Russia's Putin says wants to build "Eurasian Union" .

Zebra

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By Gleb Bryanski
Mon Oct 3, 2011 6:21pm EDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he wants to bring ex-Soviet states into a "Eurasian Union" in an article which outlined his first foreign policy initiative as he prepares to return to the Kremlin as the country's next president.

Putin said the new union would build on an existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan which from next year will remove all barriers to trade, capital and labor movement between the three countries.

"We are not going to stop there and are setting an ambitious goal -- to achieve an even higher integration level in the Eurasian Union," Putin wrote in an article which will be published in Izvestia newspaper on October 4.

Putin said last month he would run in the March 2012 presidential election and his current public approval ratings show that he is set to win.

Putin's initiative comes as Russia nears the end of its 18-year-old negotiations to join the World Trade Organization. In the article Putin made no secret of his skepticism about the global trade watchdog.

"The process of finding new post-crisis global development models is moving forward with difficulty. For example, the Doha round (of international trade talks) has practically stopped. There are objective difficulties inside the WTO," he wrote.

In 2009, Putin threw Russia's bid to join the WTO into disarray, saying Russia would instead form the Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. The new initiative will have to be explained to WTO members.

WRONG CROSSROADS

Putin, who once called the collapse of the USSR in 1991 "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century," said his new project would not resemble the Soviet Union.

"It would be naive to attempt to restore or copy something from the past. However, a stronger integration on a new political and economic basis and a new system of values is an imperative of our era," Putin wrote.

Russia's relationship with its ex-Soviet neighbors has been troubled by trade and political disputes and even armed conflicts such as the 2008 war with Georgia.

Putin said he saw the new union as a supra-national body which would coordinate "economic and currency policy" between its members. It would also be open to new members.

Putin said that the Customs Union would expand to take in Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. He also made a veiled criticism of Ukraine which chose to stay outside the union citing its commitment to European integration.

Some of Russian's neighbors were unwilling to commit to integration because this appeared to contradict their decision to build ties with Europe.

But this was a wrong choice, he wrote. He argued that the Customs Union and in future the Eurasian Union would be the European Union's partner in talks over the creation of a common economic space, guaranteeing its members a stronger voice.

"Membership in the Eurasian Union, apart from direct economic benefits, will enable its members to integrate into Europe faster and from a much stronger position."

Putin wrote that he saw the way out of the global crisis through a regional integration, mentioning the European Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as examples.

"These 'bricks' can assemble into a more stable global economy," Putin wrote.

Russia's Putin says wants to build Eurasian Union | Reuters
 

asianobserve

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Hail! Hail! The Eurasian Union composed of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus!
 

SLASH

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The EU will be interested in incorporating the Russians. Due to lower population they will be ready to let Russia enter the Union rather than Turkey. Also the huge oil reserves are a bonus. It will be interesting to see how Germany and France react to it was they have the last say in the EU.
 

pmaitra

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Although in Asia, many former Soviet republics are more westernised than anything else. Especially if one were to look at Kazakhstan, they are very much Russified.

Why not? A pan-Eurasian Union would help all.
 

agentperry

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see the upper limit of putin. 300 million people only.

even after so much of upheaval russians and europeans are not ready to leave their imperialistic designs.
 

civfanatic

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Considering the rapid demographic loss in not just Russia but also the former Soviet republics, such a Union may be necessary to preserve geopolitical clout.

After all, the interests of the countries involved intersect on many levels.
 

asianobserve

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Until Russia recognizes its position in a changed World it will continue to remain a spoiler. Almost all of its former Soviet satellites view it as a terrible bully which actually is true. Russia likes to swagger like Putin. Its something cultural but it's also something that annoys its neighbors and the World.
 

ejazr

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Looks like Putin wants to bring back the USSR, are we heading back to the good old times of the Cold War? :)

Kazakhstan welcomes Putin's Eurasian Union concept - Telegraph

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev first mentioned the concept of a Eurasian Union during a speech at a Moscow University in May 1994, less than three years after the breakup of the Soviet.

Since then Kazakhstan has transformed itself from a Central Asian backwater with aging Soviet infrastructure into a confident, global energy supplier complete with a new capital city full of glass and steel towers designed by some of the world leading architects.

But despite massive investment from the West and more recently China, the old ties to Russia remain strong as Roman Vassilenko, head of press and information at the Kazakh foreign ministry, explained.

"Kazakhstan and President Nazarbayev personally have always stood for closer economic integration with Russia and other countries of the former USSR," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"The Eurasian Union that President Nazarbayev first proposed in 1994 is envisaged as a mutually beneficial union of mutually respectful partners."

Kazakhstan is already an enthusiastic member of the customs union with Russia and Belarus that Mr Putin sees as the launch pad for a more integrated Eurasian Union.

In his article for the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Mr Putin wrote that a Eurasian Union would not be a return to the Soviet Union. Instead he described a modern economic and currency union that would stretch further into Central Asia and include both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Businesses in both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have faced higher tariffs trading with Kazakhstan and Russia since the customs union came into force this year putting pressure on their political leaders to join the union. Kyrgyzstan has since officially applied to join and Tajikistan is thinking about applying.

Most analysts, though, don't expect Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which are both rich in natural resources, to join a Russia-lead economic union.

Dosym Satpayev, an Almaty-based analyst, said he thought that Mr Putin's real motive behind creating the customs union and potentially the Eurasian Union was political.

"The Eurasian Union is important for Russia at it will let them remain strong in international affairs," he said.

In contrast he said that Mr Nazarbayev's aims were driven by a desire for access to the Russian market and to give Kazakhstan more options.

"This will show everybody that he is able to pick from a lot of partners," Mr Satpayev said. "This is a position of strength."
 

agentperry

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isnt kazakhistan a bloody bitch!!! CAR and its supported oic is just a bunch of spineless countries.

not even 20 years and they are backtracking the biggest breakdown of 20th century- USSR debacle.
 

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