Russia: Eurasian Union

(The Belt and Road Initiative)

Updated:2017-04-20 |

Russia: Eurasian Union


The idea of a Eurasian Union was first proposed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in an op-ed on Izvestia on October 5, 2011. It aims to integrate the member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) into a customs and economic union and ultimately to build a supra-national alliance of sovereign countries.


Russia’s plan is to starting with six CIS countries (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan), and then expand the Eurasian Union to include all former Soviet republics, and beyond that, to cover the Asia-Pacific region.


A central component of the Eurasian Union, the Eurasian Economic Union was launched in 2015. Free flow of products, services, capital and labor within the union is envisaged by 2025, and the final goal is to broaden the union into one similar to the European Union, with a unified market benefiting 170 million people.


The prospects for aligning the Eurasian Union framework with the Belt and Road Initiative appear promising. The latter will buttress Russia’s efforts to shift the center of gravity of its economic development to Siberia and the Far East, to bridge the gap between its Asian and European parts, and to propel the process of building a fledgling Eurasian Union.