Three former Soviet republics have launched a new regional integration project, with at least two others on track to join in. Critics accuse Moscow of rebuilding the USSR, but architects of project say the aim is to become a better version of the EU.
The idea of the Eurasian Union – initially between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan – made the headlines in October this year, after Vladimir Putin voiced it in a program article. The name may be new, but the future entity behind it is quite old. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the current leader of Kazakhstan, suggested it as long ago as the early 1990s, saying a Union of the three countries plus Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is necessary for them all. At the time, the notion of reconnecting the newly-separated parts of the former Soviet Union was questionable at best, but a decade-and-a-half later it is high on the agenda.