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Superficially, Moldova is dirt poor and appears to be very vulnerable, but I wonder whether that is the case on closer inspection. From wikipedia:
The largest part of the country lies between two rivers, the Dniester and the Prut. Moldova's rich soil and temperate continental climate (with warm summers and mild winters) have made the country one of the most productive agricultural regions and a major supplier of agricultural products in the region.
Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, Moldovan wine, and tobacco. The country is considered to have the cleanest air in the world.[49] Moldova must import all of its supplies of petroleum, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia. After the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, energy shortages contributed to sharp production declines. As part of an ambitious economic liberalization effort, Moldova introduced a convertible currency, liberalized all prices, stopped issuing preferential credits to state enterprises, backed steady land privatization, removed export controls, and liberalized interest rates. The government entered into agreements with the World Bank and the IMF to promote growth. Recent trends indicate that the Communist government intends to reverse some of these policies, and recollectivise land while placing more restrictions on private business. The economy returned to positive growth, of 2.1% in 2000 and 6.1% in 2001. Growth remained strong in 2007 (6%), in part because of the reforms and because of starting from a small base. The economy remains vulnerable to higher fuel prices, poor agricultural weather, and the skepticism of foreign investors. In agriculture, the economic reform started with the land cadastre reform.


In 2005 (Human Development Report 2008), the registered GDP per capita US $ 2,100 PPP, which is 4.5 times lower than the world average (US $ 9,543). Moreover, GDP per capita is under the average of its statistical region (US $ 9,527 PPP). In 2005, about 20.8% of the population were under the absolute poverty line and registered an income lower than US $ 2.15 (PPP) per day. Moldova is classified as medium in human development and is at the 111th spot in the list of 177 countries. The value of the Human Development Index (0.708) is below the world average. Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe in terms of GDP per capita: $ 2,500 in 2006.

On the political situation there's this:
There is disagreement as to whether elections and politics in Moldova is carried out in a free and democratic climate on the part of certain organizations. The United States Senate has held committee hearings on irregularities that marred elections in Moldova, including arrests and harassment of opposition candidates, intimidation and suppression of independent media, and state run media bias in favor of candidates backed by the Communist-led Moldovan Government.[1] Other critics have also referred to the Communist Party government as being authoritarian.[2][3] Nevertheless, George W. Bush stated that: "We note and welcome Moldova's positive record since independence in conducting free and fair elections and in implementing democratic reforms."[4]
There have also been reports of politically motivated arrests and arrests without valid legal grounds. Such arrests are allegedly carried out against opponents of the Communist Party government of President Vladimir Voronin. In one case which was criticized by various Western organizations and individuals, opposition politician Valeriu Pasat was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on dubious grounds.[5]
Moldova is aiming for EU membership, though I don't know how many decades it's going to take given the economic condition of the country.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 03:01:55 PM EST
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