Moldova. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Moldova is 4,033,974 people in 2020.
Talks on the interrupted peace process between
Moldova and the breakaway republic of Transnistria (Dnestr) began
in Brussels in February. Representatives of Russia, Ukraine
and the European Security and Cooperation Organization OSCE
participated. The continued presence of Russian troops in
Transnistria, as well as the stockpiles of old Soviet
weapons, were among the most difficult war issues.
During the year, the United States put pressure on Russia
to fulfill its earlier promise to evacuate Moldova. But instead of
the closer, the distance between the two parties increased
during the year, since the Russian-speaking Transnistrian
authorities closed several schools for Moldovan children in
July. Security forces were used, among other things. to
force some 60 children, some orphans and homeless people,
from a boarding school in Bender. The authorities claimed
that the schools did not have legal registration, but the
conflict mainly concerned language and culture. Most of the
Moldovan-speaking minority in Transnistria use Cyrillic
letters as in Russian, but some schools usually use the
Latin alphabet as Moldova has done since the early 1990s.
The Moldovan language is very similar to Romanian, since Moldova
was part of Romania until it was annexed by the Soviet Union
The political conflict around the language of the schools
continued during the autumn term, even though the OSCE
condemned Transnistria's act as "linguistic cleansing" and
Moldova asked Russia for help in resolving the crisis. Since Moldova
imports large parts of its electricity from power plants in Transnistria, the country is very vulnerable and anxious
that the conflict will not escalate.
The severe economic problems in Europe's poorest country
have caused about 700,000 young people to leave Moldova since
independence to look for jobs elsewhere. Most of them work
illegally in EU countries.
The area east of the Dnestr has had close ties to Moscow
for 200 years. Already in the 18th century, the region fell
under the Russian tsar. In 1922 it was incorporated into the
Soviet Union as an autonomous part of Ukraine.
In 1940, the area became part of the newly established
Soviet Republic of Moldova. It was the first time that the
areas on both sides of Dnestr belonged to the same
administrative unit. Russians and Ukrainians were encouraged
by the Soviet leadership to move there in the 1950s and
1960s, when the industry was rapidly expanding.
When Moldovan nationalism grew in the late 1980s, fears
east of Dnestr arose that Moldova would be reunited with
Romania. Separatists began to take control of the area. In
December 1991, armed clashes broke out between separatists
and Moldovan allies. The government in Chișinău accused the
Russian 14th Army, stationed in the area east of Dnestr, of
supporting the separatists. The Moldovans were accused of
receiving support from Romania. About 700 people lost their
lives in the fighting and 50,000 fled to Ukraine.
A ceasefire was concluded in July 1992 after the Russian
army had actively entered the war. A demilitarized zone was
established along the border between Moldova and
Transnistria, where Russia allowed its soldiers to remain in
order to maintain the ceasefire and disarm Transnistria.
Since then, no final agreement on the status of the
region has been reached. Moldova refers to the Constitution,
which gives the area autonomy within Moldova's framework,
and demands that the Russian soldiers be withdrawn. The
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
as well as Russia and Ukraine have participated in the talks
at various stages. A 1997 agreement on the status of the
area has been interpreted quite differently by the parties.
When the Communist Party won the government in Moldova in
2001, many believed that a solution was possible, but when
Russia presented a new peace plan in 2003, the Moldovan
government said no. The reason was that the Russian soldiers
were not withdrawn. In the summer of 2004, the crisis
intensified. Then Chișinău imposed financial sanctions on
Transnistria since Moldovan-speaking schools were closed
In the spring of 2005, Ukraine presented a peace plan
with enhanced autonomy for Transnistria. The proposal was
accepted by Moldova, but Smirnov said no. At the same time,
Ukraine began to help Moldova to stop smuggling traffic
through Transnistria with EU support. The purpose was to
stave off its illegal income in order to make the Smirnov
regime more interested in a settlement with Moldova.
In response to increased Ukrainian border control, in
2006 Russia introduced a temporary blockade of all wine
imports from Moldova. The Moldovan government also believed
that the sharp rise in the price of Russian gas in early
2006 had to do with the conflict. When Moldovan President
Voronin met with Smirnov in Tighina (Bender) in 2008, the
first meeting was between them in almost seven years.