Moldova Economy and Culture
The economy of Moldova at the time of the acquisition of independence was characterized by a prosperous relative agriculture. specialized and by a fairly solid industry, thus boasting a not backward position in the Soviet context. The following years saw a serious decline in both sectors, due to the loss of the market constituted by the USSR, which previously absorbed a large part of Moldovan agricultural and industrial production, and the lack of competitiveness on international markets. Only since 2000 did Moldova’s economy start to grow again, albeit in an irregular way and with considerable distortions: the main driver of internal consumption is constituted by the earnings of emigrants, while some of the major industrial areas, located in the territory governed by the secessionists of Transdniestria, they work outside any control and statistics, also dedicating themselves to productions (for example, of weapons) destined for smuggling; more generally throughout the country, trafficking and illegal activities are particularly widespread, so much so that they are seen by the EU (which with the future entry of Romania would have to border directly with Moldova) as a serious threat. The primary sector is mainly oriented to cultivation activities, practiced with intense use of forms of mechanization and a growing expansion of the areas used. In addition to cereals (wheat and corn), the main products are fruit, vegetables, and above all grapes (mostly coming from the central and southern regions), from which considerable quantities of wine are derived, also appreciated abroad and exported above all to Russia; tobacco and sunflower crops have taken on a certain importance among industrial crops. According to smber, the breeding (cattle, pigs and poultry) represents approx. one third of agricultural income; the industrial production of wood and paper is quite significant. Although industry is proportionately less important than agriculture, it has a certain productive diversification; food processing (oenological, sugar, oil, etc.) is developed, but mechanics, born in the early 1950s (Chisinău, Bălti, Tiraspol ‘, Tighina) and aimed at the manufacture of machines for rural works (mainly tractors); there are also textile and cement factories (Râbnita), while electricity production can count on the thermal plants of Chisinău, Bălti, Tiraspol ‘and on the Dubāsari power plant, which uses the water energy of the Dnestr. However, the country depends on Russia for almost all of its energy supplies (gas and oil). The main industrial center is the capital, a hub of the road and rail network. The productive activities of Moldova, after a critical phase due to the repercussions of the first structural interventions, have resumed functioning. Russia is by far Moldova’s main trading partner, followed by Ukraine and Romania; however, the country appears determined to open up to closer relations with Europe (it was admitted to the Council of Europe in July 1995, first among the CIS member states) and with Turkey, from which numerous offers of credit have come and technical assistance, as well as political mediation in the conflict between the Moldovan government and the Gagauza minority..
Moldova’s multi-ethnic character survives in the country’s folk traditions, which tell of the kaleidoscopic combination of its population. Together with the Romanians, they composed the ancient Moldovan customs of Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Germany, Greece and others, in an evocative and original plot of customs, rites and folklore. The warmth towards the guests seems a deeply rooted custom in this country where wine and tastings, served by the head of the family, are an integral part of life. Traditionally, it is invited to the large room of the house, where the steps of growth are celebrated, such as baptisms and weddings, as well as civil and religious holidays, marked by the agricultural calendar. Here we exchange greeting cards, expect Christian Christmas with children wearing traditional costumes, Easter is remembered by manufacturing the famous decorated eggs, which over time have become characteristic works of local craftsmanship, as much as ceramics and weaving. Music and dances always accompany the holidays to underline the popular character of Moldovan customs. Moldovan music has a long tradition very similar to that of several Eastern European countries. Folk dances are repeated over time, in both circular and linear choreographic magic of dancers who, wearing meticulously embroidered hats and tunics, dance to the sound of bagpipes, flutes, bagpipes and violins. The simple melodies, at times joyful at times melancholy, evoke the ancient feelings that pervade this land, a meeting point for people and cultures. Today modern composers seem to have embraced the folkloric legacy of the past, to marry it with Soviet influences and then transform it in the light of the European avant-gardes. § The generous nature of the soil and the long agricultural tradition of Moldova have contributed to characterize the strong-flavored cuisine of this country, known beyond its borders for the particular compositions of fruit, vegetables, spices and condiments, with a great variety of vegetables: tomatoes, green peppers, aubergines, white cabbage – fresh, marinated or canned – and corn, whose flour colors all dishes from soups to biscuits and makes up the mamaliga, traditional accompanying polenta. Even meat, especially mutton (ciorba, ghiveci, musaca) and pork (carnatei, costita, musca), frequently cooked directly on wood, appears in many Moldovan dishes such as chicken soup (zama) or spicy lamb soup (shorpa) and the famous goulash. Fruit accompanies many meat dishes that often combine quince with veal and apricots with turkey. The brynza, spicy sheep cheese, is used for different fillings and toppings, as well as ghiveci and musaka, typical ragù of vegetables and spices. Traditional pastries include puff pastry rolled with poppy seeds or rose and cherry compotes, as well as Easter cake. Finally, the wines Moldova, Feteasca, Rara black, dry, sweet and strong, offered by the best vineyards in all of Eastern Europe, are very famous and appreciated, as much as the plum brandy, produced using traditional methods.