Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for the creation of a Eurasian economic union in an article published Tuesday, as he prepares to return to the Kremlin after the March presidential elections.
The country aims to build the “Eurasian Union” on the base of the existing Customs Union, a trade group that includes Kazakhstan and Belarus, Putin wrote in an article in the Russian newspaper Izvestia. The statement represented another step in the country’s drive to rebuild economic ties between former Soviet republics.
Putin said the talk of creation the Eurasian Union is not about "the recreation of the USSR" but of building a connection between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Putin said that the union, which is open for new members, will aim to closer coordinate the economic and currency policies of its member states.
"We are not going to stop there and are setting an ambitious goal -- to achieve an even higher integration level in the Eurasian Union," Putin wrote in Izvestia.
Russia's ambition previously caused problems in its World Trade Organization accession talks, which the country has been involved in almost since the collapse of the Soviet Union and hopes to finalize this year.
The first step toward the unionl will be made Jan. 1, when the Customs Union members are planning to create the so-called Common Economic Space, which will coordinate its members' macroeconomic policies, competition rules and agriculture subsidies, among other issues.
About two years ago, Putin shocked the WTO by saying that his country would apply to join the trade body as a group with Belarus and Kazakhstan, but the plan was eventually dismissed.
NewsCore and Reuters contributed to this report.