Tough times for the Eurasian Economic Union are causing disillusionment among its members — Kazakhstan most notably — although Russia seems indisposed to pay heed to such misgivings.
Instead, the Kremlin has become embroiled in a series of diplomatic dust-ups, leaving its closest partners in the five-nation trade bloc hostage to Moscow’s economic and geopolitical policies.
Kazakhstan’s septuagenarian leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, presides over an economy roughly one-tenth the size of Russia’s, but more than twice the size of the economies of the other EEU members – Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan – combined. He has cut a particularly frustrated figure in the group in recent times.
In a February 11 appeal to EEU heads of state, Nazarbayev outlined the argument for closer integration with both China’s Silk Road Economic Belt concept and the European Union, where Russia’s ties remain frazzled by its adventures in Ukraine.
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