Romania with a Russian accent.
Moldova is a region of Romania which fell under Russian occupation during a war against the Turks in 1812. Reunited with Romania in 1918, it reverted to the Soviet Union definitively in 1944. Independence came with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 although Transnistria, a long sliver of Russian-inhabited territory between Ukraine and the rest of Moldova, declared independence of its own at that time and remains beyond the control of the central government today. Chisinau is a pleasant city with tree-lined streets and numerous cafes. The market bustles and the theaters are active. Wine tours to Cricova, 15 kilometers north of Chisinau are popular. Ten kilometers from Orhei in the center of Moldova is the Orheiul Vechi Monastery Complex in a cave carved into a limestone cliff by Orthodox monks in the 13th century. For visitors, Moldova is one of the easier former Soviet republics to visit as most nationalities don’t even require a visa (Australians are one exception to this rule). There’s frequent bus service to Chisinau from Iasi, Romania and it’s quite possible to carry on to the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, although bus passengers must disembark briefly at a checkpoint on the border with Transnistria to pay a small transit tax.