Acknowledgments and Preface
The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who gave their time, research materials, and expertise on affairs in Belarus and Moldova to provide data, perspective, and material support for this volume.
The collection of accurate and current information was assisted greatly by the contributions of Dr. Stephen Burant of the United States Department of State, Professor Thomas E. Bird of Queens College, Valery Kurdzyukou of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus, A. James Firth of the United States Department of Agriculture, John Mumford of The Washington Group, Eugene Fishel of the United States Department of State, Professor Paul E. Michelson of Huntington College, Professor Ernest H. Latham, Jr., of the American-Romanian Academy, Raymond Milefsky of the Defense Mapping Agency, and Iurie Leanca of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova. The authors also acknowledge the generosity of all the individuals who allowed their photographs to be used in this study.
Thanks also go to Ralph K. Benesch, who oversees the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army. In addition, the authors appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who supervised editing; Andrea T. Merrill, who performed the prepublication editorial review and managed production; David P. Cabitto, who designed the book cover and the illustrations on the title page of both chapters, provided graphics support, and, together with Thomas D. Hall, prepared the maps; Ihor Y. Gawdiak, who provided historical background information; and Glenn E. Curtis, who critiqued the text. The following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Vincent Ercolano and Janet Willen, who edited the chapters; Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing; Francine Cronshaw, who compiled the index; and Stephen C. Cranton, David P. Cabitto, and Janie L. Gilchrist, who prepared the camera-ready copy.
At the end of 1991, the formal liquidation of the Soviet Union was the surprisingly swift result of partially hidden decrepitude and centrifugal forces within that empire. Of the fifteen "new" states that emerged from the process, many had been independent political entities at some time in the past. Aside from their coverage in the 1991 Soviet Union: A Country Study, none had received individual treatment in this series, however. Belarus and Moldova: Country Studies is the second in a new subseries describing the fifteen post-Soviet republics, both as they existed before and during the Soviet era and as they have developed since 1991. This volume covers Moldova, a nation on the western border of what was once the Soviet Union.
The marked relaxation of information restrictions, which began in the late 1980s and accelerated after 1991, allows the reporting of extensive data on every aspect of life in the two countries. Scholarly articles and periodical reports have been especially helpful in accounting for the years of independence in the 1990s. The authors have described the historical, political, and social backgrounds of the countries as the background for their current portraits. However, in general, Moldova has been written about to a lesser extent than other former Soviet republics. The authors' goal in this book was to provide a compact, accessible, and objective treatment of five main topics: historical setting, the society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security.
When Moldovan, a dialect of Romanian written in the Latin alphabet, was designated the official language of Moldova in 1989, the Cyrillic alphabet (imposed by Joseph V. Stalin) was dropped, thus obviating the need for transliteration. However, the Moldovan names appearing in the text of this volume are missing most of the diacritics used by the language. In this case, it is a matter of lagging technology: the typesetting software being used simply cannot produce the necessary diacritics in the text (although they appear on the maps). For this the authors apologize and hope that by the time this country study is updated, missing diacritics will no longer be the norm.
Moldova and the Moldovans are referred to in different ways depending on the period of history. Until the creation of the Moldavian Autonomous Oblast (outside the traditional boundaries of Moldova) by Moscow in 1924, "Moldova" and "Moldovan" were the terms for the region and the language. From 1924 until the parliament changed the country's name officially in 1990, the terms used were "Moldavia" and "Moldavian." The policy in this volume has been to adhere to these different names during their respective periods of usage, with the exceptions of names in which "Moldova/Moldovan" was deliberately chosen over "Moldavia/Moldavian" by the groups themselves.
The body of the text reflects information available as of May 1995. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.
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