Vladimir Putin is charging forward with his plans to establish a new strategic space by way of what he has named the “Eurasian Union“. I made a point to keep an eye on this project ever since I heard Putin start to talk about it. At the time I thought the idea itself had alot of merit and was worth it on the basis of it’s announced goals alone. Fast forward to today and dig a into the story line a little deeper and it is clear that just like everything else Russia is ..says or does… there are many many faces to anything the Russians dream up. Here is a little more information from the Hurriyet Daily News …
Putin’s plan for Russia’s neighbors – a Eurasian Union
by ELKHAN NURIYEV
With the current focus on policy interactions between Russia, the United States and the European Union in the post-Soviet space, many wonder what future awaits the countries of the former USSR after Vladimir Putin’s re-ascension to the Russian presidency in the March 4 election. One question is whether Putin will succeed in shaping a new, distinctive strategic space with the curious name of “the Eurasian Union.”
Clearly, the principal focus for Putin’s foreign policy will be relations with the Near Abroad, as the Russians like to call the CIS countries. Although it is difficult to predict whether Putin will be capable of completing his reintegration project in the next few years, the troubled nature of relations between Russia and the CIS countries, and among the post-Soviet states themselves, will make his task even harder.
Whether the post-Soviet states remain at the center of international strategic affairs will also depend considerably on foreign policies emanating from the U.S., the EU, Turkey, Iran and China, given that global trends in areas such as energy, trade, capital investment, migration and other security issues will play a crucial role. Last but not least, there is a broader concern about how precisely Putin will create a “new supra-national union” of sovereign states if some of the CIS leaders refuse to follow the Kremlin-established rules of the game. This key question will have a number of important strategic implications for those post-Soviet countries, whose democratic transformation is still incomplete, and where fierce competition over energy resources, security interests and political futures could easily flare up again.