The squabble between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan was relatively petty, but the cracks that their dispute exposed in the Eurasian Economic Union, a trading bloc to which they both belong, are proving harder than ever to paper over.
In mid-October, days after the outgoing Kyrgyz president lashed out at his counterpart in Kazakhstan with a barrage of insults, a low-intensity trade row erupted. For a period of around six weeks, Kazakhstani border officials intensified checks on cross-border traffic, causing massive delays in the process. Fruits and vegetables piled high in idle vehicles on the Kyrgyz side of the border rotted, leading to significant losses for exporters. At one point, Astana also banned the import of a range of dairy goods from Kyrgyzstan.
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