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Transportation and Telecommunications

Figure 21. Transportation System of Moldova, 1995

In 1995 the main means of transportation in Moldova were railroads (1,150 kilometers) and a highway system (20,100 kilometers overall, including 14,000 kilometers of paved surfaces) (see fig. 22). The major railroad junctions are Chisinau, Bender, Ungheni, Ocnita (Oknitsa, in Russian), Balti, and Basarabeasca (Bessarabka, in Russian). Primary external rail links connect the republic's network with Odesa (in Ukraine) on the Black Sea and with the Romanian cities of Iasi and Galati; they also lead northward into Ukraine. Highways link Moldova's main cities and provide the chief means of transportation within the country, but roads are in poor repair, and gasoline shortages make interurban motor transportation difficult. The country's major airport is in Chisinau.

Shipping is possible on the lower Prut and Nistru rivers, but water transportation plays only a modest role in the country's transportation system. In 1990 a total of 317 million tonkilometers of freight were carried on inland waterways as compared with 15,007 million ton-kilometers on railroads and 1,673 million ton-kilometers on roads (see table 13, Appendix A).

The movement of manufactured goods and of passengers on all means of transportation started to decline in 1989. From 1993 to 1994, for example, the total amount of transported goods fell by 31 percent, passenger traffic decreased by 28 percent, and the number of passengers declined by 24 percent. The main causes for these declines are the high cost of transportation, a lack of fuels, and the poor state of Moldova's transportation infrastructure: approximately 20 percent of Moldova's roads are considered in a critical technical state.

Moldova's telecommunications facilities are poor, but they were being upgraded in 1995. In 1990 Moldova had an average of twelve telephones per 100 inhabitants (heavily concentrated in urban areas), and there were more than 200,000 unfilled orders for telephone installation. In 1994 Moldova installed 23,800 telephone lines, which included public phones with direct international dialing capabilities. Some 10,000 digital lines in Chisinau were upgraded by a German company. In 1994 a new company in Chisinau, a joint venture with partners from Greece and Italy, was soon to produce automatic telephone exchanges at the rate of 50,000 lines a year.

Moldova is connected to Ukraine by landline and is also now linked to countries outside the former Soviet Union via Bucharest rather than via the switching center in Moscow, as had previously been the case.

As of 1993, three television channels were widely available in Moldova: Moldova's two national channels (Radioteleviziunea Nationala), Romanian state television (Televiziunea Romāna), and Russian state television (Ostankino Kanal 1). Radioteleviziunea Nationala's daily fifteen hours of broadcasting included five hours of Russian-language broadcasts. Broadcasting in other minority languages was more limited: Ukrainian (three hours per month), Gagauz (three hours per month), Bulgarian (three hours per month), and Hebrew and Yiddish (1.5 hours per month for both together). Televiziunea Romāna broadcast fifteen hours per day, and TV Ostankino broadcast nineteen hours per day. In 1995 there was one independent television station in Chisinau (whose coverage included most of the republic).

In 1993 nine AM radio stations were reported broadcasting, in four cities: four in Grigoriopol (Grigoriopol', in Russian), three in Chisinau, one in Cahul (Kagul, in Russian), and one in Edinet (Yedintsy, in Russian). Separatists in the self-proclaimed "Dnestr Republic" had taken over the radio facility in Grigoriopol and broadcast on two of the AM frequencies. The cities of Balti, Cahul, Edinet, Straseni (Strasheny, in Russian), and Ungheni each had one FM radio station broadcasting on the same frequencies used when Moldova was part of the Soviet Union. Plans for international shortwave radio service were delayed because of the loss of the Grigoriopol facility to the separatists. Several private radio stations operated in Moldova in 1995. At least one of these was funded by an American Christian group. The others broadcast music, mostly for young people.

Data as of June 1995

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