Sunday, August 31, 2014

Eurasian Economic Union crumbling part 2

In a previous blog I wrote Putin's Customs Union currently comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, is crumbling.

On Friday, at a Russian youth camp Putin declared: "Russians and Ukrainians are 'practically one people". [Implying, I suppose, that invading Ukraine and trampling over its sovereign rights is not really invading a foreign country at all.]

If there were any truth in this 'practically one people' remark, it could arguably apply to an even greater extent to Russians and Belarusians, so Putin's loose talk will certainly will cause great apprehension and anger in Minsk.

Putin's declaration that same day the Kazakhstan 'was never a state', has already elicited a reaction from that country's president Nursultan Nazarbayev. He has broadly hinted Kazakhstan may even withdraw from the Eurasian Union

"If the rules laid down in the agreement are not carried out, Kazakhstan has the right to give up the Eurasian Economic Union. I have said it before and I say it again," he said.

According to him, Kazakhstan will not be a part of any organization that poses a threat to its independence.

"Our independence is our most precious treasure for which our grandfathers fought," said the president of Kazakhstan. "Firstly, we will never surrender our independence and, secondly, we will do everything to protect it," - said Nazarbayev.

Taras Berezovets in 'Novoye Vremya' explains why Kazakhstan may be being lined up for same treatment as Eastern Ukraine in Putin's strategy to rearrange Russia's borders. About one quarter of Kazakhstan's population is Russian - they live predominantly in regions adjacent Russia. These regions were bolted on in 1936 when Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic was formed from the Kazakh Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic that had existed from 1925 until 1936. [Similaries with Crimea?]

More on Putin's crass remarks and their major significance here

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