On a hillside in northeastern Kazakhstan, south of the Russian border, a simple and stark slogan looms over the city of Oskemen: “Kazakhstan,” reads the message in giant white letters arrayed across the green slope.
After offering a coldly efficient example in Ukraine of the use of hard power, Russia’s paramount leader Vladimir Putin is turning his attention to shoring up Moscow’s soft power capabilities, namely keeping his vision for Eurasian unification on track. There are signs, however, that his Eurasian aspirations will be more difficult to fulfill than his Crimean land-grab.
After 26 years of frustration over its start-and-stop bid to join the European Union, would Turkey ever consider joining a rival regional bloc led by the Kremlin? Few observers believe it likely, but it’s not completely out of the question.
Now that Vladimir Putin has dispensed with the formalities of reclaiming presidential authority, Kremlinologists can focus on the more substantive question of how Russia’s paramount leader intends to define his third term. In particular, many are wondering how he will proceed with his pet project -- the creation of a Eurasian Union.
Kyrgyzstan’s president-to-be, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, and his political allies seem intent on calibrating the cash-strapped country’s foreign policy so that it aligns with Bishkek’s dire economic needs. This is likely to force Kyrgyz officials into a delicate balancing act in which they are challenged to keep the country’s two largest trading partners -- Russia and China – happy.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s recent article for the Russian newspaper Izvestia discussing the creation of a new Eurasian Union continues to draw reactions from media and politicians. Originally written Oct. 3, the article emphasizes Putin’s proposal for the Eurasian Union, an economic grouping focusing on integration between Russia and former Soviet republics.