WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin has plans to turn a nascent Customs Union comprised of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for free trade into a Eurasian Union that includes all of Eurasia, countries of Central and even East Asia, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Russia already has initiated efforts with countries such as Vietnam in the Far East to undertake more economic and military trade.
While development of the Eurasian Union has been slow, it is expected to formally come into existence in 2015.
Analysts believe it is Putin’s vision to use the Eurasian Union as a basis to reclaim the nation-states which were once part of the Soviet Union – and then some.
Putin’s efforts to bring Asian countries into the Eurasian Union reflect his desire to expand into a greater economic union with countries with which Russia has expanded trade. Ultimately it could be a big free-trade zone.
Some of this thinking became increasingly apparent at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok. At the summit, Putin said he wants to promote active collaboration between the existing Customs Union and the Asia-Pacific countries.
He said that dozens of countries have sought trade agreements with the Customs Union, giving Putin the hope of expanding into a greater Eurasian Union.
Depending on the success of setting up successful trade with Vietnam, Putin envisions the country becoming an Asian hub for former Soviet states and perhaps other Asian nations.
While Putin’s vision is to open a vast free trade zone from the Caucasus and Central Asia to the Far East, his motives also have a political intention. He continues to see China as a form of competition, both economically and politically, and sees the Eurasian Union as a way to check China in the region.
This could cause a potential future confrontation between Russia and China which already is asserting its military capability in the East and South China Seas and considers them being in its sphere of influence.
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