Moldova Country Report
The political situation in Moldova in 2018 is characterised by a state capture supported by a tacit agreement between the ruling Democratic Party and the Socialist Party while maintaining an image of an ongoing political dispute along the geopolitical (pro-EU versus pro-Russia) lines. The movement of the pro-EU opposition fuels political instability mobilising the public through pro-democratic protests, however, its limited power base prevents it from overthrowing the government, which will most likely survive until the parliamentary election in February 2019. Endemic corruption remains high, negatively affecting the economy. The frozen conflict in the breakaway region of Transdniestria remains unresolved despite some progress in 5+2 format talks, but it is unlikely to re-escalate dueto Ukraine's ban on Russian military transit introduced in 2015.
Successive governments have declared their goal of attracting foreign investment to Moldova, but operational obstacles remain high. Widespread corruption is the primary risk, in the form of a politicised law enforcement and judiciary, and bribe requests from various government officials. The conclusion of an Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, including a free-trade agreement, is likely to improve the operational environment in the long term if EU standards are passed and thoroughly implemented. However, continued government instability and a lack of political will mean effective reforms are on balance unlikely.
IED or firearm attacks against commercial assets or affecting business activities are unlikely, despite the proliferation of arms. The polarisation of the political debate between the pro-Russian and pro-EU side, driven in large part by the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine, poses a moderate risk of groups of armed individuals seeking to emulate the takeovers of buildings by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine. However, authorities are alert to this particular risk, with several arrests made before the November 2014 parliamentary election of suspected individuals. As a result, such activity would likely be precipitated by a collapse of central government authority, which is currently unlikely.
The separatist, Russia-backed Transdniestria republic's status, a frozen conflict since 1992, is unlikely to be resolved politically in the near term. However, a resumption of armed conflict is unlikely, and violent incidents in the security zone between Transdniestria and Moldova proper are likely to be rare. Russia is unlikely to intervene militarily in Transdniestria or annex the region, and will probably instead keep pushing politically for the region to gain a "special status" within a federalised Moldova. Intervention or annexation by Russia would carry low violent risk as Moldova would be unlikely to seek to re-take the breakaway region by force.
Popular frustration has been growing with the pro-European government's inability to improve living standards or investigate large-scale fraud in the banking sector that has exacerbated a deteriorating economic situation. Anti-government protests are likely both by the anti-corruption, pro-European opposition, and, less likely, the pro-Russian, Socialist Party-led opposition, primarily in the capital Chisinau. Protests are most likely to be non-violent, with regular turnout of several hundred but occasionally reaching up to the tens of thousands, such as over 40,000 in September 2015. Violence is only likely if protesters attempt storming into government buildings.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Regarding natural risks, potential visitors should note that flooding and landslides are common. During winter, heavy snowfalls may disrupt transport and cause power outages.
Moldova is situated in an active seismic zone. The country is subject to light tremors from time to time but there have been no reported consequences.
Police checkpoints are frequently set up on Moldovan roads, and identity checks on pedestrians can also occur. Therefore, it is advised to always carry a form of identification on your person.
Moldovan roads are among the most under-developed in the region. Most street lights are not functional, even in urban areas, which makes driving at night very dangerous. Horse-drawn wagons are still common in rural areas but are seldom fitted with reflective warning signs, which, when combined with the lack of street lighting, makes them difficult to see. Driving under the influence of alcohol is forbidden.
Pedestrians walk alongside the road due to the absence of sidewalks in most areas. If walking at night, it is recommended to carry a small flashlight.
Inclement weather in winter makes driving a bigger challenge, as snow removal operations are chaotic in Chisinau and nonexistent in rural areas. It is mandatory to travel with lights on and winter tires installed from November 1 to March 31.
Trains are slow and dilapidated; travelers are advised against taking trains to or from Russia. Traveling by train between Chisinau and Bucharest is a lengthy process; it takes 13 to 14 hours to travel between the two cities, located 460 km (286 mi) away from each other. Trains must wait several hours at the border to change axletrees, as tracks do not have the same width in Moldova as in Romania.
Minibuses do not always comply with safety standards; it is advised to only use those fitted with seatbelts.
Taxis from official companies are largely safe, although there are reports of females being assaulted in taxis late at night or early in the morning. Ask your hotel for the contact details of reputable taxi companies. In addition, taxis are not always equipped with a meter; it is best to negotiate the price of the fare before entering the vehicle.
Chisinau International Airport (KIV) is currently under renovation.
Moldova has a tempered continental climate, with relatively mild winters and long hot summers. The average temperature in January is -5°C in the north and -3°C in the south.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz