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Eurasian Disunion

Why the Union Might Not Survive 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014. Maxim Zmeyev / Courtesy Reuters

It has been a transformative  year for Eurasian integration and its flagship project, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). What started off as a relatively simple customs union in early 2014 has been transformed by treaty into a single economic space that includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia and will soon include Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In some ways, the last year was a triumph. But expansion has come at the cost of the union’s coherence, and as Russia’s economy spirals into crisis, the prognosis for 2015 is dire. More and more, the peripheral economies realize that they are bound to a drowning Russia. 

BEND THE RULES

The EEU’s predecessor, the Eurasian Customs Union, had been distinctive in the former Soviet Union because, unlike so many other multilateral bodies there, it was following its written rules and developing as an institution. New customs controls and tariff limits shared among Belarus, Kazakhstan, and

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