According to Shopareview.com, Moldova is an internal state of southeastern Europe. The 2004 census (not carried out, however, in the region of Transnistria, which proclaimed itself independent; see below: History) registered 3,383,332 residents; from an administrative point of view, the country has been divided since January 2003 into thirty-three districts, three municipalities (the capital Chişinău, Bălţi and Tighina) and the autonomous territory of Gagauzia, to which was added in July 2005 that of Stînga Nistrului (official Moldovan name of Transnistria). The demographic trend is characterized by a constant decrease (- 0.3 % per year in the period 2000-2005), determined by a strong migratory flow: the number of Moldovans living and working abroad has become particularly consistent, as are the remittances they send to the country. According to the results of the 2004 census, the Moldovan ethnicity constitutes 78.2 % of the population, followed by a Slavic minority, mostly made up of Ukrainians (8.4 %) and Russians (5.8 %), and by a small share of gagauzis (4.4%), a Turkish-speaking population living in the south of the country, in the autonomous territory that takes its name from it. As regards the forms of settlement, contrary to what happens in most European countries, in Moldova the majority of the population resides in rural centers.
After a period of decline (in the last decade of the 20th century GDP had an average annual decrease of 6.3 %), in the early 2000s the economy showed signs of growth (+ 7.8 % in 2002, + 6.3 % in 2003, + 7.3 % in 2004), while remaining conditioned by Russian pressures in the energy field. In addition, the government’s policy of approaching the European Union has relaunched the structural reforms that have been underway for some time but have never been completed, as well as stimulated the creation of new businesses and investments. In 2004 exports have shown vitality thanks above all to the net increase in exports of textile products: these have benefited in particular from a reciprocity agreement signed with some European countries, which supply machinery for Moldovan industries and in turn import the finished products.
The laborious definition of a national identity and the laborious attempt to find an autonomous position in the regional context continued to constitute, together with the overcoming of the backwardness of the production system, the main challenges of the country in the early 2000s, also characterized by the persistence of a severe political and institutional instability.
The center-right coalition governments, formed after the 1998 general elections, struggled to remain compact in the face of the growing worsening of the economic situation and the emergence of a heated conflict between the President of the Republic P. Lucinski (in office since 1996) and the Parliament. The attempts of the head of state to strengthen his role were blocked by the legislative assembly, which in July 2000 passed a constitutional amendment aimed at increasing the prerogatives of the assembly itself, which was reserved, among other things, the task of electing the new president. The re-emergence of internal differences led to the dissolution of the Chamber and new elections (July 2001). The governing parties suffered a heavy defeat, in the face of the success of the Communist Party which with 49.9 % of the votes and 70 seats out of 101 won an absolute majority in the House and managed to impose its own candidate, V. Voronin, for the presidency. of the Republic (April 2001). The new executive, led by V. Tarlev, while reaffirming the commitments made with the international financial organizations regarding economic reforms, put a stop to privatization policies and cuts in social spending, thus meeting the expectations of large sections of the population., severely penalized by the restrictive policies implemented by previous governments. In January 2002 the government’s decision to introduce the study of Russian in primary school provoked a harsh reaction from the nationalist forces, led by the Christian Democratic People’s Party, who began a heated protest campaign that lasted several months. At the same time, the government resumed negotiations with the representatives of the separatist region of Transnistria (with a population with a Slavic majority, and de facto independent since 1990), in an attempt to reach a political solution to the dispute, which had been dragging on for over a decade; on the table the problems of the withdrawal of the Russian troops still stationed on that territory and the question of independence claimed by the region. Despite the intensification of the negotiations, mediated by the European Union and the UN, it was not possible to reach an agreement. In the political elections held in March 2005, the Communist Party, while reconfirming itself as the main political force, suffered a slight decline (46 % of the votes and 56 seats), while the consensus for the centrist formations, which coalesced in the Democratic Bloc (28.5 %), grew. and 34 seats); the Christian Democratic People’s Party, on the other hand, remained substantially stable (9 % and 11 seats). In the following April Voronin was re-elected president.