in the "purity" of the language spoken by the majority of the population. Russian loan words were used widely, especially in technical fields, and Moldovan became a "kitchen language."
Moldovans who were educated in Russian-speaking schools still have difficulty expressing themselves in areas other than daily encounters. Russification and "de-Romanization" were considerably more pronounced in urban than in rural areas. It also has to be noted that due to exposure to various languages throughout schooling, some Moldovans also have a functional knowledge of French, English, as well as Spanish, Italian and German languages.
More than 75% of the population is Moldovan; Ukrainians and Russians make up about 15%, and there are several minorities, including the Turkish-speaking Gagauz, Bulgarians, and Jews. Most of the people belong to the Orthodox Church.