Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – With Vladimir Putin assuming the presidency on May 7, one of his major priorities for Russia will be creating an economic union that far exceeds the current membership of Belarus and Kazakhstan, and ultimately will include the other Central Asian countries, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
In effect, Putin, who is a former KGB officer, has visions of recreating the grandeur of the former Soviet Union.
Putin calls the proposed economic entity the Eurasian Union. He views it as ultimately being competitive with the European Union and as an alternative for those former Soviet states that have been excluded from joining the E.U.
While Russian prime minister, Putin had written an editorial for Izvestia extolling the virtues of an economic union to rival the E.U. He then hosted the prime ministers of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and the Ukraine.
From that meeting, there was an agreement to form a free trade zone. The Eurasian Union also offers an opportunity to re-create the economic bonds among the former Soviet states that have withered since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Analysts also see it as Moscow reasserting its influence in the entire region, not only to re-create the geography of the Soviet Union but to renew Russia’s influence as a regional and potentially global player.
While Putin’s vision of the Eurasian Union is beginning as an economic entity, sources say it also could become a major political and security bloc.
There already is the prospect that the Ukraine soon may join. The Ukraine has increasingly undertaken policies that benefit Russia, such as extending for another 25 years the Russian lease at a major naval base in the Crimea.
The Eurasian Union is seen as a way for poor, developing countries to work together and develop into a united economic bloc. The countries separately have little hope of gaining but together in a customs-free union they could thrive.
As the Soviet bloc, these countries economically were better off than they are now, regional sources say.
“Putin wants to re-create the union of poorly performing economies again, but this time without the implicit guarantee of Moscow providing a potential safety net,” according to an analysis by the think-tank Stratfor. “Russia would control through economic power and military influence but provide no guarantees. This would limit its influence but also its vulnerability… What makes it inevitable is the need to create a union of countries that cannot compete with Europe or other advanced economies but can provide needed goods and services to each other.”
The question will be the extent to which Moscow will exert political control. However, analysts see it growing based on the extent Moscow wants to commit to its success.
“Moscow is beginning the process of re-creating a system that was in place,” the Stratfor report said, “but in very different ways … For Putin, it is a geopolitical necessity and a logical inevitability.”
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